There are many layers to the wedding cake planning process—pun intended. With dessert being one of the sweetest portions of any reception, there’s a bit of preparation involved. From curating the perfect budget to finding your dream wedding cake vendor, and even selecting magical flavor combinations—odds are you’re left with many unanswered questions.
If you find yourself asking questions like “how much should I spend on a cake?” or “how do I set up a cake tasting?” you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled everything you need to know about wedding cakes in one place to minimize your wedding planning stress. We’ll help handle logistics so you have more time to focus on the fun—and yummy—wedding planning details. First, let’s talk about wedding cake budget.
Wedding Cake Budget
Start by formulating a wedding budget that is comfortable for you and your partner. It’s important to create an overall wedding day budget, but also discuss how your budget will be dispersed between each wedding day element. Your budget will cover things like cake, catering, decor, venue, and your wedding dream team.
Prior to your tasting appointment, it’s crucial to have a finalized guest count. Since most cakes are priced out by the slice, the price of your cake will be largely determined by the size of your guest list. On average, most couples spend anywhere from $300-700 on their wedding cake. Keep in mind, this is an estimated number based on the size and style of your dream wedding cake.
Junebug Pro Tip
Having your wedding budget details sorted before meeting with potential vendors will allow for you to better stick to your target price points.
Finding The Perfect Cake Vendor
Talented wedding vendors—bakers and cake decorators included—book up quickly. When your budget, guest list, and wedding date are confirmed it’s time to start reaching out to wedding cake bakeries in your area. We recommend starting this process eight months to a year in advance. When you find a bakery that matches your desired style and price range, reach out to learn more about how they charge and their availability. Often they’ll set up a free initial consultation with you to chat through what you’re interested in.
We recommend scheduling consultations with multiple bakeries in your surrounding areas. This will allow you to compare pricing, styles, and delivery options.
Questions To Ask During Your Wedding Cake Consultation
- Is there availability open for our wedding date?
- How do you price your cakes?
- Do you require a deposit? If so, how much?
- What is your refund policy, if we have to cancel or change the date?
- Are there delivery fees?
- What flavor, filling, and icing options are available?
- Do you provide the cake stand and necessary utensils for cutting the cake?
- What kind of cake toppers do you have or will I need to find my own?
- When is the final payment due?
- If we want to save the top tier for our one-year anniversary, will you help us with freezing it?
Wedding Cake Tasting
After confirming pricing and availability, it’s time to get to the good and filling portion—cake tasting. We recommend booking your cake tasting appointment about six months prior to your wedding day. This allows you to focus on larger details—like your theme, desired color palette, and decor—that will influence the cake’s overall design.
Come into your cake tasting appointment with an idea of what you want and don’t want, but also be open to suggestions. Communicate the flavors you’d be interested in tasting prior to your appointment to give the bakery time to prepare. Top-notch wedding cake bakeries will be able to guide your cake tasting appointment based on decisions you’ve already made. . They’ll be able to make size, flavor, and design suggestions based on your wedding theme and guest count.
Keep in mind, it’s your wedding and you can have as many or as few flavors as you’d like. When you’re selecting flavors, pick your favorites. Don’t focus on crowd favorites or be afraid to step outside the box.
Wedding Cake Design And Toppers
There’s no better place for wedding cake inspiration than Pinterest. Creating a board full of cake inspiration will allow for you and your significant other to narrow down your choices—from cake size to style—and combine your ideas in one place. It also gives your cake decorator a sense of what you like and a great starting point to make a personalized cake design.
Who says the base of your cake has to be a circle? Get creative with your cake tiers by playing with different shapes and sizes. From squares to hexagons, we’ve seen it all. Shapes and various tiers are a great way to set your cake apart.
From color to dressing your wedding cake, there are endless design options. We recommend using your Pinterest wedding cake inspiration to get a good idea of what you do and don’t want—making it easier to communicate to your decorator. Most couples use their wedding theme and color palette as an influence.
This is your chance to think out of the box and add a personal touch to your cake design. Whether you’re looking for something simple like words or phrases or a show-stopping geode topper, you’ll want to check out our favorite wedding cake toppers.
How To Cut Your Wedding Cake
Something that seems straightforward—like cutting a wedding cake—can actually be somewhat difficult. The bakery or catering team should provide you with the necessary cake cutting tools so that can focus on cutting and eating the cake. The first cut made by you and your partner—a fun photo op—is made at the base of the cake. Cutting the base is especially important if you’re planning on saving the top tier to eat on your one-year wedding anniversary.
Most couples use dessert as a way to bring their reception to a close—but who says you can’t use dessert as a way to kick off your reception? Junebug vendor Vanessa & Ivo has good advice for couples determining the best place to add “cut cake” in their reception timeline.
They suggest cutting the cake right after the ceremony. “You and your guests will enjoy some fresh cake with a glass of bubbly champagne. This way everybody will enjoy the cake and you won’t have any cake left!”
Saving The Top Tier Tradition
If you’re sticking to tradition, you won’t want to miss this one. It’s a tradition to save the top tier of your wedding cake until your one-year anniversary. If you’ve decided to participate in this tradition, be mindful of how you need to preserve it. Talk with your baker and wedding coordinator ahead of time so they can assist with the best way to package and preserve your cake. Because you don’t want to just shove it in the freezer for a year. Trust us.
The Best Wedding Cake Alternatives
Not every couple’s dream wedding involves cake and that’s okay. Whether you’re trying to cut costs or just not a fan of cake, not all is lost. There are endless dessert alternatives that will still satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing fun design elements.
Our Favorite Wedding Cake Alternatives
- Dessert table: Dessert tables are a spread of all your favorite desserts. From pastries to pies, macaroons, and even cupcakes. Creating a dessert table provides you and your guests with unlimited grab-and-go options. This is a sweet option for couples wanting a laid-back wedding reception vibe.
- Food Truck: Food trucks have become an increasingly popular reception option for both dinner and dessert. It’s an easy and affordable way to bring in delicious food options without the set-up and tear-down. Fun food truck dessert options can include everything from ice cream to snow cones to crepes.
- Donut wall: If you’ve been scrolling Pinterest in search of fun wedding cake alternatives, odds are you’ve seen the infamous donut wall. This is a fun way to add a personalized DIY flair to your reception by customizing a whole wall or by creating a custom wedding day donut flavor.
- Smores Bar: Winter and Fall weddings, this one’s for you. A smores bar instantly turns dessert into an interactive experience. Couples who value experiences over everything will love this marshmallow-filled sweet treat option.
There are many elements included in a wedding reception—like dessert and dancing—and without a carefully crafted planning timeline, it can quickly become overwhelming. To kick off your marriage on a high note and to save yourself from stress, check out the ultimate wedding reception timeline.