Pass The Cake!

Custom-made cakes for weddings and all occasions

Create a wedding and reception for $1,500 or less

Got a tight wedding budget?

Need some creative ideas that will fit into your budget?

Here's a guide that might help you create a wedding and reception inexpensively for 150 guests. No need to take out a loan for your special day. You definitely don't want to start out your new life together in debt!

     This guide will not guarantee that you will not exceed $1,500 for everything... that's your choice! But it will save you a lot of money in the areas you do choose to use.

First of all, you'll need tons of patience. Stay organized. Take breaks so you don't get frustrated. Some days just put all wedding plans aside and focus on you! Your wedding is one of the best days you will experience besides the birth of children or buying your first home. If you'll follow some (or all) of these tips it will save you from financial stress after the wedding.

Plan out your budget for each area. If you are under your budget in one area, then use the extra in another area that you might be running short on funds.

LOCATION:      The first thing (even before setting the date) is to decide on on the location for your wedding and the reception. Have a 2nd and 3rd location in mind just in case you need a back up. Make calls to see which is feasible.


1) Your church may be free, and with church locations you may be able to use the reception hall for a nominal fee.

2) Local parks may have a unique angle for your wedding, and there again, you may be able to utilize a pavilion for a nominal fee as well.

3) Home weddings are free! You could rent tables and chairs from your local church, a lodge, or a fire hall usually for less than a rental company. Have the reception in the backyard. There are lots of ways you can improvise.

4) Live near the beach? Weddings by the sea can be combined with your honeymoon and/or vacation spot for family members after you've left on your honeymoon. Decorations would be a minimum. Lakeside weddings are lovely too!

5) Golf course & country club weddings might work for you. Some smaller golf courses only charge for use of the club house for the reception. If your wedding is in the late afternoon you could plan it an area that is not frequently used at that time of day or reserve a spot with the golf pro.

6) Unique local attrations such as a zoo, botanical gardens, museum, and historic sites may be affordable with just a donation.

INVITATIONS:       Decide how you will want your invitation to look and how many you will need. Handmade invitations will take you an evening with your future spouse or friends and family. You could create your wedding invitation on the computer with graphics. You, or a friend, could hand draw your invitation and color copy at your local stationery store. Make hand stamped invitations with a custom rubber stamp and you can detail as much or as little as you like.

MENU:       You have a huge decision on what to serve your guests. You must decide if this is horderves, light menu, finger foods, a dessert menu, or a full meal. Normally, late morning or an early afternoon wedding can get away with a light menu of finger foods and desserts. A wedding in mid-afternoon is usually expected to have a full meal for the guests. That's entirely up to you. Recipes can be found on the Internet, or your family and friends for some delicious tidbits. Who do you know in your circle of family/friends that likes to cook and is good at it? Many items can be prepared in advance and frozen to be heated the day of your event.

       Go directly to your local butcher for the best deal on meats. Your butcher will even slice your meats for free. A nice ham and roast beef sliced thinly and garnished will go far. Chicken made into sauces or filets will stretch well. Remember to serve your meat as a side dish and not the main dish. Have plenty of other items to choose from.

       Do you thik you will serve individual plates or have a buffet style? If you serve individual plates, you control what is on each plate. For buffet style, go with multiple salads and a pasta bar with choice of sauces such as a basic tomato sauce, meat sauce, Alfredo sauce, or pesto sauce. Chicken fettuccini Alfredo is filling and delicious, but choose pasta and sauces you like. Pasta and salads and breads can be made from discount store items and taste like a 5-Star meal!


WEDDING CAKE:       If you have a cake baker in your family... ask them to bake your cake! If your  local high school has a culinary class or advanced foods class, contact them. Schools usually make cakes for a fraction of the cost of a bakery. (I know, for a fact, that the Foods II-Advanced classes are taught cake decorating! I just retired from teaching Foods I & II)

       Make your own wedding cake topper to keep as your memento of your special day. You can use special keepsakes you already have collected to compile a unique piece. You could sculpt your own cake topper; you could use flowers for your topper... be creative!


