Wedding Pricing Vs Celebration Cake Pricing

Decorating By FlourChick Updated 11 May 2010 , 5:06pm by mandirombold

FlourChick Posted 4 May 2010 , 5:49am
post #1 of 40

My business partner's contribution to our business is more the businessy side of running a business (paying taxes, paperwork, etc) and my contribution is the creative side. Of course, we both end up doing a little bit of everything.

We had a situation come up the other day where a man called and asked for pricing on a cake, but didn't mention it was a wedding cake. My partner gave him celebration cake pricing. Then that same couple came in for a tasting, but we didn't know it was the same couple. It happened to be my partner doing the tasting with them and when she gave them the wedding cake pricing they went ballistic and demanded to know why the cake cost so much when they had called and gotten a completely different price.

When she told them it was because it was a wedding cake, they didn't understand what the difference was. Since she couldn't really explain to them the difference she wound up giving them their three tier wedding cake for $120! (Had they paid full price it would have been over $500.)

I'm not mad, the way I see it is it's a lesson learned. My question to you is, how do you explain to someone who isn't in the biz why wedding cakes cost so much more? These people really wanted justification for the price, and she didn't know what to say. And, when she asked me, I really didn't have an answer either. What do you all say?

TIA

39 replies
SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 4 May 2010 , 6:30am
post #2 of 40

Why is there such a price difference between your wedding cakes and celebration cakes? I do charge a little more for wedding cakes, but that's quite a big difference between $120 and $500
I usually price each cake on the details. Some of my birthday cakes end up costing more per serving than my wedding cakes depending on the details. I've never believed in charging more JUST because it's a wedding cake.

krcm Posted 4 May 2010 , 8:31am
post #3 of 40

I should charge more per serving for wedding cakes than for party cakes, right?
Well, here at CakeBoss we believe that a cake is a cake, no matter what the occasion, and that there should be no price difference. Brides are already told in bridal magazines and web sites that vendors are ready to rip them off at the mere mention of the word "wedding". (Watch a funny YouTube video). Charging a higher price for a wedding cake just reinforces this misconception. However - there could be an argument made for charging more for wedding cakes - wedding cakes require a tasting and consultation which party cakes usually do not. They require more time for delivery and setup, and of course, more stress. IF you decide to charge more per serving for wedding cakes, be sure you understand why you are doing it so you will be able to explain when your bride asks you why her "wedding" cake costs more than a "party" cake would.

**I found this on the CakeBoss website and thought it'd be helpful to you. I'm entirely knew to this and researching how to go about pricing cakes, so my opinion may not mean much, but it seems as though you're one of the vendors out to rip off a bride for no reason whatsoever. You're not even sure why you charge so much. Time to reconsider that rule of thumb.

Good Luck, OP.

Cakechick123 Posted 4 May 2010 , 9:01am
post #4 of 40

I also feel a cake is a cake and I only have one price . I think it was justified years ago where wedding cakes were these elaborate stacked cakes and a birthday cake was just a single tier with some writing on. Today you get birthday cakes thats more elaborate than wedding cakes.

Maybe you can justify it by saying that for a wedding cake you have more layers of filling than a bd cake, also more care is taken with proper stacking methods SPS for wedding cakes vs dowels/straws for bd cakes?

JaimeAnn Posted 4 May 2010 , 9:12am
post #5 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by krcm



**I found this on the website and thought it'd be helpful to you. I'm entirely knew to this and researching how to go about pricing cakes, so my opinion may not mean much, but it seems as though you're one of the vendors out to rip off a bride for no reason whatsoever. You're not even sure why you charge so much. Time to reconsider that rule of thumb.

Good Luck, OP.




icon_eek.gif

As this is your first post AND you aknowledge that you are new to this yourself... I find this very uncalled for.

Your post started out somewhat informative, Maybe you should read it!

There are a few things that warrant the higher price for wedding cakes and some were stated in your Quote from CakeBoss.
1) Tasting
2) Design, a lot of brides want "an original" and We decorators have to come up with this .
3) delivery and set-up


FlourChick- If I could give you some advice as to the business side of cake...

