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Wedding Cakes - Questions to ask a Cake Maker / Cake Decorator

These wedding cake questions and answers have been taken from the wedding forum.

Q. I am just starting to look for a wedding cake but am unsure what to choose. I have never dreamt of a perfect cake, unlike some of my girlfriends who seem to know every part of their wedding preparation, while I feel I am stumbling through it.

Anyway, I am on a budget, would like a mud cake for around 150 guests. I am unsure whether to get a rectangle or tiered cake, does it make a difference to price ranges?

What questions do I need to ask a cake maker/decorator before I know this is the cake for me?

Any suggestions you could provide would be greatly appreciated.


A. Hi Bec,

What a perfect question. I hope this helps a few more BTB's.

The price of your cake mainly comes down to the size and the amount of hours required to decorate your cake, not the actual ingredients.

O.k. Now the more tiers you have, the greater the cost involved due to more time spent on covering the cakes and assembling them together. I hope that makes sense.

Now, the shape of your cake will also affect the price of your cake. Cake tins to buy (for the cake decorator) range in price which reflect onto the brides costings. Your square and round are your most popular and for a reason, they are the cheapest. Your heart, hexagonal, oval etc are a lot more expensive and can go up to $60 per tin to buy and that's only one size (one tier).

Your square cake will serve more than your round because you have those extra corners to use.

So in saying all of that, if your on a budget and watching your penny's, choose a large square shaped cake with the possibility of having two tiers at the most. Serve your cake as coffee portions (the little finger slices your guests get to take home), that cuts down at least half the size of your cake. A smaller cake requires fewer decorations which mean a saving to the bride and groom.

According to the Cake Decorator's Association (which by the way any "good" cake decorator should be a member - always good to ask when looking for a cake decorator) a cake to serve 150 guests coffee portions will need to be the size of a 11 inch square cake (which will serve up to 112 guests) and a 8 inch square cake (which will serve up to 54 guests) a total number of guests fed with this size cake is 166. The next size down say a 10 inch square cake (serves up to 90 guests) and a 7 inch square cake (which will serve up to 40 guests) a total number of guests fed with this size cake is 130. If you were wanting a single tier (which in my opinion I think would look better as a two tier) would need to be at least a 13 inch square cake (will feed up to 148 guests). Having a single tier of this size would look more like birthday cake rather than a wedding cake.

Another way to cut your costs down a little is to have your cake decorator place fresh or silk flowers on your cake as decoration instead of sugar flowers. The cost involved to buy the fresh or silk flowers is still there but the hours involved to make them are not.

If your on a budget, please don't settle with the cheapest quote unless you have sampled some for their cake. Always ask to have a taste. There a quite a few cake decorators who can make a cake look good but there are only a few who can make one taste as good as it looks. Not only does a cake decorator have to be good at decorating but they also need the baking skills to produce a delicious cake. After all, your guests aren't going to take home a sample of decorations, they are taking home a piece of cake so make sure it tastes delicious and that they also offer a type of cake your after. Don't settle for something just because it's "cheaper", it's your big important day and you should get what you want.

Questions to ask your cake decorator when you do a ring around or visit.

  1. When do you bake the cakes
  2. What size cake will we have for our guest list (you have to compare apples with apples when getting quotes). Some cake decorators cut costs by producing a slightly smaller cake than another company so always ask what size and compare the same size cake with other companies.
  3. Do you make the decorations yourself or do you buy them in? (believe it or not some shops actually get really old ladies who work in their grotty old homes to make their decorations. You really want to know where and who is making your decorations, after all it's going to sit on the cake you and your guests will eat.
  4. Do you deliver? Do you charge a set up fee (if your having cupcakes etc). Watch some companies as they charge nearly double for a Sunday delivery compared to a Saturday. You think you get a discount for having your wedding on a Sunday, well apparently not with most cake decorators, they charge extra on a Sunday.
  5. My best advice is choose someone whom you feel comfortable with and always always always ask to sample their cake.

Well I hope this really answers a few questions and that I was of some help. If I have forgotten something please do write back and ask. I'd be more than happy to lend a helping hand.

Thanks so much for your question, I hope I've helped a few of you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Wedding Cakes
Cake Questions can be posted in Wedding Central's Forum
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