The Wedding cake, whilst a thing of beauty and fantastic taste, is often a thing of expense. A typical Wedding cake can cost literally anything from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand pounds - and we ain’t kidding!
Lots of couples each year will ask a relative or friend to make the cake and can save a substantial amount of money this way, but the majority will enrol the help of a professional or buy a pre-designed style from a local shop. But who to choose? Well it isn’t as simple as you may think at first, so hopefully the following information will help you make this crucial decision.
Asking a Friend or Relative
The chances are that you will have a close family friend or relative who is always baking, creating fantastic cakes and every time you go round to visit them, you come back 2lbs heavier - but my, it was worth it!
Making cakes is a talent that not everyone has learnt or can master, and you really should ask yourself if your Auntie Betty has the same level of skill as the professional cake maker with a stand at a Wedding Fair. The chances are that the answer is ‘no’, but that need not matter.
The best piece of advice we could give you is to choose the design of your cake (at least in principal) first and foremost and then, and only then, go out and track down the person who is going to make it. Now Auntie Betty may well be able to make 75% of the cakes you suggest to her, but if your cake is one of the 25% that are beyond her abilities, then your only options are to look to a professional or radically change your design plans. Budget allowing, we would strongly recommend the former.
If your design is relatively simple or if your cake maker friend/relative is particularly skilful, then the opportunity to save a few hundred pounds or more may rightly appeal. There are a few other factors to consider though before jumping straight in and going for it - these are outlined below.
Fourthly, are they expecting something for it? In most cases the answer is no and a mention in the speeches and a nice bottle of wine or bunch of flowers will suffice, but we all know people who are a bit tight when it comes to money - are they one of them?
Finally, and most importantly, are they really willing to make the cake or do they feel obliged?
If you can honestly answer in a positive way to all the above questions, then congratulations - you have found yourselves someone to make the cake for your Wedding! However, if the questions have raised some doubts, then perhaps it may be wise to turn to a professional.
A cost-effective way for those of you without a talented friend or relative, is to turn to a shop who produce pre-designed cakes. There are a number of outlets offering such cakes up and around the country from nation-wide bakery chains to high street department stores and supermarkets.
Now it may not be the most glamorous location to buy your Wedding Cake from, but nonetheless it is quite practical - after all, what matters the most is how it tastes and looks, not what name is on the price tag. You should be able to track a cake down for tens or, at the very most, hundreds of pounds and what you’ll get is a fabulous tasting product from a reliable supplier. Your cake will be chosen from a catalogue with a range of pre-designed option to choose from - you may even be able to make a few minor tweaks, but too many.
For those of you on a tight budget who are unable or unwilling to turn to a friend/relative then shop bought could be right up your street - literally!
Using a Specialist Pro
Professional cake makers can vary from one-man bands working out of their kitchen at home, right through to a fashionable London outlet with numerous staff and state of the art equipment. So which one is best? Well certainly, professionals more akin to the former than the latter will be cheaper, but not necessarily any less skilled. Likewise, for those ‘fashion conscious’ couples out there, telling your guests that your cake is from so-and-so on The Strand carries far more kudos than saying that you bought it from some woman in a housing estate in Romford (not that we have anything against Romford we may add - but I think you see what we're getting at).
Your best bet when choosing which professional to go with is to work out what you want and choose the most suit suitable. You should ask yourselves the following questions:
Once you have answered these questions, then you can go on to get in touch with various suitable cake makers and then ask them a series of questions:
Taking your time to choose the professional(s) you use to make your cake is well worth it, so make sure you put plenty of time aside and book a good 6 to 12 months in advance (even more if you do plan to use so-and-so on the Strand!).
As the Wedding Cake is one of the central focal points of the day (behind the Bride and Groom of course), getting it’s look and taste right is crucial. Take your time, find the most suitable supplier within your budget, get exactly the design you want not what you are pressured into, and get it right!
Related: There are hundreds of wedding articles on the site, each filled with superb ideas, advice and inspiration. Check out the links in the left hand column to read more. Alternatively, to search for a local wedding venue, product or service provider, try our Wedding Directory. With over 13,000 companies already listed, you're sure to find what you're looking for.