I used to make my ribbons out of fondant but they always came out kind of floppy looking. I think gum paste is the way to go. It dries much harder and will keep its shape. I would also do it a couple days ahead to give it time to hold its shape
I don't know if there are laws or requirements that must be met... But have you thought about volunteers or interns? There are so many people out there who would love to volunteer at a bakery either to learn new skills, meet school requirements or as a hobby. If you find someone you really like & want to keep then you can always offer them a paid position at that time.
How about a dummy cake? Get the cake done way before the wedding so you won't be stressed before your big day. You could even design it so that one of the smaller tiers is real cake for cutting w the groom.