Why are wedding cakes so expensive
Yesterday I was scrolling through Facebook and I came across a post from a bride-to-be who was upset over the pricing of her wedding cake. What had happened was that both she and her mom had called the same baker for a quote. They both gave the same exact information, same cake type, and the same decor-but both received completely different quotes. This prompted fellow brides-to-be to chime in with the common complaint heard time and time again “When you put the word ‘wedding’ in front of anything, prices skyrocket”. As a wedding photographer, I can obviously explain the difference between photography for a birthday party vs. a wedding. What I didn’t have was a great understanding of is what all goes into the process of making a wedding cake from start to finish, as well as what the difference is between let’s say a birthday cake vs. a wedding cake. I decided to do a little research, and here is what I learned about why wedding cakes are so expensive!
LET’S START WITH A DISCLAIMER
I don’t actually think wedding cakes are “so expensive”. I am a two-time flunkee of Wilton’s Cake Decorating Class 101. Decorating a cake is a skill that I admire and that I do not have, so I can appreciate the time, work, and artistry that goes into creating 1) A cake that isn’t burnt, and 2) A beautifully decorated cake. I think cake artists are pretty much magicians.
CAKE DECORATING TAKES A TON OF SKILL AND TIME
Let’s just get this out of the way. Cake decorating is hard. This is coming from a girl who failed her Wilton Cake Decorating Class. A baker must not only know how to bake a delicious cake, but they must know how to keep it fresh, mix flavors with complimenting fillings, and how to assemble a multi-level cake without it caving in on itself. A baker must also know how to decorate a cake. They cannot simply be an amazing baker-they must also be (or hire) a “cake artist”. Each season new trends and techniques emerge, and a baker needs to continuously develop their skills. Have you ever seen Mirror Glazed Cakes? They are a relatively new trend and let me tell you from experience: it took me multiple days to make an odd looking small round cake with a color consistency that looked pretty similar to when my toddler mixes play-dough. And how about the cakes that have individual sequins strategically placed to cover an entire layer of cake? While it may not be the most difficult cake decorating task out there, it sure is time consuming and tedius!
BIRTHDAY CAKES USED TO BE SIMPLE
BP-or “Before Pinterest”, your typical cake for events such as a birthday, anniversary party, christening, etc. were simply a frosted round or rectangle single tier decorated cake. Wedding cakes are typically multi-tiered and have intricate designs and custom decor. Because of this, a birthday cake is seen as significantly less difficult than a tiered wedding cake, the cost per serving is also less. With this in mind, it is common that a baker may charge somewhere along the lines of $5.00 per serving for a wedding cake and $4.25 per serving for a birthday cake. The problem now is that with Pinterest and popular cake shows inflating our cake expectations, a birthday cake is no longer simple and many are hoping for a tiered cake with intricate decor for their more simple celebration. A wedding cake also usually needs to be delivered and constructed by the bakery, which of course requires additional costs not only for the delivery, but for the employee who is doing the delivering!
Ok, so let’s get into this tiered cake business. What I have learned is that once your cake becomes more than 1 tier, everything changes. You do not simply stack cakes on top of each other. It takes skill, precision, and extra materials (translation= extra expenses) to successfully construct a multi-tiered cake. It is also recommended-and sometimes required-that the bakery deliver the cake. This is because transporting a cake is an extremely delicate task, and they need to ensure that the cake makes it to the venue. They also need to transport the cake in pieces, as it is usually not possible for it to be assembled while en route. They then need to build the cake at the venue to make sure everything is perfectly set!
WEDDINGS ARE A BIG DEAL
We can talk about tiers and cake decorating all day long, but at the end of the day it’s simple: Weddings are a big deal. Consultations, sketches, revisions, emails, matching exact color swatches, more emails-the whole way to creating unique decorations beyond your wildest dreams, weddings are no small feat. It is arguably the most important day of your life and you want a wedding vendor-no matter what the service-who will treat the day as if it is the most important event of their life as well.
I want to hear from you!! Drop me a message in the comments or send an email to Jamie@jamiereinhartphotography.com and let me know your take on the question of “Why are wedding cakes so expensive”? I will be sure to update the blog as new info comes in!
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