A great way to save money is to make your own wedding cake. This way, depending on your skill you get what you want without it costing a fortune.
Firstly you need to get your wedding cake design idea - will it be a traditional tiered cake or a large square? Or the latest trend for cupcakes?
Photo by B Schmove
If you don't want to be baking your cake the day before then you would be better off avoiding cupcakes - they take time if you want to decorate individually and they won't keep so well. The best cake for baking before the event is the traditional fruit cake as this will keep, as long as you have stored it in an airtight container. A chocolate or sponge cake can be done a couple of days before, again you will need to store it well.
Next you need to assemble all of your equipment, make sure you know the size of the cakestand and bake your cake accordingly!
It is important that all of your wedding cake pans are undented as you want a perfect shape to make decorating easier.
How to make a wedding cake can be easy as any cake recipe will do for your wedding cake - especially one that you love and are very confident with, or you could use a ready cake mix! (Noone would know) Grease the pans well to avoid burning and sticking and when it has finished cooking, prick the cake to check. Place the layers of cake on a cooling rack before you think about icing.
Photo by Leeks N' Bounds
How to make a wedding cake without it looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa is to make sure that all the cakes are level. This can be done with strips over the cooking cake when it is in the oven, brown paper can help or by level it off with a serrated knife after it has cooled.
You may want to fill the layers with buttercream icing, always best to pipe around the edge of the cake first to act as a dam for the rest of the filling. This will stop it spilling out.
To ice the cake, the easiest way is to buy a ready to use fondant icing. You will need to cover the cake in buttercream icing first and then roll the fondant icing to cover it - if it is a big cake put the rolled fondant icing on a cardboard plate and then slowly wiggle (technical term ;o))it in place. If the fondant icing is a bit sticky use icing sugar to stop it. Cut the fondant icing to shape after you have smoothed it in place.
You can now add your cake topper, flowers etc to finish the look.