Of course, there's no prescribed or exact timeline because everyone's engagements are different lengths—and you can successfully plan a wedding in as little as a few months if that's what you want to do. But we're here to give you a little snapshot of all your wedding to-dos to steer you in the right direction (especially if your engagement length fits the bill as "average," which is a little over a year). 
It's possible to make a wedding cake without a stand mixer, but I wouldn't recommend it. They can be expensive, so if you don't own one, try to borrow one. If this is your first wedding cake, you're going to need to buy some large cake pans. Cake pans in lots of sizes and shapes can be easily ordered online in sets. You may also want to buy a set of cake strips to help keep your cakes flat and level. Cake strips are soaked in ice water and wrapped around the outside of the cake pan to keep the outside from cooking faster than the middle. They're especially helpful for large cakes. A rotating turntable and frosting spatula will make it much easier to get frosting on smoothly. Piping bags and tips are useful for both filling and decoration, but if you're not piping decoration, you can simply snip off the corner of a Ziploc bag. Cake boards under each tier and plastic dowel rods are necessary to build a multi-tier cake that won't sink. Cake boxes can be useful for storing and transporting cake tiers. If you're using fresh flowers, plastic holders keep inedible flowers off your frosting. Buy parchment paper — so the cake won't stick to the pan, and plastic wrap — so it stays moist in the freezer or fridge after baking.

Music and surfing and two key themes we’d like to use for our wedding – it would be great to replicate musical notes and waves in a subtle way on our cake perhaps with flowers too. We will be having a DIY wedding in Cornwall where we met (in a surf lesson, very cheesy I know!), and I love the thought of putting our own touches onto a cake that can represent us 🙂

i used them for a baroque wedding cake i made a few months ago. it was a four-tiered rectangular cake (each stack placed at different angles atop one another) and was covered in fondant painted in gold/red stripes. then i placed the poppies around the corners of the tiers. they weren't as vivid as yours though :( - ill try making them with red gumpaste/fondant next time.
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.
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