My big, fat, bargain wedding: Cakes and decor

My big, fat, bargain wedding: Finding a venue | Choosing a caterer | Combining finances | How much should you pay for a dress? | Entertainment | Other ways to save

This is the final part of a series on wedding planning on a budget. I hope you’ve enjoyed your time with me on this journey of orchestrating the ideal wedding — without overspending.

The problem with DIY weddings is that sometimes they can become overwhelming.

216524694554708937_Il5Gu44I_fLast year I was a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s weddings. When it came to putting together the centerpieces (complete with vases, flowers, water and floating candles), I was the only one dressed and available to assemble them. So for about an hour I walked back and forth between an outside water spigot and the vases, transporting the water by the only method available — a single plastic pitcher. I was happy to do so for my friend, but it was a grueling task, and I am suspiciously absent from any of the “getting ready” photos in her wedding album.

I’ve also heard horror stories from brides themselves who were in over their heads with craft projects (I blame Pinterest).

I tried to strike a balance between professional help and do-it-myself projects for my wedding. And because of my previously cited experience, I decided a professional florist was the way to go for decor.

But I found a florist who charges less than half the advertised rates I saw. This particular vendor runs a flower shop year-round, so weddings and events are not his only source of income. He also buys flowers wholesale from his wife (!), which cuts down on costs.

The wedding cakes

GateauBmodern.jpgThe cakes were a no-brainer for me. One of my bridesmaids is “America’s Next Top Baker” (I just made that up) and has been making wedding cakes for people for months now. She’s so good at it that she’s started to book clients solely by word of mouth.

And she’s baking (and by baking, I mean constructing and designing these cakes like she’s the next van Gogh) them for me for free. I just did a quick calculation based on a local bakery, where my bridal cake alone would cost $846.98.

Now that you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, let us know in the comments how you saved money on your cakes or decorations.

More: Wedding spreadsheet | Wes Moss: The cost of the royal wedding — and yours | Clark Howard: Don’t go into debt for your wedding | Say ‘less!’ to the dress

Pictures are from

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

7 comments Add your comment

Deliciously inexpensive

August 1st, 2012
5:23 pm

Get a Publix wedding cake! They’re gorgeous, much less expensive and taste delicious – unlike many expensive cakes that seem to be all about the look! I paid about $300 (this was seven years ago) for a cake for 175+ people. I even shared my own design idea and they made it happen! I could tell the bakers took great pride in their work, too.

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August 1st, 2012
5:31 pm

I totally agree with Deliciously Inexpensive! I got married “way back” in 1999 and also had a beautiful and delicious wedding cake made at Publix!

Going along with tradition, we even froze the top layer and thawed it out for our 1st anniversary. It actually froze well and still tasted yummy!

Publix is THE BEST, MOST ECONOMICAL place to get your wedding cake! Don’t waste your money anywhere else.

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Lauren Davidson

August 2nd, 2012
12:03 pm

@Deliciously inexpensive: The Publix cakes are certainly a trend right now. I’ve heard of more than a few brides ordering them.