A wedding cake plays a huge part in your wedding. Not only is it a centrepiece at the wedding reception, but also acts as a talking point – with the added benefit of your guests getting to eat it too.
But exactly how much a wedding cake costs depends on a lot, from the number of tiers to the flavour. You may want an elegant, traditional fruit cake, or a towering chocolate explosion – the choices are endless.
In this post, we’ll take a look at everything to do with the cost of a wedding cake, including the average cost, what can affect the price, and what type of cake you might expect for your budget.
In our ultimate wedding budget breakdown, we revealed that the average cost of a wedding cake in the UK is £300-£400. However, what you’ll actually pay could be lower – or much, MUCH higher, depending on what you’re looking for.
For example, if you have a tighter budget, then a two-tier, lightly decorated vanilla sponge will be more affordable. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a touch of extravagance, a four-tier cake with multiple flavours and intricate detail will need a more generous budget.
Number of Tiers
£250 – £280
£280 – £350
£350 – £400
£300 – £350
£350 – £450
£450 – £600
£400 – £450
£450 – £550
£550 – £750
If you’re on a budget, check out our post on ways to save money on your wedding cake.
How much you should pay for your wedding cake is purely down to what works for you – there is no right or wrong answer. If a wedding cake is something you want to include as a formality (or to appease Grandma), then you may want something small purely for the sake of your photos and to give your guests an extra dessert (once again, appeasing Grandma). In fact, if you’re not interested in traditions, you don’t need a wedding cake at all – something unique, like a pie or a jelly, works just as well and makes for a great talking point.
Yes, a bespoke wedding cake will cost more than a ‘generic design’, due to the amount of time it takes the cake maker to design and make the cake. This could include having to create new techniques, sourcing new moulds, or crafting sugar models and patterns.
Store-made cakes are also made in large batches and often frozen before they’re bought, whereas bespoke cakes are freshly made. It’ll still be a lovely cake to both admire and eat, but a bespoke cake adds that extra touch of quality.
Traditionally, a wedding cake will have three tiers, but that’s not to say that your cake should stick to this. It’s your wedding, and if you want your cake to have two tiers (or 14 if you’re so inclined – you do you) then there’s nothing stopping you.
The only thing to be mindful of is how many guests your cake may need to feed. The more guests you have, then if you plan on letting everyone have a slice the bigger it’ll need to be.
If you’re keen on cake but not big on tradition, a show-stopping novelty cake can work as a great centrepiece. A three-tier cake will turn some heads, but a novelty cake shaped like something other than a cake is a great way to add another layer of personalisation to your wedding. Whether it’s a mountain if you enjoy hiking, a carousel if you both love going to the fair, or a pile of books if you’re both big readers, there are a million and one options for a creative – but still elegant and classy – wedding cake. However, because novelty cakes take a lot of work, they can cost a lot more – but are definitely worth it.
Another option to consider is a selection of cupcakes, such as from The Costa Cupcake Company and The Daisy Chain Bakery. The number of cupcakes can be customised to the number of guests you’ve invited, so everyone gets one. Cupcakes can be decorated to complement your style or theme, and there’s also the benefit of them being a huge crowd pleaser, too.
Wedding cake prices can increase depending on the number of sugar decorations that you have, so think carefully before committing to a dozen sugar flowers on each tier. A ready-made sugar flower sold separately from the cake can cost £6.75, and bespoke flowers like peonies and roses for crowning the cake can add another £30 – £40. Many couples choose to decorate their cake with real or plastic flowers, both of which save a considerable amount of money and still look absolutely amazing.
When it comes to your wedding cake, there are plenty of factors that will affect how much you’ll pay:
You’ll be the first to slice your cake, but don’t expect to have to cut every guest a slice yourself. When speaking to your catering team, ask them exactly how you want your cake to be sliced. If you have a fruit cake, the denseness and richness mean you don’t need to be overly generous with size like you might with a more delicate sponge. Another way to ensure a better cost-per-slice ratio is with square slices instead of wedges.
When it comes to taste, vanilla, chocolate and lemon are the most popular wedding cake flavours, and luckily they’re also among the cheapest. A fruit cake made with fresh fruit will be more expensive, but as we mentioned above, its intense (and more acquired) taste means it’ll go further. Also, rolled fondant and marzipan will cost more, as they take more time to smooth and can tear easily if not applied carefully.
Dummy layers are a crafty way to add extra tiers to your cake while ensuring the cost doesn’t spiral out of control. Dummy layers are made from styrofoam and covered in the same icing as the other layers, so your guests will be none the wiser. They’re a great way to save if you’re keen on a five-tier cake but only need 70 servings. A fake layer (or two) can add drama and extra height, without the need for a filling or unnecessary weight. The layer itself doesn’t cost a lot, but it’s worth bearing in mind that lots of detail will still drive up the price.
And if you’re looking for ways to save money on your wedding cake, we’ve put together our top tips to help you cut costs without cutting out all the best bits.