How Big Does Your Wedding Cake Really Need to Be?

Here's what to consider when trying to determine how much cake to order.

wedding cake
Photo: Kristen Kilpatrick

Ordering a wedding cake can be a bit of a puzzle, especially because determining the right size for your crowd really depends on a number of different factors. While budget may be a large consideration, you'll also want to think about the other desserts that will be served during the reception, the size you'd like the cake to be for aesthetic reasons, and how important the wedding cake is on your priority list.


Guest List

One of the first questions your wedding cake baker will ask you is how many servings you'd like for your guests. There are plenty of people who attend a wedding and never take a slice of cake, so you can usually get away with ordering enough cake for 77 to 85 percent of guests. And since your venue and baker may have different ideas about what constitutes a "slice," you may still have more than enough cake to go around.

Budget and Aesthetics

Some couples love the look of a large wedding cake, but don't need the number of servings that come with it. If you're thinking you'd like a five-tier cake, chat with your baker about creative ways to keep it small but still accomplish the look you're going for. Some couples opt to have a layer or two of "fake cake" so they can cut into a multi-layer cake but can still offer additional desserts to guests.

Additional Desserts

If you're planning on having a dessert display, or serve a plated dessert at the dinner table, you'll need much less cake. You can probably order about 50 percent cake in this case and fill in with the additional desserts for everyone else.

Service Style

In the rare instance that you may be planning to serve slices of wedding cake while guests are seated at the dinner table, you'll of course need to order enough cake for each guest. But as most wedding cakes are served while guests are mingling and dancing, it's usually not necessary to account for each individual.


Since the cost of wedding cake ranging from $3 to $20 per slice or more, this bill can add up quickly. It's often helpful to come up with a total you're comfortable spending on wedding cake and working backwards from there to determine the right size, style, and serving amount. If cake isn't a big priority, allocating that money toward desserts you love may be a better option for you.

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