Okay Kyles, I hear you! (And sorry about the 'fake cake' confusion -- poor reading skills on my part!
Since you're determined to go with cupcakes (which I gather are really "in" right now), would you mind me offering some thoughts regarding logistics to help you make it work? I'd hate for this to go wrong for you on such a special day, especially with so many guests.
-- Go ahead and freeze if you must, but wrap them well
. Freezing can really dry cake out. You're certainly right that making them well ahead is one way to avoid a last-minute panic if something goes wrong with the cakes themselves. However, do you have refrigeration/storage space for the cakes once they're decorated? You've got to figure that out unless you plan on decorating them the morning of your wedding.
-- Yes, you're right that both layer and cup cakes can have an element of wastage (although in both cases, make arrangements ahead of time for the leftovers). Cupcakes, however, can't be stretched
like cake can should you be running short, so bear that in mind and plan something like 300. You'd be kidding yourself if you thought the wait and kitchen staff at your reception hall won't be having some cake!
-- The deecoration on the cakes can be simple but, massed together, still really effective. But, 250-300 cupcake tops is fiddly work
! Can you handle a pastry bag and a simple piping tip? If you can, it's actually quicker and easier to get consistent results, and can look a bit nicer than just spatuled-on icing as well.
-- Transporting the cupcakes is still potentially problematic. Per kilo of weight, cupcakes have a much
bigger "footprint" than a layer cake. You can't just put them on trays because trays don't stack. You'll need to get ahold of good bakery boxes, sturdy
boxes that will stand at least a couple of layers of stacking. You will need to determine in whose car the cakes will fit and who will take the responsibility for loading them at home and unloading them at the reception site. If you can fit about 9 cupcakes into boxes, that's over 30 boxes to handle! Sweaty work for a bathed, dressed-up guest...
-- You need to give plenty of thought ahead of time to the presentation of the cupcakes. If you're thinking of them on stacked conical display stands, price ahead the cost of hire (in the U.K. something like 30 Pounds
for a single stand which holds less than 40
cup cakes?!) or purchase. If you purchase them, it could still add plenty to your budget since they can cost well above $100 for a single large PVC stand. However, there is a stand available (cupcaketree.com - Home - Cupcaketree com
) which holds a significant number (supposedly up to 300) and is reasonably priced (less than 50 USD) which you could get shipped over to you if you can't source it in the U.K., however, it's of corrugated cardboard so maybe thinking about disguise decoration would be in order!
-- one advantage I can think of with cupcakes is that you wouldn't have to pay a cutting/serving fee wherever you're having your reception (you still might be charged for someone to do whatever handling's needed, though -- storage, unpacking, setting out, refilling ...). Since there'd be no cutting & plating involved, however, your guests would be served marginally more quickly.
No other suggestions! Do your homework, though, including adding up the real cost of making them versus someone else doing it (and there are some in-between-the-two possibilities you could consider, like having a bakery make them but you decorating -- you'd get the bakery boxes free that way
!). Lots of hidden costs and time and trouble involved in making your own, but it can
be done and might just be something you'll remember afterwards as being a really great part of your involvement in your own wedding ...