It is not really necessary to charge more per serving for wedding cakes. You should be charging the same per serving no matter what the cake is for, based on the level of design and decoration.
Where the wedding vs. celebration cake comes into play is the size of a serving...

Logic behind this?.... At a wedding the guests will be having dinner, drinks, etc. therefore the serving size is smaller.. 1X2X4 to be exact. Party servings are usally larger, this is where the price difference occurs.

Say I am making the same cake in design for a birthday and a wedding .. We will use a 2 tier 10" & 8" - LV2 (lots of decor) buttercream design for example. My per serving price is $5.00
the wedding cake will cost $300
and the Party cake will cost $240

Same cake different $

I charge an additional $20 for delivery, and I do not offer tastings.. So that is the same for either party or wedding.

Untill the recent Cake Craze, with elaborate designs, Party cakes were pretty basic and did not require as much detail as a wedding cake and this is where the big price gap started , but now with people wanting elaborate party cakes the margin of difference in pricing has closed and we can't use the old Party vs. Wedding price standard anymore.
You should be charging by the level of difficulty not by wat the cake is being ordered for.

A lot of baker/decorators charge the same no matter what the cake is for and only use the wedding size serving chart.
Bottom line is develop YOUR plan based on what will work for your business but you need to be consistent and be able to explain and back up you reasons.

Good Luck I wish you the best in your business.
I have a few pricing and serving charts in my photos if you need help in either of these areas. thumbs_up.gif

krcm Posted 4 May 2010 , 9:27am
post #6 of 40

As this is your first post AND you aknowledge that you are new to this yourself... I find this very uncalled for.

Your post started out somewhat informative, Maybe you should read it!

There are a few things that warrant the higher price for wedding cakes and some were stated in your Quote from cakeboss.
1) Tasting
2) Design, a lot of brides want "an original" and We decorators have to come up with this .
3) delivery and set-up

**Call it what you will, but she said herself she doesn't know why she charges a higher price. A $380 price difference for the same cake is outrageous. As a customer I'd be furious to find this out too. A higher price is one thing. Triple the price is entirely another.**

Nacnacweazel Posted 4 May 2010 , 9:32am
post #7 of 40

I agree with the mindset of "cake is cake." I charge the same price per serving no matter what. That is where my pricing starts...basic cake. The pricing goes up from there, depending on design, decorating, filling(s), etc. I always lay it all out for the customer. The quote starts with the price for the amount of servings required in basic cake. Then, each "option" is priced out for them in black and white. That way, they see EXACTLY wher the cost is, where their money is going and why. I've actually had a handfull of people tell me that I was the only person to give them straight info. They would show me the "one line" quotes they got from others that only showed a final price, but no way to see how they arrived at that final price. As a customer, I see buying a cake just like buying a car...the basic model is a specific price, and each option that is added on is itemized for me. I wouldn't buy a car from someone that just tells me it cost $25,000 but couldn't tell me why the one sitting next to it, that looks exactly the same on the outside, is $18,000. icon_confused.gif

pattycakesnj Posted 4 May 2010 , 10:42am
post #8 of 40

Agree, cake is cake, and is the same price regardless of what the occasion is. I too have a base price per serving then add on, depending on decoration. I should also say I have a base price per serving for BC cakes, higher for fondant cakes and higher still for carved or TT cakes. Most of my party cakes are more elaborate than most of my wedding cakes.

indydebi Posted 4 May 2010 , 11:45am
post #9 of 40

$120 vs $500? Man, I would have gone ballistic also. icon_eek.gif I am one who used same price no matter what .... call it a birthday, an anniversary, a wedding, a kiss-my-butt-at-8th-and-main-cake, I dont' care ..... same price. And btw, I consider a wedding to be a "celebration" also, so calling one a celebration cake is puzzling and illogical to me. But I can understand some of the reasonings listed above for some higher fees involved with weddings.

But I can't imagine anyone being able to explain to me a $380 difference on the same cake for different types of events. No way.

