North Carolina

How much do people really notice the cake?

Here's the deal.  I've gone slightly over budget on a few things lately, partly because of unrealistic original expectations on cost, partly because of not liking what I could get at the amount I'd allocated (and deciding that it was important to spend the money), and sometimes just because we're having a shorter engagement and I didn't have the time to DIY and save.  We're not talking about a big amount, but I'm scared that as we go along those hundred dollars here, three hundred dollars there, will really add up.  That said, I'm willing to spend money where it matters.  As I look at what I have left to do, the one thing I haven't booked that I'm thinking I COULD save a hundred dollars or two on is my cake.  I'm not inclined to try to make up money on flowers or decor.  We're getting married in eastern NC, and there are several cake designers there that are much less expensive, though, honestly, some of them make cake that's slightly artificial/cake mix tasting or at least not so "gourmet" tasting as some of the cakes at weddings in larger areas.  We don't want a fancy looking cake, and we want buttercream instead of fondant anyway.  I guess I'm just wondering what y'all's thoughts are on whether it's worth it to buy a cake that will look the same but just not be as yummy.  Do people notice cake?  I personally only remember one cake besides the ones at weddings I've been to very recently, and that was because it was so good.    

Re: How much do people really notice the cake?

  • edited December 2011
    i would go on and try to find a baker on there. A lot of ppl make them at home and have their own lil FROM HOME buisness. A friend of mine who got married last sept found her baker on there and she made her a DELICIOUS butter cream cake, 4 tiers, for 250.00 !!! There is no way you could tell she made it at home, my friend brought in her own design too. It was one of the best wedding cakes ive had. You dont always have to go to a bakery.. hope it helps :0)
  • edited December 2011
    I would say that it is noticed, because EVERY one of the guests we ran into after the wedding immediately raved about the cake, it was generally the first thing they mentioned (i didn't think anyone would pay attention either, but I'm glad they did given the money we spent on it). There are a lot of talented people out there on craigslist like PP mentioned. There are also some local bakeries in our area (I would image that more east it's the same) that don't specialize particularly in weddings, but make delicious cakes that are cheaper (sold by layer than than by serving) than the typical wedding cake and as long as you don't want a complicated fondant design will look lovely. I would go to craiglist, hunt around, and ask for references for anyone you seriously consider (because after all, it is craigslist).

    And yeah, at the end of the day, it's not the end of the world. If you get  a blah cake, will you friends think it's blah? probably. Are they going to hate you and curse your marriage over it? Unlikely.
  • NcsuPsychNcsuPsych member
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I mean, people do notice it. It's the WEDDING cake. LOL.
    However I dont feel you need to spend an arm and a leg to get what you want either, especially since you're not all for the fancy cake. The little details are what add up on cake decorating because they have to (mostly) do that by hand.

    I definitely wouldn't skimp on the cake, however I'd go with awesome flavor over looks.  A plain white buttercreme cake with just the smallest amount of piping can look absolutely stunning. There's absolutely nothing wrong with simple.

    Couple of options. .  as mentioned. .craigslist. Be careful here though and make sure they're legit, even if they are baking out of their home. Make sure you go to their home and see the place they're cooking in. See where they store things and how clean it is.

    Theres also places like BJ's, Sam's, Kroger, Harris Teeter and Walmart. They all do cakes and can do them for a decent price. Out of those, I'd go with BJ's , Sam's or Krogers over the other two. I just feel theirs taste better than Harris teeter or walmart.

    You could also check around for local bakers. See what kind of budget they could work with. Many times, and what we did. . we got a smaller two tier cake for the 'look' and then bought a kitchen cake. It's the same flavor, just not decorated. Usually costing 1/2 to 1/4 the cost of a wedding cake that's tiered.

    You've got lots of options :) Good luck!
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  • Beth0882Beth0882 member
    edited December 2011
    My thought is, if its not important to you and your husband, it doesn't matter that much. 
  • NcsuPsychNcsuPsych member
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="">Re: How much do people really notice the cake?</a>:
    [QUOTE]My thought is, if its not important to you and your husband, it doesn't matter that much. 
    Posted by Beth0882[/QUOTE]

    Yup, I also agree with this too. If there is some other desert that you like more or something, just serve that :) (assuming you want a desert)
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  • edited December 2011
    A friend of mine HATES cake so she served sorbet at her wedding.  People loved it!  Another friend of mine loves pie so she had mini pies for everyone that people raved about.  Both options were MUCH cheaper than what a wedding cake goes for and people really enjoyed them.  If a cake isn't that important to you, maybe think outside the box (cookie buffet! Locopops! Popcorn!)
  • edited December 2011
    Ok so I do have to pre-empt this by saying that I am a baker and cake artist, with a licensed home based cake studio, so my opinion that the cake is important may be slightly biased. 

    Wedding cake is frequestly the centerpiece of wedding photographs as well as a visual attraction at the reception.  Do you ever see a photograph of the bride & groom posed with a centerpiece?  No, but the cake cutting is typically a ceremonious part of the reception.  Since wedding cake is frequently one of the last major purchases when booking a wedding, brides usually find themselves in budget shock at this point and start cutting corners. Well, cutting conrners on a cake is not always a good thing (one look at the "cakewrecks" website and you will see what I mean). Now this doesn't mean there are not ways to cut costs on the wedding cake, you just need to be smart on where to really save.  Bakers with less experience typically charge less, but be sure to check thier portfolio of work (and make sure its thier OWN work) before going with them  Cake is one of those things that skimping can really show if you skimp the wrong way or hire an unskilled decorator.

    Being in NC you have the great advantage that our state will inspect and license home cake businesses.  Many home based businesses offer lower prices because they have less overhead, just be sure to ask the baker if the are inspected by the department of agriculture (you can also ask to see a copy of thier inspection report).  This will help to ensure that they are knowledgeable about food safety and have a clean baking environment.
    Personally I would avoid Craigslist because that website is overwrought with scammers, but there are some great online wedding vendor sources that home bakers list thier businesses on (Onewed, wedplan, and many more)
    Aside from hiring a home based baker with a great track record there are some other ways to save on your cake as well.  1. Rather that paying for time consuming and costly designs, you can order a simply iced tier cake and decorate it with fresh or silk flowers.  This will save quite a bit, as more coomplex designs and gumpaste flowers can make your costs skyrocket. 2. Go buttercream, it is always cheaper than fondant.  3. Know the costs upfront, be sure to ask if your price qote includes set up and delivery charges- theese can really add up if your not careful.  4. Ask if they offer any promotions such as free or discounted stand rentals, referal discounts etc.  5.  Don't let someone talk you into more cake than you need, If they are telling you that you need kitchen cakes in addition to your cake, ask why?

    As far as the taste of cakes, some bakers (both home and larger) use mixes and others bake from scratch.  The same with icings.  Be sure to do a tasting with at least 3 bakers before deciding.  and don't be afraid to ask outright if they are mix or scratch bakers and if thier buttercream is homemade and contains actual butter.

    Bottom line, stay on budget but get the best you can within that budget, it might take some legwork but it will pay off in the end- good luck with the rest of your planing. 
  • pirategal03pirategal03 member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I wish we'd have served sorbet. 
  • edited December 2011
    The sorbet was a really cute idea.  It was served in martini glasses with mini madelines.  Unfortunately whatever sorbet her caterer used though was SUPER sweet.  It almost tasted like eating a bag of powdered sugar lol.  I would have gone for something like blood orange sorbet, something with some tang :)
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