Planning Your Wedding Cake

Where do you start when planning your wedding cake? Well, I have plenty of experience there as I’ve helped plenty of brides come up with the design that’s just right for them AND on top of that, I gave plenty of thought to planning my own wedding cake when I was married back in February 2017. So I thought i’d share the knowledge I have gained both as a bride and a wedding supplier with you.

For me, the task was possibly trickier than it might be for a lot of brides, because when the world is your oyster, and you can have pretty much ANYTHING you want….. well where do you start? Initially, I thought i’d be going with the reasonably new trend (at the time) of the popular naked wedding cake, and so I began to fill my pinterest board with numerous naked wedding cake ideas.  We booked our wedding two years in advance, which is kind of good, as you have an initial blast of booking the big things, but then – you procrastinate, and things go dormant for quite some time, until you go in to panic mode as the big day gets closer and closer.

Many things, such as the venue (The Talbot Hotel Oundle) and the deliberately chosen winter date of February remained the same. I had also purchased my dress fairly early on in the planning as I happened upon it in john lewis not long after booking the venue.  It wasn’t a wedding dress but a heavily beaded, warm gold evening dress, so this had remained the same too.

With the big day fast approaching, i still had ‘naked cake’ in my head, with gold and winter influences brought into the design, probably by use of flowers and foliage with wintery tones (silver eucalyptus, berries and warm winter white flowers). But, various things started to influence other things, having a knock-on effect on other decisions.  The overall feel and look of the day that I had envisaged at the start of my journey, had naturally started to change.

We still had men’s suits to choose, and this is where one of the most influential factors of my wedding cake design made an appearance. The ‘boys’ didn’t like the traditional cut of the suits that were available to hire because they wanted the more fashionable cut of a narrow leg. So this lead us to ‘next’, where the cut of the trouser is narrow, and you can buy adult and child matching suits.  The boys decided they liked a navy suit.  The Childs suite came with a navy shirt and we thought we would simply swap that for a white one, but when the suits came we all really liked the navy shirt! So we then ended up having to track down a navy shirt for the groom to match his step son!  And the final look of the ‘boys’ was to be all navy, with just a lighter coloured buttonhole.  Navy, became one of the major colours to be featured in my wedding styling.

So, by this point I now have all of the major designing factors of my wedding cake.  Basically, navy and gold with a much more formal feel than the rustic one that I had originally envisaged.  So, putting all of these elements together using my own extensive sugar crafting skills is how I ended up with the much more glamorous, show stopping cake than the naked cake I had first planned.  The decisions didn’t end there though.  My cake, was made up as a dummy cake so that I had time to work on it in advance of the big day and also so that I could keep it and take it to wedding shows to share with future brides.  This meant that we still needed real cake to serve to our guests!  More difficult decisions for me!  How on earth do you choose between flavours when your passion is baking delicious cakes and constantly creating new flavours! So, I chose to have two ‘column’ style naked cakes, both made up from two tiers of the same size but different flavours, stacked on top of each other and decorated with 24 carat gold leaf (when else do you get to eat real gold?).  But I still wasn’t happy with just 4 flavours!  Feeling it was still not adequate, I added several more flavours in the form of cupcakes.  We now have a lot of cake, so this is going to need a big display!

The finished display of my cake(s) is something that I had given a great deal of thought from the outset.  I knew it needed to be a big display, with wow factor, and there needed to be a really nice backdrop to the display as a bug bare of mine, is the cake, plonked on a table in the corner without thought being given to the background (the radiator or the fire extinguisher that makes an unpleasant appearance in the final photos) So, one of the beautiful fire places that The Talbot Hotel has, formed the background for my display, with the whole dessert table forming the focal point of our wedding breakfast.

By now, you should be starting to gain an understanding of the amount of thought that went in to the design of my wedding cake, and the many influences that helped me to form the finished cake design and display table.  So my advice would be to allow things to progress naturally and take your time.  It might be a good idea to choose your wedding cake supplier with plenty of advanced warning, perhaps ‘saving the date’ a year or more ahead of your big day.  But then – put it on the back burner for a while whilst you get on with planning some other things.  Then, book in for your consultation about 6 months before the wedding when you have plenty of other things confirmed and you have a better idea of how your whole day is going to work and look.  Don’t settle for a copy of the most pinned cake on pinterest.  Go for something that’s more unique and personal to you!

One last thought…. Don’t think you are going to be left with ‘loads of cake’.  Most of my brides tell me, “it all went and I didn’t even get to try a slice as I was so busy socialising!” So, make sure someone is given the task of ‘saving some cake for the bride and groom’, and maybe consider leaving a little basket of cake slice boxes for your guests.  Then, if your guests didn’t fancy the cake with the wine and beer (which I doubt will happen), they can take some home and have it for 11’s in the morning.  That’s just what we did, and I definitely remember seeing family members leaving my wedding with little boxes all stacked up, filled with different flavours of cake.  And that’s exactly what I wanted them to do!