As you likely already know, your wedding day means sharing the most important celebration of your life with friends and family. It includes picking a stunning venue, selecting beautiful blooms and décor, and, of course, coming up with an incredible food and drink menu that’s sure to please. Another important step? Selecting a wedding cake!
Wedding cakes are such a wonderful tradition and for good reason. They can function as a piece of décor, a conversation starter, and a delicious treat all in one (talk about the complete package). But when dreaming up your perfect confection, you might be wondering what the most important consideration is to keep in mind. Certainly, the cake’s aesthetic is important. And of course, the flavor definitely matters. However, before you dive into any of those details, the first step is to determine the exact size and how many wedding cake tiers you'll need.
Need help on where to start? Don't worry, we’ve got you covered. Ahead, read on for a complete guide to wedding cake sizes, so that you can ensure you have enough dessert for all your guests.
How to Determine Wedding Cake Sizes
When it comes to choosing a cake size, the first step is to consider your guest list. "Start by looking at the number of guests you are inviting," says Dominique Pickering, owner of Poppy Pickering Cake Design. "With regards to the number of portions, not everyone will wish for a piece of cake. Therefore, you do not need to cater to every guest. However, some guests may wish for seconds or wish to taste each flavor."
Typically, you can estimate the number of servings needed by approximating that 75 to 85 percent of your guests will enjoy a piece of cake. From there, determine if you’d like to have enough cake to feed every guest, whether you’d like to have cake leftover, and the size of the slice of cake you'd like to serve.
Standard wedding cake servings are 1-inch by 2-inch slices, while a larger party-size slice is 1.5-inches by 2-inches. Many bakers also offer wedding cake tiers that are 4-inches or 5-inches tall, which should be factored into sizing calculations as well. Ultimately, your cake baker should work to inform you of the best sizing options as this will help guide your choices.
A Breakdown of Wedding Cake Sizes
Think about wedding cake sizing from top to bottom. To do this, add up the number of servings a 6-inch top tier will provide, and then continue with the next cake size in order: 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, and so on. For example, if you need 74 servings of cake, a three-tiered round wedding cake consisting of a 10-inch cake (base), an 8-inch cake (middle), and a 6-inch cake (top) would suffice.
Round Wedding Cake Sizing
- Round 6-inch cake: 12 servings
- Round 8-inch cake: 24 servings
- Round 10-inch cake: 38 servings
- Round 12-inch cake: 56 servings
- Round 14-inch cake: 78 servings
- Round 16-inch cake: 100 servings
Square Wedding Cake Sizing
- Square 6-inch cake: 18 servings
- Square 8-inch cake: 32 servings
- Square 10-inch cake: 50 servings
- Square 12-inch cake: 72 servings
- Square 14-inch cake: 98 servings
- Square 16-inch cake: 128 servings
Other Factors to Consider
Now that you understand the fundamentals behind wedding cake sizing, it's also important to know a few outside variables that may impact the amount of cake you need to order. That's why we've highlighted five factors to consider when deciding on an appropriate cake size for your big day.
While a wedding cake may serve as the main feature of a dessert table, the addition of other treats, such as cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and even candy, may decrease the amount of cake you actually need. Consider offering enough total dessert servings for all guests to enjoy one and a half items, whether it’s a slice of cake, a cookie, or a brownie.
Saving the Top Tier
It’s a tale as old as time! Saving the top tier of your wedding cake allows you to relive a momentous occasion on your first anniversary. And if you plan to follow this timeless tradition, be sure to account for it when determining your wedding cake size. Don’t include the top tier when figuring out how much you need for a certain number of servings. Simply start your calculations with the next size down, often the 8-inch cake tier.
If you’re planning a full weekend, you may need to factor in more dessert. An additional wedding cake tier can be added to allow for plenty of leftovers for guests to enjoy at a following-day celebration.
Think about your venue when choosing your cake size to be sure it’s proportionate. "For example, if the room is large with high ceilings, then a small-sized wedding cake might look a little lost and out of place," says Pickering. "Fake 'dummy' tiers can be combined with real tiers to add height and grandeur."
Decorations and Aesthetic
If you’re obsessed with a certain style of cake or method of decorating, you may need a larger cake size to pull off the look. "If the couple only requires a small-sized cake, then it might look out of proportion with lots of sugar decoration," offers Pickering. If it seems like the cake may look strange in proportion to any intricate decorations, increasing the size may help to balance out the details.
It's helpful to consider your service style when determining cake size. If you’re planning to have a plated slice served to each guest right after their meal, you’ll want to be sure you have enough cake to deliver that same slice to everybody. If you’re planning to cut the cake just before or in the middle of a dance party, chances are, not everybody on the guest list will head over to the cake table to grab a bite.