FLOWERS:       You can use dried flowers, cut flowers, silk flowers or live flowers. Use your locally grown seasonal flowers. Collect and dry flowers and spray paint them to match your wedding flowers. Grow your own flowers to use. Put live plants on the tables that are cuttings from friends and families plants.


DECORATIONS:   Decorations can be easy and made from household items. Carnations can be made from fan folded tissue paper/Kleenex.  Decorative fans can be folded out of an old roll of wallpaper with your wedding colors in it.  Mirrors as a centerpiece with a throw of glitter and a candle will create a nice ambiance.  Baskets of seasonal fruit or flowers work fabulous as well. You can go to your local and request unused or unwanted decorations or anything else you need for free.  You never know what someone else has and does not need.

WISHING WELL:   Wishing well for cards from guests.  This can be as easy as a box covered in gift wrap to an actual mailbox with the newly wed's names on it on a post cemented/plastered in an old 5 gallon bucket with fabric wrapped around the base.  

WEDDING FAVORS:   Wedding favors can be as simple as candy in the traditional netting, or handmade candles made from cast off wax or sheets of new wax.  Candles can be decorated with anything you like such as shells, glitter, dried flowers embedded in the wax.
     Plants in pots with a tag that has "love grows and grows".  An elegant velvet bow with something in the center of the knot.   An ornament you make - a small ceramic token.  Candy you make.  You can imagine just about anything and have it for your guest’s memento.

APPAREL:   You could go crazy and spend the entire $1,500.00 plus just on the dress alone. If you are lucky enough to have a gown passed down by a grandmother or your mother than you just have to have it altered.  EBay has many inexpensive gowns on at any given moment.  Your local thrift stores, or even bridal stores, will sell you a floor sample at a discounted price.  At the bridal stores the floor samples will be in desperate need of cleaning.  Do not take the dress to a dry cleaners, a $4.00 bottle of Woolite in your bathtub with cold water will clean the dress as originally made.  You will need to iron and do some small touch ups but the savings is worth it.
     You can make a veil from wire, tulle netting, wire snips, masking tape and either silk floral vine or pearls by the yard.  Cut enough wire to wrap around for a tiara twice. Wrap wire form with masking tape for stability.  Wrap tiara form with either the silk ivy vine or the pearls by the yard. At the end of the wrapping material have filament/fishing line to tie it off.  Cut tulle to desired length and layers, sew to the back of the tiara from underneath so stitches do not show.
     You could just wear a jeweled tiara without the veil. You could make a wreath of fresh flowers or baby's breath.  A borrowed pearl necklace and some bobbypins would make a lovely hair accent.

           For the brides maids dresses you can choose a dress from a local outlet that can be altered to look more formal with the addition of a lace collar from your local fabric store.  Choosing something that can be altered from common to formal and then back to common so that your bridesmaids can use again.

     Most men have a dress white shirt and black pants. Black shoes are also usually in a man's wardrobe.  To create a uniform appearance with the groom's men.  Going to thrift stores and getting men's vests in cotton or wool to dye to the same color.  If the men go to a local warehouse outlet, most have tuxedo shirts and black bowties in sets for $15.00 for an off brand.
     The groom will have the choice of jackets or just vests.

PHOTOGRAPHY:   With all the digital cameras that guests will have, you will surely have photos that will encompass the entire wedding and reception.  You can contact a school in your area and ask for a student that is taking photography and employ his or her services for a fraction of a professional photographer.

MUSIC:   For your music you can pre record your favorite songs to CD and have your stereo system at the reception.  You could inquire at a local music school for musicians to play.  You could inquire to local DJ's and get prices that may fit your budget.

      Using your resources and creativity you can save money and have a wonderful wedding day!  Use your local discount stores,, EBay, friends, family, and sales in local stores.  Be creative and be organized.