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Your Complete Guide To Planning A Wedding On A Low Budget

Partnered with the Low Budget Wedding Network we represent a thriving global community with over 21,000+ members. We work together to bring you great wedding design ideas, planning guides and money saving tips. Proudly affiliated with various leading brands including: David's Bridal, Cocomelody, Minted, Vistaprint, Zazzle , Etsy, Amazon. All products shown and linked to are carefully sourced and handpicked to meet your needs and we may receive a fee for purchases made. 

       Site Map     Wedding planning      Timeline and Free Pintables          Guest List        Engagement Shoot        Venue Savings        Budget Dresses         Flowers       Cake Ideas       Vendor Savings  

Are you up for the Low Budget Wedding Planning Challenge?


Agree the wedding budget


  • Who is paying for the wedding? 
  • If you're sharing costs across families, gather all those involved to discuss how this will proceed.


Things to consider:


  • There are different cultural expectations and traditions when it comes to paying for weddings. My advice is not to assume or expect anything and to be open to discuss it with your families.
  • Will all the wedding money be given in advance and put in a special wedding savings account/pot?
  • Alternatively will individuals settle bills as they arise?
  • Will different persons have different costs they are responsible for?
  • Are you required to save ... can you save enough to settle the bills within the given timeframe / pay deposits?


Decide on the number of guests and budget



Deciding on the number of wedding guests will help determine the wedding budget, cost of the wedding or vice versa. If you set the budget before hand this in turn will dictate how many guests you are able to have for the ceremony and the reception. Your wedding budget and guest list combined will determine, large or small wedding, formal, informal wedding and lead you to selecting appropriate venues and so on.

Choose your Bridal Party & Groomsmen


Choose your bridal party and groomsmen and invite them formally to participate. Maid of honor, bridesmaids, flower girls, best man and ring bearers are sometimes given small personalized gifts when verbally asking them to fulfil that role. 

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Set the date
Agree the budget
Decide on Guest numbers
Start looking at venues


Planning a low budget wedding can be a challenge and the key to success is organization. Here to help you is a detailed low budget wedding planning guide which you can use to kick start your wedding planning process and dip into as you go along. Many couples set their wedding date on average two-years from their date of engagement. 


This allows a full year to research themes, color schemes, venues, consider your budget, location and all the niceties of wedding planning. The real work though starts a year ahead of the wedding date as those ideas are put into motion. View our detailed wedding planning timeline to stay on schedule and enjoy a free wedding website from Minted to keep you organized and help you to plan.

free wedding website

order your FREE wedding website HERE

Main expenses

  • Wedding Venue/s
  • Catering/Bar
  • Photographer/Videographer
  • Wedding Dress /Groom Suit 
  • Bridal party and Groomsman wear
  • Reception Band or DJ/Entertainment
  • Honeymoon
  • Hotel bookings
  • Transport
  • Officiant

  • Florist / Decorations
  • Cake Maker / Cake
  • Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist
  • Transportation/Cars
  • Invitations/Stationery
  • Favors
  • Thank you gifts
  • Engagement Party/Photos
  • Bachelorette Party / Bridal Shower

free wedding invitations samples

Fail to plan and plan to fail! Be organized

To help you get organized you may want to invest in a wedding planner journal. The Knot wedding planner and organizer is especially popular among new brides to be. Another popular one which is super cheap can be seen below for under $10. OR .. you can start making savings right now and print off a FREE wedding planner checklist such as that provided by Martha Stewart

grab your free wedding planning printables

Free Timeline Printable

top tips for saving money on your wedding

16 ways to CUT COSTS FREE Printable

First things first! Announce your Engagement

Plan an Engagement and Set The Date


If you're announcing your engagement formally, having an engagement party, sending out notices etc. it is a good idea let guests know a that same time when the wedding will take place. An exact date may not be possible at this stage but some idea of the year and what time of year would be very useful.


This enables your guests to make their own plans and savings to cover the cost of wedding clothes, transport, possible childminding\and gifts. They may also need to make arrangements with work and sort out holiday bookings. It is likely you will invite the same people to your engagement as you intend to invite for your wedding. This will provide a guide as to how many guests you may need to cater for re the wedding dinner / reception.


