Shopping for Wedding Cakes

Shopping For The Right Wedding Cake

By Loreen Berlin

Your wedding cake is a major focal point adding an elegant touch to your day.

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Some bakeries say to allow as little as two weeks when ordering, while some require as much as one to three months notice. It’s best to make an appointment so you’ll have the wedding cake consultant’s undivided attention. Some will allow you an hour of their time, free of charge.


When you’ve decided how many guests are attending and therefore serving, other details will include how many cake layers you’ll need to serve your guests – perhaps adding a sheet cake or two, to go along with the traditional wedding cake in the event you’ve invited 400 to 500 people. A four-tier cake that serves 160 people will cost about $210 or a three-layer cake with two fillings per layer that serves 280 guests may cost as much as $600.

Have a budget in mind when you begin your cake shopping. Cake servings can be figured per person and a standard price is approximately $2 per person. This usually includes the filling inside the cake. Some bakeries charge a flat fee and may be less expensive if you’re doing a package deal with a hotel that the bakery works with a lot.

Cake delivery fees start at $20 to $35 and go up from there for greater distances traveled. Generally the bakery will require a deposit of one-half, or a percentage such as 20 percent when ordering the cake, with the balance due one to two weeks before the wedding day.


The most popular flavors include white, chocolate, lemon, yellow, spice, marble. For an extra charge, some bakeries can provide you with a carrot cake for an out-of- the-ordinary taste.

An assortment of fillings are available according to your personal taste. They include: Lemon, Bavarian cream, pineapple, apple, apricot, chocolate, raspberry, cherry, boysenberry, strawberry, German chocolate (contains coconut and pecans), and two fillings that need refrigeration: cream cheese and pronto cream (eclair type filling). Adding a nondairy whip cream (needs no refrigeration) to any of these fillings will make a delicious mousse filling.

Frostings extend from a traditional buttercream to whipped cream (usually nondairy so no refrigeration is required) and even a white or dark chocolate frosting for a little more cost.


There are so many options when deciding the configuration of the cake layers. Columns can separate layers, or even three-inch Plexiglas tubes that can be filled with and assortment of items to match and compliment your wedding, such as real or silk flowers, florescent serpentine, or even gold fish in fresh water, if that’s your individual taste. And there are fountains that can be placed under or in the middle of cake layers.

Tubes and columns vary in several heights and include 3 to 5 pieces that can be rented. If your wedding is on Saturday, any columns or tubes that were part of your wedding cake will need to be returned by the following Monday. You may need to have someone return these items for you, if you’re going on a honeymoon immediately.

Staircases are usually a purchase “only” item at $15 for a set of two. Cake tops range from the traditional bride and groom, that will cost from $15.99 to $120, to hand-blown tops with dolphins, hummingbirds, bells, swans, bluebirds and hearts to name a few for a cost of $29 to $60. A glass stand without the bride and groom ranges from $25 to $35.

Fresh flowers add a nice touch for decorating the cake. Add about $40 plus, if the bakery buys the flowers. You’ll need to tell them the color(s) you want or you can purchase the flowers yourself and take them to the bakery. Also, if you have a picture of a cake that you like, some bakeries are willing to make your wedding cake to match the picture. Be sure to ask, as there may be an extra charge.


Questions To Ask:

How much advance notice does the bakery need to make your wedding cake?

How does the bakery figure the cost of the cake – by individual serving or by flat fee?

Is there a deposit amount required for your order?

When is the balance due?

Does the bakery require a separate deposit on columns and/or fountains, or is it a purchase only?

How much is the delivery charge – Is it extra for longer distances?

What flavors of cake are available – what are the filling choices?

If you’re looking for additional information and last minute ideas, you should attend one of the ever-popular BrideWord Expos. BrideWorld hosts events where you can meet with dozens upon dozens of wedding professionals face-to-face, who have the experience to answer your toughest questions.

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