Wedding Cake As A Gift- Etiquette...

Decorating By love2bake1121 Updated 23 May 2013 , 4:06am by denetteb

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love2bake1121 Posted 22 May 2013 , 3:06pm
post #1 of 19

My brother and his fiancee asked me to do their wedding cake, and I agreed. Since I am an amateur baker I don't have many of the pans and other supplies necessary to make their cake, so they originally agreed to pay me $200 for the cake to help cover the costs. (12 in, 10 in, 8 in, 6 in, 4 in stacked rounds covered in fondant,  plus two sheet cakes.) Now that the wedding is getting closer I'm feeling like I should just do it as a gift and not charge them at all. I'm in grad school full time and not working, so I really can't afford to take on all of the costs; however, I feel like it's tacky to charge them since they are family. 

I spoke with a colleague of mine and she suggested that I do the cake as a gift and then place a small note beside it in a frame saying something along the lines of: "this cake is a gift from the grooms sister." However, I feel like that would be tacky as well, even more tacky than charging for the cake. I would have spent $100 on a wedding gift anyway....

Should I charge them for the cake or just do it as a gift? How do you all deal with cakes that you make for family?

18 replies
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AnnieCahill Posted 22 May 2013 , 3:16pm
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I just did a cake for my girlfriend for her wedding gift.  In our circle of family and friends I'm the "cake person" so everyone asks me to do cakes for their special events.  I made it very clear to my girlfriend that the cake was my gift to her. 


How big is their wedding?  You are making a TON of cake.  Is there any way you could have other family members pitch in?  Cake supplies can be very pricey especially if you don't have all the basics.

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love2bake1121 Posted 22 May 2013 , 3:29pm
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The wedding will have 200 guests. I'm finding that it really is expensive for the supplies! I really don't want to ask family for help with costs because he is my half brother and I don't know his mom's side of the family, and I was never close with our dad's side of the family either (they all live out of state).

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kazita Posted 22 May 2013 , 3:33pm
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AI agree cake supplies add up very quickly.... when i go to my cake supply store needing just a few things next thing i know its added up to way more than what i intended to spend. Just the pans alone will cost alot. Its a really good idea to maybe ask a few family members if they would like to chip in towards the cake rather than give the couple a gift of money, you can buy a nice card and write in the card to the couple who all chipped in towards the cake. Its not unheard of to spend hundreds of dollars on cake supplies. If you are just starting out making cakes you need a lot of supplies it might just be to much and you might have to tell the couple that if they want you to make the cake they might have to chip in. Ive been making cakes for 15 years and have supplies that ive bought over the years and if i added up all my supplies it would run way over a thousand dollars so i just think you need to realize that even though you would of given the couple a gift of a $100 a wedding cake will cost you way over that amount.

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DeliciousDesserts Posted 22 May 2013 , 3:36pm
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Original message sent by love2bake1121

they originally agreed to pay me $200 for the cake to help cover the costs.

I'm sure they priced cakes and know $200 is a steal. If not, let them know. You are still providing a generous gift.

Putting a frame near the cake is absolutely tacky!

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ddaigle Posted 22 May 2013 , 3:38pm
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I would have the conversation with them how you are looking forward to making their cake as a gift...however, accept the offer for some compensation for pans, fondant, etc. needed.     If you have the conversation correctly, they will understand and you should not feel guilty.   Just let them know how you appreciate the "help" with some of the supplies that you don't have and go for it.    That is a very expensive gift....take the donation with a smile.

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scrumdiddlycakes Posted 22 May 2013 , 3:42pm
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That is definitely a lot of cake!

If you are wanting to do it as a gift, I would check out any cake supply stores in your area, and see if you can rent pans. Most charge only a couple dollars per pan, and a security deposit. That is a pretty substantial savings if you would have to buy all the pans otherwise.


I have seen the little signs you are talking about, no offense to anyone who has done something like that, but I have personally never seen it done without it looking really tacky.


However, you are savings them hundreds of dollars as it is, even if they found a place that only charged $3 a serving for fondant, they would be paying over $400 for the stacked cake alone.

There is 138 servings in that cake, if you are planning on doing 2 full sheet cakes as well, that's almost another 200 servings. I don't know how many guests are coming, but that seems like a lot more work and expense than is probably needed.

If there are over 300 guests, then NM me :)

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cupadeecakes Posted 22 May 2013 , 3:43pm
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Even if they paid you $200 ($1/serving) you are still giving them a very nice gift.  Your time and talents are definitely worth something.  If they went to another cake vendor they would not get out so cheaply.


