This question has come up several times over the past four years of decorating cake and I'm always at a loss for how to answer.... How Much Cake Do I Need for My Wedding?
For the sake of this post, I'm talking about brides who simply tell me how many invitations they plan to send.
Not how many guests they're actually expecting to attend (I can help if they know that number) or how many RSVP's they have (I can also make a recommendation from that number), but I'm talking strictly about brides who only want to tell me how many invitations they're sending.
And I'm trying to be funny and sarcastic. Mostly. Please remember that as you read on.
Armed with only that information, I cannot possibly help a bride decide how much cake to order. Worse than that - I'm not sure I even want to help them decide. Yes, I sound like a meany... but let me explain.
Here's how I see it (correct me if I'm wrong!)...
If I tell them that I think they should get 300 servings and at the end of the reception, they have a whole tier of cake uncut - then I look like I ripped them off and sold them way more cake than they needed. That's my fault and I'm a criminal.
If I tell them they only need 150 servings and halfway through the reception, they run out of cake, then it looks like I'm a moron and they're embarrassed and their guests are cranky and again... That's my fault. And I might still be a criminal 😉
Telling brides how much cake they need is a lose-lose situation for me.
Now let me backtrack for a moment and say that some - maybe many or even most - bakers/cake decorators would be happy to help you with this. Maybe I'm the oddball here. Oh well. It's not the first time!
But for the sake of argument... I'll let you have a peek into my thought process (hold on to your horsey... it might get scary 😉
Let's say that Mary* tells me she's sending out 150 invitations. She's not doing RSVP's (nobody does that anymore anyway these days, right? That's another pet peeve for another day) and she's "just not sure" how many of those are planning to come.
*Mary is my sister's first name that she does not use. I did not make her wedding cake and I'm not picking on her. I'm just using her name. I am not talking about any bride in particular. I don't think I've ever actually worked with a bride named Mary. If I did, and I've forgotten... forgive me - but I'm not talking about you!
** I'm actually not talking about ANY of you. Every bride I've ever worked with has been an angel and pure delight (I'm lying now) and I'm actually making up this whole scenario for the sake of a funny post. Now that I've cleared that up...
Here are just a few of the thoughts that run through my head for why I cannot possibly figure out how how much cake Mary needs at her reception....
1. Are those 150 invites going to individuals, couples, or families? 150 invitations could be 150 people or 500 people if everybody is bringing a family. How big is Mary's family anyway? Are they close? Do they all dislike Mary? Is Mary weird? Don't answer that.
2. Of those 150 invited guests... are they all family and close friends? Does that include all the nieces and nephews and your best friends kids? If I assume you're a close-knit bunch then most of them will come to your wedding. And most will eat cake ...
3. OR is Mary a people-pleaser and an only child with a small family? But maybe she's afraid of hurting feelings so she's inviting everybody she's ever met and their whole family? Does that include her third grade teacher's assistant and the person that she met once at an office party but only said "Hi" to? If so... maybe most of them can't remember who Mary is and they won't come!? If Mary really is weird, then maybe only 10 people will show up. Then Mary probably won't need so much cake.
4. But wait. Is Mary serving wedding cake only? A full five-course meal? Something in between? Will there be a groom's cake? A dessert table? All of that plays into how much cake will be consumed. Or not consumed.
5. And then of course... this is important: will Mary take the serving size suggestion that I include in her contract and tell it to the person she's asking to cut the cake? Or will anybody even think about the proper serving size or the "right" way to cut the cake? OR will they be carving up plate-sized wedges and turning a 100 serving tier into a 30 serving tier?
Don't laugh... it happens!! Twice that I know of personally. It actually started to happen at my brother's wedding and I stepped in and volunteered to finish serving cake so they wouldn't run out!!
Anyway... I could go on and on and on. Hopefully you see my point by now... I cannot tell you how much cake you need! At least not without a little more information than how many invitations you're sending.
Cake Decorators and Bakers... help me out here! I'd love for you to leave me a comment and tell me
how crazy I am your tips for helping brides determine how much cake to order! Next week I'll put together a post of your best tips and link to a few articles that I've found that will seriously help brides (without sarcasm!)... ha!
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PSS. The cake I featured in this post was done for one of my dearest friends in the world - Kim. Her sister is my best friend. Her mom and mother-in-law are also precious friends of mine. I just love the whole family to pieces and Kim was, in fact, a dream bride. She wanted a simple cake on the outside, with electric rainbow on the inside. She and I (and maybe a family member or two?) were the only ones who knew that FUN little detail!
She didn't even freak out when her five tiered cake became a four tiered cake because the bottom tier just fell all to pieces within miles of her house (we drove over 2 hours and it made it SO close before it just imploded). She just shrugged it off and smiled and went on... LOVE HER!!!