In the 17th century, two cakes were made, one for the bride and one for the groom. The groom's cake would die out and the bride's cake become the main cake for the event. When the two cakes were served together, the groom's cake was typically the darker colored, rich fruit cake and generally much smaller than the bride's cake. The bride's cake was usually a simple pound cake with white icing because white was a sign of virginity and purity.
Before you even offer to make a wedding cake for someone, make sure your heart is really, truly in it. No matter what, there will probably be moments along the way when you think, "Man, I really wish I hadn't signed up for this" or "Wow, buying a cake sure seems easy right about now." But if you're hesitant from the start, forget about it. Whether you want to do this as a unique gift for the bride and groom — and by the way, don't count on it being a cheap gift — or you love baking and see it as a fun challenge, know your reasons for committing to making a wedding cake before the sugar and flour start flying.
Some couples go all out buying or renting elaborate cake stands, which are pretty, but not really necessary. Besides, most bakers will provide a decorated base board you can place right on the table. Once you have your cake display, focus on adding to the space around it—choose a fun linen from home, lush greenery, old family wedding photos, candles or flowers to bring some life to the table.
For a bride on a budget, paying a large sum of money for a wedding cake may seem completely outrageous. But what are the alternatives, particularly when you don't have any baking experts in your family? Turns out, making a wedding cake is not as difficult as one might think. There is some significant planning and effort that will need to happen, so make sure you carefully weigh the expense of a cake versus your time (and expectations) as you make your final decisions. And if the cake isn't your thing, you can always serve pie, ice cream, or even an ice cream sundae bar at your wedding.