We’ve been planning our dream weddings since we were five years old. So it’s no surprise that we can’t get enough of Lover.ly, a wedding inspiration and e-commerce site that lets you search through pics of swoon-worthy gowns, bouquets, and everything else you need for the big day. Once a week, the ladies behind Lover.ly will be sharing their expert advice for getting through the craziness of the season—whether you’re standing at the altar or enjoying a view of it from the audience.
Of all of the tasks you’ll need to check off your wedding to-do list, picking out your wedding cake is definitely one of the most fun. Because, well, buttercream! Sugar flowers! CAKE!
But shopping for a fancy version of our favorite pastry can be a tad overwhelming for first-timers. Your baker will probably introduce you to more new vocabulary words than an SAT prep course, and these towering confections can be surprisingly pricey. Here are our tips to make the whole process, well, a piece of cake.
1. Figure out what style of cake you want. Spend some time browsing pictures of wedding cakes to get an idea of what you like in terms of presentation. Do you want something extra-tall? Do you like all-white or something more colorful? A few things to keep in mind: most cakes with soft, fluffy frosting are frosted in buttercream, while smooth cakes with sculpted, modern accents are typically iced with fondant. Also, details like sugar flowers or lace can raise the price of a cake considerably. And consider function as well as form. If you’re getting married outside in Texas in July, a buttercream cake could quickly turn into a puddle of sugar, so you may need to opt for fondant. Spend some time with your fiancé(e) putting together a cake inspiration board to show to potential bakers when you meet with them.
2. Know that fondant isn’t the enemy. Choosing a cake can get controversial when the topic of fondant (the smooth rolled frosting that has been showing up more and more recently) comes up. You may experience people insisting pretty vehemently that fondant tastes disgusting and that you should never serve it. This isn’t entirely true. While we admit that some fondant is pretty icky, a good baker will use fondant that guests will actually like. So if you love the look of fondant, do the extra research to find a baker who uses the good stuff. (Bonus: a light, thin fondant is actually a really good option if you don’t love thick, super-sweet frosting.)
3. Schedule your cake tastings. Once you have an idea of what you want and how much you can afford to spend, research bakers in your area and schedule a few tastings. (Pro tip: don’t schedule all of your tastings on the same day. The ensuing sugar crash will mean you never want to look at a wedding cake again.) A tasting usually costs $20-$30 (money that will go toward your cake if you end up choosing that baker); during the tasting, you and your fiancé(e) will sample 4-6 flavors of cake and frosting, plus talk about designs and pricing with the baker. A cake tasting is extremely helpful in finding the right baker for you and finding flavors you love.
4. Don’t feel like cake is your only option. For both taste and budget reasons, alternative wedding desserts are becoming more and more popular. You can do cake pops or cupcakes, and, if you just aren’t that into cake, you can serve pie, ice cream, or even donuts. The goal should be to find something that you and your fiancé(e) both love. Don’t feel stuck with cake for the sake of tradition.
5. Have fun with it. Wedding cakes can be oh-so-elegant and perfectly bridal, but they can also be fun. So don’t stress about your cake too much! Plan a cool dessert bar or have a cake that represents your favorite sports team. If pricey bakers are stressing you out, check out the Costco bakery. (Seriously!) Guests typically only remember the cake if it’s really, really good, or really, really bad. As long as the cake shows up and doesn’t topple over, you’ll be in good shape.
More wedding inspiration from Lover.ly:
- Colorful wedding cakes we love
- Get inspiration for your signature cocktail
- Yummy mini foods to serve at your wedding