You can’t start planning your perfect wedding until you start talking about wedding cakes. As you sample your way to the perfect cake, it’s absolutely natural to be thinking about how much your wedding cake should cost, how much is too much, and what your perfect budget should be.
Today, we’ll dive into the details of everything you need to know about wedding traditions when it comes to picking out the cake, having an appropriate budget, the different factors that might drive the price up and down, and all other elements you should keep in mind.
As one of the critical components of any wedding, finding your perfect wedding cake should not have to cost an arm and a leg. With the proper research and planning, your dream cake is probably more affordable than you think! Read on to learn everything you need to know about finding and budgeting for the perfect wedding cake.
How Much Does a Wedding Cake Cost?
So what exactly goes into the price of a wedding cake? Well, there are different factors that will influence cost, helping to both pushdown and drive up the final price tag.
Where you order your cake, who makes it for you, and the different ingredients that go into it are some of the key factors that will set the price point. However, it’s important to be aware of other nuances that can drive the price up or down.
As you start browsing for the perfect cake, you’ll be quick to find that prices are all over the place. The price for a wedding cake can vary anywhere from $1 a slice to a whopping $12 a slice. Over the past couple of years, however, the average cost of a wedding cake has hovered around $540.
Seeing as this is probably one of the most important cakes you’ll ever purchase in your life, it’s pretty indisputable that a wedding cake is well worth the money. For many couples, saving the top tier for future anniversaries has grown to be a wedding tradition that you simply can’t put a price on. This alone is enough to put thoughtful consideration behind the wedding cake you want to get for your big day.
Factors Affecting the Price of Wedding Cakes
So what else goes into the cost of a wedding cake? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what determines the price, and what you should be aware of as you shop for your perfect cake.
Consider How Long It Takes To bake a Cake
Baking a wedding cake is a labor of love, and the amount of time it takes your baker to whip one up will be factored into the price point. As you shop for wedding cakes, you won’t specifically be charged by the hour, but you should expect a baker, and certainly a specialty one to prioritize how long it will take to bake your cake and how that will affect the price point.
Consider the Ingredients Used
Your average run of the mill cake has basic ingredients like butter, flour, and chocolate. But as you start to add specialty ingredients like gold leaf, saffron, high quality ganache, flavored fillings, and fresh fruit, you can expect the price point to trickle up. Weddings are a time to go above and beyond with your catering — your cake included, so don’t be surprised if you’re offered expensive and out of the ordinary ingredients.
Consider Your Wedding Cake’s Flavor
The flavor is a critical part of any quality baked wedding cake. You’ll find more than just your traditional vanilla or chocolate flavors to choose from too. Lemon curd, mousse, and out of season fruit flavors will all impact the price point. As a general rule of thumb, If the flavors you are looking for are out of season or are hard to come by, your cake will generally be more expensive.
Consider the Size of the Wedding Cake
Wedding cakes come in all sizes. Whether it is tiered, a sheet cake, a cupcake cake, or any other specialty design, the size of the wedding cake will impact the price point. Additionally, the complexity of creating the unique size and style you want will also drive the price point one way or the other.
Wedding Cake Tiers
Of course one of the biggest factors impacting the price of a wedding cake is the size of the cake. Single and double tiered cakes will hover around $200 to $300. However, once you make the jump to three tiers and more, you’ll find that the price point quickly goes up as well.
Consider the Cake Design
Cake designs come in all facets. From simple to elaborate to marbled to gold and silver flake designs. If there’s a design you can dream of, there’s a baker who can bring it to life. Of course, the more complex and elaborate the design is the more you should expect a baker to charge.
Factor in Wedding Cake Frosting
You might be surprised at just how many wedding cake frosting options there are. Fondant frosting is one of the most popular because of the smooth look it gives a cake. However, buttercream, whipped, and specialty flavored frostings will all impact the price.
When you start getting into the original frosting style like Italian or Swiss meringue buttercream, ganache, or cream cheese blend you can expect the overall cost to be much higher than your traditional fondant or buttercream frostings.
Wedding Cake Delivery Fees
You can’t just think about who’s going to be making your perfect cake. You’ll also have to consider who will be delivering it. Leaving the job up to your brother-in-law is certainly a risky choice. That’s why many bakers will offer up their own delivery services to ensure that your cake arrives in one piece.
Add-ons Such as Cake Stands Toppers and Other Accessories
Wedding cakes are known for their lavish embellishments, add-ons, and toppers. Any extra accessories your cake requires will come at an extra charge. Typically, if you are ordering a cake that comes in many tiers, the charge for cake stands and supports will already be baked into the price. Other embellishments and accessories will be an added fee. A skilled baker will go over all added fees for any other accessories, embellishments, or add-ons you want to include.
How to Estimate the Cost of Your Wedding Cake
Estimating the cost of your wedding cake is easy to do if you know a couple of facts first. Knowing the type of cake you want, the ingredients you want to include, how many guests you’ll need to serve, and where you want to purchase your cake from will give you a good starting point for putting together an estimate of your wedding cake cost. Additionally, keep the following in mind to help you determine the final price time.
How to Estimate the Right Wedding Cake Size
You’ll have many options available when trying to determine what wedding cake size to opt for. Of course, the driving factor for knowing how to estimate the right wedding cake size is by determining how many guests you will have in attendance.
A traditional 10-inch round cake can serve 38 guests. Meanwhile, a 15-inch round cake can serve roughly 89 guests. If you need to serve 100 or more guests you may want to look at ordering a sheet cake instead. Typically sheet cake serving sizes are as follows:
- Quarter sheet cake – 54 servings
- Half sheet cake – 108 servings
- Full sheet cake – 192 servings
Working with an experienced baker who is knowledgeable about wedding cakes will help you better narrow down your options so that you can find the right size cake for your wedding.
