The wedding cake is a big part of the big day. Couples can spend literally thousands of dollars on their wedding cake. It's traditional to have a wedding and a grooms cake. Bakers can charge anywhere from $2-$6 per guest for an average cake. It begins to add up when your guests start hitting 150 and up. I can tell you from experience that there are many factors as to why wedding cakes are expensive. There are a lot of factors like equipment; ingredients such as cake flour, chocolate, real vanilla, butter and other ingredients. I don't use a mix so my ingredients are higher. Then there is time. Wedding cakes are time consuming. From planning to baking, decorating to delivery and sometimes setting up and cutting the cake. To save on your wedding cake try to keep the decorations down. Try to limit your cake flavors to 1 or 2. And remember, the more detailed it is, the more the cost goes up. If you stick to traditional, the cost stays down. A lot of bakers, myself included can do simple beautiful wedding cakes. Also tiered cakes require careful stacking and engineering. Try sticking to 2 but no more than 3 layers. My bakery also provides the top cake free. Your bakery may do the same. One of the ideas I give to couples is to use a 2 tier cake and serve sheet cakes which have no decoration on them. I set up the wedding cake and the sheet cakes come out after the couple have cut a slice on their wedding cake. Some couples don't mind the cakes to be on the table. Serving your guests from sheet cakes helps keep the cost down. Plus its faster and more simple to cut.
There are other alternatives to wedding cakes. Some couples are opting for pies and cupcakes. Talk to your baker and ask for her suggestions especially if you are trying to keep the cost down.