I absolutely love flowers. They’re so colourful and are the perfect addition to any wedding cake. Although in some cases you can use flowers from your florist, in most cases, you will have to source specialist flowers or work with sugar or silk flowers. In this post, I’ll talk about some of the options you have for decorating your wedding cake with flowers…
Edible, Organic Fresh Flowers
One of my favourite ways to decorate a wedding cake with flowers is with specially grown organic flowers. There are only a few specialist suppliers in the UK who grow edible varieties of flowers (i.e. non-poisonous varieties) in a chemical free, organic certified way. This means you can eat them – pick off a petal or throw the whole thing in! Like the fruit and vegetables you find in the supermarket, these flowers are grown to decorate food and be eaten. My favourite supplier is Maddock’s Farm Organics. The flowers are picked to order the day before delivery and are so beautiful when they arrive. Varieties can be limited as there are only certain flowers that are suitable, and availability will be limited to when they are growing naturally. Perfect for natural or eco wedding cakes. I personally think fresh flowers look better with buttercream than fondant, but that’s personal taste. Varieties available: begonia, calendula, chrysanthemum, cornflower, cosmos, dahlia, fuchsia, lavender, nasturtium, pansies, roses, tulips, violas, zinnias, and herbs, among others.
Chemical Free Fresh Flowers
Something I’ve seen more of in the last few years are ‘home-grown’ florists. These are the people who are growing their own flowers, tending to them and letting them grow a bit more ‘naturally’. They aren’t spraying their flower beds with chemicals, they’re letting the strongest survive. So when you get flowers from these florists, you know exactly how the flowers have been treated. Even better, they’re likely to be more local which is a bonus for some couples. Some cake makers will already have links to a suitable florist and will be able to tell you which varieties of flower are non-poisonous. The great thing about wedding cakes with flowers from a home-grown florist? They look amazing and can be used in all sorts of different ways, from simple arrangements to larger statements. The selection or colours may be more limited than a typical florist, and availability will again be limited to when they are growing naturally. Perfect for natural or eco wedding cakes, but suitable for everyone really. I personally think fresh flowers look better with buttercream than fondant, but that’s personal taste. Some commonly used, but potentially harmful varieties: anemone, bird of paradise, carnation, eucalyptus, gypsophila, hydrangea, iris, lilies, pampas grass, peony, poppy, ranunculus, sweet pea.
Photo by Jenny Owens
Flowers from Your Florist
Unfortunately, when you buy flowers from a high-street florist, garden centre or even supermarket, you have no idea what chemicals might be lurking. At the very least, it’s likely that the flowers will have been treated with high levels of pesticides and insecticides. This means that mass growth flower farms maximise their revenue and don’t lose any crops. Once they’ve been picked, flowers are often then treated with chemicals to ensure they stay fresher for longer, before they travel across the globe. None of these chemicals will be selected for their safety if consumed, like those for fruit and vegetables are, because these flowers are never supposed to be eaten. These treatments make them amazing for decorating your wedding venue, but dangerous if they make their way into the cake. Florists are also not trained in all things edible, so they won’t necessarily know how to prepare flowers for decorating cakes, how to insert them into cakes without ruining them, nor which varieties are toxic if ingested. Being able to incorporate your wedding flowers into your cake is a fantastic idea, but I would always recommend doing it in a way that avoids contact with the cake. Finding creative ways to arrange flowers around the cake can limit your options a bit, and is often best paired with a more simple cake design. Perfect for couples wanting to match their cake decoration to the venue, or wanting to make a statement. I personally think fresh flowers look better with buttercream than fondant, but that’s personal taste. As long as your flowers aren’t touching the cake, and can’t drip onto the cake, there’s no reason to be limited to non-toxic varieties.
Photos by Steve Fuller Photography
This is one of my favourite ways to decorate wedding cakes with flowers and is also the most cost effective. It can be less wasteful than other ways if you re-use the flowers afterwards too. Sometimes, couples are on-board about silk flowers from the beginning. They like the colour options, or flower varieties that you can get (all year round) with silk flowers. Some of them like the price, or the fact that unlike fresh flowers, they don’t die so can be reused. Other couples may have picked an unusual colour palette and know they won’t be able to find fresh flowers in their shade. But some couples just aren’t sure about silk flowers, and I get it. Silk flowers, courtesy of the pre-2000 era, have a bad reputation. People think they look tacky, old-fashioned or just obviously fake. However, silk flowers have improved hugely over the last few years and are now beautiful. Sometimes, you really do have to take a second glance to tell that flowers are silk, not real! I use Village Green as they have a brilliant selection of quality silk flowers. Silk flowers are very realistic, but they are not 100% lifelike. If you have a particularly judgy bunch of wedding guests, they may have something to say. I say don’t invite them, but that’s me! However, silk flowers are perfect for unusual colour palettes (like strong, dark colours), large flower arrangements, and keeping budgets down. They work well with buttercream or fondant cakes.
There is something very wedding-y about sugar flowers, I think it’s how delicate they are. They really do require someone with patience and skills. Lots of cake artists make sugar flowers, and I’ve seen everything from the very best to the very worst on wedding cakes. The best sugar flowers look almost as good as real flowers, and when put together in arrangements, add huge impact to a wedding cake. They take hours and hours to make properly and are the most high-end way to decorate wedding cakes with flowers. One thing to be aware of though, most sugar flowers are not actually edible. Although they are made of sugar, because they’re commonly ‘built’ with wires and polystyrene centres, you can’t eat them. However, they are perfectly safe decorations for cakes. Sugar flowers, when done properly, are amazing handmade decorations. However, they are a tricky skill to master, so pick the right cake maker. They can also increase the price quite quickly if you’re looking for more than a small arrangement. Perfect for traditional, luxurious wedding cakes in grand locations! Also great when flowers are out of season or for more unique colour schemes. They work best with fondant cakes.
Photo by Laura Palacios
Photo by Steve Fuller Photography
Wafer Paper Flowers
The final addition to this list, wafer paper flowers. They are definitely a newer technique, and look a little bit different from what you’re used to. Using edible rice paper, cake artists can create fantastic flower arrangements. When made without wires (which is much easier than when making sugar flowers), they are completely edible. They are definitely a more unique and modern way of making flowers. Some cake makers can make some phenomenally realistic wafer paper flowers, but most people tend to make more fantasy sugar flowers. As wafer paper is often used for adding texture to cake with ruffles or abstract designs, you can use flowers to tie the design together. It’s difficult to make strong colours with wafer paper, so this style works best with pastel colour schemes. Perfect for couples who are looking for something a little bit different, perhaps in a quirky venue. They work best with fondant cakes, but can be used with buttercream cakes too.
Hopefully this post has given you some helpful insights into how you can decorate your wedding cake with flowers. There are lots of different ways to do it, suitable for every different couple. If you ever want any advice or ideas, please do get in touch. More importantly, if you want your very own wedding cake with flowers on it, please drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you! Good luck and happy planning. With love from lila xx