Here's my tactic on "gifting" cakes.  When I someone approaches me about a cake that could be gifted I write it up just like it was a real life order.  If they ask for more than I am willing to gift, then I say "The cake you want would be $1000, and I would like to take $700 off as my gift to you."  If they pick a $500 cake, then I just tell them that I will provide it free of charge as my gift.  Just like when you go for-real shopping, have a figure in mind that you plan on "spending" for your gift.

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love2bake1121 Posted 22 May 2013 , 3:48pm
post #9 of 19

I don't know how to edit my original post so I'll just add- the sheet cakes are HALF sheet size, not full sheet! 

By the way...thanks for the replies, everyone! You guys are so fast to respond! I really appreciate it!

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kazita Posted 22 May 2013 , 4:05pm
post #10 of 19

AHere's some good cake pans in the needed sizes you talked about

And you'll need this one too its a12 inch pan. If you buy from global sugar art make sure to use paypal because they have had problems with people buying just straight using their credit card.

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cakegramma42 Posted 22 May 2013 , 4:39pm
post #11 of 19

Since I have only done cakes for family members, I usually tell them it is my gift to them, no matter what the size. I also tell them if they feel they need to compensate me somehow, the cost of the major ingredients used (cake, icing, etc) would help and be appreciated. Time and Talent is donated.

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auntginn Posted 22 May 2013 , 4:45pm
post #12 of 19

A couple of years back, I made my nephew and his fiance's wedding & grooms cake as my gift to them.  I allowed them to choose the design, flavors and all.  I have already been in business for more than 10years so I have my working supplies.   I priced it out because every business owner will tell you that in business even when you "gift" something you need to account for it.  If I had sold those cake it would have been upwards of $500.00   After the wedding they came to me,  her sister was planning on buying the cake when I made the offer and she gave me some money to contribute toward the cake.  My new niece showed me the bakery they had been talking to and the price and I actually saved her sister a ton of money.


The sister was happy to contribute and I was happy to accept.  Yes it was my gift but gifts are so much more than money in this case.  They are truely a Labor of Love.  Take the money graciously, it won't make up for all your time you put into the cake and you will.  You are a student as you said so it will help ease the load.

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anavillatoro1 Posted 22 May 2013 , 4:50pm
post #13 of 19

AI make so far 2 wedding cakes as a gift, on one mi friend wants a fountain an a clear vase for the cake, I told her to rent that and I will do the cake as a gift and she was more then happy, you're time an effort is a big gift to

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love2bake1121 Posted 22 May 2013 , 4:56pm
post #14 of 19

So what I'm hearing from you all is that it isn't tacky to charge for the cake? I feel much better because I was really stressing over this and feeling guilty about it! 

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auntginn Posted 22 May 2013 , 7:59pm
post #15 of 19

You should never feel guilty to let other's know what your limitations are.  I'm sure you've heard the cliche, "Saying no is the hardest lesson to learn"  but its one of the most important a caker can learn if we intend to make money at this.

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kazita Posted 22 May 2013 , 8:22pm
post #16 of 19

AYou yourself said you would of given $100 to the couple as a gift , well making that large of a cake is gonna run into hundreds of dollars so as tactful as you can explain to them that the cake will cost way more than what you thought.

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mcaulir Posted 22 May 2013 , 10:39pm
post #17 of 19

If they agreed to pay $200, don't let them off the hook now!


You won't feel guilty about accepting the money after you've made and decorated 5 tiers of cake and two half sheet cakes, and lugged them all to the reception venue. It's a lot of work, and a lot of money - much more than anyone else at the wedding will be giving as a gift, I'd bet.

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kazita Posted 22 May 2013 , 11:03pm
post #18 of 19

AIf they give you $200 and you were gonna give them at least s $100 as a gift than that's $300 you can spend towards making a cake. I'm not saying you'll be able to make a cake that large for $300 but if you budget and use coupons at michaels or hobby lobby you might be able to make a nice cake for around that price or it could cost a lot more depending on the design.

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denetteb Posted 23 May 2013 , 4:06am
post #19 of 19

It most certainly is not tacky to accept $200 for the cake.  They offered so clearly they are fine with that.  They seem to understand that you are providing more than just the sum of the ingredients and they are glad to pay the money to offset your expenses.  I am sure no one else will be gifting them as much time as you are.  Fact is, there is no right or wrong way to charge for friends and family cakes.  Do whatever is right for you and your circumstances. 

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