If you were giving out sheet cake pricing vs tiered pricing, I might be able to understand .... a little. But if you don't understand your pricing structure so that you are able to explain it, then how do you expect others .... especially cake civilians ..... to understand? icon_confused.gif

I dont' see the problem as you have two separate prices .... I see the problem is that you dont' understand how you've structure your own pricing. It sounds like you just pulled numbers out of the air. Whether this is what you actually did or not, I don't know .... but if you don't understand how you got there, then it sounds like you didn't really go thru a pricing structure process to set the pricing.

MnSnow Posted 4 May 2010 , 12:10pm
post #10 of 40

The ONLY way I would see such a price difference is:

Sheet cake= 1 layer of cake with no filling
Wedding cake= 4 layers of cake with fillings

My prices are the same, wedding or party, unless it is specified as a sheet cake. No confusion there. No misunderstandings. Easier for me.

Not to get confused between kitchen cakes and sheet cakes. Kitchen cakes are the same as wedding, as posted above. Sheet cakes are as posted above.

leah_s Posted 4 May 2010 , 12:26pm
post #11 of 40

Agreed. Cake is cake and there's no difference in pricing. Now, decorations add to the price. A few dots? easy, cheap. Elaborate design to match your wedding gown, or for that matter the baby['s christening gown - higher level of difficulty, higher price.

Stacked? Oh well then you get an "equipment fee" to cover the SPS parts I'm going to use? Delivery, that's extra.

But the cake is cake. I don't care where you eat it. All the same price.

all4cake Posted 4 May 2010 , 12:46pm
post #12 of 40

(generally speaking here...for example only) an 8" tier serves approximately 20 party/celebration servings or approximately 24 wedding servings. If you charge one price per serving...say...$4.00...the same cake will cost either $80 or $96. I don't get it...especially because most of the party cakes I make are more fussy than the wedding cakes.

for weddings, I use the wedding servings to determine the sizes needed but use the party servings to determine the cost.
for parties, I use the party servings to determine the sizes needed and the party servings to determine the cost.

leah_s Posted 4 May 2010 , 12:48pm
post #13 of 40

One size, one chart, one price. all4cake, you're just givin' away cake. Stop now.

leah_s Posted 4 May 2010 , 12:49pm
post #14 of 40

Well, let me alter that last response. For example is your wedding serving is the standard 8 cubic inches and you charge $3 per serving, But your party serving is the standard 12 cubic inches and you charge $4.50, it's all good.

50% more cake = 50% more $.

momma28 Posted 4 May 2010 , 1:08pm
post #15 of 40

I am in the cake is a cake camp. My pricing is the same for wedding or birthday or any other type of celebration.

The only time I charge a different per serving price is when I do an undecorated sheet cake for extra servings

all4cake Posted 4 May 2010 , 1:17pm
post #16 of 40

2 orders

1 wedding, 1 celebration(whatever)

both for approximately 200

wedding cake, using traditional wedding servings would cost, if charging $4 per serving, $604 (196 traditional, 1x2x4, wedding servings)(or approx 151 party servings)

the celebration cake, 200 servings would cost, if charging $4 per serving, $800 (200 traditional, 1.5x2x4, party servings)

if one was to look at it, they'd think that 4 extra servings costs $196.00...

It actually winds up being a set price per tier....


Edited to correct my math!

KHalstead Posted 4 May 2010 , 1:28pm
post #17 of 40

I too only charge 1 price for all tiered cakes regardless of celebration.....I also charge 1 price for all untiered cakes regardless of occasion........I could care less WHAT the cake is for......I charge based upon how much it COSTS ME to make the cake and HOW LONG it takes me to make the cake, those are the only factors!

Wedding cakes wind up costing more usually because they're usually feeding more people, I don't charge extra for consultations or phone calls or multiple emails.....comes with the terrritory i guess...........and if I did, little bratty kids' birthday cakes would be WAY MORE than wedding cakes (those parents eat up WAY more of my time than most brides do w/ all the details)

TexasSugar Posted 4 May 2010 , 2:08pm
post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlourChick

When she told them it was because it was a wedding cake, they didn't understand what the difference was. Since she couldn't really explain to them the difference she wound up giving them their three tier wedding cake for $120! (Had they paid full price it would have been over $500.)




