The cost of a wedding is getting more expensive each day, from the reception, the flowers, the cars, the photographer and so much more it’s hard to stick to a budget.

So when it comes to a wedding cake how much does it really cost?

Like all trades you are paying for a professional’s skills. I have been decorating cakes since I was 10 years old, and like many other people with a passion, I have also gone through the hard yards of completing my apprenticeship and getting my qualification. Now 16 years on, the wedding cake business has changed so much with so many cake flavours available and different icings to choose from, it’s never been easier to get your dream wedding cake at the right price.

With quality comes a price, wedding cakes are a work of art and they can take anywhere from 8hrs to 100hrs to complete! The ingredients themselves are the least of the cost with every rose and every layer having been handmade by a professional cake artist.

So how so you keep to your budget? Things to consider before you set your budget. How many guests are you having? Is it for dessert or to take home? Do you want something modern or vintage? Would you like lavish detailing or simple but elegant?

How to determine the cake price

The icing. There are many more choices for icing compared to 30 years ago. For a small budget you might look at getting a butter cream iced cake. It tastes yummy and gives the cake a rustic look however you will be limited to the amount of decoration you can place on the cake. The roll over icing (or fondant) will give you a smooth classy look, and you can choose from so many extra decorations, ribbons, piped work etc to make that dream wedding cake come to life. However unlike butter cream there is a lot of time and work that goes into making it perfectly smooth. This icing is very delicate and can tear easily if not applied by an experienced decorator. There is also an option for chocolate creations. You can have your cake covered and decorated all in one and with chocolate fencing or chocolate wraps you can create classic and modern looks. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like chocolate? The only down side to chocolate is that many cake artists won’t do chocolate creations from November to March due to the weather conditions.

The Decorations. Cake decorations will vary according to the icing you choose, if you choose the roll over fondant your options are limitless, however if you choose chocolate or butter cream your best choice for decorations are fresh or silk flowers, organza ribbon and fresh fruits.

The filling. Gone are the days of the fruit cake. Now you can choose nearly anything you want. If you are having slices with coffee or sending the cake home with the guest you are better off choosing a mud cake. However if your are using the cake for your dessert it’s nice to have a cake with filling or dessert flavoured. Filled cake and dessert cakes might cost you extra, as you will need larger slices which means a large cake, but remember you are saving about $10 a head by using your cake as dessert instead of ordering dessert.

What size should I order? This all depends on your guest list. For take home or coffee slices you can cater for 80% of your guests, some guests will eat it some won’t. If you are having the cake as dessert you need to cater for all your guests plus a little extra, please don’t under cater as you want to make sure all your guests get a piece. Do remember the slices will be larger so your cake will be larger. For those on a tight budget you can now order serving slabs, these are slabs that only the kitchen staff see, you can have a smaller cake on display and have some spare slabs out the back, this way you will save on icing and decorating.

Hint: if you are having your reception in a large room and only have a 2 tier cake the cake is going to look out of place, keep in mind the size and get your cake artist to show you the size of what your cake will be.

Cake toppers. These can range from flowers to letters to bride and grooms. A personalised cake topper will cost you more than one off the shelf. Think about what you are getting, a keep sake of your wedding cake, something that personifies the bridal couple from the love they have for one another or the joys they have spending time together, even that moment that they first met. Personalised toppers can be made with as much or as little detail as you like. If you are on a budget you can always opt for fresh flowers over icing flowers. I urge you to have a good talk to both your florist and cake decorator to make sure they are coordinated as fresh flowers can not go onto the cake until the day of the wedding (things can get lost in translation). Some decorators will have their own florist they choose to use. If you choose to buy your own topper, make sure you let the cake decorator know, they may require it before the wedding date to make sure it fits in with the other decorations.

What are you paying for. For those on a tight budget you can still have a breathtaking cake. Choose a cake that has butter cream icing and have it decorated with fresh flowers. Remember the least amount of detail the less expensive the cake. So if a cake takes 40 hrs to complete that’s 40 hrs you need to pay your cake artist to create your cake.

Tip: Always ask for a tasting, you don’t want to get to your wedding day and have a cake that taste horrible.

As all cakes are created for each individual couple it’s hard to put a base price on your wedding cake, however if you budget for $6 a head you will be more than happy with the amount of options you will get!!

Images from Regnier Cakes

Ms Gingham says: Great advice and tips here. A must read before you start planning your wedding cake.

About Melina from Regnier Cakes: “As a child I was always a bit cake crazy, helping mum in the kitchen every chance I had. In grade 5 I entered my very first cake competition at my school fete. I selected the piggy cake from the famous Women’s Weekly cake book. To my surprise I won my first competition.  After this I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life.”