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 best way to start looking for cake companies is to ask your venue if they recommend anyone. Venues run weddings and events every week throughout the year and will have seen hundreds of cakes come through their doors. Speak to your wedding or event coordinator, check the venues website for a recommended or preferred supplier list and attend any open days or wedding fairs that the venue hosts. Wedding fairs in general are a great way to find companies for all services as you’re able to see their work on display and chat to the business owner, the fact they’re at a wedding fair also reinforces their status as a real business. Search engines and social media are a great source for recommendations especially those platforms with review tabs. If you’re in any online wedding groups, ask for suggestions of companies local to you. Speak to friends and family, anyone you know who has recently married. Once you have found a company make sure you read their reviews and look through their portfolio. If they have a website or social media account look at the photos of their previous work, many cake companies will also have display cakes on show at wedding fairs and open days. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
2- BE PREPARED
So, you’ve done your research and you’ve found a cake company you like the look of. You’ve checked they are operating legally, they’re experienced and they have excellent reviews with a good portfolio of work. Now what? You need to contact them, an email or a message via their website or social media page is the best way. A phone call can be quicker but having the information written down is easier. When you contact them make sure you have all the relevant information so they can give you as accurate a price as possible. Send an initial inquiry asking if your wedding date is available, there isn’t much point continuing with the process if they aren’t free to make your cake! Once you know they have the availability you’ll need to let them know the address of your venue for delivery, how many guests you have attending and whether the cake will be served as dessert after your formal sit down meal or in the evening once the buffet has been served so they can correctly calculate the size and quantity of tiers needed to serve everyone. If you have a favourite flavour, ask if they offer it on their menu. Have an idea (even a vague one!) of designs and styles of cakes you like. Look at photos on Pinterest and google but also check the cake artist’s previous work for inspiration, convey your theme and colour choices to them.
3- CHECK THEY ARE QUALIFIED FOR THE JOB
I cannot stress this point enough! There are A LOT of cake makers out there and some of them aren’t legitimate. The best way to ensure you’re approaching a legally operating, registered and insured food business is to ask. We won’t be offended and take pride in informing people of our hygiene rating. Much of the general public don’t realise that even home-based businesses must be registered with environmental health, by asking for their status you’re making sure the cake you receive is safe for all your guests to eat. You need to check that the company you’re using is registered with the local authority, holds valid public and product liability insurance and has at least a level 2 qualification in food safety and hygiene with a knowledge of 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.
- ARE THEY REGISTERED?
- ARE THEY INSURED?
- DO THEY HOLD A LEVEL 2 HYGIENE CERTIFICATE?
- HAVE THEY DONE WEDDINGS BEFORE?
- ARE THEY AWARE OF ALLERGENS?
- DO THEY HAVE A PORTFOLIO?
- DO THEY HAVE A WEBSITE AND/OR SOCIAL MEDIA BUSINESS ACCOUNTS?
4- BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR BUDGET
Weddings cost money, there is no getting around that! As industry professionals we appreciate how expensive they are, and we know that everyone is working to a budget. We also know and understand that we won’t suit every couple’s preferred price range. If you are clear from the start how much you’re happy to spend on your wedding cake, then we will be honest about what is possible. There are many options out there to suit all budgets. Keep an eye out for special offers on the websites and social media pages of companies you like the look of, some offer special rates if you book at a wedding fair or if you book well in advance. There are also many new companies out there who offer lower rates in order to build up their portfolio, they are genuine businesses so you could get a brilliant deal, especially if you book years ahead and get to see their work over that time.
5- BE ORIGINAL! BE YOU! BE BOLD!
Take inspiration from other designs but do not be scared to be yourselves! Let the artist take your ideas and run with them! Trust them! This is why rapport and communication are so vital. You need to build a working relationship. A good wedding cake designer will be able to suggest ways to enhance and build on your ideas and they will have fresh, original ideas of their own. Your cake should be a representation of you individually and collectively, an edible masterpiece which represents your love and relationship.
It should be a work of delicious art! If you’re incorporating a theme or working to a specific colour palette then take inspiration from that, give your cake designer fabric swatches and colour cards for them to refer to. Make sure that you share the same vision. When it comes to design and style it is so important to make sure you find a cake designer who can make your dream a reality. There is no such thing as too much when it comes to your wedding cake design, you can put as much in to it as you want! There really is no limit!