How Much Does a Wedding Cake Cost? Your Full Guide

By  The Groom Club Editors 
Updated on 05/23/23

Part of the Wedding

How Much Does a Wedding Cake Cost? Your Full Guide

By  The Groom Club Editors 
Updated on 05/23/23

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.

Average Wedding Cake Cost

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. 
Bake a wedding cake

How Are Wedding Cakes Priced?

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. 

  • Cake size and the number of tiers – As you might expect, the bigger the cake, the higher the cost. More extensive or taller cakes require more ingredients, time, and labor. 
  • Time – Remember you’re not just paying for a good (the cake). You’re also paying for a service (someone to make the cake). Their hourly rate is also factored into the cost. 
  • Ingredients – Most cakes start out as a combination of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. But higher-end cakes may include flavor extracts and special creams, which add to the cost. Similarly, you can expect to pay more for a vegan or gluten-free cake.
  • Flavor –  Chocolate and vanilla cakes are standard and won’t break your budget. However, specialty cakes like red velvet and key lime definitely cost more. 
  • Type of frosting – Classic buttercream is the least expensive type of wedding cake frosting and costs anywhere from $0.50 to $3.00 less per slice than fondant-covered cakes. 
  • Design – Every extra element you add to your cake increases the cost. This includes embellishments like edible gold leaf, sugar flowers, and piping. 
  • Add-ons – Besides the cake itself, you’re usually on the hook for cake stands or cake toppers, cutting utensils, and an extra top tier (if desired for your first anniversary). 
  • Delivery fees – Some bakeries charge anywhere from $40 to $100 to deliver your cake to your wedding reception venue. The cost varies depending on your region, the delivery radius, and the setup. 

How to Estimate Wedding Cake Costs

How much does a wedding cake cost?
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. 

How to Save Money on Your Wedding Cake

How to save money on a wedding cake
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

  • Give half-servings – Many people discard most of their slice anyway, so feel free to serve less per person. Scaling down your wedding cake order can cut your costs by half!
  • Have a display cake – Use a faux traditional wedding cake for photos and serve guests sheet cake instead. Sheet cake typically costs less than $3.00 per slice, another massive money saver.
  • Offer alternative desserts – Order a smaller cake and supplement your dessert table with less expensive items like cookies or cake pops
  • Choose buttercream frosting – Buttercream frosting is much cheaper than fondant. Opting for classic frosting could save you several dollars per slice. 
  • Keep the flavor basic – Everyone loves chocolate and vanilla cake, so stick with a classic instead of choosing a unique flavor. 
  • Streamline the design – There are many ways to simplify your cake design. For example, opt for a one- or two-tied cake instead of one that’s multi-tiered. Or ask for a few large statement flowers instead of lots of little buds. 
  • Decorate with fresh flowers – They are more beautiful than sugar flowers, but real flowers are much cheaper. Ask your florist if they can give your cake designer some extra flowers for decorating. 
  • Negotiate – If your venue’s contract includes the wedding cake, try to get the cutting fee reduced or removed. 
  • Deliver your own cake – Save yourself the $40 to $100 delivery fee (plus tips) by picking up the cake yourself. You may not want to add another task on your wedding day, but you may ask someone in your wedding party for an audible.  
  • Make your own cake – If you want to save big, bake your own cake or decorate a purchased cake with icing flowers or other design elements. 

If you want to save money on more than just your wedding cake, check out our wedding budget guide.

Wedding Cake Prices FAQs

Do I have to pay for a wedding cake tasting?

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.

Who traditionally pays for the wedding cake?

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. 

How much does a 2-tier wedding cake 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

How much does a 3-tier wedding cake cost?

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. 

Do I have to tip my wedding cake baker?

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. 

Learn More About Wedding Costs with The Groom Club

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.