That being said, there are a few parts that may not exactly have you jumping for joy. Notably, figuring out finances. In this case, we’re talking tipping. You probably know to tip your wedding service staff, hair and makeup artists, and catering staff, but what about your custom cake bakers? While your custom wedding cake—or other special dessert—is a central part of your celebratory meal, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. For that reason, we’re breaking down this specific area of etiquette.
Read on for the whys, hows, and whens of tipping your wedding cake bakers.
A tip, or gratuity, is an additional amount of money given by a client (the person or people funding your wedding) to a service worker (a vendor). With the average wedding having at least a few vendors or servers, the subject of tipping is a popular one.
When it comes to certain vendors, giving a tip is common knowledge. Delivery and set-up staff help put your entire celebration together. Hair and makeup is a special service. Your servers will be serving you and your guests throughout the evening. Other vendors, however—such as planners, photographers, florists, and bakers—are given a second thought. The reason being is that these vendors are business owners.
Generally, you’re not expected to tip any vendor that owns their own business. These professionals have already set a rate determining what they believe their product or service is worth. However, just because it isn’t expected doesn’t mean that tipping should be off the table.
Now, we firmly believe that you should tip your wedding cake baker (or bakers), just as you should tip any wedding vendor that goes above-and-beyond to exceed your expectations. While baked goods are considered a product, rather than a service, those responsible for providing you with your dream wedding dessert deserve the extra bit of appreciation. Here’s why.
While your cake bakers won’t be working your wedding, he or she is putting in considerable time beforehand, behind the scenes to achieve your ideal dessert. Just as you’d tip your makeup artist for taking the time to perfect his or her artistry and your vision, it’s in good taste to show your bakers the same appreciation. Several hours go into crafting even the simplest wedding cakes, let alone those with multiple tiers and complex cake design options. Express your gratitude by offering a gratuity for all of the time and effort your bakers put into your perfect cake.
Tips, in general, communicate satisfaction to anyone who’s served you in some way. When you think of it that way, it’s entirely applicable to your wedding bakers. If you’re thrilled with what they’ve made for you—the cake design is stunning, the specialty cake tastes delicious—that deserves some recognition. After all, wedding cakes and similar desserts are typically a point of spectacle during receptions; they’re sort of a big deal. Delivering you one that you and your guests enjoy is no small feat.
That aside, let’s talk numbers. Because tipping your amazing cake bakers isn’t widely spoken of, it can be difficult to pin down just how much your gratuity should be. Let’s break it down.
Before deciding on what you’d like to tip the cake shop, take another good look at your contract. Already included in it may be a portion titled gratuity. As usual, this is synonymous with a tip. Some vendors will build gratuity into their contract, including a tip in their bottom line. When this happens, you don’t need to worry about calculating what amount to tip your amazing cake bakers (or any other applicable vendor); it’s already been included. That being said, you can always give an additional tip after the fact, if you feel drawn to do so.
For transparency’s sake, we’re going to make this simple. Calculating your specialty cake baker’s tip is similar to that of your florist or bartender. However, depending on the quality of service, you can be a little flexible with these estimates. Here’s a quick cheat-sheet:
Now that we’ve covered the bigger questions, let’s get down to specifics. If you’d like to tip your wedding bakers, there are a few things to take note of to do so correctly. Consider the following whos, whens, and hows to ensure that all of your bases are covered.
We know what you’re thinking—your baker or bakers, of course. While this much is obvious, there are other staff members that may come into play. Your vendor might provide a delivery service, meaning staff of their own will bring the tiered cake or baked goods to your venue. They might even offer to set it up at your preferred display. In this case, any additional workers outside of your bakers should be tipped separately. When ironing out your expenses, budget for both your sweet treat bakers and any service providers you’ve set up with them.
The best time to offer a tip to a vendor depends entirely on when you’ll be interacting with them. Ideally, you do so when the vendor has completed their service. For example, you’d tip your photographer once their coverage was complete and before they left, or you’d tip a florist when the fresh flowers were delivered. This differs slightly with bakers, since you probably won’t be seeing them the day of your wedding.
If you’re having your cake delivered and set up at a display, have whoever’s receiving deliveries tip the delivery team before they leave. As for the bakers themselves, it’s absolutely acceptable to mail them a gratuity (and a thank you note) post-wedding.
While it may be tempting to tip your bakers when you have the chance, avoid doing so until you’ve fully appreciated (read: seen and tasted) your sweet treat. It’s customary to only pay a tip after having received a product or service, since it’s a bonus based on appreciation and exceeded expectations.
Before your wedding day, put each vendor’s tip into an envelope, along with a thank you note. Clearly label each envelope with the correct vendor and ask someone you trust—your wedding coordinator, best man, maid of honor—to hand out those that will be at your wedding or reception. Carefully set aside the tips that you mean to mail, such as your baker’s, in a safe place that you won’t forget. In the days following your wedding, assess whether you think the amount you set aside is appropriate, adjust if needed, and drop it in the mail. For a more personal touch, consider hand-delivering it in person, if possible.
You may find yourself in a position where you can’t tip your bakers. Perhaps your budget is tied up and you genuinely didn’t plan to add a gratuity beforehand—don’t stress. Of course, if you find it within your ability to tip them any amount after the fact, do so. If it’s simply not possible, however, proceed with sending them a thank you card. This gives you the chance to express your appreciation and will undoubtedly be respected by your bakers.
If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve either already booked your wedding bakers (yay!) or are covering all of your bases before doing so. If you’re in the latter camp, Zola can be of assistance. With a database full of pre-screened vendors, we make it easy to find the bakery of your dreams. Simply navigate to our Vendors Page, locate the search bar (“What vendor are you looking for?”), and click “Cakes & Desserts.” Add your wedding location in the provided box, click search, and find several vendors in your area. It’s that easy. Your perfect cake—or cupcakes, ice cream, or popcorn—is merely a few clicks away.