WEDDING CAKE PRICES
HOW MUCH DOES A WEDDING CAKE COST?
With so many different elements to consider, there’s a world of choice when it comes to choosing your style of wedding cake. From a more simple rustic naked cake to a multi tiered extravaganza dressed with hundreds of sugar flowers, it’s hardly surprising to know that it won't just be the size of your wedding cake that will affect its final price tag. The location, expertise and experience of your cake artist will also affect the price too.
Choosing your wedding cake will definitely be one of the most enjoyable parts of your whole wedding planning process (although we are slightly biased!). But how much does a wedding cake actually cost?
Here’s our guide to wedding cake prices (as of 2022). We'll go through the styles of wedding cake you can get for your budget, be it £100 or £1000.
HOW MUCH DO COUPLES SPEND ON THE CAKE?
Do you plan on your wedding cake being a stunning piece of edible art for all to be in awe over before the all important cake cutting photographs (but maybe doesn’t need to feed every single guest?) Or will you’ll be using it in place of a dessert for your guests, so definitely need a piece for everyone? Generally, it’s accepted that the cake should feed around 75% of your guests, as not everyone will want (or have room for) a piece, so bear this in mind when thinking of the size to choose.
According to online reports, currently the average spend on a wedding cake is around £350. Wedding budget experts advise that couples allocate approximately 5% of their whole wedding spend (not including honeymoon) on the wedding cake. This figure is obviously only a guideline, for instance big fans of cake (who isn’t?) may want to allocate more than this, but if neither of you have a sweet tooth or don’t consider the wedding cake an important factor, then maybe you’d want to spend less than the advised 5%.
WHAT AFFECTS THE PRICE OF CAKE?
Size and portions
Consider that you are going to a café or tea rooms for a slice of cake, how much would you expect to spend? You’d be right to to expect to spend around £4 - £6 depending on where in the country you were buying it. Multiply this by your number of guests that you want to serve. Then consider that this is just for a slice of cake. No decoration, no delivery, no set up, no design consultation and sketch from an experienced cake artist, just the cake.
Region and venue location – As with many other things, London and the South East tend to have higher prices than those around the rest of the country, and the same is true for wedding cakes. Especially in Central London, where delivery, congestion charges and parking need to be considered.
Cake makers generally add a delivery cost based on a round trip so it may be worth looking at cake makers close to the venue rather than close to your home.
The Overall Design
The cake price will be reflective of the time it will take your cake artist to create. A design with many handmade sugar flowers, ruffles, stencilling, piping and other intricacies will take a great deal of time and will of course increase the cost of your wedding cake. Even an experienced cake artist can spend over an hour to make one sugar flower, so it’s only natural that this will add to the price. When buying a wedding cake you are paying for your cake artist’s time and skill.
Picasso was at a Paris market when an admirer approached and asked if he could do a quick sketch on a paper napkin for her.
Picasso politely agreed, promptly created a drawing, and handed back the napkin — but not before asking for a million Francs.
The lady was shocked: “How can you ask for so much? It took you five minutes to draw this!”
“No”, Picasso replied, “It took me 40 years to draw this in five minutes.”
MATCHING YOUR CAKE TO YOUR BUDGET
Wedding Cakes Up to £150
For less than £100, you can expect a very simple single tier semi naked, naked or buttercream wedding cake. At this price you forgo the option for personalised details but it will give you a small, simple and rustic wedding cake to serve around 25 people. Fresh flowers can always be added to your cake (check with your florist for safety of flowers – many are toxic, including gypsophila)
Wedding Cakes for £150 – £300
In this bracket you'll get a few more options, perhaps a more detailed single tier, maybe sugarpasted with some personalised detailing. Or a more simple two tier naked, semi naked or buttercream design that would serve around 50 guests.
