Dress, flowers, programs, seating cards - no detail escapes scrutiny when planning a wedding, and the cake is no exception. When planning for this sweet treat, it is wise to take some time to sketch out your ideas for the cake to facilitate planning with your event coordinator and your baker. Just because you are sketching a cake doesn't mean the basic rules of art don't apply. Just remember that your sketch must not just be artistic, but functional and edible as well.
Determine the shape of the cake you're designing, and let it reflect the overall theme of the wedding. If you wedding is a traditional affair for several hundred guests, try sketching out four round, stacked tiers. Round tiers are the traditional wedding cake shape, and several tiers will accommodate the large crowd of people you will need to feed. If your wedding is more modern, try sketching square tiers. If your wedding is entirely unconventional, try a cake with topsy-turvy tiers, or sketch a small round cake for the cutting ceremony and base your design around individual cupcakes. Remember to keep the number of servings in mind when sketching your template.
Start with the top layer, and let the artistic choices you make there trickle down to the rest of the cake. The top layer is the most important layer, as it is the layer that is traditionally saved for the married couple's first anniversary, and it is the layer on which the cake topper is placed. If your topper incorporates lacework, flowers, beadwork or other details, make sure they are echoed in other elements of the cake sketch. A pearl trim on the topper can become a border of icing dots at the base of each cake layer; fresh flowers on the cake topper can also be placed further down the cake as well to keep the theme consistent.
Keep a file of images from magazines, books or the internet featuring cake decorations that inspire you. When you're facing a mental block during the sketching process, look through this database of images to gain inspiration and break through your stalemate. The photos do not have to just be of cakes; images of flowers, fabrics, jewelry and artwork can also serve as powerful inspirations for cake motifs and designs.
Consider taking a class in cake decorating at a local bakery or craft center in order to learn frosting and other decorative techniques. As you would take a life-drawing class to draw the human body accurately, familiarity with common cake decorating techniques will help you or your clients easily visualize the finished product.