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Fresh or Sugar Flowers: Which is Right for Your Wedding Cake?

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

So it’s time to think about your wedding cake design, but do you go for sugar flowers or fresh flowers? There are pros and cons to each option, which we will look at to see which option is right for you and your wedding.

Sugar Flowers

These can add great flexibility and choice to your wedding cake design. Sugar flowers are never out of season, and they are very customisable in terms of colour and size. You can even go for metallic gold or silver leaves.

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If they are handled correctly they are completely food safe and you won’t have to worry about any sap leaking as can happen with fresh flowers. Sugar flowers are made from edible materials combined with non edible items such as wires, these wires are then covered and inserted into the cake using a barrier to protect the cake.

Some sugar flowers are incredibly realistic. You can see through the delicate petals and beautiful veins, so look just like the real thing. They will have your guests in disbelief! Unlike fresh flowers, you will be able to keep these long after your wedding day. Sugar flowers can survive forever if kept in the correct conditions, like avoiding high humidity and direct sunlight.

Because sugar flowers are highly technical, they can be costly. A single flower can take anywhere from an hour to several hours to make depending on the type. If you are looking for realistic sugar flowers it’s important to choose your cake designer wisely. I have spent many years learning, practicing and improving, to provide stunning sugar flowers which not only look realistic but are safe for your cake. An inexperienced cake designer may not be familiar with all the steps necessary to give you the look you are after.

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Fresh Flowers

Fresh flowers are an inexpensive way to create a natural and beautiful look to your cake. If you get them from the same florist they will match your bouquets and create a cohesive look. Fresh flowers can also elevate a simple wedding cake, which is perfect for couples on a budget. Not only that but they smell amazing too!

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Food safety is an important consideration when thinking of using fresh flowers. Many flowers requested for cakes are in fact toxic or even poisonous, for example gypsophilia (baby’s breath), hydrangeas and lilies. Fresh flowers are not grown or prepared with food safety in mind, therefore they may have been sprayed with pesticides and contain dirt or other contaminants. This means a lot of work is involved in making fresh flowers safer for your cake. Stems need prepared and covered, the backs protected from touching the cake and a barrier used when inserting into the cake. This still doesn’t 100% guarantee they are completely food safe. To guarantee food safety with fresh flowers, you can opt for organically grown flowers from specialist farms. However, these are more expensive and the choice can be limited.

Another large drawback to fresh flowers is you are limited in choice by the time of year, for example peonies are only in season May-July. Once fresh flowers are cut, the shelf life will start to reduce. On a hot summers day fresh flowers can wilt very quickly, which can ruin your beautiful cake.

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There are a couple of other options. You can also consider silk flowers, wafer paper flowers, or dried flowers. Silk flowers can be a great compromise between sugar and fresh. They are making much more realistic ones nowadays; they are cost effective and can easily be made food safe. Wafer paper flowers add a dreamy delicate look to your cake design. And at the moment we are seeing a huge trend in dried flowers and foliage which can add a rustic or boho look to your cake.

As you can see there are a lot of options to consider and it’s important to discuss with your cake designer the look you would like to achieve and your budget.

If you found this useful and would like to learn more about using fresh flowers for decoration, check out the blog post below:-

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