Wedding Cakes for £300 – £400
Spending around £400 would give you a simple, three tier cake to serve around 100 guests. At this price, expect your cake to be covered in buttercream or semi naked rather than sugarpaste. Sugar flowers will add to this price so for floral decoration consider faux silk flowers or real flowers (again check with florist for safety)
Wedding Cakes for £450 – £600
Spending within this bracket will see your design options really open up and would be the starting range for a 3 tier sugarpaste cake to serve around 80-100 guests. At this price, expect to see more personalised design aspects than a wedding cake in the lower price brackets.
Wedding Cakes for £700 – £800
At this budget your cake options become wide and couples can expect to have a bespoke wedding cake with intricate sugar work and/or decorated with a collection of sugar flowers. At this bracket expect at least a 3 or 4 tiered cake (each tier 6 inches tall) to serve around 80 - 100
Wedding Cakes for £800 – £1,000
Wedding cakes in this bracket will most likely include some elaborate and labour intensive aspects to your design, such as sugar flower sprays, hand piping, hand-painted elements. At this price expect a four tier creation, or a more simply designed five tier. If a centrepiece wedding cake is something you are after then this is the budget to plug for. Wedding cakes in this bracket will be admired and remembered by all your guests and will really stand out as a piece of edible art at your reception, not to mention in your photographs.
A Note on Sugar Flowers
Sugar flowers take your cake artist hours and hours of work, they are not designed to be consumed as they contain internal wires for structure and are made of special sugar paste that sets hard and doesn’t taste as good as it looks! Therefore it is advised that you carefully take the sugarflowers from your cake before serving and keep them as a memento of your day.. Some couples choose to buy a glass dome to display their sugarflowers in their homes for many, many years to come – they won’t wilt and need no watering!
Wedding Cake Portion Guide
There are two portion sizes we use as standard when referring to wedding cake servings, the first is a dessert portion of 2” x 1” x 3.5” slices, which is an ample and generous size.
Top tip: Save some pennies and think about having a two course sit down meal and then incorporating the wedding cake as your dessert.
This serving size would be perfect for this idea, especially if you serve with ice-cream, fresh cream or a fruit coulis.
If you are planning on serving the cake after a three course sit down meal, you may be happy for your guests to have smaller finger slices with their coffees, in which case a finger coffee slice of 1”x 1”x 3.5” may be the right size for your guests. You will of course, get more portions from your cake if you choose this size. Be sure to let the venue, or who ever is cutting your cake what size you have chosen for your guests.
Please note. Fruit cake portions are normally always cut into the smaller finger slices.
The below guide should give you a rough estimate of what your cake will provide, depending on what style of slice you choose.
Choosing The Right Wedding Cake For Your Big Day
Think of a wedding cake and the traditional white tiered fruitcake with a floral arrangement tends to spring to mind. This classic wedding cake style remains popular even today but increasingly, brides and grooms are thinking outside the box and choosing from the many modern styles of wedding cakes out there.
To help you decide on what style of wedding cake is for you, think about your overall setting and style of the day. For instance, a grand stately home venue is just the place to see a more traditional tiered Victorian style wedding cake, while a vintage themed event could be the ideal setting for a naked, semi naked or rustic style buttercream wedding cake.
Popular wedding themes have included modern vintage and 'shabby chic' designs. Soft colours such as pastel pinks, sage greens, and light golds are being used together with cameos, pearls, Vintage jewellery, Victoriana patterns, vintage lace and English country garden flowers all beautifully adorning the wedding cake. However more bold patterns and modern elements such as dark blues, greens and burgundies are being teamed with metallics to give striking statement pieces. Geometric patterns continue to be popular and give a really modern look to a wedding cake. Cake makers are experimenting with new mediums and wafer paper is emerging as a fantastic product to create patterns, cut-outs, lifelike flowers, feathering and really add texture to an otherwise minimalistic wedding cake.
Make sure the wedding cake makers on your shortlist specialise in the type of wedding cake you're looking for, research this important factor even before you even consider making a booking. A cake maker who makes a croquembouche tower or chocolate wedding cake, may not have the right skills to create an novelty style wedding cake. Of course, equally important is the flavour, texture and taste - make sure you get to have a taste along with seeing photographs of their work. Ask for advice, a good wedding cake designer will be able to take inspiration from your ideas, (not neccesarily replicate it) and the style of your wedding to come up with a sketch of your ideal wedding cake design.
