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Should I have fresh flowers or sugar flowers on my wedding cake?

Updated: Feb 16

This is a question many couples ask when thinking about their wedding cake design.

sugar flower wedding cake photo by Adele of Fly On The Wall Photography

I am totally passionate about sugar flowers, my love of sugar flowers began when I first started making wedding cakes and I didn't like the thought of placing fresh flowers on my wedding cakes or celebration cakes for food hygiene reasons. When I realised how much fun creating sugar flowers was I decided there was no need to use fresh flowers on my cakes. The only exception being organic edible flowers that have come from a certified supplier.

So let's look at the pros and cons of both fresh flowers and sugar flowers and you can decide which is best for you if you are planning your wedding, or if you're a cake designer and can't decide which to use.



You can have a matchy matchy cake and bouquet if this is your thing. You can use the same flowers and foliage (providing they are non toxic and made food safe) on your cake as you have in your wedding florals.

Fresh flowers are less expensive so if you are on a tight budget this would be the more thrifty and economical way to decorate your cake.


You either have to choose seasonal flowers or have flowers flown or shipped from overseas, which is not the most eco friendly option.

You can't always guarantee the flowers you would like will be be ready for your special day. They may be a different shade than you expected or not as big or small as you had hoped. They may not be in full bloom. These are organic decorations and you are relying on mother nature to work her magic for you.

Many flowers are toxic and shouldn't be placed on cakes. You need to do your homework on whether the flowers you'd like can be made food safe.

Speaking of being food safe, most flowers have been hanging around in buckets of bacteria ridden water for several days after being picked. Unless they are organic they will have likely been sprayed with pesticides too. Do you really want these on your wedding cake?

Depending on the blooms you choose they may shed pollen that can be inedible and it may stain your cake.

They need to be prepared by an experienced cake designer who knows how to make fresh flowers food safe.

Once out of water and prepared and placed on your cake, fresh flowers will quickly start to wilt. Particularly on a sunny summer day. They may look quite sad by the time you come to cut the cake in the evening.

Fresh flower bouquet by Meadows & Mulberry Weddings, photo by Helen Rose Photography

Sugar Flowers


You can have any flower, any colour, any size you like at any time of the year. They can be matched to your other florals if you want too. Bring along swatches of fabric or other wedding accessories to your consultation and they can be matched to your outfit, handbag, shoes whatever you fancy

You can keep your sugar flowers for many many years after your celebration. If looked after well (don't drop them!) they will last forever. Treat them like bone china, give them a dust with a soft brush every now and then and you have a wonderful reminder of your special day.

As they are made from an edible substance there is no fear or bacteria or pesticides touching your cake.

You will astound your guests, it will be a great talking point for your wedding, guests usually they cannot believe the flowers aren't fresh blooms!

Sugar flowers won't wilt in the heat. You can have the hottest day mid summer, be in a hot conservatory or marquee and these babies aint wilting.. They will hold up strong and proud all day long.

sugar flower wedding cake photo by Helen Rose Photography


Sugar flowers are expensive. Your sugar flower artist has spent many years perfecting their skill, these flowers can take hours or often days to create so you are paying for the time it takes to make each petal, each leaf and each bud. Each petal will be rolled, shaped, veined, dried, dusted and taped together to create your beautiful blooms. Expensive but totally worth it for the wow factor.

Not all sugar flowers look realistic. Find a sugar flower artist who makes realistic flowers, you don't want thick clunky rose petals, they should be delicate and papery thin.

Drop 'em they break. Be careful and make sure your venue knows you'd like to keep them. Make sure they realise they are delicate and need to be handled with care.

So that's my whirlwind tour of fresh and sugar flowers. What are you going to choose?

If you fancy having a go at making your own sugar flowers I have some step by step online tutorials. You can watch at your own pace and watch over and over again with lifelong access. They are suitable for absolute beginners and those wishing to improve their skills.

Follow this link to check them out.

Much love

Lisa x

Sugar Flower Classes available at


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