Engagement photo shoot ideas

20 Low Budget Ideas for Engagement Photos

Many couples are now having a pre-wedding photo shoot to create engagement photos which they use for their save the dates or for a memory of their engagement. Featured here are some couple photos and great venue ideas to inspire your own engagement photo shoot.

  1. Countryside, field setting - wildflowers, long grass - having fun
  2. Park - flowers, picnic blanket, flying a kite
  3. Woodland, Forest - trees and winding pathways -walking, holding hands
  4. Beach, sand and sea location. Pics of hearts drawn in the sand, sandcastles, paddling in the sea. 
  5. Pretty backyard, garden - create a scene with hay bales, flowers, bunting
  6. Petting Farm - local farm, petting cute animals
  7. Zoo - photos with exotic animals, birds in the backdrop
  8. Rowing boat on a river/lake 
  9. Horse riding together
  10. Cycling - ride a cycle for two, romantic photos with bike in backdrop
  11. Sunsets - silhouette pics against a sunset - find a tall hill
  12. Formal dancing - any venue with a great backdrop
  13. Romantic Bridge over a stream
  14. Floral Archway - find a great spot or construct an artificial arch
  15. Fair Ground - fun photos on rides, carousel, big wheel.
  16. Enjoying a game of golf or other sport
  17. Hygge Life - snuggle with coco, good books infront of roaring fireplace
  18. Sexy boudoir photos - bed, roses, chocolate strawberries
  19. Fun bubble bath - share a tub, lot of bubbles and Champagne
  20. Pet Pics - if you have pets, do some fun pet couple pics
engagement photo ideas poses pics

If you want something a little arty and bit more unique you could try silhouette photos against a scenic sky. Take images of hands entwined showing off your engagement rings. If you're having an engagement photo shoot at the beach, you can draw hearts in the sand, names, build a sandcastle together, paddle in the sea, and have a romantic picnic. 


You can sex it up and have a little more intimate style photos, the choice is endless. Whatever you do ensure the scene and poses are authentic to who you are as a couple and show you both loved up and natural.

Add your engagement photos to your wedding invitations, 

announcements and save the dates!

image source pixabay

Wedding Planning Timeline Guide

Book Your Vendors 1-2 yrs ahead

  • Order and send out your wedding Save-the-Date cards to all those on your guest list. 
  • Create a gift list and register with an online wedding gift registry (Amazon or other) or department store. These days it might be preferable to have an online wedding gift registry as not all your guests can make it to a specified High Street store. It's important to consider convenient access when compiling gift lists.
  • Arrange your wedding ceremony and meet the officiant / officials organising it. Confirm the details, rehearsal and any other necessary details.
  • Interview, meet, book with service providers:

1yr/6 months

  • Bridal party clothing / shoes
  • Groom suit / clothing
  • Best man, Groomsmen suits
  • Makeup artist / hair stylist / manicurist
  • Order / send out wedding invitations and stationery - couples have different ideas on the best time to send out invitations. Important considerations include allowing time to have your invites designed and made/printed a process which in itself with postage and proof checking can take a month or more. Guest will require enough notice to ensure they have no other commitments, can arrange childcare, time off work and return the RSVP in good time for you to confirm details with your caterer and venue.
  • Research and order table decorations and other ceremony/venue decor
  • If your having a DIY wedding, start crafting.

4 months

  • Have a wedding dress fitting and arrange for any adjustments
  • Chase your wedding guest rsvp's
  • Update out of town guests on local hotel arrangements /travel
  • Buy smaller details for your wedding ceremony and reception, such as guest books, ring bearer pillow etc.
  • Source and order wedding favors or craft your own.
  • Check the details of pre-booked wedding vendors to ensure all is still ok for the day! You may have additional amounts to pay.
  • Ensure your passports are up to date re that honeymoon!
  • Do you need vaccinations for overseas travel?

3 months 

  • Final reminder for guests re wedding rsvps as you will need to confirm shortly with your venue and caterer final numbers.
  • Are you having a rehearsal dinner? If so send out invitations and arrange a date.
  • Arrange your wedding transport and that of your bridal party, groomsmen etc.
  • Ensure all the details re honeymoon, passports, vaccinations, spending money, travel to airport/back are sorted/planned, confirmed.

