If you choose to make your own cake, allow yourself some extra time and manage expectations: you (or your bridesmaids) are likely not going to be able to craft a fondant-covered confection worthy of a magazine spread. Simple, rustic decorations are more achievable. You'll also want to plan your calendar accordingly. Take time to make a test cake and keep careful notes.
Melt a little marmalade in the microwave or on the stove, until it runny. Brush this over the cake, it will stick the marzipan to the cake. I find the easiest way to get the layer of marzipan draped over the cake safely is to first drape it over a rolling pin, and then roll it over the surface of the cake. Dust it with some icing sugar or cornflour first to stop it sticking.
Considering I've made quite a few wedding cakes, my procrastination on putting together this instructable is slightly shameful. Making a wedding cake is fun, boring, painful, exciting, tiring and something that will fill you with pride, whether it's for yourself or a friend. There's little better than watchign people enjoy something you've created.
Once the marzipan is draped over the cake, gently pull down the sides to cover any gaps. Smooth the flat of your hand down the sides, pressing the marzipan to the cake and amoothing out any creases or overlaps, Rub the flat of your hand or a cake smoother over the top firmly to flatten and smooth the surface. Smooth out the sides in the same way. Trim off any excess marzipan around the bottom of the cake with a sharp knife and peel it off the board. This can be kept in an airtight bag or container for use next time.
The tiers should reflect the number of guests you would like to feed, as well as personal preference. This is another of the often overlooked hidden costs attached to a bigger guest list. Expect to pay more not just for your venue hire and wedding breakfast themselves, but also for larger cakes, more table centres and additional bottles of wine too.
Once cooked, leave the cake to cool in the tin. When cool, remove from the tin and place on some baking parchment. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of brandy (or your other chosen liquor) over the cake and wrap it up tightly in parchment and clingfilm or foil. Every few days unwrap the cake to feed it with another spoonful of liquor, then wrap it back up and return to a safe, temperate storage space.