If you are a foodie like me, then tasting the wedding cake has to be one of the best parts of planning a wedding. It’s a little less stressful than some of the other events. Hello, seating chart. Not so lovely to see you. But even with the best events, some questions need to be answered, like whether it is complimentary or not.
So, is wedding cake tasting free? Wedding cake tasting can be free, or it may come at a price; it depends on the bakery. Local bakery tastings are typically free, whereas larger, more established, and well-known bakeries tend to charge consultation fees and other costs. Some bakeries may even become complimentary if you decide to order through them in the end.
Because this isn’t as straightforward of an answer, any soon-to-be bride wants, let’s get into the specifics and what you can expect.
Are Wedding Cake Tastings Free?
Wedding cake tastings can be free, but there is no guarantee they will be. It depends on the type of place you go.
The general rule of thumb is that local businesses are usually free while the more established bakery businesses charge.
At first, this does not make a whole lot of sense.
Local businesses probably need the money more than big businesses!
However, it’s also true that by giving free tastings, the chances of getting customers and business improves.
As mentioned, local bakeries want your business!
To get you in the door, they will likely advertise for free tastings.
It may differ between bakeries though.
They may offer a certain amount of their basic flavors free, and then if you have special requests, it may cost a little more.
We can get into this later, but if a local bakery is going to offer up free tasting, and possibly even free special requests, it’s always a great idea to tip in appreciation.
Bigger bakeries that are more frequently used and known will often charge a consultation fee or per person fee or per flavor fee.
If you are really unlucky, you may get all three.
This is standard because they know their cake is good and foodies like us will come in and eat all the cake.
They charge because simply they can.
Some businesses that charge may offer complimentary to a certain number of people, for basic flavors, or simply if you choose to use their services.
We can talk more about price breakdown in these situations and what to expect.
How Much Do Wedding Cake Tastings Cost?
Wedding cake tasting can cost anywhere from $0-$500, depending on the bakery attended, the number of people going, and the types and number of cakes tested.
The truth is, the exact amount you will pay depends on a lot of different variables.
Let us now consider each one.
Number Of People
If a bakery is going to charge per person, you may be looking at something like $15 per person for the cakes you want to try.
Normally, you wouldnt bring a huge crowd to the cake testing (maybe just a few bridesmaids if you’re a good friend), and so that cost isn’t usually a whole lot.
Number of Cake Flavors
Your original cake flavors like chocolate and vanilla may be included in your per person count.
Normally, what a bakery will do is include a few basic flavors and then do an additional per cake cost.
This could be as simple as $5 dollars per extra flavor or $5 per person for extra flavors.
This is something that can start to add up quickly.
The more personal the experience is, the more a consultation fee may cost.
The consultation fee is the flat price that they may charge just from being there.
This could be around $50 and upward. What a lot of bakeries do with their fee though is apply it towards the total cost of the cake.
However, if you have a beautiful display set up, champagne glasses waiting for you and your guests, and a very specialized experience, this consultation fee may be to cover that rather than go to the cake.
Who Goes To Cake Tasting For A Wedding?
It is advised that the bride, groom, and parents go wedding cake tasting. If a wedding planner is involved, getting them to come along (or be involved in the conversation with the baker) is advised.
And as wedding cake tasting is all part of the wedding experience, sometimes it is nice to get the Maid of Honor and Best Man to come along too.
Besides, getting further opinions can really help – especially from people of different age ranges and palates.
That being said, it’s important not to go with too many people, and ask the bakery in advance. There may even be additional cost involved here too so consider that.
What Can I Expect At My Wedding Cake Tasting?
While most wedding cake tastings go down a similar path, there are differences that some bakeries will offer. If it is complimentary, you can expect some of the more basic cake tasting routines. However, the more you spend, the more you should expect.
Here are some things that are basic in cake tasting and extras.
Basic Cake Tasting
An average appointment is about 45-60 minutes long, so be sure to make room for lots of good cake.
But not all that time is for eating the cake.
Some of the logistics you may have spoken about on the phone (i.e., wedding season, size of the wedding, etc.) will be broken down further.
Some bakeries will offer around 3 different combinations of cakes and fillings, either based on your preferences or a setlist if it wasn’t talked about.
It is a good idea to talk about what you like and make special requests over the phone or ask their specialties beforehand.
