Wedding cakes - an introduction

Wedding cake selection is a prime candidate for Pinterest (or a scrapbook if you prefer the hard-copy approach). Every time you see a cake you like the look of – even if it is just one of the flowers or decorative elements, ‘pin it’.

Individual cup cakes are now incredibly popular for wedding cake options

You can have a field day designing the unique cake. Most patissiers will happily translate your picture into reality although of course there may be a price tag that generates the need for simplification if your budget doesn’t match your design abilities.

Research local cake suppliers and read their reviews. It’ll be a tough task but make sure you have as many tastings with different patissiers as you can manage, as this will allow you to compare the different quality of cakes. 
 
You will also want to take into account:

Number of portions (i.e. your number of guests) Size of portion (this can vary with Cake Maker but generally you will be given the option of ‘finger size’ (which is usually as the name suggests a long thin piece of cake per guest) versus ‘dessert size’ (which you might want to think about if you are serving the cake in the evening and would like it to be a little more substantial and the dessert element of your evening food).
 
Number of tiers – this can be a design feature or just dictated by the number of portions you want to serve. Traditionally in some cultures, at least one tier was kept for the future baby’s baptism but this presumed a fruitcake that only got better with age…
 
Most Patissiers offer a range of delicious flavours and each tier can be different if you wish. The more traditional couple will at least include one tier of fruit cake but others will have a separate ‘cutting block’ of fruitcake to satisfy the fruitcake eaters. Others will simply stick to sponge or macaroons or profiteroles.
 
In terms of the ‘outside’, Naked Cakes (no icing) will compete for your vote against sugar or buttercream icing. 

Dietary constraints – it is possible to offer gluten free, nut free etc. but this may alter the taste to some extent. Discuss your requirements with your patissier.
 
On your timetable make sure that you have allocated a slot for the formal cake cutting if this is part of your plan. Forewarn the Toastmaster (or the last speaker if this is a run-on at the end of the speeches) so that it is announced - and your photographer and guests don’t miss it!
 
Ensure that your cake maker will both deliver to your venue and set up the cake. Is s/he also providing the cake stand and who has the knife…? If you are planning any fresh cream or other temperature sensitive ingredients, check with your venue that you are operating within legal food safety guidelines.