Final point to remember- your wedding photographer will take alot of photographs in and around the wedding cake. In order to get the best from your wedding photographs consider the following at your wedding venue , a white or light coloured wedding cake may stand out better on with a darker background vs. a white painted wall. If there is a window behind the wedding cake, the lighting for the wedding photos may need to be adjusted. Also watch for unattractive elements at the wedding venue that may be in the background, such as a radiator, pipes, electric cords, toilets, fire exit signs, and other doors, etc. Generally, take a look at your reception wedding venue in advance to find the ideal place to set up the cake table.
The Curious History of Wedding Cakes
The wedding cake has a long tradition in which its history dates back to the Roman Empire. This was long before the cake was elaborately decorated with beautiful icing and bouquets.
The original wedding cake tradition was that the bride and groom would share a piece of a barley bread loaf and then the groom would break the rest over the head of the bride. The breaking of the bread was a symbol of the breaking of the bride’s virginal state and the groom’s dominance over her. Of course, this belief has long ago been lost as we moved into a more modern era of beliefs and wedding cakes.
In the era of Medieval England, cakes were often breads that were unsweetened. There are accounts of several of these cakes or sweet buns being stacked in front of the newlyweds. The couple is believed to have had to kiss over the pile of cakes in front of them. Which goes to show that wedding cupcake towers are still, very much. in keeping with history and tradition!
In the 17th century, there was a popular dish called a “Bride’s Pie” that was used in place of a cake. The pie was filled with sweet breads, mince pie or mutton pie. These pies would have a glass ring that would be hidden in the pie and the women who found it would be the next to be wed.Early cakes were simple single-tiered plum cakes, with some variations. There was also an unusual notion of sleeping with a piece of wedding cake underneath one's pillow which dates back as far as the 17th century and quite probably forms the basis for the tradition of giving cake as a gift. Legend has it that sleepers will dream of their future spouses if a piece of wedding cake is under their pillow. In the late 18th century this notion led to the curious tradition in which brides would pass tiny crumbs of wedding cake through their rings and then distribute them to guests who could, in turn, place them under their pillows. The custom was curtailed when brides began to get superstitious about taking their rings off after the ceremony.
The popularity of tiered wedding cakes came, legend has it, as a result of a baker’s apprentice in late 18th-century London. The story goes that William Rich set up as an apprentice in Ludgate hill and fell in love with his boss’s daughter. When he asked her to marry him he wanted to impress her with a large, beautiful cake and his inspiration came from the spire of St Bride’s church. However, there are no surviving records of this cake. Wedding cakes reached their high popularity point in the 1800’s in both Europe and the United States. A very famous wedding cake of this time period was that of Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter. Her cakes stood five feet high and weighed about 225 pounds. Another famous cake was that of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. Their cake stood nine feet high and weighed 500 pounds! The cake was four tiers and featured sugar replicas of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Palace and Balmoral Palace.
The multi-tiered cake was originally reserved for the English royalty. They would also use these cakes for christenings, as the wedding and christening events would take place very near each other. This fact rationalized the thought that all weddings should have three tiered cakes. The bottom tier was for the wedding reception, the second tier would be distributed amongst guests and the third tier would be for the christening. As the wedding and christening became disassociated with each other, the top tier was then saved by the bride and groom for their first anniversary. The top tier is now considered a nice reminder of their wedding day.
