One part of wedding planning that is always shockingly exxy (as in, it’s a shock when you see the price lists) is choosing your wedding cake.
While wedding cakes are really fun and delicious, it’s not always as simple as popping down to Woolies for a mudcake.
Because everything that has ‘wedding’ in front of it is instantly more expensive – wedding venue, wedding cars, wedding flowers, wedding dress – wedding cakes are an investment item.
However, with some wedding venues, the cake itself isn’t where the wedding cake costs end.
In the latest episode of Mamamia’s wedding podcast Hitched, Bridechilla founder and wedding expert Aleisha McCormack explained why you need to ask your venue about this hidden fee before you choose your wedding cake or dessert.
“Ask your venue or caterer about cakeage, a sh*tty little annoying fee that some venues, not all, charge for bringing in your own cake and plating that cake,” she said.
“As always, be aware of these extra charges and make sure you’re not going to end up spending $200 on a cake, to then be charged $8 a plate cakeage, completely blowing your cake budget.”
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The cost of cakeage will vary depending on your venue, but if you’ve 100 guests at roughly $8 per head, that’s an extra $800 you didn’t budget for. Even worse is sometimes not every one of those 100 ‘heads’ will eat their slice of cake anyway.
The best way to get around a cakeage fee is to either: have guests serve their own cake, or don’t have a cake at all.
“One way to get around it is to bring cupcakes or other desserts, have them on a table and have people go and physically serve themselves, then the venue can’t charge you cakeage,” Aleisha said.
If cake is your thing and there’s no getting around cakeage, Aleisha recommended not including a dessert course in your catered menu.
“If your venue is providing your catering, advise them you don’t want to pay for and have their dessert, as you’ll have your cake/desserts instead. That way at least your cakeage money will be well spent.”
On the other hand, Aleisha said brides shouldn’t feel obliged to go for a cake if they want to go a bit rouge and ditch the tradition.
Other great wedding great alternatives include:
- A sheet cake – “A simple sponge cake that you can ice and put some lovely fresh flowers on. Work with your florist on this and purchase flowers that aren’t going to make your guests sick.”
- A naked cake: “They don’t need icing, can be staked easily and be decorated for little money.”
- A dessert table where guests can pick and choose their own
- A lollies or chocolate table
- Cupcake or doughnuts cakes – “As guests will serve themselves, no cakeage!”
- A ‘cheese cake’ or platter if you’re not into sweets
Another great suggestion Aleisha mentioned came from a bride she worked with.
"If you have talented family and friends who like to bake, ask them to make a cake for you. One bride [I know] asked her family members and close friends who love to bake to each bake a dessert/cake that was special and meaningful to them," she said.
"They ended up having six or seven cakes on a big table on old vintage cake holders, they looked pretty, there was variety, didn't cost her anything, and the people felt happy to have been a part of her day."
Have you been caught out with a cakeage charge? How much was your wedding cake?
Side note - speaking of wedding costs, how much do you think is appropriate to spend on a wedding dress? Post continues after video.