I am very much lacking in pictures of putting the cake together. But it was my wedding day so... forgive me? There were a few steps left to do. First, I'll talk about structure.
Cakes don't just hold themselves up. Buttercream is not solid, and cake itself is fragile. This cake, all-in, was probably somewhere around 40 pounds, at least. It needed a support system. Each cake tier sits on a cardboard round, which acts as a solid platform for that tier. However, despite that solid platform, stacking four tiers of cake would invariably cause issues with the bottom layers, in that the weight of each additional cake layer will make it sink in on itself. So, you need to have some sort of structural element that will ground it. Enter, boba straws. Now, a lot of cake decorators use wooden dowels, but I love boba straws for two reasons: (1) they're cheap, and (2) when you pull them out, they're filled with cake you can suck down as you're cutting the pieces. You just put a handful of boba straws in a circular shape in a lower tier, and the tier above it will sit on the straws, rather than the cake, meaning the cakes themselves actually have no weight on them. You're supposed to put in the number of straws that equals the inches of the above tier--so, for instance, in my bottom tier, which was 10 inches, I'm supposed to put 8 straws, because the tier resting on top of it was an 8-inch tier.
Then, to keep the tiers themselves from sliding off their new straw stilts, you slather a bit of royal icing onto the top of each cake to "glue" the tiers together. Use either real ribbon or a fondant ribbon or buttercream piping to hide where one tier joins another tier (I used real ribbon because #convenience), throw some last-minute decorations (e.g. candy pearls), and you're done!
Well, besides the prayer you'll employ when the hotel carts off your masterpiece to be stored until cake cutting time.
It was magical to see the cake when we walked into the ballroom. Mind you, our wedding was supposed to be 100% outside, but the rain had other plans, so we were feeling anxious and worried, knowing that we were probably going to have to pull an Alanis Morissette at the last minute. Our hearts were breaking a little, with our Plan B about to be employed, but seeing this cake on the table made us realize that it was really happening, rain or no rain, and we were about to have the happiest single day, followed by all the happiest days of our life.
I mean, happiest until the day I finally get to meet Mary Berry (still waiting for that call, BBC). Then we'll talk.