How Many Cupcakes for a Wedding? Simple Estimation Guide

Choosing the menu for your wedding is one of the most exciting parts of planning. Food is a major aspect of any event, and the right choices can take the experience from great to best. As for dessert, cupcakes are a universally loved option you can consider.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “How many cupcakes should I order for my wedding?” However, you can use some formulas to estimate how many you should purchase:

  • Guest list x 1.25
  • Guest list + (Guest list ÷ 3)

Furthermore, keep in mind that several factors will also influence the number of cupcakes you shoulder order:

  • Number of Flavors
  • Presence of Other Dessert Options
  • Presence of Wedding Cake
  • Variety

The formulas and factors are explained in more detail below, along with variations of the formulas adjusted to the size of cupcakes you prefer. Some tips for making the most out of cupcakes at your wedding are also provided.

How Many Cupcakes Should I Order for My Wedding? Perfect Formula

chocolate cupcakes

The standard number of cupcakes you should order for your wedding is one per person. For example, if you have 150 guests, purchasing 150 cupcakes is a rational move.

However, as with anything, it is safer to have extras of everything. Some of your guests might have a sweet tooth, and kids can eat up to three cupcakes if they love the flavor. There are two ways you can handle this situation:

  • Instead of ordering one cupcake per person, make it 1.25 per person. For example, with 150 guests, you would want to buy around 188 pieces.
  • Take the size of your guest list, divide it by three, then add the quotient to the number of guests. For a wedding with 150 guests, you can be safe with 200 (150 + 50) cupcakes.

The formulas above for how many cupcakes you should order for your wedding are ideal for regular-sized cupcakes. Typical regular-sized cupcakes have a 2” diameter at the bottom, 2” to 2.5” at the top, and a height of around 2.25”. However, the dimensions may vary per bakery.

If you want minis instead of regulars, your computation will slightly differ. You should consider buying two to three mini cupcakes per guest. For example, a wedding with 200 guests should have 400 to 600 mini cupcakes ready. 

Oppositely, you may want to serve a jumbo cupcake to your guests. One jumbo cupcake can serve up to two guests. Some people will finish the entire dessert, whereas others will need to split it with someone else. With that said, you have two options:

  • Order one jumbo cupcake per guest. For a wedding with 50 guests, 50 jumbo cupcakes will suffice.
  • Multiply the size of your guest list by any number between 0.5 and 0.9. With 50 guests, you can order 25 to 45 jumbo cupcakes. You know your guests best; if you think this amount will be enough for them, then go with this option.

For your reference, here are the typical dimensions of each cupcake size and how many guests they might serve:

Size Height Bottom Diameter Top Diameter Usually Serves
Mini 1.25” 0.75” 1.25” 1 to 3 per adult guest;

1 to 2 per kid

Regular 2.25” 2” 2” to 2.5” 1 per adult guest;

1 to ½ per kid

Jumbo 3.5” 2” 3” 1 to ½ per adult guest

⅓ to 1 per kid

Factors that Influence How Many Cupcakes You Need

cupcakes with mint frosting

There are other factors to consider while you ask yourself, “How many cupcakes should I order for my wedding?” Depending on your situation, these additional elements will help you get a more accurate number.

1. Number of Flavors

If you are sticking to one flavor, you can proceed with the formulas above. However, you may want to give your guests some options but not overwhelm them. Generally, it is recommended to have two to four flavors of cupcakes.

The overarching rule remains: there should be at least one cupcake per guest. You can use the formulas listed above, then decide how you want to distribute the flavors.

For example, a wedding with 150 guests may need 200 cupcakes. If you would like to serve three flavors, work with your baker as to how many of each you will purchase. For instance, do you want a 100-50-50 ratio to highlight your favorite flavor while giving your guests other options?

2. Presence of Other Dessert Options

different types of cupcakes

Dessert bars have been gaining popularity recently because they allow couples to save some money on food. Cupcakes are not only excellent additions to a dessert bar but can also be an alternative wedding cake if you prefer.

Try to finalize what other dessert options you will have before ordering. Will there be doughnuts, eclairs, cookies, or ice cream? Will you have a s’mores bar, soft serve station, or churros? Will there be a chocolate fountain with marshmallows, breadsticks, and candies on the side? 

If your dessert bar will have several options, you can scale down on the cupcakes. Instead of using the formulas above, simply using a portion of your guest list as a ballpark is enough.

For example, let us say you have 200 guests. You can go with 100 to 150 cupcakes, perhaps 50 doughnuts, and a fondue fountain with marshmallows, wafers, and fruits. You can add homemade or locally-sourced cookies to ensure there will be enough dessert.

3. Presence of Wedding Cake

wedding cake

Many couples purchase a wedding cake because of its symbolism; furthermore, the cake-cutting ceremony is a sentimental and memorable part of the reception.

The number of cupcakes you must order will depend partly on whether the cupcakes will be an alternative to a wedding cake. In this case, you can proceed with the formulas listed above.

However, if you will allow your guests to choose between a cupcake or a slice of cake, you have to consider the size of the cake. Specifically, how many people will it serve?

For example, you may have bought a cake that feeds 60 people. You have invited 100 people, meaning there is a shortage of 40. Multiply that shortage by 1.5 to 2.0, depending on your guests and how much you are willing to spend.

Thus, in that case, the safe number of cupcakes to order would be anywhere from 60 to 80.

4. Variety

cupcakes in different flavors and sizes

For personal or aesthetic reasons, you can order different types of cupcakes. For example, you may want to have some minis, regulars, and jumbos. Firstly, go ahead; it is your wedding, and you can do whatever you want.