2 months 

  • It won't hurt to confirm again with your vendors and ensure everything is on track for the date! Same with wedding guests and outstanding rsvp's.
  • If friends and family are assisting with things like transport, photography, crafting flower arrangements etc. ensure they're still on board and able to do so.
  • You may need to meet (if getting married in a Church) with your Priest or other, to confirm the details.
  • Order , make, buy thank you gifts for your bridal party, groomsmen and any others you wish to thank for their attendance.
  • You may want to create a small memorial for those loved ones who can't be with you at the wedding.
  • Start writing those wedding speeches and toasts! Do some research re this and add some funny and heart-warming anecdotes.
  • Chase others responsible for speeches to make sure they're busy with theirs!
  • Finalise your wedding seating plan, order table cards, seating chart.
  • Confirm your wedding reception details, numbers, tables, order of events with your wedding reception vendor, planner.
  • If you're changing your name/s after marriage make a list of those who require notifying and the legal requirements for formally changing your name on things like house deeds, bank details, passport etc. These things can take time and you often need original copies of documents not copies, so check the details carefully.
  • Write your wedding vows. You may want to create a keepsake journal of wedding vow drafts, this is a cute idea for bride and groom!
  • Ensure marriage license details sorted.

1 month 

  • Have a final wedding, bridal dress fitting and arrange a date for collection.
  • Practice your hair and makeup.
  • Collect dresses, suits for bridal party and groomsmen (fittings).
  • Pay remainders for bookings as required.
  • Update your wedding gift list registry as desired.
  • Start making a note of gifts received early so you can send out thank you cards.
  • Confirm all details with bridal party, groomsmen, helpers so everyone knows what they're responsible for and ensure they're still available and willing to help.
  • Arrange and have your bachelor (stag) and bachelorette (hen) parties. Have them early to ensure there's no chance of hangovers spoiling your wedding day for you or your guests!
  • Have a bridal shower party.

1 week 

  • Most of this you've done already but just in case, confirm one last time with vendors all details.
  • Collect your dress/suits and any extras.
  • You may be collecting your wedding cake yourself , arrange for this or check with cake maker their delivery arrangements one last time.
  • Ensure all is on track for your fresh flowers, delivery, arrangements.
  • Confirm hotel reservations and all others. You may still need to advise of final guest numbers.
  • Ensure photographer/transport know where they're going, time of arrival.
  • Prepare for your honeymoon, pack bags, passports, legal documents.
  • You may need a wedding handbag for emergency items, sort out something discreet and co-ordinated.
  • If you are likely to require help going to the loo in that huge Princess wedding dress, recruit your maid of honor now!
  • Get plenty of rest and destress before the big day, book a massage!
  • Have your nails, eyebrows done.

On the Day

  • Wake up early, shower and have a good breakfast so your tummy isn't rumbling throughout the ceremony!
  • Collect flowers, cake and anything that has to be done on the day
  • Have your hair, makeup done
  • Have photos taken of the getting ready process
  • Leave your dress until you're almost ready to leave to ensure you don't crease, spill anything on it.
  • Don't forget your bag with essential items before leaving the house
  • Co-ordinate with the grooms party to ensure who arrives where, when first.

And enjoy!!

How to stop your guest list spiralling out of control

Make the Guest List


Once you've decided on your bridal party and groomsmen, sit down together as a couple and make a wedding guest list. Couples have different 'rules' re this but generally they split it down the middle inviting an even number of guests for each side.


In some cases the bride or the groom may have a smaller friend or family guest list in which case you can agree between you how 'balanced' the list is and if that is even important. If there is a big discrepancy between bride and groom guest numbers avoid the different seating arrangements for the ceremony as it will be less obvious.


Guest A, Guest B, Guest C - which are you?


There is a funny meme floating around on social media about a bride who revealed the fact she had tiers of guests who may or may not make it to the final cut! The process of who determining who you most want at the wedding is normal, announcing it to the guests, definitely not!

Make a list (and keep it private) of those you know for certain will be there, you can't get married without them. These will be your nearest and dearest family and friends. And perhaps your boss.