I haven't read any replies so if I say something that has been said I'm sorry or ask something that was already asked, then again sorry.

If she couldn't explain the difference they why is there one? I'm sorry but if you can't figure out why you are doing something one way why shouldn't the customer be mad about it?

I would be mad if I ordered a cake (assuming the orginal order was also for a tiered cake) and I was told that because it was for a wedding it was over 4 times the price of a party cake. Is it not the same amout of cake, set up the exact same way?

FlourChick Posted 4 May 2010 , 2:44pm
post #19 of 40

This is great feedback! Thank you. Okay, so a little more info... when we first started out we had the "same cake-same price" mentality, and what wound up happening is that people went crazy and used the same argument against us, "This isn't a wedding! It's a first birthday! Why are you charging so much?!?!" I believe in being very up-front and like to treat people the way I would like to be treated so on our website we list all of our prices, which in our area NO ONE does. Most of the couples we deal with can't stop thanking us for being so open about our pricing because all of the other bakeries they've been to have given them a one line quote that doesn't explain where the price came from.

As for pricing, I somewhat did pull the prices out of the air... sort of! I know how much I need to charge to meet my overhead needs, so I was careful not to go under that amount, but after that I went around to other bakeries and comparison shopped. My prices are exactly the same as the other bakeries that do what I do. Also, I should say that I'm in Chicago, which has multitudes of bakeries, and has several high-end shops that charge quite a bit more than I do, so I don't think that I'm attempting to charge more than the market will bear.

On our website we specifically say that the price of a celebration cake is for a single tier, combed cake with a border, and writing (if desired). We even have a picture to show exactly what it is you get for that price. If they want multiple tiers, elaborately decorated, hand-made chocolate pieces, etc those cakes will be charged at wedding cake prices. Now, even having that clearly stated on the site, every single person argues about the price. Because of that, what we started doing for the elaborately decorated and multi-tiered cakes was to charge the cake per tier by celebration pricing and then up-charge for all the extra decorating, stacking, plates and pillars, etc. However, even with the up-charge the cake is still priced significantly less than a wedding cake. I realize that makes no sense, because I'm still doing the same amount of work. A lot of times when I talk to someone they have a cake already envisioned and maybe they need a cake for 15 people, but they want a three tier cake because that's what they've envisioned. Then when I give them the price for the cake they're envisioning they practically yell at me! But, the flip-side is that when I quote them the price based on my new method (celebration cake pricing plus up-charges) they can't order fast enough, which tells me that I'm charging too little. In this area are Cake Girls, Amy Beck, etc and I guarantee you those places aren't charging $120 for a cake that takes over 12 hours to make.

I completely agree that the cake shows on tv have changed the game and people have entirely different expectations of what a typical birthday cake should look like. However, they aren't taking into consideration what all that extra work is costing us in production times, decorating times and extra product, and that the cake should cost more to make, but that isn't what's happening. Given my current pricing structure, I'm working extremely hard to make these very custom cakes, and I'm not making money. For example, I spent over twelve hours yesterday making pieces of bamboo out of chocolate to go around the entire cake. There's no way I can stay in business by charging $120 for something like that.

I would really like to empower my employees to be able to confidently give someone a price and not have to run and ask me how much to charge. I think it looks more professional if they appear knowledgeable, and I also think it makes the person that I'm consulting with feel like they're not important enough for me to give them my undivided attention if I'm constantly being interrupted to help other people.

So, bottom line, it seems that the way I'm pricing is the problem. How then do I fix this?

Please keep your thoughts coming, I really appreciate your insight and overall I hope it helps me straighten out the pricing! As I said, I'm not interested in being secretive and fooling people, I just really don't know how to price my cakes to be fair to both me and my clients.

FlourChick Posted 4 May 2010 , 2:50pm
post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlourChick

When she told them it was because it was a wedding cake, they didn't understand what the difference was. Since she couldn't really explain to them the difference she wound up giving them their three tier wedding cake for $120! (Had they paid full price it would have been over $500.)



I haven't read any replies so if I say something that has been said I'm sorry or ask something that was already asked, then again sorry.

