Like a lot of brides-to-be, I flip through Pinterest and watch wedding reality shows. All the cakes are so beautiful, over the top fantastic seems to be the new norm. I was shocked to be told that a wedding cake which resembled what I'd seen was way beyond what I had budgeted.
I was a little heartbroken. Of course I want a beautiful wedding cake! Still, upwards of $15 a serving was far from affordable for us. With this in mind, I approached Lori and Alexandra of New Jersey based The Cake Boutique. They offered some real insight about wedding cake shopping and how to maximize my budget without sacrificing beauty.
Q. What is the most common mistakes you see brides make?
A. On television, a beautiful, detailed cake is created in a mere 30 minute episode. These shows offer insight about the possibilities of wedding cakes, but they don't accurately portray the number of hours it takes to create such a masterpiece.
Like you, many people underestimate the cost of these works of art. The biggest mistakes we see from brides is choosing a design they saw online or on TV and being set on it before finding out cost. A good tip is to have several options in mind. That way, once we know your budget, we can work elements you like, but are realistic to your budget, into a cake design you'll still love.
Q. For many, the cake is the centerpiece of their reception. What elements are most show-stopping?
A. When it comes to designing and creating a show-stopping cake, we don't find there is any one thing that steals the show. We've found that a simple cake, well executed, can be just as impressive as a wedding cake with hundreds of handmade sugar flowers.
An exquisite cake can be brought down by a bad topper though. Please, don't throw a random topper on a gorgeous cake just for the sake of it! I can't tell you how often we create a beautiful cake only to have someone place an eyesore on the top.
Also, keep your overall theme in mind. If you let us know the vibe and colors of your wedding (and maybe even a peak of your wedding dress) we will help ensure your cake accents your reception. A cake that works with and highlights your other elements makes a great centerpiece.
Q. Not all couples have the budget for hours of wedding cake artistry. What choices provide the most bang for the buck?
A. We know that searching for the perfect wedding cake can be tough. Finding one that also fits into your budget can be even more difficult. There are a few things to keep in mind when planning a budget friendly cake. Keep in mind, the more detailed and larger the cake, the more expensive it will be. To get the most bang for your buck, consider these tips:
Q. What do you think of the trend toward cupcake towers and other less conventional dessert choices?
A. Many non-traditional couples are opting for cupcakes rather than a large cake these days. Some couples still want a small cake for the cutting ceremony, but serve cupcakes for their guests. When cupcakes first came on the scene as a wedding option it was a great way for people to save some money. Cupcakes are $2-$3 a piece, compared to your average wedding cake at $5-$10 a serving.
Not only are cupcakes a less expensive option, they are also a great way to offer a variety of flavors. They are very easy to handle wrapped in individual wrappers. Many bakeries, like us, will rent cupcake stands to display them beautifully. We have even set up cupcakes on wooden crates for a rustic look at a country wedding. Cupcakes are a super fun option, and can even be decorated to match your wedding colors and theme.
Q. Many photos we see are of styrofoam cakes. How can we keep our wedding cake looking just as fantastic at the reception as when it left your bakery?
A. First, it is important that the cake be transported with care. If you pick it up, ask staff to help you place it in your vehicle. Always bring someone with you to watch it while you're driving. Be sure the air conditioning is on if it's even a little warm.
If you are having your cake delivered, make sure the venue staff know exactly where to place your wedding cake. One of the most common reasons a cake is damaged is being moved by people who do not know how to properly do so. Different cakes require different care; some need to be refrigerated and some kept at room temperature. Make sure you receive clear instructions from your bakery.
Alexandra Benas opened the The Cake Boutique in February of 2012, following her family tradition of generations serving South Jersey customers. Hard work and an excellent team led The Cake Boutique to be named “Best Bakery in Gloucester County.”
If you'd like to see more, The Cake Boutique will be featured in an upcoming issue of Philadelphia wedding. You can also view the vendor profile here.