Plus 1's and children?


When you've compiled this list, consider whether you're allowing plus ones and children, because the numbers will double/treble when you factor that in! From here, decide who else you may like to be there if space and finances allow. And again, consider who they might bring with them.

Family Politics


There will be all manner of family politics involved with creating the guest list. Parents, friends and siblings may have their own ideas about who should come to your wedding! Stand firm, this is your wedding, do not be bullied into having a bunch of people you don't know or care about at your wedding. And if it gets too stressful, there is always elopement!


Cost per head


When you have your wedding guest list you can work out the cost per head for food, drinks, favors and more.

Low Budget Wedding Venue Ideas


Book the Ceremony & Reception Venue/s


When the wedding date is set, the wedding guest list decided, the wedding budget agreed you can take that information and start looking at wedding ceremony and reception venues.


Things to consider:

  • Distance from where you live
  • Distance and available transport between ceremony and reception site
  • Parking /disabled access /child friendly
  • Can your guests get their easily
  • Venue guests capacity
  • Indoor/outdoor and contingency re weather
  • What is included with the booking
  • Do they cater for all dietery requirements
  • Check their insurance
  • Cost as it works out per person
  • Cancellation terms
  • Take out insurance

6 Tips For Cutting Your Wedding Venue Costs in Half

  1. Instead of having a venue for the ceremony and another for the reception, combine them and have one venue for both!
  2. Have an early morning wedding followed by a reception brunch instead of an all-day and night party.
  3. Book a weekday rather than a weekend day
  4. Book out of season, this is usually winter, colder months of the year
  5. Source a newly opened venue looking for clients, offering deals
  6. Pay in full in advance, generally lower prices can be negotiated this way

8 Cheap Wedding Venue Ideas

  1. Backyard Wedding
  2. Park
  3. By a River
  4. At the beach
  5. Community/Village/Church Hall
  6. Sports Hall
  7. Air B&B
  8. Clubs/Bars/Hotels (morning, weekday and out of season)

21 Questions to ask your venue

  1. Is the wedding venue available on your chosen date?
  2. How many guests can be accomodated, standing and seated?
  3. What time can we access the wedding venue to decorate?
  4. Can we get ready at the wedding venue?
  5. Is there a secure room to store the gifts?
  6. Is there disabled access, downstairs toilets?
  7. What is the timeline for the day?
  8. Is it an open bar, what are the bar prices?
  9. Can we bring a bottle, do you charge corkage?
  10. Can we instruct our own caterers, bring our own food?
  11. What is included in the venue hire package?
  12. How many serving staff will be there on the day?
  13. Is there accommodation for us and guests?
  14. Can we get a discount for block room bookings?
  15. Do you have a wedding cake stand or do we bring our own?
  16. Are there any other weddings on the same day as ours?
  17. What time do we have to leave?
  18. What are the cancellation terms?
  19. Can I have an itemised invoice - see a full breakdown of costs
  20. Insurance?
  21. Can we get a better price weekday, out of season, am booking?

How to be a savvy Dress and Suit Shopper!

Wedding Dress Shopping

We both know you started looking at wedding dresses as soon as he popped the question right?

Wearing a wedding dress might be the only time in your life you put on a dress. It is a very special occasion and the dress itself, being a once-worn only item is a big part of your day. You can never start 'looking' too early. Just don't be tempted to make a rash decision you may regret later.


Make wedding dress shopping an event - take your mum/s, girly friends or one special person and book ahead to ensure you get a proper amount of attention. If you're buying a wedding dress online, read all the reviews and pay very close attention to the size guides. When factoring costs allow a budget for alterations and do some research so you know what these might be as they can work out more expensive than the dress.


Also consider wedding dress accessories such as little purse or bag, a belt, veil/train, undergarments, underskirt and of course any jewelry.


The Groom

We mustn't forget the guys! Your groom-to-be will usually do his wedding suit shopping at the same time as his groomsmen as they all tend to wear the same thing with a little spin of originality for the Groom. A different colored waistcoat, a cravate, pocket square, tie etc. Maybe a slightly sharper, darker or lighter suit.


