From Birthday parties to weddings, and everything in between – serving cake at life’s best milestones is a tradition that truly means celebration, and indulgence. As our second post in the budgeting series – I want to take a deeper dive on what it costs to have a wedding cake at your event, and why some cakes and bakeries charge more than others. If you’ve read our first post in the budgeting series, you’ll know that you’re in for a real treat! (pun intended)
Read on to explore the pros/cons of cake and other dessert options solely based on cost. Our goal is to prepare you for your dessert tasting with an honest, straight forward approach to why things cost what they do in the wedding industry.
Below is a cost comparison for some well known desserts. Ranging from cookies as small as the packaged icing ones you find at target (hello sugar rush!) to a more expensive cookie, and two cake extremes. Take a peek to see how some basic math on these fan favorites shapes up for your dessert budget.
We called up a few friends to ask them to consult on a few top questions for us, including Lauren Kitchens of Fancy Cakes by Lauren. Take a peek at her answers to some of our questions!
Automobile expenses – after all, we have to have a vehicle to deliver all of these cakes safely! These fees include things like: car payment, insurance for the drivers, gas and toll bills.
Labor – the Fancy Cakes team employees three people to make wedding magic happen. We are a small team, but we have someone in charge of purchasing and supply ordering, mixing/baking/building, and a decorator. Although I am skilled in each area, we work best as a team!
Bakery expenses – Did you want us to bake out of our tiny home residential ovens? I didn’t think so. Producing multi tiered, professional wedding cakes that can withstand heat and outside influences (like 200 guests!) requires a professional space, and commercial grade equipment.
Taxes – I do pay taxes, just like you (darn!). As many of you business owners may know, we have sales tax, payroll tax, and income tax to cover as a small business.
Ingredients – would it even be a cake without butter? This is the easiest place to think of “overhead” for wedding bakers – but really there is so much more to a cake than sugar, butter and eggs!
Fancy Cakes is one of about a dozen true “cake studios” in the country. We have always been “by appointment only,” and not a full-service bakery. All of our orders are custom-made for each client and that’s a unique way to run a bakery. I’ve found that a full service bakery can struggle finding a balance between running the walk-in sales. daily baking, and custom cake sales. Daily bakery sales do help with revenue, but it also adds to waste and overall costs to run the shop. My dedication has always been a single focus of collaborating with each client to plan and create one of a kind cake.
If you have a head for business then pricing your work is going to be easier. You MUST know your costs in order to price your product. Some clients might see a contract for their wedding cake at $1,080 and think that this is pure profit, that I get to take all that money home.
It’s simply not true. Most of that money goes back into making that cake.
The reason Fancy Cakes is nearing its 20th year is because I’ve priced cakes correctly and as a result I’ve built a strong stable business. That peace of mind is given to each of my clients, and that alone is priceless!
Over the past two decades in the Dallas wedding industry I have seen dozens of bakeries go out of business. Then I see a few new bakeries pop up, and I know that maybe one or two will survive long term. That’s how hard it is to make a small business work, especially in food!
I want all clients to beware of “the discount.”
To me that’s a red flag that a particular business doesn’t have enough cash to survive. Offering up discounts to get your signature isn’t about giving you the best service or product, it’s about the desperation a business feels from lack of cash.
If anything, they should be charging more for their cakes so they can re-stabilize their bakery and not close down unexpectedly. That would leave you without your cake (and your money) for your wedding. Unfortunately, I’ve seen it way too many times.
Many beautiful designs are included in the average “base price” of a standard butter cream wedding cake. That will run you somewhere between $6-$9 per slice and give you plenty of wonderful options. However if your vision is larger, there may be other fees that go into the overall wedding cake design and construction. As you meet with your baker, be sure to ask them about some of the following fees which may be extra to get you a total cake price for the big day.
Pop Parties is known for it’s solid reputation and attention to detail as it relates to both design and financial related investments in wedding planning. We are here to guide you with an honest and open approach, driven by facts (like basic math!) and prior industry experience. Every vendor that our team refers and works with is properly vetted and insured. For those reasons, we do not always work with the “cheapest” – but with those who provide the highest value for the service they provide to you – including the peace of mind in knowing they will still be in business after a world wide pandemic.
I hope you enjoyed today’s lesson on wedding cakes.
XO – Molly and the Pop Parties Team