By Andrew Lisa, a freelance writer who covers weddings and event planning.
What’s the best part of a wedding? Cocktail hour? The first dance? The wedding vows? For many of the guests, at least, the answer is the cake, of course! Wedding cakes can be expensive, elaborate, simple or extraordinary – but a good one will be on people’s minds and in their memories long after the wedding vows.
Consider ordering a cake that matches the season.
Pick Your Season
A trend that was in vogue, then wasn’t, and is now making a comeback is to choose your cake depending on the season of the marriage ceremonies. Light and airy lemon-flavored cakes are always a hit in the summer. Winter weddings, on the other hand, are perfect for rich chocolates, pralines and mocha. Remember that taste is more important than appearance. Cake is meant to be eaten!
Although it’s not a traditional wedding cake, “cheesecake’s smooth, creamy decadence” – to quote “Red Velvet Nirvana, Anyone?” – is more subtle than the sugar-heavy super-sweets found at many marriage ceremonies. Also, cheesecake is dense and heavy – a little goes a very long way.
Plates Determine Size
Remember that the size of the cake is dependent – first and foremost – on the number of guests. Many people go into the cake-ordering process with a number of tiers in mind based on aesthetics alone. Before you predetermine a vision of what your wedding cake should look like, get a head count. How many guests, how many plates? From there, you baker will give you options.
Timing and Budgeting
Give yourself three to six months before the wedding vows to shop for a baker. This will give you plenty of time to browse online portfolios, ask around for word-of-mouth reviews and plan every detail. Most of all, a good cushion of time won’t put your baker in a pinch. Time crunches equal cost increases – which brings us to budget.
Cakes are expensive – and they should be. They’re remarkable, labor-intensive, edible works of art. Before you get your heart set on a design you saw on a blog, shop around to avoid the disappointment that so often comes with budget realities.
Leave yourself between three and six months to shop for a cake.
Cakes are an emotional, memorable parts of weddings – but that doesn’t mean they have to be high end or over the top. Make sure it tastes good first – everything else is secondary. Most importantly, pick a reputable baker and give him or her as much information as humanly possible (menu, colors, decor, centerpieces – everything). Leave yourself enough time and look at price tags before you look at designs.