Same sex couples

If you're a same sex couple you may want to surprise each other or shop together for co-ordinating outfits. You may both opt to wear the same. Lots of options, the sky's the limit and there are no rules.


View our handpicked Amazon Wedding Dresses

Choose your Bridal Party

Choose your bridal party and groomsmen and invite them formally to participate. Maid of honor, bridesmaids, flower girls, best man and ring bearers are sometimes given small personalized gifts when verbally asking them to fulfil that role.  When you know who is in your team, you can decide on your dress budget, for yourself and or them.


Things to consider

  • Are you buying the Bridesmaid dresses or are they?
  • Are they all wearing the same or mix and match?
  • Are they likely to change in size (diet/pregnancy) between ordering the dress and the wedding?

How to Save Money on your Wedding Dress

cheapest wedding dresses

  • Pre-Loved - Worn once, specialist cleaned, can be as much as 75% less than the original purchase price. If going this route ensure you allow a small budget in case you need alterations and give yourself a LOT of time to hunt down the perfect dress. There are lots of Facebook groups and eBay lists etc. as well as Charity, Thrift stores that sell wonderful pre-loved wedding gowns.
  • Chinese Dress Supply - You can make huge savings. From what I've seen so far re China Dresses on Facebook groups is that the bride while delighted, often the dress isn't quite like the promotional photo, so make sure you read the reviews and keep your expectations realistic. Look at customer photos that are posted with reviews. Most importantly ensure your measurements as provided to them are spot on.
  • Borrow - sometimes a family member or friend has a wedding dress that they are happy to loan you with no cost to you other than specialist cleaning afterwards.
  • Make it Yourself - if you have the skill why not? I saw a beautiful wedding gown recently a bride crocheted! It was stunning. Many of us don't have those skills however, but if you do ... worth considering and what a wonderful sentimental keepsake that would make.
  • Buy a Prom Dress Instead - many prom dresses look a lot like wedding gowns and they're much cheaper. Most guests would never know the difference, especially if you're choosing a color other than white/ivory.

How to Save Money on Bridesmaid Dresses


cheapest bridesmaid dresses


Keep it small - as well as bride and groom outfits, your Bridal Party and Groomsmen need fitting out with clothes, shoes, accessories, flowers! That's a lot of expense especially if you're planning on having a big entourage. The best way to keep costs down in this regard is to keep your bridal party small to non-existent. This may however NOT be possible if you have a large family and friends list who want to play an

active role on your special day.


What to do? 

Explain to your enthusiastic following that you're on a budget and need to keep things simple but elegant. Advise them you'd love to have them included but being realistic it's only going to be possible if they are able to contribute themselves to the costs of their outfits and accessories.


If you're not dictating what they wear (outside of color theme) then this request is NOT unreasonable as they'd generally be buying something to wear to your wedding in any case. If they can't do this, they themselves are opting out of the bridal party and so that takes care of the 'we want to be in it' issue.


Color theme- different styles

Brides find that having a color theme and allowing their Bridal Party to choose their own dress style (perhaps specify a length) within that color scheme is an option the ladies embrace. And the photos look lovely. Just ensure all the colors go well together (paint sample charts are great for color matching).

Ask them to pay/contribute to the cost

Mix and Match Your Bridesmaids 

Here's why! 


Expecting all your bridesmaids to look fabulous and most importantly feel fabulous in the exact same dress as the woman standing next to them is expecting a lot! They will have different body shapes, complexions and their own individual style. And if you love them enough to want them to be part of your big day, you surely love them enough to want them be comfortable on your big day? 


This is why at the Low Budget Wedding Network we were delighted when mixing and matching bridesmaids and flowergirl dresses began to trend. The different styles and shades look fabulous together (as long as you harmonize them correctly - more on that later) and they really are the way forward for millenium wedding couples. Don't be stuck in the dark ages with everyone looking the same. 


No one will outshine you as the bride in your beautiful dress so you can be confident enough to let your bridesmaids, your faithful entourage, compliment your chosen wedding theme in an original way. Mixing and matching bridesmaids dresses in color, length and style is also a great way to ensure your wedding bridal party doesn't look like a carbon copy of anyone elses. 