If she couldn't explain the difference they why is there one? I'm sorry but if you can't figure out why you are doing something one way why shouldn't the customer be mad about it?

I would be mad if I ordered a cake (assuming the orginal order was also for a tiered cake) and I was told that because it was for a wedding it was over 4 times the price of a party cake. Is it not the same amout of cake, set up the exact same way?




Good point. What I should have said was that it wasn't that I couldn't tell her the difference, it was that she had made the original decision on the initial phone call to give them the celebration pricing, and I had to back up her decision for doing that. I understand why, we've become a little gun-shy about people's reactions! So, when she was doing the tasting she did try to explain that we need to stack the cake, frost it smoothly, etc but she (not being a cake decorator) didn't really understand that the time to make a combed cake and the time it takes to smoothly frost a cake and then stack it are totally different.

all4cake Posted 4 May 2010 , 2:54pm
post #21 of 40

My single tier pricing is different from tiered cake pricing as it does not factor in construction needs....otherwise, I'd have one cake price, plus this, plus that, plus, plus, plus....

all4cake Posted 4 May 2010 , 2:58pm
post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlourChick


On our website we specifically say that the price of a celebration cake is for a single tier, combed cake with a border, and writing (if desired). We even have a picture to show exactly what it is you get for that price. If they want multiple tiers, elaborately decorated, hand-made chocolate pieces, etc those cakes will be charged at wedding cake prices. .




That seems to me to be adequate explanation as to why they were told one price on the phone and another when they got there....on the phone, they quoted for ONE TIER...in person, they were quoted a multi-tier design....maybe????

leah_s Posted 4 May 2010 , 3:19pm
post #23 of 40

Maye the first step is to drop the term "Celebration Cake." It sounds high-flautin' when what you're really talking about is a birthday cake, or even a dessert cake.

I, like your customers, would argue that my wedding is a celebration so I should get celebration pricing.

And I do add on costs for extreme decorating, gp flowers, equipment, delivery, etc.

KHalstead Posted 4 May 2010 , 3:41pm
post #24 of 40

I think you should have a separate price/serving for tiered cakes and "individual/untiered cakes" because there is a difference in the amount of time and attention that goes into them, especially when you don't have to worry about stacking them.

With that said......start with a base price (either way it should cover your expenses)

Find out what is a good "base price"in your market and then find out whether or not you can make a profit at the price! Then add on for decorations.

For example, add $1.00/serv. for fondant
$.50/serv. for fondant accents
$3.00/each for gumpaste flowers
$1.00/serv. for chocolate wraps
etc.!





By the way............what have you been doing if someone wanted 6 individual cakes to put on different height stands for a wedding?? You can't charge "wedding prices" for that right?


I would change "celebration cakes" to "individual/unstacked cakes" and "wedding cakes" to "tiered/stacked cakes" then people won't be so quick to jump up and down and say.........BUT it's for a birthday party!! If it's stacked it's "stacked cake"prices.......PERIOD!

FlourChick Posted 4 May 2010 , 3:52pm
post #25 of 40

all4cake-that sounds plausible. She did say that they didn't seem to be trying to scam her, and they were genuinely on a budget and felt they had done their due diligence by calling to get prices first. Since I wasn't there to hear the phone call I don't know what made my partner give them the celebration prices as opposed to wedding prices, maybe she was a little flustered. As I said, lesson learned, I just want to figure out how to price everything so that we're not having to defend ourselves on every order.

KHalstead-when people want the individual cakes I charge my celebration prices, plus an up-charge for any extras they choose. I do see that it doesn't make sense!

It seems that part of the problem is me (aw man!) and I need to change what I'm calling things and I need to change my pricing by setting a per cake cost and then adding on for the additional of plates, pillars, extra time decorating, custom made pieces, etc.

Does everyone agree with this?

KHalstead Posted 4 May 2010 , 3:56pm
post #26 of 40

instead of charging PER CAKE, see if you can break that down to a PER SERVING......that way people will understand why a 3 tiered cake (that SERVES 55 ppl.) is more even if they only need to serve 15 ppl!


CakesDivine breaks her stuff down by levels.....maybe something like that could work for you?

