When it comes to planning a wedding, some things are easier to account for than others. For instance, most venues only have one dance floor, so you probably only need one DJ. If you are serving a meal, you would plan on one entrée for every guest that says they are coming to share your special day.
Desserts however are one of those things that are not so cut and dry. Fortunately for your wedding budget, you do not usually need a slice of cake for every guest though. So how much cake or dessert do you really need? Well, the answer depends on a few factors and involves a little math.
Right now, the wedding planners I work with tell me that about 80% of the guests on the invite list are coming to the wedding. Once at the wedding, only 80-90% of guests will have dessert if they are responsible for picking it up on their own at the cake table. Not everyone will have dessert because they will be too having too much fun on the dance floor, or they may lose time talking with Uncle Joe who they haven’t seen in years, or they may be on a special diet.
The homeschooling mamma in me feels like we need an example here. So let’s say that you invite 200 people to the wedding. You can estimate that 160 will actually come to your event, and you will only need about 128 – 144 servings of dessert for those wedding guests. 200 invited guests x 0.8 = 160 guests at the wedding. Then 160 x 0.8 = 128 for the low end of the range and 160 x 0.9 = 144 for the high end of the range of the guests at the wedding that will eat dessert.
If you are having both a wedding and a groom’s cake, there is a little more calculation to do. I recommend a 60/40% split when there is a groom’s cake. Let’s continue using the same example. I like to pick the mid-point of the 128-144 range to give a starting point which is 136. 136 times 60% is 82(ish) servings of wedding cake and 40% is 54(ish) servings of groom’s cake. Now that you have a general idea of how many servings you need, we can look at cake sizes that are close to those numbers.
If you are planning on other desserts like cookies or cupcakes, you can of course reduce the amount of cake, but keep in mind that when you have a dessert buffet, people will always take more than one dessert. FOMO is real when tasty treats are involved. You can count on guests taking about 3 mini desserts when you offer items like chocolate chip cookies, macarons, or lemon tarts, or 1 slice of cake plus 1 mini dessert.
These are general guidelines and there are other factors to consider. For example, if you are having an afternoon reception and are not serving a meal or alcohol, more people will eat dessert as it is the only offering at your party. If you are planning on saving the top tier of the wedding cake for your first anniversary, you will want to account for those servings in the guest portion of the cake too.
Of course, there is an exception to the “not everyone will have dessert” rule. If you are having a formal diner which is served by waiters who are also serving the dessert to your guests, then you will want a slice of cake for everyone in attendance.
Part of your baker’s job is to help guide you to the right size cake or number of desserts, so lean on their expertise to find the sweet spot where every guest that wants something sweet can partake without leaving you a ton of leftovers at the end of the night.
Are you ready to begin planning your wedding cake or dessert table? Complete the Contact Form to get started, and Melisa will be happy to help guide you through your options.
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In addition to recent cakes, here you'll find tips and info that's good to know as you plan the dessert for your perfect day. Let's take your vision and make it a little sweeter!