Many Muslim weddings are a fusion of traditional and contemporary aesthetics, in terms of planning. This can make it quite difficult to first decide on whether or not to serve cake and then to decide how much to order. There are some good rules of thumb, but no one particular formula will tell you exactly what you need.
The first question or two that needs to be addressed is how many guests, and how many desserts are you offering? Many South Asian weddings have traditional desserts and cake. In that case, the amount of cake you need is a lot less. If the cake is the “main” or only dessert, the answer is pretty simple: one serving per guest.
If only life were that simple. The number of invited guests is usually greater than the number who actually attend, that is unless you have wedding crashers. Although you will go through a lot of heartache and pain to select the perfect cake, the reality is your guests tastes are fickle. Some will love it, others won’t go near it. It is painful after the reception to see large quantities of untouched perfectly-dressed cake slices that will end up going to waste.
So here is our advice. The rule of thumb is if cake is the only dessert, go with the 80% rule, in terms of number of servings. Other numbers that get bandied around are cut your number of guests by a third. If you have more than one dessert, then reduce the number of servings by half.
With most cakes, there is little correlation between look and taste. Some look great but are not very edible. Others don’t look that good but taste awesome. Don’t get hung up on the idea of having one big cake. These days you can have one smaller wedding cake accompanied by cupcakes and/or cake-pops which provide more varied tastes for your guests.
Don’t get carried away with having too many options, as once again, there is a lot of wastage with guests sampling the various choices. Please see 7 Ideas for Memorable but Simple Weddings for more details.
Think also about cake logistics, how, who, where, when is the cake going to get delivered, stored, served. With fresh cream, buttercream, fruit, etc. you can’t leave the cake lying around as there can be issues with it melting, getting insects around it, etc.
Again our purpose at Perfect Muslim Wedding is to help guide you, not make your decisions. You know your guests. Allow a little margin, but we truly believe at least with cakes, that the “less is more” philosophy really works. Happy Cake-cutting!