Wedding Cake Contracts: A Lawyer-Backed Guide to Seal the Deal

Before you can dig into your sweet treat, sign on the dotted line.
Jenn sinrich headshot
Jenn Sinrich
Jenn sinrich headshot
Jenn Sinrich
The Knot Contributor
  • Jenn writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a speciality in planning advice and travel.
  • Jenn also writes for a myriad of other large-scale publications, including SELF, Women's Health, and more
  • Prior to becoming a freelance writer, Jenn worked as an on-staff editor at, American Baby, Fit Pregnancy and FreshDirect.
Updated Jan 24, 2024

When you picture your wedding, aside from the moment that you say I do, you might have an image of you and your newly anointed spouse feeding each other bites of your wedding cake. This time-honored tradition is one of the sweetest parts of your wedding day (pun intended), and serves as a symbol of unity and togetherness.

If you plan on incorporating this fun and delicious endeavor into your wedding-day festivities, you're going to want to hire a wedding cake baker (The Knot Vendor Marketplace makes it super-easy to find one in your wedding location) well in advance. And, as part of hiring them, you'll want to be sure to have them sign a wedding cake contract.

"A contract for a wedding baker clearly outlines the expectations of what the baker is required to provide, what the costs are and how payments are made," says Christy Seguin, owner of Cakes ROCK!!! in Austin, Texas. "It sets clear boundaries and parameters for how the cake will be created, delivered and set up and should address the bakery policies and procedures in case there is a problem with the cake or delivery or if the client is unhappy with the cake." She also points out that a wedding cake contract should also protect the baker from the typical issues that can arise and the many ways that clients try to get money back when they are not entitled to a refund.

No matter the scale of the wedding, lawyers attest to the fact that a wedding cake contract is non-negotiable. And, in fact, it's often the smaller, less expensive cakes that are the most hassle and the clients the most demanding, notes Seguin. This kind of contract mostly protects the baker, since, once the cake is served, they cannot determine if there's a problem with the cake.

"Before we even send an agreement, there is so much work that goes behind creating a tasting, design, consultation and so much more that when something unforeseen as a cancellation, family death, couple splitting or any other event that could happen, doesn't allow for the event to happen the business is protected as the retainer is nonrefundable and would cover the cost of all the time spent leading up to that date or even loss of business as most of us book so far in advance," says Marie Martinez, owner and Pastry Chef at Hands on Sweets. "Knowing that you will be at least slightly compensated for your service even if the event cancels is a good feeling, and for the client to know when to cancel and how they can be released from future payments is also a relief."

This kind of contract also protects the client, as it gives you peace of mind that your cake is actually going to show up on your wedding day. "Imagine not actually having anything in writing and being left to wonder whether the baker has the date and location of the wedding right or has all of the details about your specific order," says Leah Weinberg, Co-Founder and Partner of Oduberg Law, LLP. "An agreement that's in writing and signed by both you and the baker is going to put your mind at ease that everything is official."

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Before you officially sign your wedding cake contract, here are some key points to make sure are included, according to experts.

1. Contact Information

This might sound rather obvious, but it's very important that your wedding cake contract, or any contract that you sign for that matter, includes the contact details for both parties: you, as the couple, and your wedding cake baker. Make sure that full names, titles, phone numbers, email addresses and mailing addresses are part of this section.

2. Event Details

In this section, be sure to include the date, location and time of the wedding. "It is not uncommon for the wrong date to be given by accident or the time of the ceremony to be changed," says Seguin. "We showed up to a venue with a cake, and there was no wedding because the couple had postponed a couple of weeks before we had our final confirmation of the details and the balance paid, which is one month before the wedding." She's also had scenarios where couples have changed the time of the ceremony without informing her company, which made the cake late for delivery.

3. Cake Design Specifications

Even if you're certain that your wedding baker clearly understands the aesthetic you're going for with your wedding cake, it's wise to have the details of the cake design outlined in your wedding cake contract. Be sure to include selected flavors, the size and/or shape of the cake as well as any additional design elements discussed between you and your cake baker. If there are any sketches, drawings or images that are intended to be incorporated, be sure to have them listed here.

4. Allergen Warning

The baker's products may contain or come in contact with milk, wheat, nuts, cocoa or other allergens, so it's a good idea to have this explicitly outlined in the wedding cake contract. "While every precaution will be taken in the cases of known allergies, the client's full responsibility is to inform guests of possible allergens," says Sarah Chianese, Owner, Planner and Executive Chef at Mangia and Enjoy! "The baker is not responsible for any allergic reactions that were not indicated or expressed by the client."

5. Delivery and Setup

If you didn't already include this in the event details section of the wedding cake contract, you can incorporate this into its own section where you specify the time of delivery and the exact location where the cake should be delivered and set up. Include any additional fees for delivery and setup services.

6. Rented Accessories

Often your venue will provide the necessary accessories you may need for your wedding cake, such as a cake stand, cake toppers and a cake knife, however it's a good idea to clarify in your wedding cake contract whether your not your wedding baker should provide anything or if the couple is responsible for providing them.

7. Pricing and Payment

This section is incorporated into all sorts of contracts for a wedding. It clearly outlines the total cost of services for the wedding cake, including any additional fees that may be tacked on for delivery and setup. Be sure to specify the payment schedule, including when the initial deposit, progress payments and the final payments need to be made.

8. Cancellation Policy

If there are any reasons as to why the couple or the wedding cake baker may need to cancel, it should be outlined in this section and, within it, the timeframe for cancellations and any applicable fees should be included. Here is also a good spot to include whether or not the deposit is refundable or not.

9. Insurance and Liability

Liability is an essential term for a baker to have in the contract, according to Chianese, as it refers to the responsibility of any party to a contract for the claims, obligations or debts arising from a contract. "A baker must include liability in the contract for details such as safety issues regarding the property delivery and setup of the cake if handled by an outside party, consumption of non-edible decor, proper cake assembly, and allergens in the cake consumed by a wedding guest," she says. "It is often wise to have an allergen-free dessert option available if any guests have allergies."

10. Photography Release

This is not always included in a wedding cake contract, but it should be, as it can clear up any misunderstandings that could arise from the baker using photographs of their work, but also the couple's wedding cake, for promotional services.

11. Force Majeure

If the performance of the contract is prevented by something beyond the control of either party, such as a hurricane or a pandemic, this clause allows the contract to be voided, explains Heather Anne Leavitt, owner of Sweet Heather Anne. "In our contract, we state that our bakery cannot be held responsible for more than the cost described in the contract," she says.

12. Signatures

Last but not least, be sure that both parties—the wedding cake baker and the couple—sign the contract. Otherwise anything written on it is completely void. Be sure to also date the signing of the contract.

While agreements are serious business, Marie Martinez, owner and pastry chef at Hands on Sweets, points out that a wedding cake contract is intended to be a guide for the baker and client to meet each other's needs. "I remember when starting the business, we did not give this the importance it needed, and along the way, hitting lots of rocks in the first year, we learned our lesson," she says. "Once we understood our needs as a business, we could better understand the needs of our clients and saw how important it was to create a trusting relationship."

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