Wedding Cake costs & What you get

When I am talking with brides about their budget, I am frequently asked "how much does a wedding cake cost" or "what is the average wedding cake"?  When it comes to the wedding cake, pricing depends on a lot of factors such as if you want a simple wedding cake that is a two tier wedding cake versus an elaborate five tier cake.  

I wanted to talk more about the difference sources for each cake and what you get for the money.  Because it doesn't save money if you get a bad looking cake or worse, no cake at all.  

There are options for any budget from bare bones budget to budget conscious to luxury.  

Cakes for a bare bones budget

Enlist a friend or ask around for someone who does cakes on the side.  Be sure to ask lots of questions and to see photos of previous work.

Pros: Can get a nice cake for a low price

Cons:  Reliability, responsiveness and quality may be a factor.  May not have many choices in flavor (Always have a taste testing.)  May not be able to get an intricate style or design. May not have a business license or approved kitchen. Your wedding cake could end up on CakeWrecks

Tip - Instead of one large cake, have friends each bring a small single tier cakes.  They can all be the same flavor or different.  

Cakes for Limited funds

Look at the wedding cakes at Walmart, Kroger, Ingles, etc.  Many large grocery stores offer wedding cakes in the bakery.

Pros: You can get a traditional wedding cake for 100 guess for less than $200 (depending on location. prices vary)

Cons:  Not many options in flavors, icing or styles.  White buttercream is the standard.  You will be required to pick up and assemble the cake yourself. 

Tip - Have the cake iced in all white.  Then decorate with flowers to create a custom wedding cake.    

Cake display with 5 cakes.  A 3 tier wedding cake with pink flowers and 4 naked cakes with fruit.

Cake display with 5 cakes.  A 3 tier wedding cake with pink flowers and 4 naked cakes with fruit.

Cake that looks Elegant

Go to Publix and talk with the bakery. You can preview some of their styles on their website, but will need to talk to someone in the bakery to order.  A 3 tier wedding cake starts around $350 depending on the size, flavors and icing that you choose. 

Pros: Options in flavors, icing, styles and shapes compared to cheaper options

Cons: The flavors for their large cakes may be limited compared to their smaller round cakes. The professionalism and design quality of the cake can vary from one store to the next depending on the staff. 

Tip - Get a small two tier cake from the bakery.  Then also order multiple sheet cakes in different flavors. The sheet cakes can be pre-cut and served.

Wedding Cake from a Bakery

This is the option that most brides choose and the one I recommend.  Boutique bakeries can create beautiful cakes in a variety of styles, flavors, and shapes.  They maintain licenses, insurance and inspections.  The quality of the cakes are consistent from tasting to the day of your wedding.  Plus you get new and unique flavors and design techniques.  Cakes start at $4 a slice at the lowest and go up to around $7-$8 a slice depending on the the baker you choose, the type of icing, the number of layers, and the complexity of the design.   

Talk to me to learn more about the bakeries that I recommend based on first hand experience. 

White 3 tier cakes with roses and greenery (Hannah Elaine Photography)

White 3 tier cakes with roses and greenery (Hannah Elaine Photography)

4 tier white wedding cake with intricate icing. 

4 tier white wedding cake with intricate icing. 

Note: This post has been updated for 2017.

Tablescape: Peach + Gold Dessert Station

The warmth of the Florida sun, Spanish moss, and orange trees inspired me to create a couples dessert.  This charming display combines antiques, white dishes accented with orange and peach flowers, and gold details.  The cake, cupcakes, cake pops and scones all make a pretty setting for the vibrant colors. 

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Groom's Cake Stand In - Eight Great Choices

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If you go to any wedding, there is usually an abundance of cake - beautiful, whimsical, elegant, colorful, detailed - cake. Groom's cake can be unique  - cowboy hats, life preserver, Stratocaster guitar, blackjack table - I've seen lot of interesting cakes.  But it's still cake.  

There are so many other options that are equally delicious and more representative of your character.

1. Candy buffet - You've seen them in the range of flavors and colors.  But who doesn't love to see their favorites? 

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2. Cake buffet - Instead of one cake, let guests choose from a dozen tempting choices. 


3. Pie - Great for a backyard or relaxed reception.  The hardest part may be limiting the flavors - apple, peach, chess, chocolate......Read More

4. Dessert and Milk - Who can resist dessert and milk shooters? 

5. Ice cream - For a truly memorable dessert option, serve custom ice cream times to be served after the cake cutting.  A popular option is ice cream sandwiches with gourmet flavors.   

6. Cookie buffet - Everyone's childhood dessert favorite.  Lay out a buffet of delicious cookies and goody bags to take some home.

wedding cookie buffet (Affordable wedding photography)

wedding cookie buffet (Affordable wedding photography)

7. Banana Pudding - Who doesn't love this childhood favorite served with whipped cream?  have it served in small cups for a great presentation. 

8. Strawberry Shortcake - This summer favorite is also popular at weddings.  A create-your-own buffet is fun for guests. 

9. Chocolate truffles - No matter how you choose to present them, these are a great choice for a groom's dessert or a favor. 

10. Family Recipe - Does everyone have fond memories of grandma's special pumpkin bread or Aunt Suzie's dessert custard?  Handed down family recipe's can be worked into weddings.  Some bakers will be glad to use a family recipe as long as they receive it with plenty of advance time. 

(Jenna Winstead photography)

(Jenna Winstead photography)

Oh Sugar Sugar! - Wedding Pies for the Reception

One very traditional dessert is becoming a non traditional item at many wedding - the pie.   Depending on the formality and "feel" of you wedding this might be an option for you.

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Pies are fabulous instead of a groom's cake.  They are versatile allowing you to provide numerous flavors - fruit, cream, meringue, silk and so many more...

Mini pie display at a wedding reception (Affordable wedding photography)

Mini pie display at a wedding reception (Affordable wedding photography)

The are inexpensive compared to the serving cost of a cake.  You could have a pie for each table for a much lower cost than an individual cake.

Pies can still be decorated or finished to look as appealing as cake without the cost.  Plus, you guests can find a flavor they love.  You can display them in many ways and add lots of Southern charm. 

Slices of pie (Sarah Gilliam photography)

Slices of pie (Sarah Gilliam photography)