How to: Choose Your Wedding Cake
Start with Your Style
You and your spouse-to-be must have some ideas on what your wedding will look like, so take a look into your crystal ball of wedding planning, and dream for a bit. You may pull from your color scheme, the flowers in the bouquets, or an item that has special meaning for you both.
Cakes can be found in all sorts of shapes including round, square, oval, heart-shaped, and triangular. You can have multiple tiers, a topsy-turvy cake, or a cupcake tower. Some bakeries may take your cake to the next level by adding fresh flowers, rhinestones, edible pearls, or other specialty items for an extra fee.
Discover the web for stunning cake designs, talk to your friends about what they’ve seen, and pull together some clippings for your future cake consultation. You may be surprised at how quickly you learn the difference between buttercream frosting and fondant!
Fondant is a sugar dough that can be rolled and placed over a cake, giving it a seamless look and a beautiful glow. Buttercream is a frosting that is used more for its delicious taste, than superior aesthetic.
When Do We Have to Start Talking to Bakeries?
Once you have even the smallest hint of stylization discovered, start calling bakeries, pastry shops, your friend’s mother, and whoever else may be an option for baking your custom confection! You’re going to want to call at least 6-9 months in advance (up to one year in advance for larger or more intricate cakes) and schedule a consultation and/or tasting at that time.
The Why and What of Wedding Cake Consultations:
Why: Wedding cake consultations are vital in allowing you to voice your ideas about your dream cake, and receive input based on your designs. The consultation is the first foot forward in seeing what a bakery can do for you and your cake. Some cake makers will have taste testing for you during your consultation, while others will schedule a separate tasting appointment.
What: When in doubt, bring everything. Bring invitations, color swatches, photos of other cakes – anything that you and your future spouse can think of to incorporate. The cake will be customized for you, so it is up to you to provide enough design inspiration for the bakeries you visit! Other information like wedding date, reception time, and reception location are also vital!
Remember you can attend as many consultations and cake tastings as you feel comfortable with! It always pays to shop around for larger ticket items for your wedding, and who would want to pass up free cake?
What is “Fake Cake,” and do I want it?
Not many weddings are being planned on a limitless budget, and one simple way to cut costs without cutting out style or sophistication is with fake cakes- pieces of styrofoam or similar materials that are simply decorated as part of the rest of the cake. These fake cakes can be used as a base, or throughout the tiers to add size and height without producing extra cake servings. They are flawlessly incorporated into your real-cake design, and easily build a more formal, grander cake for the budget-savvy couple.
How Do I Feed All My Guests?
Sizing and serving charts can be found at most established bakeries, but for those looking for a rough estimate on traditional tiers, take a look at the following:
How Much Will Our Cake Cost?
The range of wedding cake costs is as wide as the variety of cake designs. Prices appear anywhere from $1.50 to $12 per serving. Have an estimate of the number of guests attending your reception when you arrive at your consultation, in order to get a more accurate quote. One way to cut costs is to have a small cake for display, and pre-cut sheet cakes of the same flavor to serve your guests.
When booking your baker, you may be required to place a deposit that is 10% to 30% of the total cake cost, and there may be a minimum order requirement for wedding cakes.
Questions to Ask:
- Is there an extra cost for delivery?
- What is your delivery area?
- What flavors do you have?
- What are your most popular flavors?
- How many flavors are available at the tasting?
- How Do I reserve my wedding date with you?
- Is a deposit required for booking?
- How many servings will I need?
- What is your price per serving?
- Is there a minimum order requirement (cost) for wedding cakes?
- Do you make “fake cakes”?
- May I have wedding cake references?
- Do you have cake stands available for purchase?
- Do you have recommendations on how to preserve the top tier?
- Do you have cake toppers available for purchase?
- What happens if I want to cancel my order?
- Do you make groom’s cakes?
- Do you freeze your cakes?
- Do you create cakes that cater to guests with allergies?
- Will you work with my florist?
- Will you cover my cake in fondant?
Many of the questions you will need to ask your bakery will stem from your cake’s style and your personal preferences. Each bakery will vary on their signature flavors or favorite techniques, but one thing is for sure, you will find a baker who is qualified to make your cake as beautiful and unique as you and your fiancé.