On average, you’ll spend around $750 for your wedding flowers. This not only includes the bouquets and centerpieces—but also any flowers for your cake. (And yes, silk flowers count, too!) Flowers are a long-standing tradition at special events; they’re aromatic, inviting, and a great way to bring the outdoors in. But you have more options today than the people of long ago. We’re going to cover a few of those options, right after we address a some wedding flower misconceptions.
The biggest misconception in the flower industry is that real flowers are more expensive than any alternative. While quantity certainly comes into play, real flowers actually tend to be on the affordable end of the spectrum. Another common misconception is that artificial flowers look, well, artificial. Certain low-quality brands will definitely lack realness, but paying just a little more can get you lifelike flowers that won’t wilt or droop before the cake is cut.
Before choosing the right flowers for your cake, consider your budget and personal preferences. If you have a favorite flower that’s out of season during your big day, some form of artificial flower is best. But if your flower budget is very limited, real flowers are the least expensive option. Consider the rest of these pros and cons to make your flower decision with confidence.
Selecting real flowers for your cake adds a layer of freshness to the tasty treat. And if you plan on using real flowers elsewhere in your celebration—like for bouquets or centerpieces—adding a few to your cake will tie everything together. (It might look odd if the fake flowers for your cake are noticeably lackluster compared to fresh ones in your hand!) Be sure to coordinate any real flowers with both your florist and your cake designer, though. Typically, you or your florist will need to send the fresh selection to the cake designer when they’re adding finishing touches, a day or two before pick-up.
Real Flower Pros
Aside from matching with the rest of your wedding flowers, real flowers for your cake are the cheaper option. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are inexpensive, but you aren’t paying for the custom work that sugar flowers require. If you’re trying to save a few dollars, placing a few carefully selected flowers on your cake can help—while still looking beautiful.
Real Flower Cons
On the flip side, real flowers are a bit more high-maintenance than fake alternatives. Certain real flowers—like baby’s breath and hydrangeas—are toxic when ingested, even if only a little. Common wedding flowers, like sunflowers and roses, are safe to consume, but you should always make sure to use pesticide-free arrangements. Real flowers also aren’t ideal for outdoor or humid weddings. They will likely be wilted before the reception begins.
While there are many types of artificial flowers, silk is one of the most life-like. To the touch, they are soft like real flowers, and are designed to replicate real flower blooming patterns. You can order silk flowers through your florist—especially if you’re carrying silk bouquets down the aisle. But you will still have to coordinate assembly with your cake designer.
Silk Flower Pros
Silk flowers look like the real deal without the risk of wilting. They are less sensitive to the weather (although they aren’t impervious). Plus, there’s no risk of toxicity or allergies with silk flowers. Because they’re likely to last longer than the reception, you can even save a few for your wedding memories.
Silk Flower Cons
While high-quality silk flowers look real, they can also be more expensive than real flowers. This is especially true if all your bouquets will be silk flowers, too. Lots of silk flowers add up, and can become a costly portion of your budget. Silk flowers also don’t give off any floral scent. So, if you’re looking to complement your rose-flavored cake with a subtle rosy aroma, silk flowers aren’t for you.
Sugar flowers are either made from gumpaste or fondant. Both varieties harden as they dry, holding the structure of the flower in place. If you wanted this edible flowers for your cake, your cake designer would have to make them. Because they are made by hand with painstaking detail, they are the most expensive option on this list.
Sugar Flower Pros
Sugar flowers are completely food safe and edible, making them perfect for a cake add-on. You can also order any flower, in any size. So if your favorite sunflowers are out of season for your March wedding—it doesn’t matter! And they can be made smaller to fit your two-tier cake, or larger to fit your five-tier cake. Most silk flowers are made to scale. (And, of course, real flowers are always to scale!)
Sugar Flower Cons
Their price is worth mentioning twice, because they are so expensive. This could mean fewer flowers than you had initially hoped for. And while it is certainly possible to choose a variety of colors for your sugar flowers, most of them tend to come in paler, more chic shades. If you’re looking for bright, vibrant colors, then real or silk flowers might be a better fit.
There’s no wrong answer when choosing flowers for your cake. What matters most is that they fit into your wedding theme and budget. Always talk to your florist and cake designer before making a final wedding flower decision—they may have a specialty, or be able to get you a special rate that could sway your decision.
What types of wedding flowers do you prefer? What other considerations are important for choosing cake flowers?