every occasion is a
Cake Occasion

After nine years of making cakes, I have decided to wrap up this phase of my life. I am no longer taking new orders.

Thank you for your support over the last nine years. I have been able to participate in some of the most important events of your lives, and it has been remarkable. Making cakes has been a blessing for me and my family as well. Among other things, it allowed me to pay for my master's degree, which has brought me closer to other (non-cake-related) goals and dreams.

Much love to you all.

Contact us today for your consultation!

Contact us today for your consultation!

Beautiful on a Budget: Get the Most for Your Money when Choosing a Wedding Cake

Do you know much the average U.S. wedding costs? You might want to sit down for this…

$31,213. Yes, somewhere in the range of what a Liberal Arts graduate can expect to make in a year. And that doesn't include the honeymoon.


Luckily for me, I got married years ago. Luckily for my clients, I work in Utah, where the average cost is the lowest in the nation – a mere $15,257. (And just for comparison, the most expensive place to get married is Manhattan, where the average is $76,328.)*

But even $15,000 is a huge chunk of change. That’s more than I have ever even paid for a car, for crying out loud! That’s college tuition for a year (or more)!

So it is no wonder that brides (and their parents) are looking for ways to reduce their costs while still maintaining the experience they have always wanted for their wedding day.

One area where it might be fairly simple to trim some of the cost is the wedding cake. Here are some tips that will help you get the most bang for your buck, and still have an amazing cake that can be a centerpiece of your event.

First, recognize you probably don’t need as many servings of cake as you think you do. One cake I did was for an informal reception. The bride and groom didn’t cut the cake until nearly the end, and most of the guests had already left. Their cake had 128 servings, and I think they took home 120 of those.

A cake that serves a lot of guests is great, but only if they eat it!
I always ask my brides this question: Are you serving the cake or having the guests come and choose their own slice?

If you are serving it, then of course you will need a slice for every guest present, especially if the event is a formal sit-down dinner where the cake serves as the final course. If your event is a more casual reception where the guests will come to a table and take a piece of cake, then you don’t need as much. Some people will always be on a diet; some people will not like the flavor of cake available; and still others just don’t like cake. (I will never understand those people.) You can safely assume 10-20 percent of your guests won’t even take a piece.

Keep in mind what other food will be offered at your wedding. Is the cake the only sweet option? Is there a self-serve dessert buffet in addition to the wedding cake? If so, you might want to have a smaller cake because so many guests will be “sweeted out” before it’s even time to cut the cake.

Consider going with a square cake instead of round. Think about it - those corners are potential servings. Odd shapes like hexagons will add to the cost, because they take more work to ice and cover.

A square cake means you don't waste the corners!
Why not forego the tradition of keeping the top layer for yourselves, and serve it to your guests? Depending on the size and shape of your top tier, using it at your event can add 12-24 servings to the cake. If you are set on the idea of eating your top tier on your first anniversary, consider asking your cake decorator to make a replica for you when it’s time to celebrate. Then you have fresh cake with no concern for freezer burn. (But if you are going to keep the top tier for your anniversary, click here to see instructions for keeping it fresh.)

Be aware that your choice of icing will affect the cost. If you choose fondant, be prepared to pay extra - up to $2 extra per serving, depending on the decorator. Buttercream icing, on the other hand, is much more economical. It's also quite versatile. Your cake can be iced smooth, adorned with simple decor, or textured in a variety of ways.

Icing can be textured in dozens of ways.
Your choice of flowers will also make a big difference. Unless you are determined to have sugar flowers on your cake, I would recommend fresh or artificial blooms. Sugar flowers take a lot of work and therefore require a greater investment.

Many brides opt to go with a smaller main cake, and have sheet cakes (sometimes called “kitchen cakes”) to cut and serve the guests. Sheet cakes are significantly less money per serving than stacked cakes. Some people like to order the main cake from a custom shop and go to a supermarket baker for the sheet cakes. The primary drawback of this is that your sheet cakes won’t be the same flavor as the main cake, which means some of your guests don’t get to have the same experience as others. Having your decorator do both cakes ensures that all the cakes are equal in taste and quality.

This little beauty served as the main cake at a simple garden wedding.
Wedding cake servings are typically quite small – about 1.5 by 2 inches, and 4 inches tall. That being said, you can adjust the size of your servings slightly to get about 10 percent more servings. Don’t go crazy with this – while guests understand that wedding cake servings are small, they do still expect to have enough to enjoy.

Finally, consider dummies. Dummy layers are Styrofoam (some decorators make them out of Rice Krispies treats) that are decorated like the rest of your cake. They are great way to have a bigger cake without a ton of leftovers. When the event is over, you just toss them.

Can you tell which layers are dummies?
Let me add a caution about dummies. Some brides think that if they order a cake with dummies, and then order cupcakes or sheet cakes, that they will be saving money. This isn't generally the case. Yes, the cost of dummy layers is often significantly less, but you do still have to pay that cost. If you then add sheet cakes, you might not be making the most economical choice. However, if you are set on having an assortment of cupcakes for your guests to choose from, but you still want the big cake for dramatic effect, then dummies are a great option for you.

No matter your budget, an experienced cake decorator will be able to offer options to help you stay within it. Using the tips in this article - or some combination of them - you can significantly reduce your cost without compromising on the quality and impact of your wedding cake.

*Figures are from The Knot and are based on marriages that occurred in 2014.