Choosing a wedding cake maker is a tricky business, so Lou from Bake to the Future tells you how to ensure you get the cake of your dreams...
Your wedding cake is likely to be the single most expensive food item you will ever purchase. Many people have never purchased a bespoke cake before, and navigating the minefield of designs, quality, services offered, and price differences can be challenging and overwhelming! I’m going to break down the process and guide you through that minefield to ensure you get the wedding cake of your dreams!
1. Do your research
The first step is to research some local companies and creating a shortlist. The first port of call is asking your venue for recommendations. They host dozens of weddings a year and likely have a list of preferred suppliers they know to be of good quality. This information can sometimes be found on the venue's website too. Another source of recommendations is social media groups. Ask others who they have used or are using and listen to the frank advice and reviews. You can also use search engines to look at businesses in your local area who might be suitable.
One of the best means of research is to attend wedding fairs. These are great places to meet cake makers in person, as well as see examples of prepared cakes and maybe even try free samples! Don't be afraid to ask questions to get a sense of their personality and style to see if they might be a good fit for you.
Once you have some companies to consider, look at their websites and social media to make sure the recommendations match up with their work and portfolio. You should now be left with a shortlist of about 5 companies to look at more closely.
2. Check their credentials
Anyone can be a baker, and it's important to be able to spot the rogue traders and the cowboys. the best way to make sure you're considering a legitimate business is to ask. They should be operating legally, be registered as a food production business with the local authority and environmental health agencies, and have insurance. They should also have suitable qualifications in food safety and hygiene, as well as an in-depth knowledge of known allergens.
I know this all sounds rather boring and official but trust me, it is the easiest way to ensure you’re not going to end up with a cake that isn’t fit for consumption! Once you have checked they’re a legal business, check their portfolio of work, ask about weddings they’ve worked before. Check that their style is in line with your vision and taste.
3. Get in touch
Now you have your shortlist of legitimate businesses, it's time to get in touch. You can email, send a message on social media, or even give them a call if you like. However you do it, it's important to have some key details to hand so they can give you an accurate initial quote.
First of all, are they available for your wedding? If not, there's not much point continuing the conversation. Next, they will need the address of your venue, how many guests are attending, and whether the cake will be served after the formal meal, or put out in the evening with the buffet. This will enable the cake maker to calculate the size needed and/or number of tiers to serve everyone.
If you have a favourite flavour or some design ideas, ask if these can be accommodated or if they can offer alternatives to best suit your preferences and style. Feel free to look at ideas on Google, Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and convey your ideas to them
4. Be clear about your budget
Weddings cost money, we get that, and as wedding industry professionals we will do our best to accommodate your budget as best we can. It's important to be honest from the start how much you are happy to spend so we can be honest with what is possible. Whilst we know we won't fit every couple's price range, there is always some flexibility with what can be offered.
If budget is an issue, then keep an eye out for any special offers online, wedding fair discounts or early bird specials. This can help you make your budget go further. You might also consider working with a start-up business who are looking to expand their portfolio. Getting in there early means you can get a great deal knowing their skills and experience will only get better in the lead up to your wedding.
5. Arrange a consultation
When you have a pretty good idea who to choose, it's useful to arrange a proper in-person consultation. Some companies will make a charge for this, but will take the cost off of your balance if you book with them. This is a great chance to discuss your ideas and designs in more detail, try some more samples and ask any questions.
Consultations are really important to develop a rapport and a proper sense of the person you'll be working with to create the cake of your dreams. Make sure you like not only their cakes, but them as well. Hopefully they have lots of examples to show you.
6. Confirm the booking
If you have found a company that is passionate, energetic, professional and you love the taste of their cakes then do not risk losing them! Cake companies can get booked up as much as two or three years in advance so as soon as you have found ‘the one’ don’t let them go!
7. Let the creativity flow
We encourage you to take inspiration from other designs, but don't be afraid to be yourself and inject your own personality into your ideas. It's important to develop a good working relationship with your cake maker to ensure they know what you want and can interpret this into the perfect cake design.
A good cake maker will not just take your ideas on board, but will suggest their own ideas to enhance the concept and create an edible masterpiece for your wedding day. If you have a specific theme or colour palette for your wedding, make sure they are aware of this and feel free to provide them with objects or colour swatches to work from. There is no such thing as too much for your wedding!
8. Ask about extras
Remember that a cake needs a stand and it needs something to cut it with. Make sure to check with your venue if they can provide a suitable stand and a knife, if not then your cake maker may be able to supply these on a hire basis for an extra charge. It's also worth double checking that any delivery and assembly costs are included in the final quote.
If you would like fresh flowers to be part of the cake display, make sure that your florist liaises with your cake maker to make this happen, or is able to source them from elsewhere if you aren't using a dedicated florist. Don't leave the little things to the last minute!
9. Leave a review about their services
Cake makers work super hard on their craft and to ensure each and every client they work with gets the cake they imagined, and then some, Oftentimes their customers get in touch off the back of positive reviews left by other people, and its a good chance you came to them for this very reason. If your cake maker met all your expectations and then some, let them know about it!
There is no greater reward than a glowing review or a recommendation. Tell the venue how impressed you were, tell your friends and family, tell those in the forums and social media groups. But most importantly, tell the cake maker too! A kind message when you return from your honeymoon or a review online goes such a long way to helping small businesses thrive.
10. Remember, it's more than just 'a cake'
Whenever you book a professional wedding supplier, you are paying for so much more than you realise. The skill of a talented cake maker is they often know what you want before you do! They take your passions, hobbies, wedding theme, colour palette and other components and design a cake that not only perfectly fits your day, but is an extension of you and your personality.
They will ensure every detail is perfect and, while price and budget is a consideration, a brilliant cake maker is worth every penny. It's useful to work out which suppliers and elements are most important to you when determining a budget. For some couples it's music and entertainment. For others its the flowers and decor. And for you it may be the cake and the food. Don't underestimate the effect of a beautiful cake and a talented cake maker!
If you'd like to talk to Lou about your wedding cake needs, want to check her reviews, or would like to check her availability for your wedding in Kent and surrounding counties, get in touch with her today!
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