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Ask the Experts: What Size Wedding Cake Will I Need?

‘I have started to look for cake ideas for my wedding – I love the idea of having a bigger cake with several tiers but I don’t want to be left with lots of cake and I know it might be quite pricey. We’re planning to have approximately 120 people – how do you know what size to opt for to make sure there is enough cake to go round? I’ve heard some people get fake tiers – is this an option? Thanks.’ Louise

Selena from Timeless Cakes 4u – View Profile

Hi Louise, the whole process of choosing a wedding cake can be confusing with so many variables, so your cake maker will be there to help you every step of the way. Firstly an average (6″, 9″, 12″ rounds) 3 tier cake will provide more than enough slices to feed your guests with not too much cake left over. I find that the couple are having so much fun celebrating on the day that they rarely get a chance to eat cake. So having some left over gives them a chance to enjoy cake the following day and even share this with some family in a more relaxed environment, it also prolongs your celebration.

Many couples do feel that a 3 tier cake is not as dramatic as having a taller cake for display during the reception. It is possible to have fake tiers iced and decorated to co-ordinate with your real cake, but do remember when designing your cake that it is the time in decorating the cake that you are really paying for (labour) so that the cost may be less with 2 fake tiers but not hugely less.

Keeping this in mind, here at our bakery we now hire 5 tier wedding cakes (there are different designs to choose from) for display at the wedding reception and for those all important photographs. The guests are unaware that this is not a real cake as the venue remove the cake just like a real one. The cake that is then served to your guests has also been provided by us earlier and left with the caterers earlier in the day.

Nadene from Eden Cake Company – View Profile

Firstly decide if you would like to offer your guests a tasting portion (finger party portion 1 inch x 1inch) or as dessert (you will need a slightly larger portion – 1 inch x 2 inch).

For 120 people, a standard 3 tier will yield enough portions. For dessert, you will require a larger 4-5 tier. Square cakes will yield more portions than round cakes.

A great way to add drama and height to your wedding cake design is by adding “fake tiers” – a decorated piece of Styrofoam.    There will be less cake, so as to avoid unnecessary wastage – and as you are not paying for the additional ingredients or baking time, you should be paying slightly lower than an all cake design.

A cost effective way of adding height to your wedding cake is by using a pedestal cake stand, decorated crates, custom cut wood blocks, and/or your venue may offer a range of traditional metal cake stands. These can be purchased quiet easily online, or during the summer or winter sales in local department stores. However, do take into consideration the weight of your wedding cake (ie biscuit and fruit cakes are quite heavy if considering a pedestal cake stand).

Bernadette Kennelly Wedding Cakes – View Profile

Many couples like the idea of a big wedding cake but don’t like the idea of having loads of cake left over after the wedding. The idea of cake sizes below are:

6″ and 9″ tiers – 80 people

4″ 6″ 8″ and 10″ tiers – 130 people

6″ 9″ and 12″ tiers – 150 people

Or you can opt for 14″ fake tier, 12″ fake tier and then 10″ 8″ 6″ tiers to feed 120 people.

Fake tiers are a good option if you love the idea of a big wedding cake, but do not require a large amount of cake. Or you might consider leaving a nice fruit cake with the kitchen staff for cutting – this will also help with your numbers, especially if you have some people coming to your afters party.

Looking for some ideas for your wedding cake? Check out 24 Inspirational Wedding Cake Ideas!

Credits: Left cake from Timeless Cakes 4u | Right cake from Eden Cake Company

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Pamela enjoys writing about all things decor (she loves buying it too) and has a not so secret addiction to stationery.

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