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How to spend way, way less on that beautiful wedding cake

Brianna Cox is a millennial living in the Metro Atlanta Area. She has a tiny dog named Baxter, a loving husband, two supportive parents and a heap of student loan debt. She studied English at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA, and obtain...

Clever hacks for avoiding the dreaded 'wedding tax' for your cake

As many people know (or will soon find out), anything marked “wedding” is immediately and reprehensibly marked up. When I got married back in 2014, this was something I encountered at every step in the planning process. And because I could not find any reason to spend the ridiculous amount of money on simple items just because they’re wedding-related, I looked for shortcuts. On my quest to get wedding things without wedding labels, I realized I could solve the cake issue easily, and here is how I did it, along with alternate tips.

More: 20 wedding cake alternatives that beat white frosting any day

Tip #1: Go to your favorite local bakery

  • For me, that was Piece of Cake, a bakery with several locations in the Atlanta area, where we live and wed. We ordered four cakes for our 40 guests (and had one whole cake left over – hello, wedding night and honeymoon feast!).
  • Our wedding colors were actually a wedding palette with varying shades of black, gray and white. So because our wedding cake was not going to be a custom-designed affair, we got the cookies-and-cream cake to somewhat match our colors.

Important tip: Call or go to the bakery that you choose to see how far in advance you need to place your order. For us, it was 24 to 48 hours prior to our wedding day.

More: 20 over-the-top wedding cakes that are a feast for the eyes

Tip #2: Make, borrow or thrift cake stands

  • Don’t forget something to display your cakes! We borrowed three matching clear yet ornate cake stands from our close family friend, who also did most of our wedding alterations, but also ask your parents, grandparents or any other family and friends if they’d be willing to let you borrow a cake stand (or two or three).
  • You can also hit your local thrift store to see if they have any cake stands that tickle your fancy and match your wedding decor. Since we got four cakes but borrowed three identical stands from a friend, we got one white cake stand from T. J. Maxx, which we used for our main cake, the one my husband and I cut into.
  • If you’d prefer more creative control, here are some great DIYs for cake stands.

Tip #3: Find or make some cute cake toppers

  • We got ours (on sale!) from Anthropologie’s wedding component, BHLDN. Though ours are certainly no longer available, they still have cake toppers on their website. If you see some that you like, keep an eye out to see if/when they go on sale.
  • My wedding involved some DIY, but not in regard to the cakes. But if you’d prefer to flex your creative muscles on your wedding cake decor, here are some quick and easy cake topper DIYs.

All in all, our four cakes ($30 each, $120 total), the cake toppers (varying prices, $50 total) and the one cake stand we purchased ($12) totaled $182, a far cry from the custom wedding cake we originally planned on, which started at $600. And the best part? Everyone got a big, full piece!

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