Have a Luxe Wedding for Less

Continued (page 4 of 4)

Dream up a unique decoration. Handcrafted sugarpaste flowers and iced accents give a cake its resplendent appearance, but they also drive up the price because they're labor intensive. To get an equally eye-catching version that's not price prohibitive, we had a three-tiered cake (above) iced with fondant and decorated with fresh flowers, silk ribbon and faux pearls, serves 50, $250, from Cakes by Katy, NYC, 603-557-1159.

Be sly when serving. The best way to cut cake costs is to order a "fake" one made of iced cardboard tiers except for the one tier you'll slice during your cake-cutting ceremony. The slices served to guests can come from an inexpensive sheet cake surreptitiously cut in the kitchen. Another option: Choose chocolate. Rich flavors are more filling, so you can get away with ordering less cake and serving thinner slices.

Think outside the (cake) box. A gorgeous stand gives a cake a big presence. Unconventional displays are a nice way to upgrade your confection, too: A bed of refined sugar (resembling beach sand) or even a vintage hatbox borrowed from your grandmother can perfectly play up your theme without costing much extra, if at all.

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