It’s the sweetest wedding task of them all – deciding on dessert for your big day. Tradition calls for a tiered cake with your plastic (un)likeness smacked on top, but brides and bakers are breaking cake molds to create funky and fresh options that add the icing to your wedding. Take in all the options, work with a pro to make it custom and whatever you do, don’t miss out on any tasting!

Choosing Your Dessert

What first?

Think about the rest of your wedding. Your dessert should match your day, so take everything into account. If you have a paisley themed wedding at an indoor reception venue, a large tiered cake with paisley fondant would make a beautiful room centerpiece. If your day is going to be more princess pink, maybe you’ve considered a cupcake castle tower. A casual outdoor wedding is the perfect venue for a table of tasty and colorful candies or make-your-own ice cream sundaes. Did you meet at a baseball game? Order up a baseball stadium-shaped cake, complete with you two lovebirds in the stands! Do you share an interest such as running? Ask around for bakers who could make a replica cake of your running shoes tied together at the laces.  Wedding cakes and desserts are one of the latest wedding designs to start challenging convention, so bakeries are always looking to keep up with the latest trends and really customize your dessert. So, if you have a sweet idea, find someone who can work with it.

Book Early!

Demand for customized and intricate wedding desserts mean bakeries fill up quick for wedding weekends. It’s safe to have something booked six months in advance, especially if you’re getting married during high season. But don’t worry – this doesn’t mean you have to know exactly what you want so far ahead of time. First, shop around in general for bakeries, and when you find one you think can satisfy your needs for taste, quantity, efficiency and personality, book a date. Then, you can really work with a pro to determine exactly what it is you want.

So…how do I find the bakery?

Trusting your gut is always sound advice, especially so when it comes to a food decision! Any dessert should be delicious, so your tasting is important. Make sure you sample all they have to offer that interests you. But since this isn’t an ordinary dessert you’re ordering, make sure you’re comfortable with the efficiency and professionalism of the bakery as well. They should return your calls and e-mails on time, be flexible with you and your needs, be willing to customize your dessert, be familiar with your reception venue and guarantee an on-time dessert, including of course set-up, delivery, and clean-up if necessary. You don’t want to be worrying about if your cake is going to show up on your big day. As with every wedding decision you make, don’t be afraid to switch bakeries or make demands if you don’t feel comfortable with the service you’re receiving.

And the cost…

Cakes are typically priced by the slice, which is generally anywhere from $1.50 to $6.50 per slice, depending on the style, ingredients, size and decorating. Your reception site or caterer may also charge a plating fee as well, often $.50 to $1.50 per person, to cut and serve the cake. Ask about this, and if there is a plating charge see if it’s negotiable.

Cutting the Cake

Most likely your baker will provide tips for you and your new spouse to accomplish the time-honored task of cutting the cake with ease. Plan ahead to have your cake knife and lifter engraved or decorated with ribbons or fresh flowers. Traditionally, the bride grasps the knife with her right hand and the groom covers her hand with his. Together, the couple glides the knife into the delicious masterpiece while flashbulbs pop.

1 Year Later

Some bakeries offer ‘anniversary cakes’ as part of their bridal packages. Instead of having to freeze the top layer of your wedding cake (which doesn’t always freeze well, or taste that great a year later), the bakery will make you a fresh cake, often in the same style and flavor as your wedding cake, for your one-year anniversary.

Cake, Shmake

Here are some tasty treats that may suit your wedding better than the traditional cake.

Centerpiece cakes

Pull double duty and use a beautiful wedding cake as the centerpiece for each of your tables. Some ambitious newlyweds stop at each table to cut and serve their guests the cake, which is a beautiful idea, but depending on the timetable and the number of tables this won’t work for everyone.

Cupcake Tower

Individual cupcakes are fun, the perfect serving size and allow for all kinds of decorating freedom you might not have with a traditional cake. Cupcake arrangements could be anything from a tower that resembles a traditional tiered cake to something more inventive such as mismatched  layers of different colored cupcakes over decorated shelves.

Make-Your-Own-Sundae!

Who doesn’t love an ice cream sundae? Think of every topping you can, and then some, then let your guests run wild. Perfect for an outdoor summer wedding or one with lots of children, your guests will be craving this at every wedding they attend after yours. The make-your-own theme can also be popular with the cupcakes, if you provide a few types of frostings and toppings.

Candies Table

The newest trend in wedding desserts, an array of colorful candies is sure to make eyes pop and sweet teeth scream. Arrange glass containers such as antique jars, fishbowls or giant martini glasses of gummies, chocolates, licorice, jelly beans, mints, toffees and more over an expansive table. Then, give guests a little (or huge!) plate or plastic bag and let them be a kid in a candy shop again. Pick treats that match your colors (often wrappers and candy colors can be custom ordered if they don’t match yours) or just let a rainbow of sweets entice the room.

Late Night Coffee

This works best for small, upscale weddings with mostly adults as guests. Bring in a barista to whip up comforting lattes, cappuccinos and espressos to go with some rich coffee pastries such as biscotti or tiramisu.

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