Budget Wedding Week – Let Them Eat Cake
As I’ve shared the past two days, Nate and I did not have a specific budget for our wedding (the less we spent the better) so it was my goal to create the day of my dreams for as cheaply as I could. I researched, got help, took full advantage of sales and, at the end of the planning, realized the whole wedding had come to $3,500!
Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to share my budget wedding tips with friends and family to help them create amazing days for amazing prices! I figured it wouldn’t be right of my to leave you all hanging. I’m sure plenty of you would love knowing the tricks for weddings (or other events) of your own. That’s exactly what I’m going to do this week! A huge money guzzler in a wedding is the food! We had somewhere between 250-300 people at our wedding so feeding them was going to be expensive! We knew a meal was outside our budget so we opted to just have a dessert reception. We had our wedding at two so it would not be at a meal time – people would have already had lunch and would get dinner after the wedding. Here’s how we handled the food. Reception Food Cake: In my mind, a wedding is not complete without a cake (or some other sweet dessert). A year (to the day) before our wedding (when we had been dating about three weeks) I was at my best friend’s wedding rehearsal and Nate was at a different friend’s wedding. He texted me and told me that if we got married he wanted to have cheesecake at our wedding. I don’t like cake very much so I happily agreed. As we were planning our wedding, we knew we were going to have that cheesecake! We figured we would buy some cheesecakes from Costco for the guests and purchase a small decorated cake for us for pictures and to cut in order to keep costs down. (Wedding cakes are CRAZY expensive!) I didn’t adore the idea because I really wanted a pretty cake but I knew we just couldn’t afford the kind of cake I wanted. One night, two months before the wedding, I was talking with a woman at our church about wedding planning and told her how we were handling the cake situation. I knew she was a caterer but what I didn’t know was that she also made wedding cakes. She asked if it would be ok with me if, instead of buying us a wedding present, she made us a cake! I was shocked and blessed and so incredibly thankful! I gave her free reign to what she wanted to do with our cake (after telling her that we wanted cheesecake) and was shocked out of my mind when, on the day of the wedding, I saw this gorgeous, five-tiered, flower covered wedding present! Drinks: Nate and I didn’t even get a chance to consider whether or not we’d have alcohol at our wedding since the church in which we were married required that we didn’t. We were more than ok with that since we didn’t really want to fork over big bucks just so people could have a drink or two. Instead, we served punch, coffee, and tea and I think everyone was happy with the choices. If they weren’t, they sure didn’t tell me. 🙂 Other Food: On every table at the reception we had two bowls of little munchies. One of the bowls had adorable little mints molded like bells and flowers that my “baby” sister, Leah, and my mom made. The other had mini chocolate bars. While people were waiting for the festivities to begin, they got to get sugar highs! That might be what encouraged people to get out on the dance floor. I felt like our food selection was simple but REALLY good. If you’re going to do something like this, make sure your wedding and reception is not during a meal time – that way your guests aren’t coming hungry! We also included on our invitations that it would only be a dessert reception, just so there was no mistake that we wouldn’t have a whole lot of food! Check out one of my favorite bloggers:
July 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm
I've not been to a ton of weddings but one of my favorites was one with just a dessert reception. They had a few snack type things too, but it all just felt very fun and relaxed. Plus, I just really love cake 🙂
July 16, 2013 at 8:28 am
Wow! Very beautiful cakes.
July 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm
What a great gift!!!!!!!!! It has the traditional look, but it's cheesecake!?!?! AWESOME!
Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird
July 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm
Now I'm hungry and want cheesecake…
July 3, 2013 at 1:28 pm
We did the 2:00 wedding too for the exact same reason!
July 3, 2013 at 2:01 pm
It is so awesome that the woman gave you your wedding cake as a gift!
And wow, so many guests? I can't even imagine this! We had 4 guests. Haha.
July 3, 2013 at 2:31 pm
The reception was one area where Scott and I kind of splurged. Due to many circumstances, we ended up settling on a wedding day kind of "late" in terms of the wedding planning world. We took a place that we loved, but we were concerned that we wouldn't find another place,so we just sucked it up and paid for it. lol. BUT we were able to supply our guests with appetizers, a sit down dinner, and alcohol.
