wedding cake guide

Wedding cake guide – is this something you need? Well, in our humble opinion, yes. You're well on your way with the wedding planning process, but what about the cake? Where do you even start with it? I mean, there are so many different types of frosting, cake flavours, and styles. For example, how many tiers do you need? Do you want naked, semi-naked or iced? Buttercream or fondant? The list goes on. Fear not, we've put together the ultimate wedding cake guide with everything you'll need to know to get you started.

When do I order my cake?

A lot of cake makers will advise you to book in your cake well in advance. There's so much to discuss and decide on between tastings, shapes, size, colour schemes, and finishes, so the earlier, the better really. The general consensus is that you should book your cake six months before the wedding.

Budget Buster

There are some things to be wary of when it comes to budgeting for your wedding cake. All those pretty finishes will be extra – they take a lot of skill and time, so it's only fair really. You need to be realistic with your wedding cake budget. The sugar flowers, gilded touches or geode finishes all look incredible, but make sure you can afford them first. If you really want some pretty cake decoration, ask your florist to pop a few fresh blooms on your cake for you. Just remember, you can't eat those ones!

wedding cake guide Image by AJ Dunlap

How Many Tiers?

Well, this both depends on how many you intend to feed and how much budget you have. Each tier is obviously going to cost you more. We've broken down how many guests each tier will serve – again, this will depend on the width of each tier, so do check with your cake maker. But here's a rough idea of serving sizes.

  • Two-tier will feed between 30-50 guests
  • Three-tier will feed between 50-100 guests
  • Four-tier will feed between 100-150 guests

Top tip: If you're on a budget, but would still like the look of a bigger wedding cake, you can always have a styrofoam tier to give that illusion. Ask your cake maker to do two real cake tiers and then have one of them be fake. This will save you a bit of cash without having to compromise on the height of your cake.

Wedding Cake Styles

So now you know how many tiers you need to feed your guests, but what style wedding cake do you want? There are so many more styles emerging in the past few years that it makes it harder to choose now. Long gone are the days of simply choosing a fruit cake with fondant icing. Bleugh!

  • Fondant – very traditional and usually a fruit cake, covered in a smooth, stiff icing. Although, can work with sponge cake as well.
  • Buttercream – a soft, workable icing with a textured finish for something a little more modern.
  • Naked – simply put, a bare, tiered sponge cake with cream filling and no icing.
  • Semi-Naked – a lot like a naked cake, but finished with a very light, transparent layer of buttercream icing.
  • Cheese Cake – for the non-traditional couples and those who are more savoury than sweet-toothed, this is ideal. You can build up tiers of your favourite cheeses, decorate with fruit or flowers and serve as a cheese board for your guests, later. Delish!

wedding cake guide A Champagne, elderflower and strawberry cake, covered in pale pink fondant, topped with a semi-iced Guinness chocolate tier and decorated with fresh flowers. Cake by Cove Cake Design

Wedding Cake Flavours

Nowadays, there are SO many different delicious flavours to choose from. If you don't have any in mind, make sure to taste them all to find out what works for you. It's also a good idea to match your cake flavours to whatever season you're getting married in. For example, lighter flavours like lemon, lime, and elderflower work well for spring/summer weddings and orange, chocolate, caramel, and coffee are perfect for autumn/winter as they're richer, warmer flavours. And if you can't decide on one, mix and match the different tiers – something for everyone then!

Cake Styling Tips:

And lastly, in this wedding cake guide, you need to figure out where in your venue you want to display your wedding cake. Our best advice is to go into the room the day before (if you can) and start playing around with different set-ups.

  • Move a table somewhere that it won't be blocking any pathways and that's easy for your photographer to get to for photos.
  • Make sure you place the display table somewhere where it gets natural light. If your cake is photographed in harsh lighting, the icing will show up a yellowish colour in pictures. Gross.
  • If you or a pal are decorating the table, have that done the night before (if possible), so when the cake arrives at the venue, it can literally be put into place. Oh and take a snap of the set-up, just in case anything gets put out of place overnight.

Related to 'Wedding Cake Guide': Wedding Invitations - You're Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

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Feature image via Cove Cake Designs