Everyone looks forward to the highlights of the wedding reception like the couple’s first dance and the bouquet toss, but you can guarantee that all your guests will be most excited about the main event: the cake. Whether you’re going all out with a six-tier cake or you’re keeping it low-key with something simple, you’ll have to work with a professional baker to design the cake and get it delivered to the venue.
In order to get the sugary sweet wedding cake of your dreams, you’ll need to effectively communicate with your baker about what you want and what your budget is. But because most of us have never designed and ordered a cake with a professional baker to feed a group of 100+ people, it’s helpful to know what to expect throughout the process.
Thinking about hiring a baker soon? Here are five things your wedding cake baker wish you knew—and tips to get the sweetest design of your wedding fantasies.
1. You Should Start the Planning Process Early
Great things take time—and cake is one of the greatest things of all. You may think that ordering a wedding cake is one of those things you can do fairly last-minute, but you’ll need to give your baker several months of advanced notice, especially if you plan on doing something highly customized or intricate. Basically, as soon as you know where the reception will be and what kind of aesthetic you’ll have, you need to contact local bakers to give them enough time to design and have consultations with you so you’re both on the same page.
2. It’s Important to Be Open-Minded
Remember that cake you fell in love with on Pinterest? It may be a great jumping off point for determining the style you want, but don’t get so caught up in making yours look exactly like the picture. Why? Because when you’re meeting with your baker, it’s good to have ideas for inspiration, but it’s also important to be open-minded so that you can create something truly original and, most importantly, create something that fits into your budget. On Pinterest and magazine spreads, they won’t often give you the cost of what it takes to make those creations, and the exact re-creation may be hundreds of dollars outside your budget.
3. Logos and Trademarks Will Cost Extra
You and your future spouse may not be able to imagine your cake without all of the characters of Harry Potter affixed on top or your favorite sports team logo donning the sides—but just know that it’ll likely cost you a pretty penny extra. Although you may not realize it, your baker will need to get permission to use the colors and likeness of the characters or logo that you want, and that will cost an additional fee.
4. Know the Difference Between Kinds of Icing
As it probably stands right now to you, icing is icing is icing—but you’d be sorely mistaken to think this when it comes to your wedding cake. There are two main types of icing that your baker will be using: fondant and buttercream. Fondant is typically used when there is intricate design and buttercream is a creamier, more traditional (but less design-friendly) icing that you’ve likely had on a birthday cake before.
The reason why it’s important to know the difference between buttercream and fondant is because you may think you prefer a tastier buttercream frosting, but if you keep showing your baker a picture of really design-heavy cakes, you’re likely going to end up with fondant. Educate yourself on what type of icing would be best for the cake you want so you won’t end up disappointed or trying to come up with a cake that won’t turn out quite how you planned.
5. You Don’t Have to Stick to Vanilla
There’s certainly nothing wrong with a traditional vanilla cake, but there’s no need to limit yourself to one flavor. Modern wedding cakes can be anything from lemon to red velvet to a delicious peanut butter chocolate. When choosing your wedding cake flavor, think less about what the traditional thing to do is, or what might be more crowd-pleasing, and instead focus on what you think would be the most delicious.