Choosing your perfect wedding cake can be easy if you settle with something simple and classic. However, if you seek to compete with the likes of Instagram and Pinterest inspo posts, it can be quite the task. Much like getting your wedding day outfit just right, finding the ideal cake flavor and design isn’t as effortless as it seems—but we all have got to get started somewhere and once the process gets going, it’ll flow from there. Here are some basic tips to begin the process of selecting your perfect wedding cake.
Set a Budget and Know How Many Guests You’ll Have
As with any wedding expense, your spending allowance determines a lot. Many couples are surprised to find that wedding cakes are not cheap. Now, this doesn’t mean that your cake has to be expensive, as there are plenty of ways to cut down on cake costs, but you should expect your centerpiece dessert to take a bite out of your budget.
Before you make an appointment with a professional cake baker, the two things you need to know are how much you’re willing to spend and how many guests you plan to have. Always overestimate than underestimate. These numbers alone may narrow down your options.
In addition to the cost of the cake, expect to pay a bit extra for the delivery of the cake. While you can pick up the cake yourself, most designs are quite delicate and it’s usually best to let a professional carry the burden of the cake delivery. It’s a small expense in comparison to the total cost, but it’s a good idea to keep in mind if you’re on a tight budget.
Determine Your Flavor Preferences, but Keep an Open Mind
Prior to your cake tasting, you should have some idea about what kind of cake you might want—but you should also not rely on tradition or trends. Wedding cake designers claim that many couples come into their tasting relying on what’s the most popular order of the year or what the professional would recommend. Considering that this is likely the most exquisite dessert you’re about to splurge on, you shouldn’t let someone else determine what that will be!
To help narrow things down, start with what you definitely don’t want. For starters, you should have received your RSVP cards by now and have some idea if any of your guests have any allergies or food preferences. While you shouldn’t let that stop you from ordering the cake of your dreams, it might have some influence.
Lastly, remember that many cake bakers today offer choices that seem surprising for a wedding, but don’t let that put you off. Go to a cake tasting with all your senses wide open.
Be Picky with Your Baker
If you have a certain idea in mind, it’s best to check in with the wedding cake designer before booking an appointment. For example, some bakers will only work with buttercream frosting. The same applies to the cake exterior. Double-check if your cake designer can work with the concept you’re hoping for.
Know Your Venue
You might not think your wedding cake will be determined by where it’s served, but it does mildly matter. Specifically, this applies to weddings taking outdoors or in a warm-temperature setting. In such cases, the cake exterior/topping may make a difference.
For example, if you have any suspicion your cake might “melt,” it’s best to go with a fondant frosting, as it is the most stable. Buttercream, whipped cream, and meringue, unfortunately, are all known to melt. Likewise, it’s best to avoid “naked” cakes, which have no frosting at all. Actually, many bakers will advise against naked cakes because they are very unstable in general. Another reason to have some idea about your venue (and decor) is that your cake should, to some degree, match its surroundings.
Order Your Wedding Cake in Advance
Depending on the cake designer, most ask for at least six months of prep time. Some, of course, need more time and some can do things last-minute. However, since most cakes are complicated in both the baking and the artwork, know that it usually takes about a week to create the masterpiece. More importantly, though, is to have enough time to shop around and go to more than one baker for a tasting, so don’t delay yours until the last minute.
How to Save Some Cash
Can’t resist the cake of your dreams, but find it difficult to afford? There are many tips and tricks you can use to fake it and still make it. This is why it’s important to know your budget and expectations ahead of time. The right wedding cake designer will work with you to make it happen.
For example, if you want a five-tiered cake but can only pay for one tier, you can fake the rest with Styrofoam. While bakers might not offer this service right off the bat, they will likely oblige if you ask.
You might be asking…what will you feed your guests? Easy! You can order a sheet cake in the same style and flavor at a fraction of the cost. Or for extra style points, have cupcakes instead.
You Can Have Two Cakes and Eat Them, Too!
Having a hard time deciding on a flavor or design? Why not opt for two cakes instead? Seem strange? This is not an unusual concept. In fact, it’s quite normal for Southern weddings. Usually, there’s one cake for the bride and one cake for the groom. Two small cakes may not seem as fun as one big one, but remember that you can always fake a few layers to retain the drama.