Why Do Wedding Cakes Cost So Much? | Manhattan, NY

Home > Why Do Wedding Cakes Cost So Much? | Manhattan, NY

Why Do Wedding Cakes Cost So Much? | Manhattan, NY

A wedding in Manhattan, NY, is always going to cost you a pretty penny. The average price tag of a wedding there is $76,944. Of course, you can make an effort to cut costs in some areas. You can try to find a wedding dress that’s second-hand or used. Or, you can make your floral arrangements yourself. You could even skip the sit-down dinner and invite everyone to a canapés reception.

One area where you might find yourself surprised by the cost is wedding cakes. Couples are often surprised by the price tag of their wedding cake. However, this is one area where you won’t want to skimp on the budget. Keep reading to find out just why a wedding cake costs as much as they do.

Labor & Time

A lot of labor goes into making a beautiful wedding cake. Designs for wedding cakes are often intricate and need to look perfect for the couple’s special day. The layers must be cut and layered to perfect precision to stack correctly on top of each other. Additionally, the structure of the cake needs to be strong. As each layer is stacked, it needs to hold up and work as one piece. It takes a lot of time to ensure that each layer is adequately secured so it will last.

Unlike a birthday cake, a wedding cake is usually larger, requires more complicated designs, and is a focal point on the day of the event. All of these factors mean that a wedding cake takes a lot of time to make.

On average, a wedding cake can take 16 hours to make from design to finish. If you divide a wedding cake’s cost by the hours put into it, you would see that the price per hour is quite reasonable.


Look up bakers in Manhattan, NY, and you can probably find a baker who doesn’t specialize in wedding cakes but promises they are up for the challenge. As they don’t specialize in wedding cakes, they’ll give you a cheaper rate. We strongly don’t recommend going this route.

A wedding cake takes a lot of skill. As we’ve mentioned above, you need practice creating a heavily stacked cake that will stay strong in structure and align perfectly. Additionally, wedding cake styles, such as the artistry it takes to make gorgeous sugar flowers, are incredibly complex.

Wedding cakes are expensive because you’re paying for skill and peace of mind. You’re hiring someone who is an artist and an expert in their field. You’re paying to make sure nothing goes wrong with your wedding cake on the day of your wedding.


A wedding cake can weigh as much as 50 pounds. Often, wedding cakes have to feed dozens and dozens of people. Naturally, a cake this size requires a lot of materials – flour, sugar, milk, decorative details, and more. Remember that you’re buying a giant cake that will feed all of your happy guests, so the price reflects all of the materials used.


Wedding cakes are also typically custom orders. The couple comes with an idea of what they would like, and the baker executes on their vision. As is the case with anything in life, a custom order is always more expensive. Your baker has to make a plan from scratch on how to create the cake of your dreams. Part of the cost is paying for a wedding cake that is uniquely yours. Many brides choose icing or cake details that match their wedding cakes. Or, they choose precise (and expensive) flavors, such as Madagascar vanilla. Requests like this will always add to the price of the cake.

Some couples then think – I’ll just pick a more simple design to save on costs. For example, naked cakes are trendy right now. These are cakes where the icing seems to show through, displaying the cake underneath it. However, if you look at these cakes, while they seem simple, they’re actually perfectly created for a “naked” effect. Even a design that appears simple takes time and effort to look perfect.


Another factor you may not have considered is timing. Your cake can’t be made days in advance and still taste fresh. Instead, it’s typically made in the early morning hours of your wedding day. Your baker might have to wake up at four or five in the morning to start working on your cake. You’re paying for the timing of having a perfectly fresh cake made for your wedding.


Many people who compete in intense cake designing competitions know that an extravagant cake can look amazing but taste awful. When you’re making a cake just for appearances, you can rely on materials that look better than they taste. A wedding cake baker can’t do this. They have to deliver on both a beautiful presentation and incredible taste. This is no easy feat. Still, thanks to their skill and expertise, wedding cake bakers know how to deliver a cake that will taste just as good as it looks. And when you feed dozens of people, you want them to have the best possible experience.

How Much Should I Spend on My Wedding Cake?

Hopefully, now you understand just why your wedding cake is priced how it is. If you take all of these factors into consideration, the price should seem much more justified now! Experts recommend setting aside two percent of your total wedding budget for your cake.

Your wedding day is going to be perfect – down to the wedding cake!

Chic Sugars

Chic Sugars makes wedding cakes for clients in Manhattan, NY, and surrounding areas, that are beautiful and taste great. We’ve made cakes for notable clients, from companies like Equinox to celebrities like Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, and Missy Elliott.

Chic Sugars offers custom cakes for your wedding so you can get the exact flavor, size, and design you want.

Start by booking a consultation so our seasoned bakers can sit down and discuss your wedding cake vision with you.

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