Finding the Right Baker
There are so many choices — think of them as opportunities to save! You can find a traditional wedding-cake baker or ask your caterer to bake you a cake. You can order your cake from a grocery store bakery or have a friend or family member make it.
Finding a Special Baker
You'll save your money by going with bakers you've found through references from family and friends. Choosing an unknown baker from the phone book is chancy.
Here are questions to ask a prospective baker:
Do you have pictures of cakes you've made for other weddings?
If we want something different, can you do a customized cake for us? Do you have any suggestions for one?
If we need a cake for a certain number of guests, how much will that cost? (Prices can range from $1 a slice up to $10 — or more — depending on your area and how fancy a cake you want.)
Will you deliver the cake to our reception site? Is there a delivery charge? A setup charge?
How far ahead must we order the cake? How much of a deposit must we put down?
Getting the Most for Your Money
Specifying your order in writing ensures that the cake you pay for is the same one that is delivered to your wedding. Don't order a bigger cake than you need. If you're serving desserts or having a groom's cake, you won't need as many slices. Remember, not everyone who attends necessarily wants a slice of cake.
When a Cake's Not a Cake
One clever bride chose to serve lovely flower-trimmed cupcakes arranged on a tall, tiered pedestal stand. That way each guest could have an individualized serving, which saved on the price of a big cake. The children at the wedding weren't the only ones who were delighted. The cupcakes were very moist because they were baked in paper wrappings, and the icing details were as decorative as that on a full-sized cake.
Be sure the cake won't be delivered too early. This prevents it from being ruined by sitting in a location that is too warm or being jostled by people setting up the reception site. If the reception will be held outdoors, protect the cake from insects. Assign someone to look out for these concerns for you on the day of the wedding.
Small versions of wedding cakes became a trend several years ago and were very popular with wedding bakers because they could charge more for the extra work of creating them. While the little cakes are lovely, you'll have to think about whether you want to budget the amount of money you'll pay for them.
Some couples save by exhibiting a fancy cake for the wedding photos and then serving slices of sheet cake, cut in the kitchen where the guests can't see. Another way to save is to group cake layers of different sizes on acrylic stands, placing the largest at the center front of the cake table.