When Is the Right Time to Choose Your Wedding Cake Design?

Like most wedding-related details, there's an ideal timeline for finalizing the plans for your big-day dessert.

gillian tyler wedding butterfly cake
Photo: Jose Villa

Cake tasting is arguably every couple's favorite part of the wedding planning process. But how many cakes can you taste before having to buckle down and make some decisions? We talked with Kimberly Bailey, owner of The Butter End Cakery, to learn when couples should select their wedding cake flavor and design, and how to ensure they go about making the right choice.

The first step to selecting a wedding cake is determining the overall feel or theme of your wedding day so that the cake design goes with the aesthetic you're going for. If you're planning a destination wedding on a beach, for example, you may want to incorporate beachy details like seashells or the color blue into the cake design. If you're going for an elegant feel, you might choose a classic tiered white cake design embellished with sparkles or florals.

Once you have a general idea of the color scheme and overall aesthetic of your reception, it's a great idea to create a mood board with images that reflect your wedding décor, florals, invitation design, wedding dress, and any cake designs that you're drawn to. This is something you can share with the vendors you're considering in order to spark inspiration for a custom design. If you do plan on going custom, it's best to start cake tasting six months before the big day.

"Some brides come to me with photos of cakes that they have seen online or in a magazine," Bailey says. "If a bride already has a specific cake design in mind that she really wants for her big day, then a custom design session isn't necessary. That said, most cake artists opt out of directly copying another artists work!" Instead, work closely with your cake artist to plan a cake design that feels uniquely yours.

Finally, you have to make sure you select the right baker! Bailey reminds us that a lot of cake artists will book up months in advance. "Each cake takes so much time to make that we can't take on too many jobs in one week. If you are interested in booking a top cake designer, I recommend contacting them as soon as you have the venue and the date," she says. "You can always settle on a specific design a little later on, but at least you will be on the books!"

Give yourself four to six months to make sure you have enough time to find a baker you love, taste a few flavors, and select a cake design that fits with the aesthetic of your wedding.

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