Cutting Down Cake Costs
You can have your wedding cake and eat it, too – but just how much is it going to cost you? It depends.
According to WeddingWire’s 2020 Newlywed Report, couples spent an average of $500 on cake and desserts in 2019.
However, a number of factors can influence that price tag, says Susan Sarich, founder and CEO of SusieCakes Bakery with locations in California and Texas.
“There is a wedding cake perfect for everyone and every budget! Wedding cakes range in price but are often based on a few classic factors. Bakeries take into account cake style, flavor and decoration,” she explains.
Tiered cakes, for instance, are more expensive than sheet cakes due to the skill and time required to stack the layers correctly. You’re also going to pay more if you want a fancier flavor (or multiple flavors) than the standard chocolate, vanilla or red velvet. The intricacy of your design, too, can quickly add to the final cost.
“A simply decorated cake, perhaps just simple borders or texture will be minimally priced or sometimes complimentary! Once the design becomes more intricate, the cost will increase to allow them to dedicate one of their skilled decorators.
Another key element to consider is the guest count, which will help determine the size of the cake. A good rule of thumb is to order about 80% of your invited guest list since you’re bound to have some no shows.
“Everybody loves cake! You’ll want to ensure you have enough cake to go around,” says Sarich.
“During your cake tasting, feel free to ask the bakery for an example cake slice based on your guest count.
I find it best to go off of the higher end of the recommended serving count for weddings. If you order sheet cakes for your caterer to cut, you can even ask that the bakery pre-score (mark where to cut) the cakes.”
For those with limited budgets, Sarich recommends a few different strategies for reducing cake costs without sacrificing style or taste.
1. Order a Display Cake
This is a very popular option for couples with large guest counts. Instead of ordering a tiered cake for your entire guest count, consider getting a single or small two-tier “display” cake ornately decorated and then supplement it with larger sheet cakes.
“This is perfect for photos and allows the couple a cake to take their first bite together. The sheet cakes can be kept in the back of the kitchen and be cut to serve your guests,” says Sarich.
2. Utilize Faux Layers
Get the look of a multi-tiered cake without the extra cost by incorporating fake tiers into the design.
“With this method, the couple is able to display the design they chose on a taller cake without having to purchase multiple cake layers. If need be, you can also order sheet cakes, as well,” adds Sarich.
3. Keep it Simple
“The couple can opt for a more simply decorated cake to adorn with fresh flowers! A lightly decorated wedding cake will reduce the cost of the decoration and will be the perfect backdrop to add floral arrangements that tie in with the couple’s wedding colors and themes,” suggests Sarich.
Ultimately, designing and ordering your cake should be one of the fun parts of the wedding planning process, so remember to enjoy every bite, says Sarich.
“Many bakeries allow for wedding tastings with a nominal fee that is often treated as a deposit. The happy couple can enjoy finding new favorite flavors and looking through photos to decide on their style. It’s also a great part of the process to include family and friends,” she adds.