SHOP Bridal Party Dresses by Color Theme on Amazon

SHOP Blush  on Amazon

Take your mixing and matching to a new level by having two complimentary colors working together. See below for ideas of trending colors and ideas of how mixing and matching bridesmaids and flowergirl dresses can really work to your advantage.

6 Ways To Save Money On Wedding Flowers

1. Have a Color theme rather than a flower theme

The florist can more easily make a bouquet, garlands based on color than incur extra costs sourcing the flowers by type.


2. Fresh flowers

Real flowers may cost less than artificial depending on where you buy them. Some flower market stalls will make up a bouquet inexpensively for you to collect the morning of your wedding.


3. Grow Your own

You can plan ahead if you have green fingers and grow your own flowers for your bouquet and table decorations.


4. Pick your own

You may have a friend or family member with a garden who is happy to supply flowers for your day. When I did a flower arranging course I always used flowers from my mother's garden. This idea is perfect for a boho, rustic themed wedding.


5. DIY - I made my own floral centerpieces for the reception tables and was able to use the flower arrangements left behind from the previous wedding! Matching it all up wasn't my priority so I took what was offered. If you're going this route, have a few practice runs so you know what you're doing and what flowers work best. You can be very creative with rustic themes, using glass jars as vases and strings of LED lights.


6. Artificial Flowers

There are many silk, paper, rubber wedding flower options today that look every bit as fabulous as the real thing and of course they last longer and you don't have to worry about timing and storage. You can also try your hand at making these yourself following a YouTube tutorial to make further savings.

View our guide to growing your own Sunflower bouquet!

how to save money on wedding flowers

View our Wedding Flower Gallery

8 Ways To Save Money On The Wedding Cake

By Cassandra Mallett edited by LeahG

As brides, we want a big reaction to our wedding cake. We want people to mill around it and admire the 

creation that is a symbolic of a couples new union. We have dreams of hearing those "ooh's" and "ah's" 

and the conversations about the décor, the colors, and the height of the cake.

The right wedding cake should take the breath away of all your guests, and make them anxious to take a bite.

stacked wedding cake chalkboard

Stacked

separator plated wedding cake

Separator Plates

wedding cake stands

Stand

column wedding cake

Pillars

More Cake For Less Money - here's how

  1. Simpler the better
  2. Round shape is cheapest
  3. Fresh Flowers cheaper than iced
  4. Butter icing cheaper than fondant
  5. Simple flavors
  6. Ribbons for color theme
  7. Grocery Cake
  8. Fake Cake

Smaller Guest Number = Smaller Cake = less cost

One of the most important things to keep in mind, when choosing a cake, is the amount of people that you plan to serve. For instance, if you have a cake that is $1.50 per slice and you are inviting 300 people, your cake without any décor will be $450. So one way to keep costs down is to keep the guest list as small as possible.


The more intricate your cake decoration details are the more your costs will increase

If you want a 4-tiered cake with a lace-like pattern, understand that someone must do that pattern which can take hours to recreate. Certain patterns, piping, or detailed frosting designs can take a lot of time and work. Remember, this labor increases your price. So, if you want to keep cost down, make the decorations simple.


Fresh flowers on the cake always bring cost down 

As brides, we are completely intrigued by the gum paste flowers that are edible and beautiful. I mean, they look like the real thing and they mimic every detail of the real flowers. Because they do, these beautiful details cost. If you decide to decorate using fresh flowers instead, your décor can still be as breathtaking without the exorbitant prices.


Ribbons are a simple way to bring your wedding colors into your wedding cake design 

This way you can decorate your cake without raising the price. Because my tastes are quite simple, I love the idea of putting a thick beautiful ribbon around the cake and pinning it with pearl pins. This is a very simple way to decorate and the pearl gives a look of sophistication to the cake as well. Again, using ribbons instead of icing as a decoration choice can make for a beautiful wedding cake without the large price.


Go to the grocery store 

Many grocery stores will work to match your colors as well as your decoration needs. They are even willing to set up cake tastings with you, and some even have faux layers to offer!


