As the timeless classics they are, wedding cakes will always stick around no matter how trends evolve. When I tied the knot with my husband a decade ago, we had this grand vanilla wedding cake that stole the show.
But you know what’s not timeless? The average wedding cake cost – it definitely has shifted over the years. Let’s unravel that issue together, and I’ll also throw in some extra tips to help you save a buck or two!
Wedding Cakes Cost
On average, most couples in the USA drop about $350 on their cake. But hold onto your seats: some spend as low as $125, while others go all out to hit upwards of $700 – and, wait for it… even over a grand! Crazy, right?
Loads of factors can really jazz up the wedding cake pricing, such as:
Of course, time plays a huge role in the pricing of wedding cakes. And let me tell you why:
The Rush Effect
Ever seen Cinderella trying on her gown at the eleventh hour? Rush orders for beautiful wedding cakes work the same way!
They come with a higher cost because bakers need to hustle. Sourcing ingredients, fitting you into their jam-packed schedule, and maybe even working overtime, all that will be reflected in the final price. Planning months ahead and giving your baker time to prepare is your ticket to keeping that cake budget in check.
Complexity takes serious time, especially in the world of wedding cakes!
As a bakery owner myself, I totally get that. Elaborate designs or sugar flowers blooming with stunning details, for instance, take me days to finish, and not without help from some of my best staff. No wonder the price tag is twice higher than a simpler, single-tier cake!
Just like strawberries in winter, some ingredients are much more expensive at certain times of the year. If you dream of fresh raspberries in December, it might cost you more than waiting for spring when they’re in season!
Therefore, specialty or exotic flavors that need special sourcing will certainly drive up the cost.
Location matters! Transporting a multi-tiered masterpiece across town involves logistics, you know. Depending on the distance, special equipment, and even possible overnight stays for the baker, those delivery fees can really hike up the total cost of your cake!
2. Cake Size
Well, when does size ever NOT matter? And it’s not just about having more cake to gobble up (although, let’s be honest, that’s definitely a bonus!). Here’s why:
More Ingredients, More Dough
It’s pretty straightforward: bigger cakes need more ingredients! Eggs, flour, sugar, you name it, and that means a direct bump in the overall cost.
Labor of Love (and Layers)
Crafting a multi-tiered marvel with my bare hands takes serious time and skills; I’m not even joking! Every layer demands baking, cooling, leveling, and careful stacking, so I have to be a thousand times more patient and precise than I usually am with other customer orders. This extra effort and time? Yep, that must be factored into the final price.
Big cakes need a solid internal framework to hold up all the weight without disaster. That will involve dowels, support plates, specialized baking techniques, etc., adding more complexity (and, ahem, cost) to the mix.
3. Types of Frosting
Choosing wedding cake frosting isn’t just about adding another tasty layer.
The Skill and Time Factor
Like the cake itself, frostings aren’t all made equal! Whipping up a simple buttercream might be a breeze, sure. But a complex wedding cake design or a fancy fondant sculpture? They will definitely call for serious precision.
Different frostings have their own superpowers when holding up decorations. Fondant, for instance, is the champ for layered designs, so it’s understandably pricier than the airy feel of a meringue buttercream. We cake designers really have to think this matter through, which inevitably shakes the average price!
Certain frostings need extra TLC. Take fondant, for example; it’s a diva! This frosting needs protection from humidity and can crack instantly if not handled with care. Therefore, bakeries must watch out for potential damage or spoilage before telling you the total number.
Oh, and do not forget those extra bits and bobs like cake toppers, stands, and all those fancy decorations! They can seriously affect how much you’ll be shelling out for that wedding cake.
Renting instead of buying them might be a better choice, but there will still be fees regardless. You may also need a damage deposit!
How To Determine The Right Cake Size For Your Wedding Guests
Usually, about 75-85% of the guests will dig into the wedding cake. From there, you have to decide if you want enough cake for every guest (maybe some leftovers for a midnight snack) or just the right-sized slices for all.
The standard wedding cake slices are about 1×2 inches. But if you’re after a more generous portion, just go for those 1.5×2 babies! And tier heights (e.g., 4 or 5 inches) must also be part of your size calculations, too.
Here’s a quick rundown for you:
|Type of Wedding Cake
How to Cut and Serve Your Wedding Cake
When dealing with round cakes, you should make concentric rings (each about two inches deep), then start from the center and work your way out in rings. And here’s a pro tip: if you’re not Picasso with the knife or baking for a living like me, gently trace around your cake board from the above tier before cutting.
Another trick for round cakes is to slash them into smaller rectangular or square pieces. Trust me, it gives every slice a tidy, uniform look, and nobody would even bother to eyeball the portion sizes!
How about square cakes? Well, they often get divided up into two-inch wide rectangles for slicing. Of course, this rule of thumb is not set in stone; tweak the formula all you want, but remember to mark the sides at equal parts to get the same-sized portions for all.
Extra Tips To Save Money On Your Gorgeous Wedding Cakes
- Go for a fax/display cake for photos and serve your guests a sheet cake during the party instead. Sheet cake’s average cost is usually less than $3 per slice – a huge money-saver right there!
- Get a small-sized cake and spruce up your dessert table with cheaper sweet treats like cake pops or cookies.
- Consider decking out your cake with some fresh wedding flowers. Yep, they’re prettier than handmade sugar flowers, and the best part? Real flowers are way cheaper!
Marriage cake prices can skyrocket with all those fancy ingredients, frostings, and extras!
But honestly, your wedding day doesn’t need to break the bank; why not be a smart cookie and save some dough with all the budgeting tricks I just dropped above? Shoot me a message if you need any more advice!