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How to Select a Wedding Cake for Your Reception

How to Select a Wedding Cake for Your Reception

Finding Your Cake
Tiers of tiny colorful flowers, squares of smooth fondant, whimsical design and modern finishes are all fabulous choices for wedding cake. Navigating through the options can seem fun at first and later feel daunting. Whatever style of dessert you choose, some key considerations will help draw a more direct line from I maybe to I do love this cake.

  • Work with your budget. Look into your whole wedding budget to see what can be spent on the cake. If you would like keep a fat wallet without serving a skinny cake think about alternatives to the traditional four-tiered cake for 250 people. The average price for a wedding cake can range from $1.50 to $15.00 per slice, with cost depending on ingredients, materials, time and labor.
  • Go taste-testing. Cruise through the phone book and Internet to see if any bakeries are hosting open tastings. Mingle with the bakers between tastings. Flip through portfolios and ask questions to get good a handle on their capabilities.
  • Develop a design concept. Incorporate the wedding’s theme and style into the cake’s design. Personalize the cake with elements from the ceremony. Hand over fabric swatches of the wedding colors or samples of flowers from your bouquet’s composition.
  • Watch the weather for outdoor receptions. If the wedding reception will be held outdoors, consider how natural elements may affect the style of cake you choose. Outdoor venues will have separate needs from an indoor venue. Sunny weather can wilt flowers and melt frosting. Wind may topple spiraling tiers. Fondant and hearty flowers will hold up in the heat. Avoid using pillars to stack cakes in windy locations.
  • Plan the delivery ahead of time. Learn about how and when the cake will be delivered to the venue. Coordinate the assembly and refrigerator space at the venue before the big day. Many cakes are delivered in pieces and are put together in the kitchen just before going out to the display table. Learn more about transporting a wedding cake.
  • Consider cake alternatives. Twinkie towers, cupcake trees, croquembouche, giant Rice Krispy stacks and pillared pies are all sweet spins on the traditional wedding dessert. Search out a baker who specializes in the uncanny and explore imaginative selections beyond cake.

Tips to Slice the Cost
Communicate your budget clearly to the baker and caterer and look for options to avoid extra costs.

  • Watch for added fees. Venues may also charge an additional “cutting fee” which could inflate the price per slice by as much as $4.00. Read the terms of your catering or venue contract and negotiate fees ahead of time to avoid sticker shock in the final bill.
  • Creative staging ideas. A small round cake topped with two love birds nuzzling is fabulous. Serve with a variety of small desserts or use the hidden sheet cake idea to dish out more sweetness.
  • Reduce labor cost. Use real flowers instead of sugar flowers for decoration. Better yet, use real flowers that are in season. Seasonal fruit is another budget friendly (and edible) decoration choice.
  • Ask bakers about sheet cake options. It is a common budgeting solution for the cake on display to have a couple of tiers of fake cake, with one tier of actual cake for the bride and groom to cut. A large sheet cake made of the same ingredients can be kept in the kitchen and brought out to guests on plates.

Remember creativity is not bound by money. Begin with what flavor you like and work out the fun details with help from the baker, friends or together as a couple. Have fun and let selecting the cake be the icing on your wedding plans!

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