pic credit: Tim Dorr via Flickr

This is a serious question posed on the Weddingbee boards:

I looked at the website for my intended bakery and noticed that "wedding cakes" were priced starting at $3.50 a serving. That is a standard price for torted cake with swiss mer. However, "celebration cakes" are priced by the number and size of tiers. According to the website a two-tiered cake with 6" and 9" tiers should serve 30 and will be $70-80. That's $2.33-2.67 a serving. Hmmm....looks like I'll be throwing an "anniversary party" for my parents instead of a "wedding."

Has anyone else done this? I find it highly unfair that someone can stick the word "wedding" in front of a product and jack its price up 20 to 30 percent.

Oh dear. Where do we start? Hmmm... OK. Let's start with the deception itself.

Do you really want to kickstart your blessed union with a big fat lie? A fib or truth smudge we can understand (like saying you are expecting 150 guests when you know for a fact it's really 159) but a blatant lie? That's pushing it.

Besides, are all cakes created equal? It is entirely possible that a "wedding" cake costs more than a "celebration" cake because of the prep and follow-through work that goes into it. Is a free tasting really free? Well not for the baker, who invests the time to hold the tasting for you, the supplies that went into you having something to taste and the salary required to have their staff help you. A celebration cake is just a flat iced cake, while a wedding cake generally requires a little cake engineering to pull off, more elaborate decoration and more attention to detail. When was the last time you went to a birthday party and saw a cake that looked anything like the kind of cake you'd see at a wedding? If you are unsure why a "wedding cake" costs more than other types of cakes on a baker's website, call them up and ask! We're willing to bet they have a good explanation and it's unlikely that the reason is they can charge more for a "wedding" cake.

The other important thing to keep in mind is that you should NOT go into your relationship with your vendors feeling like you're getting ripped off. That's a lose-lose situation for all involved parties. You should feel confident in how your vendors price their products and services (remember, though, that "cost" and "value" are two completely different things). If you go into it feeling like you're being fleeced, keep looking.

There are alternatives that don't involve deception, like getting a small traditional wedding cake just for the couple and a sheet cake for guests. Or going with cupcakes. You don't have to go with five elaborately decorated tiers, but if that's something you want, you're going to have to be candid with your baker.

What do you think? Is it ever OK to be less than honest with your vendors? (Our answer? No. An honest relationship is best for both parties!)