Help Deciding Tier Sizes For Confusing Bride

Decorating By JodieF Updated 12 Feb 2009 , 3:08pm by -K8memphis

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JodieF Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 11:29pm
post #1 of 18

I am doing a cake as a gift for the daughter of a coworker that I adore. I got this e-mail from the bride today when I wrote and asked her if she had any idea how many people she'd need to serve and any more specifics of what she wanted.

"Here it goes... I think I would like fondant because of the look it gives. We were wanting just plain white and chocolate flavors without a filling. I want a simple white cake with ribbon around it. Fresh flowers would be great to decorate the cake! I do like the idea of different shaped tiers, but I am a visual person so I don't really know if that would look nice or not. What do you think? We will be serving about 325 people, but we are getting other desserts along with the wedding cake, so I was just wanting to have a three tier cake and when that runs out, it's out. The other desserts will be unlimited. We are having ******* cater, and they are bringing cobbler, chocolate cake, and carrot cake. Do you think that it is rude to not provide enough cake for everyone attending?. However, I would like the larger cake sizes if that is possible. I don't know if this helps at all." me oh wise ones!!!! Image How many people should we plan to serve???? The desserts from the restaurant that's catering are really incredibly good. She wants a "larger" cake, but only 3 tiers.

Suggestions? I don't want her to have a crazy amount of cake left!

Thanks in advance,


17 replies
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kakeladi Posted 10 Feb 2009 , 11:49pm
post #2 of 18

Boy, that's a hard one to deal with. I usually won't provide a cake if there are other cake(s) there. I can be a problem for your reputation.

As for sizes I'd suggest 16, 12, 9 & 6. That would yeild about 185 servings. If she insists on only 3 tiers I guess 14, 10, 6.
Either way it is no where near enough for her # of guests.

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JodieF Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 12:08am
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I don't sell cakes...this is a gift, so I'm not worried about there being other desserts. My cakes are all for family and friends.
I guess I just don't know what to tell her about how many to expect to want cake. They've invited 325. I know you deduct what....25% that won't come or eat cake? But then there will be all the other desserts too.


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Kiddiekakes Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 12:12am
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Ditto what Kakeladi quoted.I would only make a cake for about the Bride says...when it runs out..there is other desserts there to compensate.

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-K8memphis Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 12:18am
post #5 of 18

The deal is usually, the bride says how many servings she wants and the baker makes it. She decides this. It's her party and her wedding.

Maybe a 16 12 8 and you could add a 4 on top of that.

Using pillar separations will help it look bigger.

People often feel left out or mildly miffed, kind of a 'what's up with this' to not get 'wedding cake'. It's tradition and expected. I mean pretty much anything goes at weddings these days but it's her party like I said.

Y'know I think a topsy turvy would be a good idea--make a real statement.

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JodieF Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 12:23am
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Memphis....only if you hop on that old highway and come help me make it! I've never even THOUGHT about making a topsy turvy before!

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-K8memphis Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 12:26am
post #7 of 18

Start thinking, GF. What part of what state is 'Midwest"??

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JodieF Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 12:29am
post #8 of 18

Memphis...I'm on the Illinois side of St. Louis.....

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-K8memphis Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 12:34am
post #9 of 18
Originally Posted by JodieF

Memphis...I'm on the Illinois side of St. Louis.....

Start practicing. icon_biggrin.gif

I mean a tt makes so much sense--you're just making a statement cake not one to serve everyone. But no need freaking out too bad I guess.

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JodieF Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 12:43am
post #10 of 18

memphis...the wedding is on July 25th....surely you've wanted to experience St. Louis in July???? I mean, we've GOT to be at least 5 degrees cooler than Memphis in July! Image

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JodieF Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 12:57am
post #11 of 18

okay though....kidding aside (even though I'd LOVE to have a pro helping me!)

How many servings would you suggest forgetting the extra desserts? If there are 325 invited, how many servings would you tell the bride you would need? Maybe that would help me help HER decide what to do as far as size!


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Jayde Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 1:12am
post #12 of 18

Im on the MO side of St.Louis, and I will tell you what we might be 5 degrees cooler, but the humidity is HORRIBLE!! I have even had fondant cakes have issues in July here in the Lou.

