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When Should You Order Your Wedding Cake?

Cross this to-do off your list early.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Romulo Yanes

No reception is complete without a decadent and elaborately decorated dessert. Despite the rising popularity of nontraditional sweet treats like donuts and cupcakes, many couples still opt for the classic wedding cake—or, at the very least, a single-tiered confection that they can cut into for photos. These crowd-pleasing cakes can be customized with any flavor profile or visual aesthetic, but it's important to give your baker plenty of time to work. Here, everything you need to know about ordering your wedding cake.

 

Related: Tips for Buying Wedding Cakes on a Budget

 

Know Your Needs

If your wedding venue offers catering services, they may also be able to bake a custom cake for your wedding, so always check with your property manager before hiring an outside vendor. If, however, you learn that you're responsible for supplying your own big-day dessert, research locale bakeries soon after setting the date. Every cake baker has a different price range, visual aesthetic for decorations, and available flavor options, so finding one that checks all of your boxes may take some digging. If you're having a hard time narrowing down the options, schedule a cake tasting session at each contender and vote on the best-tasting baked good.

 

Estimate Size

Since you'll likely have to order your cake before you receive your final RSVPs, you'll have to provide your baker with an idea of how large you'll need your cake to be. If you've invited 150 guests, give your pro that information. Most will say you can order a cake large enough to feed about 75 percent of your guest list since a number of attendees won't take a slice, but this number will vary from barker to baker. If you know that you want to serve a five-tiered treat regardless of how many guests attend, relay that information early.

 

Place the Order

Most bakeries suggest placing your wedding cake order about six months before your big day. Some smaller bakeries fill their reservations fast, especially during peak wedding season, so booking early will ensure you won't run into scheduling conflicts. This will also give you sufficient time to schedule a consultation, choose your preferred flavor, and nail down the design. If you're getting married during the off-season, the timeline can be more flexible; you probably won't run into any issues ordering a cake two or three months in advance. Also, keep in mind that you'll likely need to put down a non-refundable deposit (usually around 50% of the total price) to hold your reservation after booking.