Your wedding cake can be as big (or as small) a deal as you want it to be. You can be as reverent or irreverent as you choose. On your wedding day, you really can have your cake (or pie or donut) and eat it too! Maybe you want a cake that celebrates your favorite football team, maybe you want a mountain of cupcakes or popcakes, or a couple of celebration gateaux from Costco. Maybe you do want something elaborate, or simple, and original. As long as it fits in with the theme and vibe of your entire day, all limits are off…
DECIDE ON HOW BIG A DEAL THE CAKE WILL BE
How much of your budget will you allocate for it? What kind of cake do you want?
SCHEDULE CAKE TASTINGS
And you will need to schedule them otherwise you will have a serious sugar crash and probably never want to eat cake again in your entire life. Cake tastings usually cost $30-40 but they do knock this off your price if you book with them. Even so, you will be given seven to eight samples of the baker’s best cakes and will have some serious considerations to make while under the influence of intense sugar-rush...Take a notepad. And some water. Taste the cakes, look at portfolios, ask the baker questions, understand the range of their abilities.
DECIDE HOW BIG YOU WANT IT
Generally speaking, you get 40 slices per tier so for 200 guests you are looking at at least 5 tiers. If you order a stacked cake, remember the layers will be lying directly on top of each other so hard to separate. It may make more sense to order one small, decorated cake for just the bridal party and then several trays of the same flavor, style but undecorated cake for the guests. Decorate with seasonal flowers or fruit to add to aesthetics. If the cake was a dessert option, limit portion size which will also considerably reduce your bill.
THE MORE SOPHISTICATED THE CAKE, THE MORE SOPHISTICATED THE BILL!
if you order an ornate piece of decorated patisserie, be prepared for an equally exorbitant bill. The more intricate the layerings and decorations, the more exotic the fillings, the higher the cost. Fondant costs more than buttercream icing too.
DECORATIONS MAKE FOR DEAR CAKES
Decorations do cost the earth, the most expensive being delicate gum or sugar paste flowers which are labor intensive. And then there are marzipanned fruits, moulded flowers, lace or lattice work….all stunningly beautiful and works of art. Thus requiring a lot of extra money.
DISCUSS THE PAYMENT PROCEDURE
There is usually some deposit but you need to work out the payment process and whether it will be in instalments.
EXTRA CONSIDERATIONS IF YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED IN HOT WEATHER OR OUTDOORS
Avoid dairy, meringues and buttercream. In these circumstances, it may truly pay to go with fondant. And remember flies and ants love sugar too!
TOPPERS DON’T HAVE TO BE EXTRAVAGANT
Toppers can be simple and personal: gingerbread figurines, a small posy of sugar flowers, a monogram of both your initials.
FIT IN WITH YOUR WEDDING THEME AND STYLE
The dress and reception decor set the standard and theme for the architecture of the wedding cake. The cake should complement the style of your reception location, time of year, your dress, floral arrangements and the catering itself. If you do want color involved, give your baker fabric swatches. The cake should be an integral part of the wedding - not a random piece of edible entertainment!
MAGAZINES AND WEDDING CAKE BLOGS LIE
Don’t feel disappointed when your cake doesn’t look like the artefact in the photo; cake blogs all have food stylists, photoshop and often iced styrofoam modelling to make the cakes more attractive. This is the age of the selfie and foodie, remember! You will probably not be budgeting for a food stylist so don’t be expecting the exact same replica.
TRY OUT A GROOM’S CAKE
In the South, the groom also has a cake -darker and richer, either fruit or chocolate and crafted to demonstrate the groom’s passions and personality. The bride’s cake is usually eaten for dessert and the groom’s cut into and given to guests as a take-home gift or for dessert too.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT SHAPED TABLE AND DECORATE IT!
Your cake should be displayed but make sure the table complements the shape of the cake - you can’t have a round cake on a square table or vice versa! Decorating the table won’t take that much of your budget compared to decorating the cake so make sure you make it look attractive. Flowers, fruit, vases.
CHECK OUT THE DELIVERY AND ASSEMBLY
In all the activity prior to the wedding, it is easy to forget when and how the cake will be delivered and assembled. Does it require refrigeration? Does it require icing on the day if fresh cream or fresh fruit is being used? If it is delivered the day before, where will it be stored and who will be responsible for set up? Check with your baker that this is included in the contract.
HAVE IT ALL IN WRITING
Yes, it may be just a cake but the details are important. Wedding cake bakers have many orders and you don’t want to get muddled up with someone else’s due to not being specific. Your guests may be quite happy with a cake from Costco if you have other culinary delights taking priority but, if you do want to have your own unique wedding cake, ensure the following is included in a hard signed copy of your contract:
Your names, address, phone and email
Your event, date, time, location and phone number
The baker’s company name and address, phone, email
A detailed description of the cake covering cake cutting fee, return fees (for the stand or knife), delivery and set-up, number of slices, a sketch, the cost of the cake per slice, its flavor and fillings, number of servings and tiers, tier shapes, the icing, decorations and topper - if applicable, location for delivery, rental fees, cancellation and refund policy, total cost including delivery and set-up, payment schedule and who the checks are to be written out to, take-home boxes (if required).
AND MAKE SURE YOU MAKE A MOMENT OF CUTTING THAT CAKE!
The cutting of the cake is symbolic but don’t worry - you don’t have to carve it all up! That’s what your baker should do afterwards. But it is important you cut the first slice together and feed each other to represent your union and a forever promise to provide for each other. After that, the guests can tuck in too.