So how can you figure out your own wedding cake budget, if the average wedding cake cost is between £250 and £750?
Here are my top tips for narrowing down your budget.
- What are you looking for in a wedding cake? Do you want something that you can show off to your friends? Do you just want something tasty that everyone will enjoy? Do you just want a beautiful statement piece, that doesn’t necessarily need to be eaten?
I think that cakes should look as beautiful as they taste, so both of these elements go hand-in-hand for me. This isn’t the same for every cake designer, so you will find some who focus more on design and others who focus more on flavour. Generally the more showstopping you want your cake to be (i.e. heavily decorated, sugar flowers, fondant finish, tall/lots of tiers) the more expensive it will be. This is partly because it will take more time to make, and partly because you should be looking at the higher end designers to ensure a quality finish. If you look at lower end designers, it will obviously cost less, but it will mean compromising on something that’s truly showstopping. Most fondant finishes will be in the £450 to £750 bracket. Semi naked finishes tend to be towards the lower end of the range, so £250 to £500. If you then factor in choosing a luxury designer who will ensure taste (and sustainability of ingredients) are ‘showstopping’, you will need to add an additional £100 (semi naked) to £200 (fondant) to your budget. If taste is just as important to you as appearance, but you’re worried that this will push the budget too far away from your plan, you might look at ordering a smaller main cake + topping up servings with cupcakes. If looks aren’t important but taste is, then you will be able to shop around for a cheaper cake maker whose finish may not be as high.
- What design are you looking for?
You will probably already know roughly how you want your wedding cake to look, so either a smooth white finish (like buttercream or fondant) or a more relaxed naked finish. From here, it’s a case of thinking about how complicated you want the design to be. If you look at more simple designs, you can narrow your budget down to the lower half of the ranges above. A more simple design means less elements. So just one variety of sugar flower with fillers, or fresh flowers from one source, or a few varieties of British berries. If you look at more complicated designs, you can expect your budget to be in the upper half of the ranges above. A more complicated design means more different elements and/or more work to create those elements. So you might have 3 or 4 ‘main’ varieties of sugar flower + fillers, or a combination of fresh edible flowers and harder to source tropical fruits. Alternatively, instead of using fresh fruit, you may opt for dehydrated fruits or flowers which would take your designer more time to create.
- Is designer or design more important to you?
You may have been lusting after the work of a particular cake designer whilst planning your wedding. They probably have a very specific style and therefore have honed their skills accordingly. If you’re looking for the work of a specific designer, they will spend the time to design something which is truly unique to you as a couple. That attention to detail in design is also often matched by a very personal and luxury service, from consultation to finished cake. However, it’s very unlikely that they are the closest designer to your venue, so it will cost a little more in delivery fees. You’re essentially buying an edible piece of art designed especially for you and that will push the price to the higher end of the ranges (if not above them). Other couples may like the work of a few different designers, and when they step back, realise that there are actually some themes in the cake designs they have picked. And it’s the design theme which is important to them, not necessarily the designers themselves. In this case, you will be able to shop around a little more to find a designer within your budget.
- How much are you willing to pay?
It sounds like a really silly thing to ask yourself, but you do have to sit down as a couple and consider what you believe to be reasonable. You can work through this post and pull together a budget of £400 or £550 or £700 but if you think that is too expensive, you will never be satisfied with the cake you order at that price. However, when you shift your budget down, you have to recognise that the quality will drop. You can buy a pair of look-a-like Christian Louboutin shoes for 20% of the price, but they are not the same. They aren’t packaged the same, they aren’t made with the same materials. You don’t feel the same when you open the box and you certainly don’t feel the same when you wear them.
You will hear lots of wedding suppliers talk about prioritising your budget. If the cake is important to you, put aside more budget so that you can have your dream cake. If it isn’t important, set aside less budget and be more flexible as to what can be achieved within that. You are making an investment into a part of your wedding celebration and it is worth every penny if you pick the right cake designer. There is nothing like the feeling of walking into your wedding breakfast to see the most beautiful edible creation, and having all of your family and friends tell you it’s the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen and best cake they’ve ever tasted.