Wedding cakes: are they over-priced?
Even before I started Victoria's Sponge as a business, this was a topic that regularly came up with my friends. Girls chat about weddings a lot, don't we? And the cost of them is every increasing. How are we expected to pay for a wedding in the 21st century?
So, is it true that when you ask a supplier for anything to do with a wedding that they hike the prices up? It does sometimes seem that way. You can be left thinking 'why the hell should I pay £800 or more for a wedding cake - it's going to be eaten on the day and that will be that!' But, what you do need to remember is, wedding cakes do often take a lot more time and effort because brides are looking for perfect icing, perfect edges and a centrepiece for their big day. This doesn't mean that it needs to be ridiculous though.
Your wedding day is the best day of your life (I have been told - my partner is still yet to pop the question, hint hint if you're reading!). And on the best day of your life, you want everything to be perfect from the dress, the venue and obviously, the cake!
Since medieval times, wedding cakes have been part of the marriage ceremony. Back when they were first introduced, they were made of wheat which was a symbol of fertility and prosperity. Once upon a time, the wedding cake would be thrown to the bride!
So, to come back to the question - are wedding cakes overpriced? In most circumstances the answer is no. Wedding cakes need to be perfect. And for that to happen, a lot of the time, thought and a lot of precision is required. Think of those sharp edges on covered cakes and how long they take!
When I am covering a three tiered wedding cake with fondant, I will spend the best part of two hours smoothing the edges and ensuring the bride (and groom!) gets an excellent finish. The key to getting a wedding cake exactly how he bride wants it, is ensuring that each and every single stage is perfect.
If you're on a tight budget, tell your chosen baker that! I am always happy to work a cake to your budget rather than we quoting for something extravagant that ultimately, you don't want to pay for. If you are on a budget, then sharp edges on your tiers just aren't going to be feasible because they take too much time, but a naked cake with real flower decoration could be.
There are a range of beautifully designed cakes for a range of prices and they can all have the same incredible impact whether covered completely in fondant and sugar paste flowers, or naked and covered in real ones.
The most important thing is for you to brief the baker properly - let them do the hard work and fit with you!