However, computing the answer to “How many cupcakes should I order for my wedding” might get a little more complex. Let us say you want to have minis, regulars, and jumbos for a wedding with 200 guests.

Knowing that one adult can consume three mini cupcakes, it might be best to order more minis than the rest. Here is a sample order: 200 mini cupcakes for around 70 guests; 100 regular-sized cupcakes for 100 people; 50 jumbo cupcakes for approximately 50 people. 

Again, it is best to have more cupcakes than guests. Even though you only have 200 guests, 220 is a reasonable number to order.

Making the Most out of Cupcakes at Your Wedding: Tips

chocolate cupcakes with different frosting

How Many Cupcakes Should I Order for My Wedding? Cheat Sheet

For your convenience, here are some sample computations based on the size of your guest list.

  • 50 guests → 50 to 65 cupcakes
  • 75 guests → 75 to 100 cupcakes
  • 100 guests → 100 to 135 cupcakes
  • 125 guests → 125 to 165 cupcakes
  • 150 guests → 150 to 200 cupcakes
  • 175 guests → 175 to 225 cupcakes
  • 200 guests → 200 to 265 cupcakes

As the number of guests increases, so does the upper limit. If you have the budget and you want to be safe, you can purchase a number closer to that upper limit. However, any order within the range should work well.

Before choosing a number to order, make sure to consider the additional factors listed above. For example, if you are also serving cookies, it may be better to stick to the lower limit — or even below — the range. 

Cost of Ordering Cupcakes for Your Wedding

man looking at his credit card

Generally, wedding cupcakes are more affordable than cakes. Cupcakes require less time to decorate, which ultimately lessens their costs.

Cupcakes can cost anywhere between $1 and $8 per piece. The price depends on the complexity of the design, size, flavor profile, personalizations, and your baker’s location and reputation. However, couples spend an average of $2 to $4.

More specifically, mini cupcakes typically retail for $0.5 to $2. Regular-sized cupcakes sell for $2 to $4. Jumbo cupcakes cost at least $4.

Remember that most bakers have discounts for bulk orders. You can also ask them if they have special offers or packages for weddings.

Ultimately, even though cupcakes can be cheaper than cakes, you will still spend several hundred dollars. There are also additional fees, such as display rentals, service fees, and delivery fees to shoulder.

Choose a Personal Favorite Flavor and a Popular Flavor 

cupcakes in a box

As mentioned above, dessert bars at weddings typically have two to four available flavors. You might have difficulty choosing what flavors to order, especially if you and your partner are indecisive.

You can go for a balance between personal favorites and crowd-pleasers. You may love banana or red velvet cupcakes and want to include them on the menu.

However, some guests might not like those flavors. You can balance the selection with well-loved flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

You Can Match Your Cupcakes to the Theme

Although optional, you can opt for cupcakes that match the theme and color scheme of your wedding. Colors are typically associated with certain flavors; for instance, white or cream is vanilla or buttercream, pink is strawberry, and brown is chocolate.

Visualize how you want your dessert table to look. Figure out how it will match the overall vibe and theme of your wedding. If you have the time, you can create Pinterest boards or digital mockups. Doing so will make the process easier.

Ask Questions During the Tasting

woman eating cupcakes

During wedding planning, you and your partner will attend a wedding cake tasting. If you know you want cupcakes at your reception, ask the bakery — ideally while setting up the appointment — if they also offer cupcakes.

You can prepare a list of questions for your meeting. If possible, do this in advance to avoid forgetting any details. Here are some questions you should ask your baker:

  • Do you have discounts for bulk orders?
  • Do you specifically cater to weddings?
  • Are cupcake stands and tiers (or other displays) included in our purchase?
  • Are you or your team in charge of setting up the cupcakes at our venue?
  • Do you have any flavor suggestions?
  • What personalizations can we add to the cupcakes?
  • What other fees do we have to pay?
  • Are there potential allergens in your ingredients? Who should avoid eating these cupcakes for health-related reasons?

If you already have an idea about the design or flavor you want, let your baker know. You can even create a Pinterest board.

Go Easy on the Decorations

flower cupcakes on plates

Wedding cakes have a lot of options for decorations. You can add flowers, pearls, and other props that might not necessarily be edible. However, that is fine; someone removes the decorations before serving the cake.

However, bakers often say that too many decorations are detrimental to cupcakes. They inconvenience the guests; before they can eat, they need to remove the embellishments. If there are kids, these decorations might be choking hazards.

Thus, consider going minimalist in your cupcakes. Experiment with the colors of the frosting or the cupcake sleeve instead. You can also focus on designing the dessert table and displays. As for the cupcakes themselves, plain and simple works best.

Trust Your Baker

If you find an excellent baker, you should trust their instincts. They may have experience catering for weddings; they can share their insights and tips, which you can use to inform your decisions.

Your baker might think it wise to order at least 1½ cupcakes per guest. In some cases, they might even suggest two cupcakes per guest.

Engage in an open-minded conversation with the baker. Listen to their ideas, share yours, and work together until you find what is best for your wedding.

Give the Leftovers to the Staff

colleagues having a meeting

Since you are ordering more cupcakes than you have guests, there will likely be leftovers. You are free to take some home or let your close friends and family have them.

However, if you still have pieces left, do not let them go to waste. Distribute them to the staff who worked hard to make your day perfect — your wedding planner, coordinator, ushers, and whatnot.

Not only are you lessening waste, but you are also showing your appreciation for their hard work. They are also probably tired, so a delicious dessert will give them the boost they need to finish the day.

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