Splurge vs. Save: Wedding Cake Cost-Cutting Tips From Top Bakers

Splurge Save Geometric Wedding Cakes

Photo: Dyad Photography

Sah-weet! Top bakers in the U.S. reveal their wedding cake cost-cutting tips so you can get the best price on the latest gorgeous wedding cakes.

Sleek Geometry

"A large part of a cake's cost depends on how much time it takes to decorate it. The hand-cut chevrons I created for the 'splurge' cake took ages to apply, while the embossed details I used on the 'save' version were comparatively simple. If you're having 100 guests, that tradeoff equals $400 in the bank!"
—Erica Obrien, Erica Obrien Cake Design

Splurge: Fondant with chevron appliqu—s and sugar flowers, $1,200 (pictured above).
Save: Fondant with embossed chevrons and sugar flowers, $800 (pictured above).

Girly Flowers

Splurge Save Flowery Wedding Cakes

Photo: Dyad Photography

"To achieve the delicate 3-D sugar anemones on the pricier cake, I had to cut, mold, and carefully attach each petal, a process that can be painstaking! Less-labor-intensive 2-D flowers give a romantic cake a modern vibe—and save a ton of money." —Anne Heap, Pink Cake Box

Splurge: Fondant with ruffles, hand-cut and hand-painted details, and sugar flowers, $1,800.
Save: Fondant with ruffles, hand-cut and hand-painted details, and sugar flowers, $1,000.

Seaside Neutrals

Splurge Save Nautical Wedding Cakes

Photo: Dyad Photography

"A nautical motif doesn't have to be incredibly expensive and over-the-top. Just make a single maritime detail your focal point. Here I used rope, but shells or anchors are cute too. Braiding fondant takes time, so for the 'save' cake, I minimized that and balanced it with clean, preppy stripes and a single sugar peony."
—Erin Gardner, Wild Orchid Baking Company

Splurge: Fondant rope with sugar flowers, $1,500.
Save: Fondant with fondant-rope detail and a sugar flower, $900.

Bursting Bloom

Splurge Save Bloom Wedding Cakes

Photo: Dyad Photography

"For the less pricey cake, I used buttercream to create the graphic flower (instead of costlier gum paste). I also frosted the rest of the cake with buttercream. Fondant is a bit more 'perfect,' but it's also higher end and more time-consuming to dye. Plus, most foodies prefer the taste of buttercream."
—Heather Barranco, Heather Barranco Dreamcakes

Splurge: Fondant with a sugar rose, $1,400.
Save: Buttercream frosting, piping, and rose, $1,100.

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