Ordering Your Wedding Cake

12 Things You Need To Know

Why Are Wedding Cakes So Expensive?

Wedding cakes are works of art and take many hours to create.  A basic 100 serving wedding cake with very little decorating can take 12 hours to complete.  A wedding cake with a lot of detail will take longer to create. 

A cake designer deserves to be paid per hour for their labor as does anyone having a job. It takes a cake designer with years of experience to achieve smooth buttercream icing, flat tops, straight sides, level tiers and pay attention to detail. 

As a comparison – Have you had your car repaired by a reputable auto mechanic? The mobile mechanic that does my work charges $85/hour. A tire shop that I went to recently also does mechanic work at $129.95/hour.

How Much To Budget for Your Wedding Cake?

Wedding cakes are usually priced by the number of servings. This is the number of servings from the cake, not the number of servings that you need. 

To give you some perspective, there is an Italian chain restaurant that has a lemon cake that they serve for dessert.  After they purchase the cake frozen, they cut, plate and charge you $7.00 for that serving of cake.  This serving is approximately the same size as a serving of wedding cake.  If you needed 100 servings, this would cost you $700.00.  We know you probably won’t be getting your cake from this restaurant, but this will give you a reference point to start from.

Designing Your Cake

Your cake designer should offer you a consultation/taste testing appointment.  At this appointment you’ll design your wedding cake, choose cake and filling flavors and receive a quote. Make sure your cake designer spends time with you to help you do this important task, especially if you want a custom cake that is unlike any others.

How Large A Cake Should I Order?  

We suggest 10% less servings of cake than the number of guests. Why 10% less servings?

  • Special dietary restrictions (diabetics, sugar free diet, allergies, gluten free). 

  • Some guests may not like cake.

  • You cut the cake so late into your reception that some of your guests have already left.

When Should I Order My Wedding Cake?

Brides are booking their wedding cakes up to a year out from their wedding date.   Most cake designers are limited how many wedding cakes they can deliver in a day.  Once you have decided on your cake designer, get that contract signed. Remember that the cake is not ordered until the contract is signed and the retainer is paid.

Fake Cake Vs. Real Cake

This fad was started years ago and may have had some validity at that time. Because of the cost of transportation and new government regulations affecting the production of Styrofoam, it now costs about the same as actual ingredients.  

It takes the same amount of time to decorate a fake cake as it does a real cake.  Wedding cakes are not ingredient expensive, they are labor expensive. 

Why would you want to pay to have a fake cake and also to have real cake to serve your guests?  It’s a lot less expensive to just buy a real wedding cake to serve guests.

Cupcakes

It takes 1-1/2 cup cakes to equal a serving of wedding cake. If you have 100 guests, you should purchase 150 cupcakes.  Is that really cost effective? Couldn’t you have cupcakes at your birthday party? Hopefully, you will only get married once.  Why not have a wedding cake?

Professional Cake Designer or Beginner

My sister-in-law’s mother’s best friend has taken Wilton basic decorating classes and wants to do my cake for me. Why do I want to pay a professional for something that I can get for free?  Well, the best answer I can give you is to explore cakewrecks.com for some real world examples of cakes that were done by people like this.  Enough said!

Wedding Cake Vs. Dessert Bar

The latest fad is dessert bars. People often think what a great idea to have a dessert bar buffet and get a smaller wedding cake to cut.  It’s not cost effective. If your guests can freely have a choice of 8 to 10 desserts in a buffet style, most will take 1 of everything. 

If each dessert item costs you $2.00, you are paying $16.00-$20.00 per person for dessert.  A wedding cake with different flavors and fillings would be a lot more cost effective at $5 – $10 per serving.

Pick Up The Cake Or Have The Cake Delivered?  

You can pick the cake up to save the delivery fee.  Keep in mind that you’re on your own if something happens that damages the cake.

Contract Vs. No Contract

Contracts protect both parties.  Make sure your cake designer is licensed and insured. Most event venues require vendors to provide
proof of license and a COI (certificate of Insurance).  Make sure you ask your vendors if they meet these requirements before paying a retainer for their services.

contract should list:

  • Details of the cake design
  • Flavors
  • Fillings
  • Cost
  • Who is providing the cake topper and any flowers or special ornaments.
  • When final payment is due
  • Security deposits on any items to be returned to the cake designer.

When During The Reception Should You Do The Cake Cutting?

The wedding cake is the second most photographed thing at your wedding.  Don’t leave it until the last thing to do at the reception.  Half of your guests will have left by then and you denied them the photo they really wanted and you’ll have cake left over.  You paid for the cake, cut it early and serve it so all can enjoy it!  Your caterer will thank you for cutting it early.

After all, at home you eat your dessert right after you have your meal!

Take-Aways

Don’t trust the second most photographed thing at the wedding to a beginner. Remember “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”.