If you’re considering a DIY wedding cake, we tip our hats to your ambition. It take a special kind of person to want to make you own wedding cake. The right candidate is an experienced baker who takes joy in making sweet treats for loved ones, as well as someone who remains calm under stress, is good with time management, and can roll with the punches. If this sounds like you, going the DIY wedding cake route might be the perfect way for you to add your personal touch to your wedding day festivities.

If this doesn’t sound like you, that’s okay. Head over to Zola’s Vendor Directory to explore professional wedding cake bakers near you.

Even if your best friend is your KitchenAid stand mixer, baking at this scale—both in number of mouths to feed and emotional significance—is not for the faint of heart. The best DIY wedding cake scenarios are the result of much forethought and consideration prior to embarking down the self-made route. To get started, check out our 10 tips on how to DIY a wedding cake below.

10 Tips for DIY Wedding Cakes

1. Consider Your Motivation

Make your own wedding cake because you really want to, love baking, and feel comfortable with a variety of outcomes (like, maybe the design isn’t exactly what you had in mind, or you run out of time and end up serving guests sheet cake from the nearest grocery store). Do not DIY your cake to save money or for bragging rights. If you think you’re saving money with a DIY wedding cake, take the time to add up the price of bulk ingredients, decorations, display tools, and the amount of time a DIY wedding cake will cost you. Typically, you save little to no money by making your cake yourself.

2. Stay In Your Comfort Zone

Now’s not the time attempt a tricky technique you’ve never tried before. Stick with cake recipes you know and have mastered, and that you’re sure (from experience) taste good. Don’t feel boxed in by the classic white-on-white, multi-tiered design that tradition dictates: if your speciality is your grandma’s chocolate babka, then feel free to serve a recipe that’s unique to you.

3. Practice

When it comes to wedding DIY, trial runs are critical. Don’t wait until the week of your wedding to find out that making your own wedding cake is more difficult or time-consuming than you expected. Practice baking and decorating your wedding cake months ahead of time when you can afford to experiment, make mistakes, and figure out the exact materials and length of time your project requires. That way, if you realize that you’re not up for a DIY wedding cake after all, you’ll still have time to book a pro baker.

4. Prepare

Do your research. From your trial run, you should know exactly how long each step of the process should take and which tools you need. Map out your cake-making schedule in advance, so you have a solid game plan during your wedding week for what needs to get done and by when. Gather all your supplies, keep them organized as you work, and be sure to build in a time for mess-ups and do-overs. And if at all possible, try to avoid leaving any cake-related tasks to your actual wedding day.

5. Use Your Freezer

To save time the week of the wedding, bake your cakes ahead of time and freeze the tiers. Cake freezes well, defrosts quickly, and slightly frozen cake is easier to ice. Wrap your cake layers really well in plastic wrap, then tin foil, and store in the back of a freezer for up to a month.

6. Accept Imperfection

This tip goes for any DIY wedding project: when you take on a wedding task that’s generally reserved for professionals, you’re going to have to accept less-than-professional-looking results. A perfectly imperfect look is part of the charm and unique beauty of handmade goods. If a cake with flaws is going to cause you stress, do yourself a favor and find another wedding project to accomplish by hand.

7. Keep It Simple

Following that thought, no one will care (or even notice) if your wedding cake is on the plain side. You don’t have to become a sugar paste artist to put your personal stamp on your wedding cake—just make something delicious and easy to pull off, and rely on the beauty of fresh flowers and smart presentation to help add that “wow” factor.

8. Cheat (A Little)

Just because you made a cake, doesn’t mean that you have to serve it. One option is to make just one small cake and display it proudly, but serve store-bought sheet cake instead. You’ll still have technically make your own wedding cake, even if it’s not what the majority of guests end up eating. This will help alleviate the pressure of making sure your DIY cake looks and tastes great.

9. Remember Transport

It’s one thing to craft an elaborate cake in your home; it’s another thing to get that tiered sugar-tower to your wedding venue in one unscathed piece. When making your DIY game plan, don’t forget to budget in time to pack up and move your cake to its final destination. Inquire with your venue to see if there’s an onsite fridge you can leave the cake in for a day or two prior to your reception. Also, enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to help you, especially if it’s being transported the day of the wedding.

10. Lean on Decoration

It’s amazing what a few fresh flowers can do to transform an otherwise average cake into a baked beauty. Rely upon the final touches to take your homemade creation to the next level: put it on a pretty cake stand, garnish it with some sturdy flowers (roses, peonies, dahlias, ranunculus, and sunflowers all work great), and put a topper or a sign on top.