I find it easier to just have a base price per serving and then add on for fondant accents, fondant covering, etc.

If it's ALL buttercream I don't charge anythng above and beyond the base price unless it's basketweave (can we say HAND CRAMPS!)

However, I have a separate base price for stacked and unstacked cakes.....they're completely different!

all4cake Posted 4 May 2010 , 4:34pm
post #27 of 40

I add on extras as well...and have tiered and untiered pricing scale. My base price for each covers the basics necessary for that design...

Whether it's stacked or separated...it's the same (assuming the servings are the same) price if they opt for the basic pillars ...costs accrue when they want to advance the style of the pillars...

a certain amount of decorating...whether it's all buttercream or fondant...goes along with that base price...and that may include a minimum number of gp flowers/decorations....I let them know what is included and at what point will be add-ons.

I don't charge for delivery in my area.

There's never going to be a set price unless you only offer set designs and size combinations.

Ya'll will have to figure out the scales to use...

(for example only)


tiered filled cakes with buttercream3.25 per serv
tiered unfilled cakes with buttercream 3 per serv
tiered filled cakes with fondant3.75 per serv
tiered unfilled cakes with fondant 3.50 per serv
tiered filled cakes with premium icing 3.50 per serv
tiered unfilled cakes with premium icing 3.25 per serv
untiered.....
untiered....
sheet $20 per serv! j/k
and the list goes on....

gumpaste decorations small $2 each
gumpaste decorations medium $3 each
gumpaste decorations large $4 each

miscellaneous-other things that you may charge extra for... priced on individual basis
before you would be able to hand it over to any associate to figure out the cost of a cake. and to keep in mind, that when someone else is given that authority, they'll be using their own judgement on how it's to be priced (if they goof, have them work on the cake too to see how they goofed)

indydebi Posted 5 May 2010 , 12:11am
post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlourChick

... when we first started out we had the "same cake-same price" mentality, and what wound up happening is that people went crazy and used the same argument against us, "This isn't a wedding! It's a first birthday! Why are you charging so much?!?!"



Because I don't give a DANG what you are using the cake for!!! icon_mad.gif A 3-tier cake is a 3-tiered cake!

Why are you charging "so much"? Because that's what you ordered, lady!!!

Where this attitude comes from is from "the olden days" when wedding cakes were big creative sugary artistics pieces of edible art and they cost more than a birthday cake, which was a simple sheet cake that sold for twenty bucks.

Today, non-wedding cakes can be big creative sugary artistic pieces of edible art ... but people STILL think in terms of "a birthday is a twenty dollar cake".

Their eyes have seen the glory (of what these cake shows can create) but their brains haven't caught up yet (with what these cakes cost).

momma28 Posted 5 May 2010 , 1:07am
post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlourChick

... when we first started out we had the "same cake-same price" mentality, and what wound up happening is that people went crazy and used the same argument against us, "This isn't a wedding! It's a first birthday! Why are you charging so much?!?!"


Because I don't give a DANG what you are using the cake for!!! icon_mad.gif A 3-tier cake is a 3-tiered cake!

Why are you charging "so much"? Because that's what you ordered, lady!!!

Where this attitude comes from is from "the olden days" when wedding cakes were big creative sugary artistics pieces of edible art and they cost more than a birthday cake, which was a simple sheet cake that sold for twenty bucks.

Today, non-wedding cakes can be big creative sugary artistic pieces of edible art ... but people STILL think in terms of "a birthday is a twenty dollar cake".

Their eyes have seen the glory (of what these cake shows can create) but their brains haven't caught up yet (with what these cakes cost).




I agree, once had a woman call for a 3 tier cake to feed 100....she was shocked at price. I asked her what her budget was and she said $50!!!!!

Also I charge more than 3 dollars for a gumpaste flower....what area was the poster who put that?

indydebi Posted 5 May 2010 , 1:10am
post #30 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by momma28

.. once had a woman call for a 3 tier cake to feed 100....she was shocked at price. I asked her what her budget was and she said $50!!!!!


to which I would LOVE to ask, "And what part of your body did you pull THAT number out of?" icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%