virginia weddings

The Great Debate: Tiered Cake or Cupcakes

While there have been many passing trends for wedding dessert tables, two main contenders stand: the traditional tiered cake or cupcakes. Some couples choose to do both, while others take a hard side. Let’s break down the pros and cons.

Photo from BC Tiger News


The tradition of a wedding cake dates back to Ancient Rome. A scone-like treat was broken over the bride’s head for luck and fertility. The tradition has been updated over the years, of course, but you can’t go wrong with this custom.

Photo from Brides


An obvious “pro”, a tiered cake allows you and your new spouse to do a traditional cake cutting during the reception.

Another tradition is freezing the top tier for the first wedding anniversary. If this is important for the newlyweds, then a cake is the only way to go.

Not only is a tiered cake traditional, it is elegant. Depending on the theme of your wedding, a beautiful tiered cake may be a no-brainer.

You still get some flavor variety with a cake. Each tier can have a different cake flavor/filling combination, making plenty of combinations possible.


Cutting and serving the cake can turn into a messy endeavor. Unless you designate an experienced slicer, serving the tiered cake can take a bit of time and leave your guests waiting for dessert.

On average, a tiered wedding cake costs more per serving than cupcakes. If you’re looking to go the more budget friendly option, a cake may not be the way to go.


While cupcakes are not the traditional route, they’ve become more popular in recent years; they’re definitely a viable option for any reception.

Photo from Brides


Usually cupcake flavors are split up per dozen, so there’s no need to choose just a flavors, like you’d have to with a tiered cake.

Unlike a cake, cupcakes are easy for guests to grab and take to their seat or the dance floor! Much easier than slicing the tiered cake.

Cupcakes tend to be more cost efficient per serving.


If your heart is set on the traditional cake cutting, cupcakes might not be the right option for your wedding.

Another tradition to potentially miss out on is freezing the top tier of the cake to celebrate your one year anniversary. Once again, if this is really important to you, consider going with at least a small cake.

Picking the right dessert can be a tough choice. If you are really torn, considering having a small two-tier cake as well as cupcakes. This allows you to keep those traditions while staying in the budget.

If you are planning a wedding in Roanoke Virginia, Richmond Virginia, Fredericksburg/Northern Virginia, The Shenandoah Valley, Coastal Virginia or in Charlottesville/ Lynchburg Va. we can help with your wedding planning and ideas.

The author: Natalie

Natalie is a Vinton, VA native currently pursuing a journalism degree at Virginia Tech. She loves planning, and has a specific interest in all things to do with weddings. In her free time she enjoys reading, journalism, and traveling. Her post-grad plans are to pursue a career in magazine writing and design.