Your dream dress has been found, the invitations are being printed, and the florist has ordered up the perfect blooms, now your attention has turned towards the ultimate confection – your wedding cake.

Generally, you should order your wedding cake 4 to 6 months prior to the wedding date. If you already have your heart set on a cake designer – by all means contact them before this time period to reserve your date. If not, consider attending local bridal fairs to see sample work from area designers, or ask other vendors you are utilizing to make recommendations. Often your caterer or banquet facility can recommend fine bakers that they have worked with in the past.

When choosing a private cake designer or bakery shop, there are many aspects to consider before making your final selection. Brides should always make it a point to view photographs of the designer’s recent work to weigh in on quality and workmanship of the finished products. Also ask for references from past brides utilizing their services. This is your best guide regarding how accommodating, professional, and reliable the baker is. And, above all, schedule a cake consultation to include product tasting.

During your cake consultation, there are several key areas that should be considered and discussed:

  • Design style – take photos/magazine clippings of design elements that you like.

    Beautiful Wedding Cake

    Buttercream and Roses Wedding Cake

  • Size or number of tiers – this is usually based on your estimated number of guests.
  • Types of frosting – buttercream, fondant, royal icing.
  • Cake flavors and fillings – ask to taste a variety.
  • Accents – fresh flowers, gumpaste flowers, edible beading.
  • Cake topper styles – traditional, fresh floral, sugared fruit.
  • Pricing and delivery fees.

Keep in mind that your reception venue may charge a cake cutting fee. Call ahead to see if there will be a fee for cutting the cake, and don’t be shy about negotiating the fee or even having it removed entirely. You are probably already paying the facility pretty well, so it’s worth a shot. Otherwise, this fee usually comes out to about $1 per slice, so whatever it will be remember to include that amount in your budget.

This post contributed by Jody Wimer.