If you are planning a wedding, you have probably seen hundreds of pictures of cakes and you are probably overwhelmed with all the ideas and options. There are so many options, but it’s cake so it’s a pretty tasty decision, right?
But what’s the right cake for you and your wedding? Are you considering all the options? There are five main factors to consider:
Okay, let's consider this. Summertime, especially here in the south, is rough. And humid. And hot. So, you want to keep this in mind when considering your cake. Ask your baker for options that hold up well in the summer time especially if you're having an outdoor reception. It may be best to keep your cake tiers to a minimum or opt for a naked cake. The last thing you want is a collapsed cake or melted icing.
The cooler months shouldn't pose much of an issue. Cake holds up well when chilled so even an outdoor event in the colder season would be fine for just about any cake. But you do also have the option of going with a fall or winter theme, maybe a s’mores bar or mini pumpkin pies.
Now, take my advice on this one. This is probably the biggest deciding factor, although you may not realize it until it's too late. I've been to weddings where the five-tiered wedding cake was a bit too over the top for the 75-guest count. On the flip side, I’ve been to 200-guest weddings where the cake ran out before everyone got a chance to taste it.
So, make sure to get your head count together before you order your cake. You can even book your baker and put down a deposit but wait to confirm final guest count until you have your head count firmed up.
Your wedding will reflect you two as a couple. So naturally your cake will make a statement. What will it say about you? Will it speak of elegance and sophistication or will it show off your earthy, chic nature? Maybe it will reflect your simplicity or your favorite sports team. Think about your wedding colors, the overall theme of your wedding day and who you are as a couple. This should help you decide on the perfect cake!
Believe it or not this should be a contributing factor when deciding on cake style. Why? Simple. Does your reception allow for enough time to have an entire cake sliced and served after you and your new spouse cut it? This isn't something most people consider ahead of time... and probably wouldn't unless they have an awesome baker (or planner) who brings it up.
Many couples save the cake cutting for one of the last traditions of the evening, serving cake and dessert to start the end of the night. Will you have enough time for this? If not, there ARE other options!
I'm going to let you in on a little secret... and don't tell anyone...
An alternative to the beautiful and elegant cake that needs to be sliced on a timeframe exists. Cardboard cakes (yes, this is a real thing). Your baker can bake an entire sheet cake with the exact flavors you choose and decorate a cardboard cake replica (which usually has a small cake slice inside for the "cutting ceremony"). Your caterer will be slicing your sheet cake in the back well before you cut the cake. Once you cut, the cake will be ready to serve the cake immediately. It might be considered cheating, but it can save your timeline!
Cakes are not cheap. If you've already talked with a baker, then you've figured that out. There is a lot of time, talent and energy that goes into these exquisite beauties and, so naturally, they cost a bit. You may find that what you've budgeted for your cake doesn't get you what you want. And if so, never fear; there are alternatives.
Naked Cakes. Also known as unfrosted cakes are a trend right now. Made right, they are delicious and focus more on the flavors in the cake than a sugary icing. But these slightly sweet treats can be a bit less harsh on the wallet since you are saving a bit of energy on decorating and the expense for icing and fondant.
Dessert Bars. So fun. A dessert bar can provide options for everyone, for those who love chocolate to those who just want a tiny bite of cheesecake. Consider mini everything: brownies, cupcakes, cookies, eclairs... the options are endless!
Alright, if you're still with me, I'll share a couple more tips with you, from a photographer's point of view:
- Don't set your cake against a wall. Doing so makes it only visible from one side and doesn't make for gorgeous photos.
- Do make your cake table a centerpiece of the room. An awesome cake deserves to be shown off. Being able to see it from all sides will entice your guests to move around and get a glimpse of this beauty!
- Don't order your flavors according to anyone's taste but your own. I mean it. This is YOUR wedding. If you want a pickle flavored cake, then get it. (I kid. Don't get pickle.)
- Do go to a couple tastings. Bakers all have a different style, just like any artist. Get a feel for what you like.
- Don't forget the topper! Some people like the traditional couple on top while others will opt for a simple flower. Either way, keep that in mind when considering cake design.
I hope I get to be there to photograph AND get a slice of your custom crafted deliciousness on your special day!