Okay, let's face it, after DIY-ing the lighting, the linens, the bouquets, and the centerpieces, there is no way in hell we would even want to attempt to pull off the skyscraper of a cake presented in My Fair Wedding - Phantom of the Opera episode:
So what's a budget girl to do?!
There are workarounds.
Looking back at my DIY wedding cake post, I would go with the deconstructed tiered cake in this situation. Why? Because you do not have to mention that your cakes are for a wedding! And partially avoid the Wedding Industrial Complex (WIC).
Wait, what? No really you can! Bear with me.
You look around for some good, reputable, reasonably priced bakeries in your area, and ask for a quote for 4 or 5 round cakes in different sizes. Because it is not a tiered cake or even cupcakes, (which are trendy now so even those will be expensive,) they have no reason to think that it's for a wedding.
If you want to bring your finance with you, just look with him the first time, ask about your options, don't mention the wedding, then leave. Come back on your own a couple weeks later. Even if they remember you, I don't think it would be too problematic, they do want your business after all.
Say it's for a big 50th birthday party, a big fancy gala, a huge family reunion, whatever. If they greatly question your reasons, you probably shouldn't work with them anyways, because they're trying to suck every penny out of you. Look elsewhere.
If you want that true metallic gold look, you will have to pay extra for fondant, because this will be easier to cover with metallic luster. If you can handle having a gold colored cake only, buttercream will be a more budget-friendly option.
The cakes seem to have a lace-like design on the bottom as a border, and possibly minimal design on the sides, small S designs or something like that. This should not induce any extra charges, but check because you never know. The piping isn't that important, it just needs to give the cake some personality so it isn't as plain.
Since you are ordering multiple cakes with minimal decorations, the cost should be less than that of an average wedding cake.
You might be thinking, "But Sarah, that cake is covered with sugar flowers! Every bride knows those are expensive!" And yes, you are right. But the key is to not ask the bakery to do the sugar flowers.
No, I will not say to DIY them. I already gotten a sugar flower kit, and tried to make some myself. My roses aren't half bad, but other flowers? Sad little things. An orchid?! So pitiful. Maybe I can improve my skills later, but without formal training, don't even think about it! XP
You can however, buy them yourself, then just insert them in the cakes the morning of the wedding. A little bit of DIY, but that's the easiest way I can think of, given all the other wedding aspects!
The only place in my opinion to buy your sugar flowers was mentioned in my previous cake decoration post, DiscountSugarFlowers.com!
Here is where you can buy all the pretty and lovely red flowers you would ever need!
I gave you a variety of red flowers just because they don't have the exact kind of look as the flowers given on the Phantom cake, (and that luster dust can only go so far color-wise,) so I tried to give the flowers a varied texture.
How many do you need? Well, this is now a bit debatable. Because the Phantom cake is so lush, the number of flowers you need will add up quickly since you want to completely cover the tops of each cake.
The way I estimated the number of flowers you may need is I first calculated the approximate area covered by each flower, then calculated the price per square inch. (Excel helps out a lot with quick calculations.) Then I calculated the area of each tier. Then I divided the area into slices for each flower, cheaper flowers per square inch got a larger slice than more expensive flowers per square inch. In this way I got the cheapest combinations for the cakes, while still having a variety of flowers. Note that I used only half the surface area of the 6" inch cake, leaving room for a cake topper.
Let's say you have a 6", 8", 10", and 12" cakes.
I'll spare you the details, (email me if you do want the spreadsheet!) but you need 24 Gladiola flowers, 31 Hibiscus flowers, 48 roses, 27 tulips and 18 lilies. However, you can only buy them in specified amounts, so you end up buying 27 Gladiolas, 50 Hibiscus, 54 roses, 36 tulips and 18 lilies, costing you a total of $152.88.
Since sugar flowers can last up to a year in a sealed tupperware container, you can buy all your sugar flowers a month or so in advance to take care of breakage issues or color issues before the big day. As long as you can transport them carefully things should work out fine, you probably will have extras anyways. Place the larger flowers on the cake first, then work the smaller flowers around them.
Yes, even buying them yourself is still very expensive, but the labor involved with asking your bakery to make a couple hundred sugar flowers...I'm sure this is the cheaper option, lol.
So what if you don't have $150 lying around for sugar flowers? Reduce their number. It won't look as lush as the Phantom cake, but you will still get the feel. Buy one less box of flowers for each kind of flower, and now the cost is down to $87.93. Buy one box each of flowers, and the cost goes down to $64.95. It's all up to how much you love the original design and how much you are willing to pay to get it.
In order to figure out pricing, I searched online to look for pricing in the Buffalo area. I found two places that posted their prices, Delish! and Dolci Dessert Bakery.
Dolci has a nicer menu since it gives the option of a mini cake that's even smaller, (and cheaper,) than the 6"!
-Mini cake = $11.50
-6" cake = $20.50
-8" cake = $31.50
-10" cake = $47.00
Since we're using smaller cakes, I'm deducting one box from each sugar flower, making the cost of the sugar flowers $87.93.
Total cost for cakes from Dolci Dessert Bakery = $198.43, plus any extra charges for fondant, metallic coating, etc.
From Delish! we can order:
-6" cake = $26
-8" cake = $48
-10" cake = $65
-12" cake = $85
Total cost for cakes from Delish! = $376.88, plus any extra charges for fondant, metallic coating, etc.
Not bad... *sighs* One can only DIY so much, lol.
On to Step 7: Bridesmaid Dresses!