I think for your tree you could create the tiers with thick foamcore and your 'trunk' by using PVC pipe painting it all in the colors of your wedding, and then lining the tiers with something that is approved for food use. Around the edge of the foam core sections you could use a nice trim and hotglue them around it (I wouldn't use the foamore you find most places but look for the foamcore that is 3/8 to 1/2 inch in thickness on ebay (many sellers sell it by the case vs by the sheet).
I think you could come up with a very similar look at a fairly decent budget. Hope this helps anyway
ok, you're pretty much a genius, I'm definitely going to try that. For some reason I couldn't think beyond wood, and got stuck:)
One thing I'm a little bit worried about- is it going to topple over during the reception? Not just from the foam core, but anything I make it out of. That scares me a bit, but I'm sure there's a good answer to prevent it
i was going to suggest an idea almost exactly like what cothchics said...but as far as the toppling over...you could make the actual base more substantial...like wood or something? and then pain it. or just put some kind of weight inside.
also...congrats on the texas wedding! i'm from dallas (and currently live in austin, cuz i go to UT) so that's exciting! haha. and btw that cupcake tree is so amazing. whoever thought of that idea first was a genius