Have a fake cake

Many brides are doing it to get the drama of a beautiful wedding cake without the price. They will have a faux cake, and in the back is a sheet cake cut up for the guests. This is a brilliant idea for brides on a budget. Bakers can do faux cakes because many of their store displays are fake cakes. This is not something that a baker may offer, but you can always ask. If you want, you can have it where only part of the cake can be fake. This way you can still have the cake cutting experience.


Stay simple with flavors

Some bakers will increase the price depending on what flavor you choose or if you choose more than one flavor, so this is a good thing to keep in mind. Again, you must ask yourself, will your guest really have a bad night because the cake was simply yellow? I have never been to a wedding where I was just sorely disappointed because of the flavor of the cake. 


Simple shapes equal less money - round cakes are the cheapest and the easiest to decorate

Wedding cakes are works of art, and more and more bakers see themselves as artists pushing the limits and making wonderful edible masterpieces. So, if you want a cake shape that is hard to ice or decorate, you will have to come out of pocket to pay for it. 

Questions for Your Cake Maker / Baker

  • How are your wedding cakes priced?
  • Can you customize a wedding cake or do you just work with certain styles?
  • What are your different cake flavors and fillings?
  • What type of icing do you use? Fondant? Butter cream?
  • Are there any extra fees that are not included with the base price?
  • Does the price listed include the top tier?
  • How far in advanced will my cake be made?
  • Who will be the actual one baking my cake?
  • Do you have a cake-cutting fee?
  • How do you deliver the cake?

Wedding Cake Shapes

Round is Cheaper than all the other shapes

First, let's focus on the different shapes of most cakes. The shape of your cake is very important because it can affect the number of people that can be served and the price as well.

Round Wedding Cake

Round

Round is the traditional shape of most wedding cakes and is still widely used by most brides. Because the shape of the round cake is the most simplistic, it is usually the least expensive; plus it's usually easier to decorate.

square stacked wedding cake

Square

The square cake can be more expensive because it may require more labor.  Oftentimes, the baker has to cut the sides of the cake to make them look sharper and neater.

heart shaped wedding cake

Heart

pinterest.co.uk/pin/90846117463931578/

For those eternal romantics, this is the cake shape for you. Again it may be a bit more labor intensive depending on how it is to be frosted and decorated. It's also important to keep in mind that the amount served from this shape may differ from that of other shapes.

Mad Hatter Wedding Cake

Madhatter

This is for the couples that really want to have a more whimsical & fun feel to their wedding cakes. These cakes are usually uneven & slanted shaped. This is for the bold couples that are not afraid to be different. Instead of the traditional wedding décor, these cakes are usually decorated in bold colors and patterns.


Hexagon

pinterest.co.uk/4michaelangelos/

This is a cake with six sides. This is another shape that is growing in popularity because it is a deviation from the traditional round wedding cake. Again, the price of this cake is more expensive than that of a round cake because of the time it will take the baker to cut and frost these cakes, but the finished product can be absolutely breathtaking.

The right wedding cake should take your guests breath away and make them anxious to take a bite.

What Is Your Dream Cake?

A great way to figure out what you want in your cake is to think about your personality and what you like. Do you like for things to be grand and theatrical? If so, you may want a tall cake with lots of decoration. Are you planning a small wedding reception with a few friends and family and think that a huge cake for 200 is ridiculous?

What Is Your Wedding Theme?

Another good way to figure out what kind of cake you want is to think about the theme of your wedding. Think about whatever motifs you will sprinkle throughout the wedding, the cake should reflect this as well because it will be a focal point in the reception. If you are having an urban sophistication theme, should you really get the grand cake with the tons of flowers flowing from it? Maybe not, however, a cake of this magnitude may be great for a garden theme. So once you pick your wedding theme, your cake will take its shape (no pun intended).

How To Pick A Cake Maker

Shop around

I do think it is appropriate to visit with at least 3 bakers. You want to be able to shop around for the best deals that you can find. So, don't be so eager to book the first person that you talk to. Meet with them. Check out their websites. 


Research

Ask for references. I was planning on meeting and booking with one particular wedding baker because their prices were perfect. When conducting research for my clients I always check with the Better Business Bureau. And in this case I found out there were 2 negative complaints related to this vendor concerning their product and delivery. Research - Research - Research!


