Wedding season is upon us! Well, almost. When it comes to wedding cakes, there are lots of choices starting with the type of cake. According to wedding cake specialist Gabrielle Feuersinger of Cake Coquette, there are several different major categories to choose from.
1. European cakes
These cakes include the very traditional fondant wrapped cake with a bow, Princess cakes with marzipan and St. Honore cakes with pate a choux puffs. Most standard bakeries can do these cakes. Plan on spending at least $4-5 per slice.
2. Art cakes
These cakes feature painting, fondant cut-outs, piped buttercream and other elaborate types of decoration. They are more likely to be unique. Popular sources of inspiration for these cakes comes from the venue, dress details, or the theme of the wedding. At a minimum expect to pay $7 per slice and up.
3. Sculpture cakes
The popularity of these cakes has grown, due to television shows like the Ace of Cakes. What sets these cakes apart is their 3-d structures made to look like almost anything imaginable from the Eiffel Tower to a high heel shoe. Prices are $8-10 per slice, minimum.
4. Alternative cakes
When is a cake not a wedding cake? When it's a stack of cupcakes, doughnuts, or even individual cakes for each guest. The prices for these can vary greatly. Some options are less expensive than a traditional cake, some are more.
Wedding planners suggest contacting a bakery or baker at least five months before the wedding. Popular bakers like Feuersinger often get booked six to nine months ahead and say for popular dates such as New Year's Eve, three day weekends or auspicious Chinese dates, plan a year ahead.
Make sure the cake tastes as good as it looks. Fondant will create a smooth finish but is not as tasty as buttercream. Plan on about an hour for your cake tasting, and be sure to bring fabric swatches, photos of cakes and anything else that will help your cake designer get a feel for what you'd like.
Decide on a theme for the wedding before deciding on the cake. This will make it easier to design the perfect cake. The trend in wedding cakes is personalization, a cake like no other. Find an architectural element, a special cake topper or even a monogram.
Got a wacky idea for a cake? Consider using it for the groom's cake, a Southern tradition that has been growing in popularity.
Find out what the cake cutting fee is before finalizing your budget. Many venues charge between $5 and $10 just for cutting and serving.
Two cakes are more economical than one. Get the wedding cake of your dreams in a smaller size and have a back up sheet cake for up to half the guests. Sheet cakes can cost as little as $2.50 per slice and no one will know the difference.
Another money saving tip: Make your own cake stand and work with a florist to decorate the area around the cake.
A cake with columns for height, filled in with flowers, is impressive but likely to be less expensive than a heavily decorated cake.