How much dessert at reception?

posted 2 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
4529 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

ommatidia :  i like the idea of option B and C too but I think your Fiance has a point. More options means that people will treat it like a buffet and take multiple options to ‘try’. If you can’t afford to cover the cost of roughly everyone trying at least 4 out of 5 options, then you are better to stick to maybe one flavored cake or two that covers a piece of each for your guests.

The other option could be just one large dessert ( eg a chocolate cake only) and then a few other types of slices/ cookies with maybe 50 portions each. That way at least if some guests demolish the extras like cookies/slices everyone still gets a slice of cake.

You could also do one cake and a lolly bar if you want nice pictures and the look of choice with a limited budget. Lollies work out cheaper than dessert….

If you end up doing a lolly bar option, Ikea sells really cheap glass serving bowls and vessels to put lollies/chocolates

Post # 3
8825 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

ommatidia :  Option C, just cut everything smaller than usual.

Post # 4
2867 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

We are doing option C with plenty of choices for our guests. I worked for a bakery for a long time and our rule of thumb was 3 “pieces” per guest total.

So say you decide to have lemon bars, brownies, choc. Chip cookies, and cheesecake cups for 120 people, you would take 120×3= 360 pieces. Divide that by the amount of dessert varieties 360/4 desserts= 90 pieces of each dessert. 

Post # 5
1255 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2018 - The Venue, Barkisland, UK

We’re basically doing option C.

Our cake is 4 tier, different varieties, and IIRC we’ve over catered it as the slices will be small – 1” Square type thing. Personally I want one of each! If needs be when I check the numbers we’ll order some extra cutting cakes.

We do have desserts as part of the meal package but wanted to switch that out as late night snacks. The plan is to also have a sweetie bar and nibbles readily available.

Post # 6
4495 posts
Honey bee

Well, having 5 flavors does not mean you need 500 servings for starters.  Lots of people have cakes with 2 or 3 flavors for their tiers and guests just pick one and you have some extra servings for each just in case.

I generally deal with cupcakes rather than cakes but the rule of thumb with cupcakes is 1.5 per person (some will have two – some will have one).  So for 100 guests I would have 150 cupcakes. 1.25 per person if I have other desserts available.  1.75 per person if I have multiple flavors (regardless of whether that is 2 flavors or 5 flavors) and other desserts available or 2 per person if I have no other desserts and multiple flavors.  Because if I really want to try all five flavors, 1. I’m going to be too full to eat five cupcakes, and 2. I’m probably splitting the cupcakes with my date so we each get to try them. 

Also, clarify with your bakery what they mean by serving size.  A traditional wedding cake serving size is probably much smaller than you’re used to seeing (1×2 instead of 2×2).  People are probably more likely to have more than one slice and try multiple flavors with the smaller serving slice and you probably want extra if that is how they are measuring their servings.

Post # 7
352 posts
Helper bee

hmm I think your fiance has a point but I think having more flavors is fun! I personally would only choose one. 

Post # 8
2608 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - Valleybrook Country Club

ommatidia :  Option B or C for sure. We did two diferent cake flavors and an ice cream bar and it worked out well.

I think as long as you have one piece for everyone there plus some extra slices, you’re good. You don’t need 500 slices. No way will you go through that much cake. I think C is a great option as long as you have at least one slice of cake per person attending and then have an assortment of other small desserts as well. 

Post # 9
9174 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

we had the traditional cake but also a venetian table. it had tons of mini desserts and there were plenty for people to take multiple

i went to a wedding that had 5 assorted pie flavors, i sampled 3. and another wedding that had numerous cake flavors, i sampled 2.

the slices on the pie and cake were cut smaller than normal and someone was incharge of cutting.  but i would definitly have more than enough if you are going to have a variety.


oh, then i went to a wedding a few weekends ago that was only cupcakes.  they were served, there were 3 flavors, but i was only allowed 1.  i wanted 2.

Post # 10
9174 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

here’s a shot of our venetian table:


Post # 11
864 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

My day job is food related and there is DEFINITELY behavioral science that with more variety people will eat more.  If you love variety I personally would do B or C but have smaller, sampling size pieces that way people don’t take a full piece when all they might want is a couple bites.  I definitely wouldn’t go those options though if it will bother either you or your future husband if people take more or leave wasted bits on their plates.

Post # 12
6294 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

ommatidia :  I would go with B.

We served dessert with our meal (3 options for guests to choose from) and then we served wedding cake with our evening buffet. We had 4 different flavours (chocolate with chocolate buttercream; vanilla with raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream; lemon with lemon buttercream; and carrot cake with cream cheese) and we had a total of 140 servings for 60 guests. A TON of cake was left; like, about 40%. Some people (me and the bridesmaids; ahem) did have a taste of each flavour, but most had just one or two or none at all. Generally when drinking is involved most people reach for savoury items, not sweet.

So I think you would be find having different flavours, but, do make sure that there’s enough of each for approx. 50% of guests to try some; so maybe lookt at reducing the number of flavours to 3 or 4 so you still have variety, but less waste.

Post # 13
4083 posts
Honey bee

ommatidia :  I think most replies would be option C just because it’s a variety of desserts. Me personally, I am a cake-person and prefer it as a dessert over other stuff so I am fine with any cake flavor and would pick option B. 

Post # 14
921 posts
Busy bee

Option B but you do NOT need 500 servings of cake for 100 people!! No one is going to take 5 full slices of cake I promise. 


We had two cakes (bride’s and groom’s) and our bakery suggested 250 slices for about 180 guests (about 1.5 slices per person).  Some people don’t like cake at all and others want a slice of both.  And we had a good bit leftover.  


200 servings is PLENTY in your situation.  And have the venue cut smaller than normal slices to encourage guests to try more than 1 cake flavor. 

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