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Thursday, June 20, 2013

The DIY Wedding: Making the Cake Yourself

These days it’s both budget-friendly and trendy to do most things yourself, even your own wedding. Things that are probably cheaper to do yourself (while adding a nice touch): centerpieces, invitations, favors, even the playlist. Things that probably should be left to the pros: photography, flowers, and the cake. Especially the cake.

If you're a bride on a budget, a bride who likes to do everything yourself, or researching for the first time, you're probably thinking, "Why NOT do my wedding cake myself? I've baked a cake with my grandmother before. It CAN'T be that hard!" In all truth, baking a cake isn't hard at all. If you're doing something small (less than 100 people), the venue isn't over-the-top elegant, and your budget is less then $5000 for the whole wedding, then have at it! Go forth and make your own cake! 

Actually, let a bridesmaid take care of the cake. Seriously. Do you want to worry about baking, frosting, and decorating your cake the day before the wedding? Transporting it to your venue while you're getting ready with makeup and your dress? No. Let someone else do it. Especially if you're feeding a lot of people.
"I'm only having 80 people there!" you say. Have you ever baked for 80 people? A tiny little 9"x13" glass pan serves 12 people. TWELVE. PEOPLE. You need to bake and decorate at least 7 cakes to feed them all. Let someone else deal with that. Please.

"I'll just buy birthday sheet cakes and redecorate them!"
If you plan on having a professional photographer photograph your cake-cutting ceremony, don't be surprised if your cake cutting ceremony pictures don't turn out the way you expected. Cutting into a sheet cake, in my opinion, is sort of a let down for you and your guests. They're expecting a beautiful tiered cake, a beautiful cutting ceremony, and an elegant slice of deliciousness. Instead they get an underwhelming cut into a slab of cake, and a chunk of grocery store mediocrity.
Flowers are usually a staple for weddings and the cake, but unless you know how to do it safely, do not, DO NOT put real flowers in your cake. Even if they aren't covered in pesticides, waxes, and preservatives, they're plants. Living organisms. And you're sticking them into your cake. Sounds very appetizing. (That's sarcasm.) Putting silk flowers on? Just remember that silk flowers sit around for a while, so they accumulate dust. Also: silk + frosting = yuck.

Below is an example of a DIY wedding cake made from a birthday cake you'd find at the store. You can find the tutorial here. It's an OK looking cake, and if you're on a budget, or if you only need to serve 10 people, then this may be perfect for your wedding.

Now, if you're not a bride on a budget, meaning you'll spend whatever is necessary to make your special day AMAZING, hire a pro. Please don't attempt to make your own wedding cake. I already mentioned how stressful it is, and honestly, that's about the only thing that you need to take into consideration. Stress will take a huge toll on you, and you're trying to look and feel your best on that day.
Get a professional cake artist. Actually take the time to look up a reputable cake artist or two. It's the only food that gets its own special ceremony, and you want it to be perfect, like everything else.

Now this is a real wedding cake. Tiered, elegant, and the colors are lovely. This magnificent creation was done by Jay at Jay Qualls Cakes.
This is truly a work of art, and personally, I think I'd have a hard time cutting into it if this were my cake. I will bet my bottom dollar that even a cake-artist bride couldn't pull this off on her own wedding day. Not because she lacks the talent or skill, but because the stress of it all will just be too much and she won't want to make it.

For the most part, DIY wedding cakes should be a no-go. It's only acceptable in certain situations, and those situations are extremely limited. If you've got an unlimited budget, or at least a desire for the best, go all out. Get the dress of your dreams, find the perfect venue, and order a cake that not only looks amazing, but tastes magnificent. You only get one wedding, after all.

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