I was asked by a bride how many cupcakes she should order for 150 'expected' guests. I have read with wedding cakes that you don't make as many servings as was invited but I don't know if this goes the same with cupcakes. Also how many different flavors would you recommend?
I would say 150. There will be some that don't eat it and some that will eat two.
150, plus make an extra dozen in case of dropping or other accidents. This should cover the few who don't eat one and leave a few for those looking for seconds.
i'd say 156 or 168 (for me, minimum orders are 2 dozen and go up in increments of a dozen from there)...
as for the flavors...the amount depends on how many different flavors the bride wants to pay for! you'll have less time and possibly ingredient cost if you stick to one flavor...plus overall ease. if you do three different cake flavors and three different frostings, you're looking at six different recipes to prepare...and this isn't even adding in whether or not you'll put fillings in the cupcakes
i'd give the bride some samples at her tasting (a few popular examples):
white cake with strawberry filling, topped with chocolate buttercream.
chocolate cake with cookies and cream filling, topped with vanilla buttercream.
chocolate cake with mocha filling and chocolate buttercream
and if she likes the variety, great! just make sure you charge accordingly for all of the time and cost you'll have to prepare it all
The 2 weddings I've made cupcakes for have order about 20 more than expected guests & have never said it was too much.
As for different flavors -- one wedding I did ask for 4 different flavors. That was a lot of work because you have to distinguish the flavors, ie. all vanilla cc w/ cream cheese icing have red sprinkles, etc & I make a menu stating what each flavor was & how it was distinguished. Again, it was a lot of work! Another cc wedding only wanted choc & vanilla cc. So I offered vanilla cc w/ white icing & vanilla cc w/ choc icing & choc cc w/ vanilla icing & choc cc w/ choc icing. This one was a lot easier because your could tell what the cake & frosting were.
So is this based on no other desserts being served as well? At this time I am not sure if there will be but if there is do you make less cupcakes?
I have done a few cupcake weddings and big graduation parties (I am doing 300 cupcakes for a graduation party in a couple weeks.) I always suggest they do more cupcakes than expected guests if (1) there will be kids at the event (they take one bite don't like the flavor and grab another one); or (2) if they are having multiple flavors. All it takes is one person to say "Did you have the lemon cupcake with that luciscious filling?" and people are back up to the cupcake stand searching for that flavor. Now, if the reception site is going to plate the cupcakes (1 per guest) or there are other dessert options, I recommend they do it like a wedding cake and order 10-20% fewer than original guest list.
I always suggest 125% of rsvp'd guests.
150, more if it is two flavors.