Creative Ideas from Budget Brides – Part 16

Birthday Cake Used as a Wedding Cake


  • My fiance and I are on a super-tight budget. We decided to get our cake from our local grocery store to save money. When we arrived, they just happened to have a very elegant birthday cake (with white icing!) on display. We ended up ordering three of them and decided to make our own display of the cakes on the cake table. It was actually very elegant. Birthday cakes from the bakery department at the grocery store (or any other bakery, but grocery store bakeries often have more competitive prices) are often decorated beautifully, but they are way cheaper then wedding cakes! If the cake you get is plain, add flowers around the bottom of the cake. Or right on the cake. Or add pretty fruit like in the photo shown above. Since it’s not REALLY a wedding cake, they only charged us $25! No one ever knew the difference! ~ Sarah J., Akron, OH


  • If you require a tent for an outdoor wedding, ask a local car dealership to rent one of their tents, instead of a place that specializes in tent rental. We found one willing to donate it for the day if we agreed to mention the dealership in our wedding programs. The cheapest rental stores were renting them for (in the twin City area) was between $750 and $975, plus delivery, for the size we needed. We got a bigger one for free!!  Just be clever and creative in your thinking and you’ll be amazed at how far you can make your budget go! ~ Kellie, Minnesota
  • If you can, buy a dress “off the rack,” especially if your wedding is nine months away or less. A friend of mine was called by the bridal shop three weeks before her wedding and was told that the manufacturer of the dress she had ordered from at the beginning of May had decided to quit making that dress! Luckily, she found a dress (at another shop!) that she liked and bought it. Unfortunately, it was nearly twice the amount of the original dress, and right before the wedding – that was tough. I’m getting married next month, and I found my dress at a nice boutique that sold dresses both via special order and off the rack. I love my dress! Even better, I know it is ready! ~ Ginny


  • Skip the formal receiving line and plan to visit as many tables and talk to as many people as possible before the dinner and formalities such as toasts, cake cutting, first dance, etc. That way, you will have done your duty to your guests and still have plenty of time to enjoy yourself at the reception. Also, schedule your formal pictures as soon as you arrive, then you can insist on informal, fun pictures of you and your guests enjoying the party. ~ Nancy


  • First of all, never accept the first bid from any of the hired help. I was able to get my caterer to go almost 1/2 price on the bar (when I pointed out that 1/3 would not be drinking alcohol) and a pasta station wasn’t important. They will negotiate with you if you ask so don’t be afraid to do so.  Also, make sure it’s fun for everyone. Since my fiance and I were previously married, had a mortgage, 3 children, and 2 car payments we were trying to save money on the wedding – we decided against the big rehearsal dinner and had it at an indoor go-kart racing track that had a “happy days” type of restaurant instead – burgers, fries, and a whole lot of laughs and fun. My nephews commented that they had the “kewl-ist aunt”. It was a rehearsal dinner that they will talk about forever.We also decided that we didn’t need to do the “hokie-pokie” or any of the other have-to-do’s at the wedding since we were paying for it – but wanted something that said more about us (being Jimmy Buffett fans known as Parrott heads) half way through the reception I handed everyone a cheap plastic Lei and had a Limbo contest. Again, just like the rehearsal dinner – it was a wedding that everyone will remember for a lifetime. ~ Tina & Tom


  • Don’t think you have to spend a bundle to have a nice wedding. I have a friend who spent something like $12,000 on her wedding and of the people who attended both, I was told that mine was much nicer and more intimate. What did we spend on our wedding? $2,000. That was for everything except the rings! How did we get by on so little money? Here are some tips:1. Search high and low for reception halls. I got very lucky and found a hall for only $50. It wasn’t a fancy place, but it was the perfect size and had a huge deck out front.2. Have your rehearsal dinner in the church basement. My Mom and I prepared the food ahead of time and while we were rehearsing my sister was in the basement warming it up. It did cost $30 to rent the basement, but all together (food included), we only spent $60. Compare that to a restaurant dinner!

    3. Cut down your invitation list. You don’t have to invite your whole extended family. This cuts down on invitations and food costs. We only invited close family and friends.

    4. Don’t hire a caterer. We bought luncheon trays from a local grocery store and only spent about $150. A family friend made the side dishes – potato salad, coleslaw slaw, spaghetti salad.

    5. Check with the people who will be attending the wedding and see if any of them are into photography. My cousin took the pictures and they all turned out really nice. And the best shot actually came from my husband’s niece! I know two people who spent a small fortune on photographers and were very disappointed.

    6. Don’t buy a huge wedding cake. This was one mistake I made. I bought a great big cake and no one wanted any of it! We had over two-thirds of cake left. We cut the cake right after everyone had eaten so I think that’s why no one wanted a piece.

    7. You don’t have to have 10 bridesmaids. I only had the maid of honor and two bridesmaids. I had their dresses made and, because I’d picked out a simple pattern, each dress cost about $30. I also had my wedding dress made.

    Well, I hope these tips help someone. Remember, your wedding is about committing yourself to a person for life. And you don’t really have to spend anything to do that! ~ Kimberly Hess, Dillsboro, Indiana

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