Wedding Cake Budgets
by Thea Poole
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY FOR MY DESIGNER WEDDING CAKE?
Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life; one you’ve possibly imagined for years. For many, however, the excitement of putting those dreams into play is rapidly curbed when faced with budgets.
Unless you have a very talented baker and icer in your circle of friends, chances are you’ll turn to a professional for your cake. After all, it needs to look fantastic, taste incredible and be of a size that will cater for all your guests.
I’m often faced with a look of dismay when I give couples a price for the elaborate cake they’ve just described. “Really? That much? It’s just a cake!” They fail to take into account that to feed 120 people, the cake needs to be of a certain size – and most cake designers will work out a cost based on a per-slice basis – depending on how you choose to serve your cake.
You will need larger serves if your cake is going to be the dessert, and smaller serves if the cake is served later with coffee.
Substituting the wedding cake for a dessert may sound like it should save you the cost of catered desserts, however, because you will need larger serves you will need more cake.
These serves are often accompanied by a crème fraiche and a berry coulis, which your caterer may charge for. Some venues will also charge a plating fee, similar to a corkage fee for BYO wines.
The couple also often fails to recognise the man-hours involved in creating those hand-crafted sugar flowers they’d like, or just how long the designer will spend detailing those piped lacey trims and the intricate design work they’ve envisaged. It might be time to create something less detailed, yet equally as gorgeous, to stay within your budget.
Consider this … if you pop into a coffee shop, you’re going to fork out around $4 just for a macaron, and probably close to $6 for a slice of carrot cake. Multiply this by the number of guests attending your reception, and you have the start of your budget. And that’s not taking into account the wow factor you’re probably demanding of your cake designer, for the most important cake of your life.
It pays to bear in mind that there are many techniques and ingredients a designer can use to arrive at the finished product. If you want a gravity-defying work of art to feed 200 guests, be prepared to spend a little.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way … but don’t pass out, don’t sigh, don’t rant. Discuss your theme, your objective, be willing to state your budget and I’m sure your cake can be tailored to match. As with anything in life, even your marriage, compromise and flexibility are key!