So you’ve saved your date at your dream wedding venue, chosen your flowers, and booked your photographer. Now you’re looking at cakes and wondering “How much cake do we need?” “How much would this 4-tiered cake I found on Pinterest serve?” “I don’t even know how many people will RSVP!”
Determining how much cake you will need might seem like just one more thing on your wedding to-do list, but it can simplified and also fun!
The first step should be determining how many guests you are inviting, if you haven’t already. Once you know a rough idea of how many people you will invite, you can use that as a guideline. Generally a good rule of thumb is to assume about 20% of your invited guests may RSVP as a ‘Regretfully Decline’. So if you are inviting 150 guests, try planning for 120 guests until it gets closer to the wedding.
Most caterers and bakers will ask for a final headcount closer to the big day, how long beforehand depends on each vendor’s individual policies. Here at Wildflour Cake Design, we like to get that count around two weeks out so we can adjust the cake’s design if needed, or add more cupcakes. Bottom line: you can always add more servings or treats as you get a better idea of how many people actually plan to show up. Using that 80% estimate, is usually a good starting point.
Next you should think about how your friends and family feel about cake. Do you have big eaters or foodies in your family? Will people want to try more than one flavor or treat? Or, are most of your guests super health conscious, who may actually pass on a slice of delicious cake? I find that most people in Maine look at weddings as a special occasion and tend to take the Treat Yo’ Self approach when it comes to dessert, but if you think your guests may not, that is something to consider.
Do you think some guests will leave early or shortly after dinner? Perhaps folks with children (if you have a kid-friendly wedding, that is) or elderly family members might leave a little early, as well. That being said, cake tends to be the wedding ingredient that keeps people sticking around. Take this into consideration as well. When you have an idea of how many people may NOT participate in cake; that too can help you determine how much is too much.
At the end of the day it is usually better to have too much cake than it is to run out and have bummed-out guests. You can always send extras home with loved ones or eat it for your recovery breakfast with your bridal party! The safest approach is to have enough dessert for all of your guests, but you don’t need to go overboard. If you have great cake at your wedding, it will get eaten. If you have dry, not-so-awesome cake, lets be real, it will probably get left behind, so making sure you do a tasting and find the baker you truly love is super important.
Now that you have an idea of your cake-eater-to-cake ratio the fun part begins: deciding on desserts! Do you want just a stand-alone tiered-cake show stopper? A smaller cake for cutting with another type of treat for the bulk of the servings, like cupcakes or French macarons? Or do you dream of a full dessert table in coordinating colors and all the delicious treat options? Knowing how many guests to serve for will help you decide how to come up with those servings. If you are doing a dessert table for instance, you might have a small 2-tiered cake to serve as a centerpiece and feed about half of your guests, and then a display of cupcakes, cookies, macarons, and chocolates to make enough dessert to go around. This can be a really fun way to do your cake, as it gives everyone lots of tasty options to choose from.
Now that you have these tips and ideas to think about, schedule a tasting with your favorite cake designer. Once your baker knows how many people you plan to feed, they can help determine what size and how many tiers you’ll need. They will also be able to give you suggestions on how much cake to get based on how they make their cakes and how they suggest cutting their tiers. Not all bakeries make cakes the same height as another or may build them differently, and some may not offer certain sizes, so it is best to ask if they have a cutting guide for their specific style. At Wildflour, we build our tiers tall and modern, as well as offer double-barrel cakes, so a generic cutting guide found online will not necessarily work to determine the best size. Check out our Cake Serving Guide for some of our popular tier combinations we use and the servings they offer.
Just have fun with it! And remember, cake left over is more cake for you and the bridal party at the end of the night or for breakfast before your honeymoon travels! Happy tasting!
To schedule a tasting with Wildflour Cake Design, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 207-745-8319. Serving Greater Bangor and surrounding areas.