It was the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840 that really set the fashion for weddings – the dresses and cakes both became big and white as a norm. In the minds of most people, wedding cakes are supposed to be white. The symbolism attached to the colour white, makes explaining this tradition rather simple. White has always denoted purity, and it relates to white wedding cake icing that first appeared in Victorian times. Another way in which a white wedding cake relates to the symbol of purity, has its basis in the fact that the wedding cake was originally referred to as the bride's cake. This not only highlighted the bride as the central figure of the wedding, but also created a visual link between the bride and the cake. Previous to Victorian times, most wedding cakes were also white, but not because of the symbolism. Ingredients were very difficult to come by, especially those required for icing. White icing required the use of only the finest refined sugar, so the whiter the cake, the more affluent the families appeared. A white wedding cake became an outward symbol of affluence. As time went on sugar became cheaper and it became much easier for working class families to imitate the weddings of the rich.But of course this affluence couldn’t last, and wartime rationing rather limited wedding cake options. During the Second World War there were strict rations so cakes were much smaller. The average person would have probably had some ingredients donated from friends and relations. Others used deceptive tricks so their cakes looked the part. Gravy browning made fruit cakes look richer or cardboard cakes were rented and the real, smaller cake was concealed inside.
Cake decorations also developed with the size and beauty of wedding cakes. Pillars were used in early-tiered wedding cakes as a way to support the many upper tiers. In order to keep a cake from sinking, the bakers began to harden the icing for support.
Cutting of the Cake Tradition.
Wedding cakes take centre stage in the traditional cake cutting ceremony, symbolically the first task that bride and groom perform jointly as husband and wife. This is one tradition that most of us have witnessed and wedding photographers have captured many times . The first piece of wedding cake is cut by the bride with the "help" of the groom. This task originally was delegated exclusively to the bride. It was she who cut the wedding cake for sharing with her guests. Distributing pieces of wedding cake to one's guests is a part of that tradition from the Roman Empire when guests clamored for the crumbs. But, as numbers of wedding party guests grew, so did the size of the wedding cake, making the distribution process impossible for the bride to undertake on her own. Wedding cake cutting became more difficult with early multi-tiered cakes, because the icing had to be hard enough to support the wedding cake's own weight. This made cutting the wedding cake a joint project. After the cake cutting ceremony, the couple proceed to feed one other from the first slice. This provides another lovely piece of symbolism, the mutual commitment of bride and groom to provide for one another.
As the days get shorter and the wedding season madness of 2019 draws to a close I'm thinking back to all the wedding cake creations that left my kitchen this year and I lovingly waved a fond goodbye to over the summer.
It's been a whirlwind of a wedding season here. We've made wedding cakes of all sorts of colours and styles, from bold, modern and striking, to rustic naked and semi naked wedding cakes, to the romantic and floral. In particular, however, I noticed traditional white wedding cakes came up again and again.
Shades of white for a wedding cake is so traditional, so timeless and so beautiful, maybe Meghan and Harry kicked this off when they chose a simple but stunning off white buttercream wedding cake for their wedding last year.
Anyway, I thought I'd showcase some of our white wedding cakes here.
Ten of our white wedding cakes - timeless, traditional and beautiful, to inspire and maybe give you some ideas for your big day.
Let's face it weddings can be wasteful affairs, from the binned food, the huge number of cars travelling from ceremony to venue, the endless paper for invitations and orders of service, the special one-day-only attire, the favours of little plastic bottles of bubbles in the shape of wedding cakes..... I could go on, but I won't - you get the idea.
No wedding can be perfectly ethical and I'm not here to give you a guilt trip, more to give you some ideas on how just some small changes can really make a difference to the eco-footprint of your wedding.
Sustainable and ethical bridalwear - consider buying a vintage or second-hand dress and/or recycling your dress after your big day. Oxfam, Red Cross, Cancer Research all have dedicated bridal departments with nearly new 'only worn once' wedding dresses that can be easily altered by a dressmaker. Or consider the charity Brides Do Good with their amazing mission, for a really, truly ethical wedding dress. Otherwise, if you are buying new, research the designers and support those who ensure fair conditions for their workers and use ethically sourced fabrics. On this note, how about allowing bridesmaids to choose their own dress that they will use again after the big day, instead of it being wasted at the back of the wardrobe never to be used again. Give them the colour scheme and let them choose a dress that they will be comfortable in and will go on to wear for years to come. Believe me, they will thank you for it!