That way, you don’t waste any time trying flavors you don’t like or don’t intend on choosing.
The bakery will also talk to you about the design of the cake and the possible ideas that will later be nailed down should you choose to go with their business.
Design of the cake isn’t the only thing talked about; some bakeries will talk about table design and, if you are going with cupcakes, how that will work aesthetically.
Cupcakes are also a newer way that bakeries are offering tastings.
Mini cupcakes are slightly more cost-efficient for the bakeries and allow them to offer a few more selections for the guests in attendance.
No matter whether it is a small or large bakery, they should have a portfolio on display for you with books and pictures to help illustrate what they are capable of and maybe give you some inspiration about what you want.
A more extensive experience will have all the mentioned above plus a few more amenities than you can count on.
The features that you may experience during a more lavish cake tasting may be different brand to brand as this is more of a personal experience.
You can expect to pay for these kinds of tastings because the bakery is going the extra mile for its guests.
Something like champagne being offered with the cake tasting is actually a more popular upscale feature because it gives you one a reason to celebrate and two a more natural wedding setting.
Having said that, you may want to go easy on the glasses so you can actually taste the cake.
Some other experiences may be private tasting rooms so that it can be more of a celebration event than it is a wedding cake test.
This is if there are bigger groups of people attending this, like the in-laws, friends, and family.
The time also may be very different when it is a more lavish experience.
You may want to put aside up to two hours rather than the original hour planned for regular cake tastings.
This may be because you are looking at extravagant table displays with chandelier lighting overhead and extensive decorations for both the cake and table.
What Are The Most Popular Wedding Cake Flavors?
There’s not a whole lot of surprise when we talk about the most popular wedding cake flavors because they remain pretty basic.
That’s because the basic flavors like chocolate and vanilla are sure to please everyone or most people, whereas a fruit cake may not float everyone’s boat.
Here are some of the most popular wedding cake flavors.
- Tuxedo – a combination of chocolate and vanilla
- Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry
If a bride and groom decide to go with something a little more original like a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake often, they will have a small side cake-like vanilla or cupcakes as an alternative for those who don’t like their specific taste.
How Many Cake Tastings Should I Do?
It is generally recommended to attend at least 2 cake tastings. This way, you have a point of reference and can at least compare.
However, the number of cake tastings a couple wants to do will depend on a few other factors.
The first is budget.
If the places you are going to are going cost you a lot of money, chances are you will only want to attend a couple.
Just consider the average number that a couple tries out is 2-4 after some good research.
The better you know what a place offers and the better idea you have of what you want, the quicker you will find your match.
Having said that, if you have tried 3-4 cake places and you do not like what they are offering, it’s better to keep searching.
Something to consider in how many cake tastings you attend is how local the bakery is.
The dessert transport is always going to cost something unless it is included as a special or a promo.
Depending on where your wedding is may limit some of the options you have.
When Should You Go Wedding Cake Tasting?
It comes generally recommended to book your baker between 3-6 months before the wedding day. So, when it comes to tasting, you want to book in advance of this. 8-9 months before the wedding day is therefore a good time to begin tasting.
Where To Find Wedding Cake Bakeries
Searching for “wedding cake bakeries in [insert your local area], is perhaps the best way to start. From there, you can look at the reviews and feedback of that particular bakery to refine your search further.
From there, its a good idea to ask your wedding planner/coordinator (if you have one) or anyone at the venue who may be able to offer some suggestions.
Do consider catering companies too; as some do offer this service.
Then there is of course your friends and family.
They may be able to recommend somebody they know. Or better still, they might even be able to do your cake for a fraction of the price!
Have Some Fun!
The most important to remember is this decision does not need to be stressful.
Choosing your wedding cake and attending wedding cake tasting is one of the best parts of wedding planning.
The cake is yours and should come out exactly how you want it.
That’s why it is important to do some good research on bakeries and find a perfect match.
And just remember this if you are feeling a little overwhelmed.
While there are general paths that couples take when it comes to how many tastings and how many people to bring, there is nothing that can’t be customized.
Just make sure you get enough cake! that would be my advice to you!
Hey, I’m Allison – a recent bride, an expectant mother and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I accumulated while researching and planning my dream wedding and ahead of our new baby. Here, I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding, while equally, helping expectant parents ahead of their new arrival!