Topsy turvy isnt too bad, find yourself a good tutorial and practice. I know there are some good ones on this site. PM JanH, if you cant find one. She is our CC Encyclopedia.

As far as servings, straight up tell the bride that she needs to determine the amount of servings that her wedding cake needs to be. I have been down this road before. They ask your opinion, and you end up making a cake for 150 with 200 guests, and they run out of cake. The guests are peeved, the bride is peeved, and you get the blame cause you were the one that suggested 150. Tell her to decide the number of servings, and that you will design a cake to accomidate her. That is the safest way that you cannot be blamed for not enough cake.

I am happy to meet a fellow CC-er who is so close...

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JodieF Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 2:53am
post #13 of 18

Jayde...nice to meet you too! Yep, our humidity is fun, isn't it? But, the DH and I were in Memphis last summer at the end of July......and YIKES. I do believe they have use beat in the summer intensity department....but not by much.

I have a feeling that her mom is saying "look, I paid for the caterer who's supplying all these desserts, so we don't need the cake to serve everyone." The daughter is worrying about not having cake for everyone and people feeling upset. She wants a wedding cake.

Now, on MY side, since this is a freebie, I don't want to make cake for 325 people just to have half of it left, so there's THAT side of it too!


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-K8memphis Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 1:48pm
post #14 of 18

Yes Memphis sizzles in the summer like so many places.
I mean when it's hot as far North as Chicago dude it's still hot.

But yes. This reception is getting complicated. And it's true people will feel something about not getting a slice of the wedding cake. It will cause a buzz, a definite blip somewhere between a faux pas and a 'oh well wedding cake sucks anyway'. (not yours spefically--just what some might say in general)

The bride and her Mom need to get together with you.

Here's another aspect of this for you to toss in the mix but I'm gonna suggest a possible resolution first.

How about advising bridelette that you will need $1 per serving for the cake. This might free her up to be able to order what she needs from you.

In my dusty crystal ball...Bridelette needs some relief here. It's difficult for her to ask you to provide 385 servings as a gift. Dude, a 50 serving cake should be priced around $150 and that's a pretty pricey "gift".

So bridelette is in a pickle here. Her friend wants to make her cake as a gift but clearly can't provide for half the county who will be in attendance. So charging her for her cake might be the biggest gift of all.

I mean a partial cake is kinda like a a partial dress.

I don't know I'm just putting myself in the bride's shoes.

This is why I do not like to do business with friends. I want to have free and clear leverage to get what I want. If I'm not paying anything I have no control over the circumstances.

$385 would cover expenses. I mean I just don't like for people to be put on the spot like this, not you, not the bride, not the Mom. You would still be giving a ginormous gift of time and money.

Just some 'how free is free cake' thoughts for you.

Offering a cake that's too small might be a problem I don't know. And you need to determine if a cake that size is within your realm of expertise. Maybe donate a shower cake or the grooms' cake. But having cake leftover is not your purview. It's an occupational hazard of doing cakes. It's likely to happen but you can't purposefully shortchange the event. What the caker does is provide boxes for leftovers.

I'm just brainstorming--please, no worries--I don't know your exact situation I'm just tossing out random potential aspects. icon_biggrin.gif

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JodieF Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 9:54pm
post #15 of 18

I know it's a heck of a gift, and I'm sure mom intends to offer me ingredient costs, even though I didn't ask. I know I can handle the cake, because the one she described is pretty simple....fondant with ribbon and fresh flowers.

I'm going to meet with the bride alone and find out what her "hopes" are. She obviously has a vision of what she wants, and, like non cakers, doesn't realize that you can't do a 3 tier 325 serving cake!

She's afraid of appearing rude to her guests, but mom is afraid of having way too much dessert.

Don't most wedding cake bakers tell brides not to expect everyone to eat the cake though? I could have sworn there's a percentage. I'm just not sure what to advise her.

Thanks for your input....any and ALL suggestions and thoughts welcome!


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marmalade1687 Posted 11 Feb 2009 , 10:30pm
post #16 of 18

I usually go with the 75% rule - but that is still a lot of cake - about 250 servings...

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JodieF Posted 12 Feb 2009 , 2:50am
post #17 of 18

Okay...where the HECK is the Wilton serving chart???? I can't find it anywhere on their site!!!


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