Think you have to spend a fortune on that all-important wedding cake and flowers? Not when you have these cost-saving tips

When it comes to choosing your wedding cake and bridal flowers, it can seem that there is no way of cutting costs without cutting corners. And, with both playing such a visible part on your big day, the last thing you want to do is compromise and settle for something you won’t be happy with.

But don’t worry, there are ways to cheat without your guests guessing a thing. We’ve enlisted the experts from luxury wedding planners Snapdragon to help you balance your wedding budget. Over to Managing Director Julia Dowling and Creative Director Rebecca Menzies with their budget-saving big day tips…

1. Shhh..get a supermarket wedding cake!

‘If a wedding cake is not top of your budget priorities, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose are both great budget options. As well as Waitrose’s stunning decorative wedding cakes, they also provide plain tiers that you can buy cheaply and then ask your florist to decorate with real flowers.

‘Not only do real flowers work out far cheaper than sugar ones, you can also incorporate your floral scheme meaning every element of your wedding will match. If you want something a little more intricate, the high street can do that too.

‘We love the M&S vintage style four-tier Birdcage Wedding Cake, priced at £349, which has a different filling for each layer – sponge, fruit, chocolate and lemon cake – meaning of the 150 portions it provides, there’s something to keep all of your guests happy.’

2. Fake a cake!  

‘With real cakes costing hundreds of pounds, there are companies out there like Love Sweet Things that now provide artificial ones you can rent. So how does it work? You are given a real layer for the cake-cutting photo opportunity and the rest remains untouched. Again, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer both provide ‘cutting cake’ in trays that can be cut up in the kitchen and served to guests without anyone guessing!’

3. Don’t over order!

‘Don’t know how much cake you will need? Three tiers will usually serve 50 to 100 guests, four tiers will serve 150 and five will be needed for 200 or more. If the reception is being held in a room with a high ceiling, think about increasing the height with separators.’

4. Think cupcakes or mini cakes for a cheaper wow factor

‘Cupcakes are an eye-catching, cute and cost effective alternative to a traditional wedding cake. But although the idea of a cupcake wedding cake has only been around relatively recently, cake designers are already creating beautiful twists. May Clee-Cadman, the artistic force behind award-winning cake makers Maisie Fantaisie specialises in beautiful mini-cake wedding cakes.

‘Her Lilac Butterfly & Rose Mini Cake Wedding Cake is a work of art, combining chocolate fudge cake and Amedei Toscano chocolate buttercream. Each mini cake serves 1-2 people and cost from £6 per cake. Maisie’s cupcakes start at £3 per person.’

5. Go alternative!

‘Don’t worry if you haven’t a sweet tooth, or want to try something a little different for your wedding – there are lots of very cool alternatives. Italian ice-cream cakes are becoming very popular (though do think about the weather especially if it’s predicted to be a hot day). One trend which is taking off this year, is a real alternative to the traditional cake, the pork pie cake – Marks & Spencer offers a brilliant Pork Pie cake, priced at £99 for 50 portions.’

6. Pick seasonal flowers to cut costs

‘Seasonal flowers are always cheaper than those bought out of season; sure, you can always get the flowers you want, but you will have to pay your florist a premium to ship them in. Instead, visit your local garden centre to see what varieties will be in bloom around your wedding.

‘Don’t worry, this option definitely does not mean forsaking the wow factor – just one look at the work of award-winning florist Jay Archer is all the proof you need that wild can be wonderful and seasonal blooms, truly superb. Her bouquets have been described as the ultimate in ‘English Romantic floral design’ and are perfect if you are dreaming of an enchanted and magical look for your wedding.’

7. Pick lookalike flowers

‘To stay within budget, ask your florist for cheaper lookalike alternatives to more expensive stems. They are the experts and will know flowers you have never even heard of, that will look just as good as the more traditional types you originally had in mind.’

8. Opt for single blooms or potted plants for table decorations

‘Cut costs on table flowers by foregoing elaborate and expensive centerpieces. Potted plants can turn into long-lasting gifts for guests who can take them home and plant them in their garden, serving as a constant reminder of your special day. These can be grown by family members or friends or alternatively just bought and then planted afterwards. There is nothing nicer than being able to wake up a couple of days later and being able to see your garden full of the flowers that were there when you got married.’

9. Fake your florals

‘Instead of using fresh flowers, consider using fake ones. They won’t wilt on a hot summer’s day and are a fraction of the cost of real ones. We recommend new company Friend of Faux whose fake flowers look as good as the real thing. They provide beautiful garlands which are perfect for dressing marquee poles, bars, stage back drops and church arches. Friend of Faux will even work alongside the florist providing your bouquets, and incorporate the colour scheme of your real blooms with her fake ones.’

Visit Snapdragon’s luxury weddings website for more information on their premier planning service.

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