3-tier wedding cakes are a good choice for a smaller reception, because you’ll have a taller cake and still be able to save the top tier if you’d like to.
Depending on the shapes and diameters of the tiers, you can get a lot of servings out of a three-tier wedding cake, or you can keep it on the smaller side for fewer guests.
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How many servings in a 3-tier cake?
This serving chart for three-tiered cakes is based on the full chart that you can find here: Cake Serving Chart.
These numbers are a range, and do include serving the top tier.
Remember that if the difference between the tier sizes isn’t standard for the whole cake, the proportions for the cake will look a little off.
And if the tiers aren’t the same height, that will also affect the shape.
|Round tier sizes, 4″ tall||Serving count||Square tier sizes, 4″ tall||Serving count|
Three tiers with fondant draping.
This cake is a 6-9-12″ round combination.
The ledges on each tier are about 1 1/2″ wide, and it has a symmetrical profile because the tiers have the same 3″ size difference.
The fondant draping gives this an elegant look.
Three tiers with pillars wedding cake.
This one was 6-8-11, so the bottom tier is a little larger proportionally.
Since there are pillars between the tiers, it’s not as noticeable, but you can see that the top two tiers and the bottom two tiers have a size difference proportionally.
Three tiers with bows.
This one is an 8-10-14″ combination, so the top tier is wider and the cake itself looks wider overall than smaller tiers would.
Three square buttercream tiers.
This 6-8-10″ square combination looks more upright than the next cake because there’s less of a size difference between tiers.
This one is 7-9-11 square tiers, so the difference in the tier sizes are the same as the previous cake, but you can see that it looks wider because the top tier is larger.
Three square tiers with sugared roses.
This square wedding cake is 6-9-12″, so you can see how the shape is more like a pyramid than the previous one, but the next one is even wider.
Three larger square tiers wedding cake.
This one is 6-10-14″ square tiers, so the ledges are all 2″ wide.
This makes the cake look more like a pyramid and less upright.
Round tiers with fondant lace wedding cake.
This 6-10-14″ round cake is the same proportion as the square one right above it, and you can see how the overall shape is similar.
This round wedding cake was 6-8-14″, and you can see that the difference between the top and middle tiers is different from the middle vs. the bottom tier.
That gives it a different shape than the ones that have the same tier size difference throughout.
Small 3 tier wedding cake.
This little wedding cake was a 5-7-9″ combination.
Since it was narrower, it looks taller.
Tall wedding cake with double barrel tier.
A taller tier is called a double barrel, and it’s basically two of the same-sized tiers stacked on top of each other and iced to look like one larger tier.
This makes the wedding cake look taller, but it also gives you more servings in the cake because the bottom tier is technically two tiers.
If you want this kind of look, be aware that you should tell your reception site to expect it, because they have to cut taller tiers differently if it’s only 3 layers of cake, not 4.
This one was 4 layers with a cake board between the two tiers, (each tier is two layers of cake) so when they cut it they would cut it normally.
If the cake is 3 layers you don’t need to dowel the bottom tier so you can do the entire tier like a single one. But that means that when you cut the cake the pieces will be taller and might not fit on normal dessert plates!
The reception sites I would take cakes to HATED the taller tiers because they said they were so difficult to cut and they didn’t fit the plates they used, so it’s something to consider.
An average three tiered wedding cake size combination.
This round wedding cake was a 6-8-10 combination, which was a pretty standard size for a smaller reception.
Small three tiers wedding cake.
This one was a 4-6-8″ combination, which doesn’t serve as many people, but is good for an intimate wedding reception.
Three tiers with ruffles.
This 6-8-10″ combination is the same as the black and white striped one above, but the ruffles make it look wider.
Taller tiers wedding cake.
The top tier on this wedding cake was three layers instead of four, so it looks taller than the other tiers.
This gives it a different look than a standard size combination.
Rotated square tiers wedding cake.
The three square tiers here are 6-8-10″ but they’re turned slightly.
The offset tier look makes the cake look completely different profile-wise, but if you want this look you need to make sure that the tiers can be turned as far as you want to turn them.
Since these tiers weren’t that different size-wise, they couldn’t be turned too far.
The next cake shows the difference.
Three offset square tiers wedding cake.
Since this wedding cake was 6-9-12 squares, I could turn the tiers farther, and the offset appearance was more drastic.
If you like the offset look, make sure that you have a cake that’s big enough to turn the tiers so that it’s the look you want.
If the tiers are too small, you won’t get as dramatic a turn!