If you are a good enough cook, then you can bake the cake yourself but lesser mortals will have to buy a cake from a cake shop, bakers, or department store. However, before buying a cake, there are some basic factors that you will have to consider.
Style of Cake
What style do you want? Traditional, elegant or fun? What type of cake would best fit in with your wedding theme? If you are having a traditional wedding, then does it really make sense to have esoteric cake? Also, make sure the company you are using can provide the cake you want. Before commissioning the cake, always have at look at their portfolio to assure yourself that they are up to the job. It may also give you some good ideas for the type of cake you want.
Flavour Of Cake
Traditional flavours are Coconut, vanilla, Chocolate, Madeira, or Lemon. However, nowadays, Rum, Grand Marnier, or Kahlua are also very popular. Whichever you fancy, you should always have a tasting session of the different types of flavours before making up your mind.
You also have to consider cake consistency. If the cake is using tiers and columns, then a sponge may collapse under the weight. However, the good, old, fruit cake will take a fair bit of weight. Of course, you can get stands, which will support any type of cake tiers.
The traditional type of cake for weddings is a heavily iced, tiered, fruit cake. The advantage of a fruit cake (with say, rum) is that if it stored properly, it will last for years. This is useful to remember if you intend to follow the tradition of keeping the top tier for your first wedding anniversary or first child's christening.
Size of Cake
The size of the cake is determined by the amount of guests you have at the wedding reception. The baker will be able to assist you when it comes to calculating this. However, keep in mind that you may also need to include the people who cannot attend the wedding when calculating numbers.
Transporting The Cake To The Venue
Many brides do not think about this until nearer the wedding day. When choosing your cake make sure it can be safely delivered to the reception venue. If the cake is very delicate then you might be better paying a little more and having the cake delivered by the shop or caterer. That puts the onus on them to deliver it in one piece. After all, they are the professionals and are used to delivering cakes all the time.
Only use the back Uncle Fred's car if your are confident that it will survive the journey!
Cost Of The Cake
It is not the cake that is expensive - it is the detail that goes into the cake that cost the real money. The more detail you have, the more expensive the cake will be. So, keep things simple, if you are on a tight budget. Alternatively, if money is no object, then the sky is the limit!
Obviously, you should always get a detailed quote before buying a cake. Also, look out for hidden extras like delivery charges.