How to Select Your Wedding Cake

Your wedding cake can be whatever you want it to be

By Jonathan Croswell

Black and White wedding cake
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Your wedding cake is the centerpiece of your reception, but looks aren't all that matter -- it should taste great too. Today you have flavor options beyond plain white cake and stacked layers. A ring of chocolate ladyfingers filled with dark chocolate mousse and topped with heaps of chocolate curls might be your ideal wedding cake. You might prefer square layers of carrot cake slathered with cream cheese icing. Bakers will accommodate you. Ask for what you want.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Professionally decorated wedding cakes are expensive -- usually priced at more than a dollar per serving. The more exotic the ingredients and construction, the more expensive it will be. The baker will estimate the cost of your cake based on the number of guests. Have an approximate number handy when you start looking for price quotes.
  • After you've narrowed your choices, arrange cake tasting before you sign a contract with a baker.
Choosing a Wedding Cake

Step 1:

Estimate the number of people you expect to attend your wedding. This will determine how much cake you need.

Step 2:

Choose your frosting based on the temperature of the venue. If you are having an outdoor reception in summer, heat will limit your frosting options. Buttercream frosting, for instance, will melt in summer heat faster than fondant.

Step 3:

Choose a frosting color and flavor. White and ivory are the traditional favorites, and can be worked into beautiful tone-on-tone designs. You can choose colors and unusual finishes that match your wedding theme, or choose a flavor you like.

Step 4:

Choose a cake flavor. You don't have to limit yourself to white cake unless that's really what you want. Carrot cake has become a flavorful option that can be frosted in white to maintain a traditional exterior.

Step 5:

Choose fillings. Cake layers are usually held together with a flavored filling. Your baker may offer chocolate, fruit, mousse, creams and other options.

Step 6:

Select a design. Your baker will have a portolio of cakes for you to choose from, or bring designs with you. Consult bridal magazines or cake decorating books for ideas. Websites such as Wilton's wedding cake pages have ideas ranging from whimsical to romantic.

Step 7:

Visit several bakers to get quotes, see portfolios and cakes on display in their store.

Step 8:

When you've narrowed your options, ask for a tasting to try cake flavors and fillings. Ask for a sample contract to take home to review.

Step 9:

Read the contract carefully. It has details such as delivery and setup charges, guarantees, deposit requirements, cancellation and refund policies and other important items that can affect your decision and budget.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Ask your baker if she offers cake-cutting services.
  • Avoid moving and assembling the cake by yourself. Delivery and setup almost always cost extra. Pay the extra money to have it delivered and set up at your venue.
  • Arrange for a sturdy table to hold your wedding cake.

About the Author

Jonathan Croswell is a freelance writer who has worked on regional wedding publications.

Related Guides

How to Choose Your Wedding Cake

VIDEO: How to Choose Your Wedding Cake

When choosing a wedding cake, it is important to know how many servings are desired as well as the general feel and look of the final design... Watch Video

Planning Reminder:

wedding cake with brown ribbon and blue flowers

Order a wedding cake

Wedding cakes may date back to the Roman Empire, but it doesn't mean your cake has to be trapped in tradition. Carrot cake is a great choice for health-conscious brides. If you're getting married outside, think twice about mousse-filled cakes that need cooling. Or how about a chocolate cake?

View your wedding checklist!


Wedding Glossary


A secondary cake to the traditional wedding cake. Often masculine in design, reflective of the groom's interests or hobbies, and traditionally chocolate.

View the Full Weddings Glossary
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