How to Estimate Wedding Cake Cost by Guest Count
Estimating the cost of your wedding cake can also be done by determining the guest count. Typically, bakers will offer a pricing structure based on how many servings you need. When you work out a budget of how much you want to spend on a wedding cake, and then work out the math to see how much it will cost per person to serve a slice, then you’ll be able to shop with a specific budget in mind.
Additionally, it helps to know that the more guests you have to serve, the lower the price gets per person. Overall, you can expect the average pricing of a wedding cake to be as follows:
- 100 Guests – $365 – $570
- 150 Guests – $525 – $840
- 200 Guests -$765 – $1080
- 250 Guests – $900+
Money-Saving Wedding Cake Tips
If you’re starting to get a little nervous about the price point of a wedding cake, you’re not alone. It’s no secret that wedding cakes can get expensive. However, that does not mean that the wedding cake of your dreams is out of reach. There are plenty of ways to cut costs, save, and plan for a beautiful wedding cake that you can actually afford. Check out these thrifty tips:
Use a Fake Wedding Cake for Display
One of the easiest ways to save on the cost of your wedding cake is by using a display wedding cake that is meant for display purposes only, and have a sheet wedding cake in the back room that is used to serve the guests.
Your guests will know no difference whether their slice of cake is coming from the display cake or the sheet cake. Bakers can accommodate designs so that the same exact ingredients are used in the elaborate display cake and in the sheet cake used to serve guests.
When you split up costs like this, you can get the best of both worlds because you’ll still have that beautiful wedding cake on display for photos and for the wedding ceremony, all while allowing your guests to enjoy the delectable flavors you fell in love with while sampling cakes.
Choose to Decorate With Buttercream
Safe costs by skipping out on the elaborate and specialty frostings and sticking with traditional and affordable frostings like buttercream or fondant instead. While the frosting is a great place to incorporate flavor, it’s not a big sacrifice to make if you’re looking to cut costs. You can still incorporate fabulous flavor inside the batter itself.
An experienced baker will help you determine how and where to add more flavor in order to maintain a rich taste. You’ll be surprised at just how versatile buttercream can be and so you shouldn’t feel as though you’re missing out if you don’t choose to go the specialty route.
Simple Cake Design
Sometimes less is more. When it comes to wedding designs, classic and timeless style is a simply designed wedding cake. While it’s fun to incorporate all these outlandish toppings, accessories, and designs, sometimes keeping it simple is one of the best ways to create a memorable wedding cake. The best part, by staying the simple route, you won’t incur any of the additional expenses that could raise the cost of your wedding cake.
DIY the Cake
This next option might not be for everyone, but it’s easily the best way to save big on an expensive wedding cake purchase. For some weddings, going the DIY route is not only affordable, but it is the most sentimental. There’s nothing quite like baking your own wedding cake from scratch and ensuring that it’s made with nothing short of absolute love. If you’ve got an experienced baker in your family, this can be a really fun way to solve the issue of your wedding cake order.
Serve Half Servings
Did you know that a majority of wedding cake slices that are served to wedding guests are either not eaten or are only sampled? One of the best tricks in the book, and easily the best cost saving solution is serving half servings of your wedding cake. Half servings simply mean every slice your wedding guest gets is half of what a whole slice should be.
Now, before you’re quick to complain about serving meek helpings to your guests, it’s important to know that a majority of bakers dish out rather generous servings. Serving half a slice will not be noticeable to your guests because the slices are still pretty decent helpings. The absolute best part is you can expect to pay roughly half the cost of what your wedding cake would be if you were to purchase a cake that was sized accurately to the number of guests at your wedding.
Wedding Cake Costs FAQ:
If you’ve still got wedding cake questions, you are not alone. Read on to see what other questions and concerns like minded newlywed couples have had as they shopped around for their perfect wedding cake.
Do I have to tip my wedding cake baker?
No. Tipping your wedding cake baker is totally optional. For some, because the wedding cake is already as expensive as is, adding in a tip does not make a huge difference price point-wise. For other people, it might not feel necessary to tip your baker. Plus, not many bakers expect a tip to be rendered either. Either way, you should not feel pressured to tip or be embarrassed if you don’t. When you’re purchasing a wedding cake, you are paying for a service, not paying for an act of service like you would with a waiter or hospitality worker.
What’s included in the cost of a wedding cake?
Every Bakery follows different protocols, but you can typically expect that once you place an order for a wedding cake and you pay the cost of that wedding cake, you should not expect any additional surprise fees later on down the road. At the time of purchasing a wedding cake, you’ll be asked whether you want delivery or not. This fee will be worked into the wedding cake total cost. You can always choose to add delivery later, but you should expect to pay that delivery fee later as well. Finally, any additional toppers, support, cake stands, embellishments or other accessories will also be included in the total cost of a wedding cake.
What types of desserts do wedding cake bakers offer?
As you browse different bakeries, you’ll find a number of options that go beyond just a wedding cake. Some newlyweds like to offer desserts in place of a wedding cake slice or alongside the wedding cake slice. Typically, desserts can be really anything you want them to be but often consists of single serving parfaits, tart cakes, cupcakes, donuts, cookies, or any other delectables.
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the cost of a wedding cake. However, with the right research and dedicated planning, you don’t have to let the cost of a wedding cake stop you from getting your perfect wedding.
We hope these tips and tricks have helped give you a better understanding of the cost of a wedding cake. More importantly, we hope our guide has helped you plan ways to cut down costs so that you can celebrate your perfect day on a budget that works for you.