The JP Events Blog

The Latest Musings from Nashville's Premier Event Planning Company

The Ultimate Guide To Designing A Unique Wedding Cake

By Aundrea Goodwin

July 1, 2020
Follow our step-by-step checklist to design the unique wedding cake of your taste buds’ dreams. Before we get into the fun part of wedding cake design, it’s important to get the practical stuff out of the way first:
  • Establish your budget: We know you’re probably sick of hearing the word “budget” when it comes to wedding planning. But, establishing a budget in the early stages of wedding cake design will prevent any added stress or disappointment later on. Make sure you understand the pricing structure, like what’s included in the base price of a cake and what features will cost you extra. To squeeze the most of out the budget you do have, we recommend researching your ideal cake with no budget limitations in mind. Why? Your cake designer should be able to ask questions and guide your conversation to determine what you like most about other cakes so they can really focus on those elements.
  • Understand the limitations of your venue/season you’re getting married in: If your venue is outdoors and you’re getting married in the middle of the summer, you have to understand there are limitations you must to accept to avoid a cake meltdown, like opting for faux elements that will withstand the heat. Be up front and transparent with your cake designer about your venue and where your cake table will be placed on your wedding day.  

Now that we have the boring stuff out of the way, it’s time to put your creative muscles to work.

Step 1: Pick your flavor

Picking a flavor seems simple right? You may think your fiancé(e) is the perfect match for you until it comes to trying to pick a wedding cake flavor and the two of you realize you’re on opposite ends of the spectrum. When in doubt, ask for a cake tasting. Just make sure you go slow or else the sugar high may throw off your taste buds’ judgement.  When choosing a flavor, you can go the traditional route like vanilla, chocolate, red velvet and lemon – these flavors are sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Or, if you’re looking for a unique twist, consider fruitier flavors like strawberry, pineapple, or adding in hints of herbs and spices like rosemary or chai.

Step 2: Don’t forget about frosting 

Typically, you’ll choose between either having buttercream or fondant. Buttercream tends to have a better taste and more appetizing texture. It has a soft texture that lends itself well to creating simple yet elegant flowers or borders. Fondant on the other hand is extremely sweet, and, although the texture isn’t the best for eating, it lends itself to a very polished look and allows for more complex designs.  Trend alert: We are loving the simplicity of naked wedding cakes – a great addition to any rustic wedding theme (and, great for couples who are lacking in the sweet tooth department)

Step 3: Big or Small?

Do an online search for “wedding cake”, and you’ll notice fairly quickly that they range in size. Budget will play a fairly large role in the size of your cake. As you can imagine, bigger cake and more slices = more money. The size will also depend on how many guests you have. You’ll want to make sure you have enough slices to serve all your guests. On the other hand, if you have a small guest list, you don’t want to waste food. Have a tight budget or small guest list and want your cake to stand out? Opt for faux cake tiers mixed in with edible tiers (no one will notice the difference!).   Consider what other desserts you’ll be serving at your wedding as well. Many brides and grooms now a days are choosing to serve other desserts alongside their cake like cake pops, cupcakes or donuts, and even incorporating those desserts into the bottom tiers of their cake.

Step 4: Round or Square?

You can’t forget about picking a shape for your wedding cake. Round and square are the most common shapes, and the safest options. But, we’ve seen it all – from scalloped shaped cakes to hexagonal and more. If you’re looking for a unique twist on a modern wedding element, don’t be afraid to explore a less traditional shape. 

Step 5: Color and Patterns

Ideally your wedding cake should match or complement your wedding colors. But, you can switch things up by playing around with different patterns. Think: Ombré, geometric, marble or watercolor. 

Step 6: Pick your Garnishes

Do you want real flowers to match your bouquet? Flowers made from fondant? Or what about ditching the idea of flowers altogether and topping the cake with fruit instead? Once you get the basics out of the way like flavor, size, shape and color, you can really go crazy with your imagination – this is where your cake designer’s creativity can shine to create a unique wedding cake that represents you and your fiancé(e) perfectly. 

Step 7: Select a Cake Topper

Last but not least, choose a cake topper that’s unique to your relationship. You can go the traditional route like a simple “Mr & Mrs” sign, or your initials. Even better, go with something quirky – like the mascot for your favorite sports team, your favorite animal (yes, we’ve seen people use their pets), or an illustrative picture of the two of you. 

Wedding Cake Tips to Keep in Mind:

  • Ask your venue about any cake-cutting fees so there are no surprises right before the big day
  • Ask your photographer for cake-cutting photo inspiration (don’t be afraid to be lighthearted and funny)
  • Consider a groom’s cake – a secondary cake that’s entirely left up to the groom (you may be surprised what he comes up with!)


Have fun! Designing a wedding cake is one of the more enjoyable parts of wedding planning (just kidding – it’s all enjoyable) and should help take the stress off your shoulders from some of the more tedious aspects. Let your inspiration guide you and enjoy the sugar high. Ready to design your dream cake? Learn more about our custom cake design services.  Photo by Roma Shackiy on Unsplash

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