An easy fix is to serve half-servings, meaning smaller cake slices. For example, if you are trying to serve 200 guests, you only need a cake that serves 100 people. The reality is that most people only eat a bite or two if that!
This is an entirely fake cake used for photos and “cutting” and then a separate sheet cake will be served to your guests (For comparison, sheet cake slices from The Solvang Bakery, for example, are around $2.75 per person.)
On the frosting front, opt for something that’s more affordable like buttercream instead of fondant, which is a more expensive frosting option. It could save you multiple dollars per slice.
Instead of that multi-tier, sculptural cake with gold foil all over it that you had in mind, go for one or two tiers, and more basic flavors like chocolate or vanilla instead of the earl grey with orange cream cheese.
If your venue/caterer allows it, bake it yourself! Either actually bake the cake on your own, if you feel up to the challenge, or have a friend who is a talented baker create it for you.
You could also consider ordering a basic cake from your favorite bakery and topping it with some fresh flowers.
Keep in mind that DIY-ing your own wedding cake could add a level of stress you might not need on your big day and it might not be worth the dollars saved.
Most importantly, know that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a delicious, gorgeous wedding cake. You can have your beautiful wedding cake and eat it too.