Sugar flowers, tall tiers and intricate piping can quickly jack up the price of your cake. That's because most cake bakers price their work by "touch time," which is the amount of labor and number of hours spent designing the cake. (There's a lot that goes into this confection—it's way more than just flour and eggs!) So when it comes to choosing your cake style, look for designs you love that don't include any over-the-top add-ons.
A tiered cake means that the weight of your top tier (or tiers if you're getting extravagant) rests on the bottom tier. To prevent everything sinking into the cake and ruining your beatifully smooth icing, you need to put in some dowels. These can be foodsafe wood or plastic and are available, like everything else, from cakecraft shops or the internet.