Why Are Wedding Cakes So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Maisie Hughes

Maisie Hughes is a 20-year veteran of the culinary world. She has worked as a chef in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country, and she currently volunteers her time at local food banks.

Wedding cakes are among the most extravagant features of weddings. What started as a symbol of good luck is now a lavish centerpiece that weddings cannot do without.

If you are planning your wedding, you know that wedding cakes can cost a fortune. However, do you know why? I looked into it, and here is what I found!

Why Are Wedding Cakes So Expensive?

Wedding cakes are expensive because pastry chefs spend years of education and training to produce top-quality wedding cakes. Wedding cakes are often made with fresh ingredients, some of which are difficult to source. Additionally, wedding cakes require thorough planning and take days to assemble. Wedding cakes must be transported with care and retouched at the venue.

In case you are interested to learn more about the planning and labor necessary in making wedding cakes that make them so expensive, keep on reading!

1. Wedding Cakes Are Custom-Made

Wedding cakes are rarely mass-produced. Even though bakeries have generic designs, clients often make changes that will suit their wedding’s motif.

Also, some clients want their wedding cakes designed from scratch so that every little detail, from the colors and flowers to the flavors and toppings, is to their taste.

Like all other custom-made products, wedding cakes naturally cost more than other types of cakes.

2. Wedding Cakes Are Labor Intensive

There is more to making wedding cakes than simply baking and icing each tier. Unlike other cakes, wedding cakes have to be carefully assembled to create a perfect whole.

Often, wedding cakes are prepared by a pastry chef and a couple of trained staff, particularly if the wedding cake is multi-tiered and has a bigger serving size.

Therefore, to cover the wages of the people that work hard to bring a couple’s dream wedding cake to life, bakeries have to charge more for their wedding cakes.

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3. Wedding Cakes Need To Be Transported Carefully

Bakeries prefer to deliver their wedding cakes themselves because this allows them to ensure the safety of the cake as it goes from point A to point B.

After all, wedding cakes are often multi-tiered and extravagantly decorated. Any sudden movement can easily shave off a portion of the cake or send the whole cake flying.

However, the effort and tools needed to deliver wedding cakes safely cost money, which is passed on to consumers, making wedding cakes expensive.

4. Pastry Chefs Are Paid Based On Their Skill

Making wedding cakes is a tough job that requires a particular skill set to pull off, which is where formally trained and thoroughly experienced pastry chefs come in.

Even with online tutorials and short baking courses, the level of expertise that pastry chefs bring to the table cannot be easily replicated.

Additionally, pastry chefs invest years and thousands of dollars into honing their skills. As such, bakeries must pay pastry chefs their due wages.

That said, to do this, wedding cake prices have to go up.

5. Wedding Cakes Are Made From Better Ingredients

Wedding cakes are made using carefully curated ingredients, which is why wedding cakes tend to taste a whole lot better than regular cakes.

Furthermore, wedding cake ingredients are often fresh, and flavorings like vanilla extract are specially sourced from locations like Madagascar to get the best possible results.

Obviously, better ingredients mean higher prices, and these prices have a significant impact on the final cost of wedding cakes.

6. Wedding Cakes Have A Specific Amount Of Serving

6. Wedding Cakes Have A Specific Amount Of Serving

Wedding cakes differ in size and tier depending on the serving capacity you require. Naturally, the more guests you have, the bigger the cake you need.

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Also, it is common for couples to have more than a single cake, especially if their guest count exceeds two hundred.

Since wedding cake sizes are specifically calculated to serve around 80% of your guests, your wedding cake will likely be bigger than expected and, therefore, more expensive.

7. Some Bakeries Are More Well-Known Than Others

Some bakeries are known mainly for their wedding cakes. Given the reputation and expertise of these bakeries, they can command higher prices for their wedding cakes.

Similarly, some bakeries are popular for custom pastries or are simply established as top-quality pastry shops.

Technically, the more prominent and trusted the brand, the more expensive the wedding cakes tend to be.

8. Wedding Cakes Take Several Hours To Make

Wedding cakes can take upwards of ten hours to make, not including the planning, shopping, transporting, and retouching that needs to be done to the wedding cake.

Some decors made of fondant and chocolate are done up to two weeks in advance since they are so time-consuming to create.

Consequently, every hour spent preparing for a single wedding cake takes up energy and resources, costing bakeries.

Therefore, to recoup these costs, wedding cakes are priced expensively.

9. Wedding Cakes Are Planned In Advance

It may surprise you that wedding cakes are booked and designed six months to one year ahead of the wedding.

During this consultation stage, the bakery works with the bride, groom, or party host to finalize every detail of the wedding cake and perform taste tests.

Given the work, effort, and resources used to satisfy clients during the consultation, bakeries have to drive up the price of the wedding cake.

10. Wedding Cakes Are Retouched At The Venue

Wedding cakes can still get damaged on the way to the venue regardless of how careful the bakery is. As such, pastry chefs usually do touch-ups at the venue.

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To ensure all kinds of damages can be repaired, pastry chefs and their team will bring a wide variety of tools and ingredients, along with extra decors and icing.

So, because of the hard work and meticulousness that goes into delivering people’s dream wedding cakes, bakeries have to sell wedding cakes at a higher price.

11. Wedding Cakes Are A Luxury

Weddings are considered a luxury since they are not necessary to lawfully wed a couple. When something is viewed as a luxury, it is automatically priced higher.

Wedding cakes are no exception. Like any other vendor, bakeries can command higher prices for any cake that is considered fit for weddings.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why macarons are so expensive, why prosciutto is so expensive, and why Babybel cheese is so expensive.

Conclusion

Wedding cakes are made with higher quality materials than regular cakes. Also, most wedding cakes are customized to suit the bride and groom’s preferences.

Additionally, creating a wedding cake involves reputable pastry chefs, their staff, and several months of preparation.

Even after the wedding cake has been made, bakeries still need to transport it and retouch it at the venue.

When you factor in the size, the number of tiers, and flavor of the wedding cake, it is easy to see why wedding cakes are so expensive.

Author

  • Maisie Hughes is a 20-year veteran of the culinary world. She has worked as a chef in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country, and she currently volunteers her time at local food banks.

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