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Wedding Cake Research

Natasha Lovell

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There’s no doubt now that weddings are a year-round thing, and this time of year I’m particularly busy bringing to life cake designs for my Brides & Grooms. Designs that were chosen a year ago and more in some cases.  This has prompted me to put together some hints and tips for when you’re doing your wedding cake research.

You’ve set the date, booked your venue, got the dress of your dreams and now it’s time to start thinking about all the other things that bring the day together and your wedding cake is one of the things on your list. Where do you start?

How do you choose the right person for the job?

A friend or family member might want to take on the task and doing the cake as a present is such a kind gesture, but make sure they can produce a quality centre piece for you and to the standard you require. People under-estimate the pressure of making a wedding cake and it could all get too much for them nearer the time. So alternatively, you can ask a professional cake designer to create something special just for you.

At the very minimum, any cake designer, whether they run their business from home or has a shop, should be registered with the local Environmental Health and will have a rating from the Food Standards Agency. (5 being the best, 1 not so good). They’ll also have a Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate and public liability insurance too.

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Where do you start with your research?

Check out websites, social media pages, reviews. If they have a shop, go visit. It’s a great opportunity to have a look at their work for real. Ask friends for recommendations. This is a great way to get first hand feedback. A lot of my clients come from recommendations.  Wedding Fairs are great for finding suppliers. You’ll meet the owner of the business and this will often be the actual person who designs and creates your cake. If you’ve booked your venue, they might have a list of recommended suppliers that they work with. These are all great starting points. Look at the cake makers work and see if their style is what you’re looking for. Find out their price range or starting prices. Once you’ve established if they come within your budget, ask if you can arrange a consultation with them. I think it’s important to meet face to face as you can start to build a good relationship with your cake maker. Often, you’ll be able to taste the cake at the consultation. It must taste good!

How much should I pay?

Have a realistic budget in mind, but remember, cheap cake ain’t good and good cake ain’t cheap! Cake makers dedicate a lot of time to every cake they create. From preparing cake tins, buying ingredients and supplies, making the cakes and fillings, washing and tidying up. Then they can start filling, levelling (no-one wants a wonky cake), ganaching and covering your cake. All this before they even start making the decorations. This is many hours and you’re paying for their time and skill, just like you do your hairdresser, electrician or plumber. A lot of websites will have “from” prices published. Bespoke cakes are more expensive as these are designed individually. Let your cake designer do what they love doing the most and that’s creating a cake that’s truly unique and a one off just for you.

Should I Pay a Deposit?

Absolutely. You’ve exchanged several emails, visited the cake maker, and they’ve designed a cake you’re delighted with. They’ve provided you with a quote and you’re happy to go ahead and book with them. So at this stage you need to let your cake designer know as soon as possible that you’d like to go ahead and ask how you can pay the deposit. I see the deposit as a two-way thing. It’s my commitment to my client that they’re booked in and I will be doing the cake, and it’s your commitment to your cake maker that you want the cake. I have known of incidences when someone thought they’d booked a cake, but no deposit had been paid and when they checked with the cake maker some weeks later, they hadn’t secured their order and the cake maker had become fully booked for their date.

Once you’ve paid your deposit, the cake maker should confirm that they’ve received it and quickly follow that up with an order. The order should contain all the details of the big day (date, venue, time) and the cake. This is your opportunity to check dates and details and let your cake maker know straight away if anything doesn’t look right. I always tell my clients that no question is a silly question so please just ask. Terms & Conditions will form part of your order and should include a cancellation policy, (deposits might not be refundable). And confirm delivery arrangements too.

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Your big day arrives and you’re super excited to see your cake. Hopefully all your research has paid off and maybe these hints and tips have helped along the way.  All that’s left to do now is say “I do” and enjoy your cake!