Choose your venue wisely - We all know that aeroplane and car emissions are among the top villains when it comes to environmental damage. So thinking carefully about the destination is an important one when it comes to having an environmentally conscious wedding. Think about how guests will get from the ceremony to reception. If you are set on a destination wedding abroad then this one isn't for you, but if you are in a few minds then think about where your guests are coming from and which venue will require the least car and plane journeys.
Eco-friendly menu - your venue may be providing the wedding breakfast, or you may have a catering team, either way, think about hiring a catering company with a sustainable ethos, maybe one who source organic, local and fairtrade ingredients where possible. Going one step further and having a vegan or vegetarian menu would be a fantastic way to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding admittedly this may not be for everyone, but perhaps think about how sustainable the main courses are instead. Reduce your carbon footprint further by sourcing the alcohol from local wineries and distilleries. There are lots of fantastic British sparkling and still wines out there, have a search and find your local vineyard - make a day of it together and go and try some!
Stationery - You could avoid paper wastage by sending all wedding correspondence digitally. Use a DIY graphics designer such as Canva or Enlight to create stunning invites to send directly to your guests' inbox. If you do opt for hard copy invites, ask your stationer to print on recycled paper.
Jewellery - try to make ethical choices here too, fair mined stones and metals, or again shop vintage or look for brands with a fairtrade or sustainable manufacturing ethos.
Flowers -think of replacing freshly cut flowers with potted herbs and greenery, ask your florist about sourcing local flowers depending on the season, or potted plants as an alternative to flowers that may have to be flown in from abroad. Are you getting married in the morning and another couple getting married in the afternoon? Maybe you could meet them and discuss how you can decorate the church or ceremony venue with flowers to suit both weddings to reduce wastage. Look into to donating the floral arrangements to a care home or hospice to brighten somebody's day after your wedding.
Decor - Think about the decor. As beautiful as they are, balloons, sky lanterns and fireworks can be quite harmful to the environment and local wildlife if not disposed of in the right way. Try and focus on recyclable or reusable items like glassware, bunting, ribbon, and vintage bric a brac items which you can hire or pick up in charity shops. Think about using biodegradable confetti or dried flower petals.
Favours - they are a lovely traditional way to say thank you to your guests for coming, but sometimes they can be less practical, more wasteful and complete landfillers. Think about seeds for guests to plant, small jars of local honey, bees-wax candles or something edible and personal like our personalised wedding biscuits. These can double up as table place names, saving paper wastage on using paper ones.
Ethical gift list - Ask people to donate to a charity that is close to your heart rather than a gift list, especially if you have already set up home together and do not need home start-up gifts.
Don't give yourself a hard time if you can't implement them all, the fact that you are reading this means you are more conscious than a lot of people, and even if you manage to do one of these things, it all helps in the long run and you may encourage other couples to follow suit.
Welcome to the Blog
Hello and welcome to the All About The Wedding blog from Let Them Eat Cakes.
Here at Let Them Eat Cakes we are heavily into wedding cakes, as you might imagine, but we are wedding cake makers for a reason......we love cake and we simply love all things wedding!
We've been in the wedding industry for ten years now, along the way we've been part of hundreds of weddings, delivered each and every cake personally to the venues and we've seen beautiful wedding decor of all styles and descriptions. We've picked up some know-how and experience and we hope that we might be able to pay it forward to you, the bride and groom.
We hope that by reading our blog you will gain insights, tips, and advice to help you plan the perfect wedding that reflects your style and personality, giving your guests and of course, yourselves the most perfect day ever!
We will share articles on all aspects of different wedding styles, as well as from time to time giving you a sneak peek of the weddings we take cake to. We want to give you tips and advice on everything from up-to-the-minute trends and colour schemes right through to articles on ways you can reduce the environmental and ethical impact of your wedding and ideas on planning a more sustainable wedding day, which is the subject of our first weekly blog post.
So although we are cake makers, this blog is not all about cake.....although we love cake so I can't promise there won't be a little slither of cake talk thrown in, you're fine with that right?