Wedding cake is a tradition going all the way back to ancient Rome. At that time, guests broke loaves of bread over the bride’s head to bless her with fertility. Afterward, they would gather the crumbs and save them for good luck. Despite their humble origins, wedding cakes have evolved into the massive, multi-tiered works of art we’re accustomed to today. Along with exchanging rings and having a first dance, serving cake remains one of the most beloved wedding traditions.
If you plan on serving wedding cake, it’s essential to know how much it will factor into the price of a wedding. To that end, we’re sharing average wedding cake costs, laying out the factors that go into pricing, and giving you 10 money-saving tips.
If you’ve wondered, “How much does a wedding cake cost?” We’re here to tell you that average wedding cake prices hover around $500, with most couples spending anywhere from $300 to $700. As with any data set, there are outliers. Budget hunters might be able to reduce their cake costs to $150 or less, while bigger spenders could shell out up to $1000.
When budgeting, be aware that bakers usually price their cakes per slice. The average cost per slice is between $1.50 and $12. “That’s a big range,” you’re probably saying. Indeed, it is. Per-slice cake prices vary based on many factors, something we’ll cover in the next section.
With per-slice cake prices ranging from $1.50 to $12, it’s normal to wonder which factors go into wedding cake pricing. Here’s a cost breakdown.
Most bakeries charge per slice, so base how much wedding cake you need on the number of guests you expect. Depending on where you live, which kind of cake you’re ordering, and the intricacy of your design, wedding cakes cost between $1.50 and $8.00 per slice. With that in mind, multiply the number of guests by the per slice amount to find your estimated grand total.
That said, consider whether you’ll serve other desserts or just cake. If you’re only serving cake, account for one slice per person. Otherwise, plan to have enough cake for about 75% of the guests.
Weddings are expensive–there’s no way around it. But there are plenty of ways to save money on your wedding, including reducing your cake costs. Here are 10 ways to save money and still get a gorgeous wedding cake.
If you want to save money on more than just your wedding cake, check out our wedding budget guide.
Smaller local bakeries tend to offer cake tasting for free (within reason). For example, they could have a two-person, four-cake maximum. Above that, they may charge a nominal fee. For example, an additional $15 per extra person or an extra $5 for each additional cake. Larger bakeries may charge $50 to $500 for tastings.
Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for most of the wedding costs, including the wedding cake. You don’t have to follow this arrangement unless you want to. Instead, you and your partner can pay for the cake yourselves, or your families can split the cost.
The price for a two-tier wedding cake depends on the size of each tier, the type of cake and frosting, and the number of decorative elements. For example, a two-tiered cake (8” and a 10”) serving 64 guests usually costs between $125 and $200.
Pricing considerations for a three-tier cake are the same as those for a two-tier cake, albeit with an additional cake to factor into the price. For example, a three-tiered cake (6”, 9”, and 12”) that serves 100 people costs between $250 and $325 on average.
Tipping wedding cake bakers isn’t typical or expected. However, you should plan on tipping the staff members who deliver the cake to your reception venue. Somewhere between $5 and $20 is appropriate, so include this amount when calculating your cake budget.
The cake makes your wedding special, but it’s just a small part of your wedding budget. In addition to dessert, you must consider the venue rental, clothing, catering, flowers, and more. Thinking about the cost of a wedding is enough to make anyone’s head spin, so take some of the stress off yourself by checking out our complete wedding costs guide.