Tell the baker what your budget is upfront

That way you all know what you are working with. You can sit and taste all the cakes that you want only to find out that they are way above your price. Knowing what the budget is up front helps you and the baker to find something within your price range and it saves everybody time.

Agree It In Writing

When talking to the baker, make sure that everything is in the contract. If you want the delivery to be at a certain time and the baker agrees, make sure it is in the contract. 


This can also include who is actually baking and decorating your wedding cake. Make sure it includes all pricing and what should happen if you cancel. All details should be in the contract. 

how to save money on wedding cake

This way there will be no confusion about anything on your big day, which helps cut out unnecessary stress. It also helps to go over the contract a few days to a week before the wedding with the baker to make sure that everything you want will be handled. Happy Cake Hunting!

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Buttercream - budget friendly


Although there are a variety of recipes for making butter cream icing, it is usually made with butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla. It has a thick but creamy texture that is easy to cut through. For a bride on a budget, butter cream icing is a great way to go because it is usually cheaper than fondant. It can also be used as a filling for your cake as well. 


A downside to butter cream is that it can melt in hot settings, so if you are having an outdoor soiree, butter cream icing may not be your best option.

The icing on the cake!

Naked Cake

Naked cakes have a slither of Butter icing so that the base cake shows through, great budget option and is perfect for a rustic themed wedding.

Fondant - more expensive option




Fondant is made from sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin. It is very elastic in texture. With fondant, you can literally roll it out with a rolling pin. Because of its strength and elasticity, many bakers use it for unique architectural designs. It can be shaped and molded into many different designs. 


Fondant is usually more expensive because it is more labor intensive.

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How To Save Money on Wedding Vendors


Photography

Friend/Family - this is, of course, the cheapest solution to wedding photography and videography however be aware that this person is supposed to be a guest and they can't be a guest and a photographer. They will essentially be 'working' during your wedding.


If they agree to take photos, it is likely they still plan on enjoying the day and won't want to spend all their time taking photos and they may not take the photos you want them to take.  If you do rely on a friend or family member for wedding photography try to agree a plan of action with them beforehand re what group pics you want and where they need to be when at what time etc. In the same you would with a professional.


And don't forget them in your thank you speeches and re gifts!


Have a Facebook Page and a hashtag - Create a page for all your guests to upload the wedding photos they took of your day. You will definitely have some there that are wonderful, unexpected and worthy of a place in the wedding album. You can pick your favorites, save them and upload to a site like SnapFish for cheap printing.


  • Book a student photographer
  • qualified but new in business
  • out of season 

All the above will be able to offer cheaper photographer rates than for seasoned professionals already established in business and of course it will be cheaper off-peak and out of season.

Catering

  • Keep your guest list small
  • Have a Buffet rather than a pre-set meal
  • Do your own catering and ask friends and family with culinary skills to help out. 
  • You can still have a sit-down meal with a buffet menu. 
  • Be organized so people aren't getting hungry in long queues and ensure the food doesn't run out. 
  • Ensure you have enough seating and tables. 
  • Provide your own disposable tableware to save costs re the venue providing them.
  •  If you're having a bar, let the guests pay for their own drinks. I've done this at every wedding I've been to, it's fine and for me expected. Some guests may think it is rude, but if they understand you're a couple on a budget, they shouldn't expect you to fund everyone's descent into drunkeness.

Keep Your Guest List Small

  • Invite your closest friends and family who are local and let others know you wish they could be there but you're having a small intimate gathering. Don't publicize your wedding outside the group of attendees if it makes you uncomfortable saying 'no'.

  • Live stream it for those who can't be there.
  • Exclude +1's and children that aren't in the bridal party

Save money on music

  • Record your favorite wedding songs and dance music and play it via your venues music device.
  • Hire a local band who want the exposure and are happy to offer a reduced price.
  • Recruit talented friends and family to do a stint.
  • Have a karaoke!

How To Save Money On Wedding Cars

There is usually someone in the family with a nicer car than the rest. Ask if they'll decorate it with a ribbon and transport you on the day. Offer to pay for any costs for fuel, decoration and cleaning etc. Grab a taxi if it's not too far.