Let them eat Cake!

~ CAKE COMES LAST. You may love a rustic semi-naked cake, but if you're hosting a black-tie ballroom wedding, that style may not jive. Deal with the cake after all decisions about dress style and reception décor have been made. These elements can serve as a blueprint for the design and structure of your wedding cake. Choose a cake that's compatible with the style of the venue, the season, your gown, the flower arrangements or the menu. If you want colorful accents (such as sugar flowers or icing ribbons), give your baker fabric swatches. The cake should be part of the wedding, not a glaring sideshow.

~ GUEST COUNT MATTERS. When deciding what size cake to order, first look at your guest count. Generally, three tiers will serve 50 to 100 guests; you'll likely need five layers for 200 guests or more. If the reception is in a grand room with high ceilings, consider increasing the cake's stature with columns between the tiers. (A "stacked" cake is one with its layers stacked directly atop each other, with no separators.)

~ PAY BY THE SLICE. The cost varies, but generally, cake costs range from $1.50 to $15 per slice (though this is a very general and loose estimate). The more complicated the cake (based on intricate decorations or hard-to-find fillings), the higher the price tag. Fondant icing is more expensive than buttercream, and if you want elaborate molded shapes, vibrant colors, or handmade sugar-flower detailing, you'll pay for the cake designer's labor.

~ CONSIDER A SMALLER CAKE. Order a small cake that's decorated to perfection and will sit out for all to admire, but can only feed a handful. And then, order several sheet cakes of the same flavor to actually feed the guests. Stay away from tiers, handmade sugar flowers and specially molded shapes. Garnish with seasonal flowers and fruit for an elegant (but less expensive) effect. If you'll have a dessert table (or another sweet) in addition to the cake, consider a cake sized for half your guests. Servings will be smaller, but the fee will shrink too.

~ CONSIDER THE WEATHER. If you're having an outdoor wedding in a hot climate, stay away from whipped cream, meringue and buttercream: They melt. Ask your baker about summer icing options; you might want to go for a fondant-covered cake—it doesn't even need to be refrigerated.

~ DETAILS CAN ADD UP. When it comes to decoration, adornment costs run the gamut. The most inexpensive option is fresh fruits or flowers that, in some instances, can be applied by your florist for a minimal fee. On the high end are delicate gum paste or sugar paste flowers, which are constructed by hand, one petal at a time. But here's the bottom line: All add-ons—including marzipan fruits, chocolate-molded flowers and lace points—will raise the rate.

~ THINK ABOUT THE DISPLAY. Your cake will likely be on display before it's cut and consumed. Make sure there's a designated cake table that allows the most elegant presentation possible. A round table is perfect for round cakes, but a linear cake design may call for a rectangular table. Figure out your options. Once you have a cake table, have fun dressing it up: Drape it with sumptuous fabrics and decorate it with motifs, colors and flowers to match the cake. Don’t worry, if you have any questions your florist can help dress it up!

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need some delicious inspiration?

Choosing your cake is the most DELICIOUS part of planning a wedding! But, we know you have so many choices and some important things to consider before going in for a tasting!