I love what you guys did, though. It was also very smart that you included the information in your invitation! 🙂
July 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm
We did our wedding for super cheap too, the less money we spent, the better. We really wanted a cake though, and you are right, super expensive! But we decided this would be a splurge for us and ordered a cake (one of the best tasting cakes I have had). It was so hard for me to pay all that money for a cake, but we thought it would be worth it since we weren't paying for a meal or anything. Turns out, the day of our wedding the cake man was late. Like five hours late. He was supposed to bring the cake to the church three hours before the wedding started, he didn't get there until an hour and a half into the reception! Bah! It was quite the ordeal. In the end his extreme tardiness got us our cake for free 🙂 Worth it.
July 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm
that's a lovely cake, and a perfect gift. so sweet and generous of her to do this for yall.
and i'm enjoying your practical mind, susannah. thanks for allowing us to read about all this.
July 3, 2013 at 5:27 pm
We did cheesecake at our wedding too! We had a cheesecake bar, and a regular cake that didn't get eaten much since there was so much cheesecake.
July 3, 2013 at 6:10 pm
I don't love cake but my mom insisted we have one because other people expected it… but she made it so it was extra special–and pretty delicious…and that's coming from a non-cake lover. 🙂 It also was very cheap that way too! I am more of an ice cream girl so my dad used his connections to borrow a little soft serve ice cream machine and we had a whole ice cream bar with lots of delicious toppings. As for food, we had a light dinner with picnic stuff, so like sandwiches and salads. We did all the food prep ourselves which was a lot of work, but saved a ton of money! As for drinks, we bought cheap box wine from rite-aid and kegs from a local brewery…that was pretty cheap too. It was all a lot of work to figure out and do…but sooo worth the money we saved.
Mrs. M ~ a.k.a. ~ April
July 3, 2013 at 7:07 pm
That cake looked AMAZING! What a blessing! Reminds me of the cupcakes/cake that my friend at church gifted us (she just finished taking a class on cake baking/decorating cakes).One night she was showing me pictures and I was like "WOW!" And she just straight up offered to make our cakes! She did an amazing job!
I'm sure whoever is reading your blog is getting some great tips! It's so true, you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy one of the most wonderful days of your life. My husband and I are a testament to that!
July 3, 2013 at 7:59 pm
I think this is such a wonderful idea! More people should do this.
July 3, 2013 at 8:17 pm
Yum! How fortunate to have a cake-making friend!
At one of my friends' weddings, they had a small luncheon after the ceremony. It was autumn, so they had homemade bread, clam chowder and pumpkin bisque and it was awesome! Also, very budget friendly.
Stephanie @ Life, Unexpectedly
July 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm
Love your cake! Our wedding cake was also a present of my aunt, who makes amazing cakes, and the one she made for us was way beyond what I'd ever expected! And my grandma and aunts made the other cakes, so we were set there 🙂
July 3, 2013 at 9:10 pm
Beautiful cake! Such a sweet story about how it came about 🙂
July 4, 2013 at 6:05 am
great story and blog! xo
the well-traveled wife
July 4, 2013 at 8:10 am
i love your cake story. cheesecake for wedding cake sounds amazing! and now im craving cheesecake, ugh!
July 4, 2013 at 1:43 pm
Seriously, ya'll's wedding is reminding me a lot of ours! We specifically chose 2 o'clock for the wedding so that it wouldn't be at a meal time. Neither Angel nor I like cake–not even a little bit, but we knew our guests would want to eat it, so we ordered cakes from Sam's Club. And my grandma, mother-in-law, and aunts got all the food ready, we had a nacho bar, chocolate fountain with stuff to dip in chocolate, and meat and cheese and crackers. Nothing "meal-like", but still plenty of food that people wouldn't leave hungry.
And our church wouldn't have allowed alcohol either. But besides that, I said from the beginning that you can't have alcohol at a wedding where the bride is 19. Plus, no one in my family drinks. Angel's family is a different matter, but only his parents came to our wedding. Angel said ours was the first wedding he'd ever been to with no alchohol, but hey, nothing wrong with that!
July 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm
I love the wedding cake story!! sooo much more special than just buying a cake.
Peace in Pieces
October 6, 2014 at 7:05 am
When I got engaged, we didn't shop around much. We have already heard a lot about this place. It was 100 degrees on our day but the air-conditioning was perfect.
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