From the first email I get from a prospective bride, ideas are usually buzzing round my head, thinking up designs and imagining the finished cake. The first thing I ask is how many people they want to feed, this gives me an idea of how big the cake will be. It also provides a fairly good indication of how much the cake is going to cost, which is obviously a very important factor for brides who need to allocate funds appropriately. For brides with a small budget, there is always the option of having a cutting cake. You have a smaller, but still beautiful tiered cake to show and then a cutting cake, which is usually just a very simply decorated, layered sheet cake that goes straight to the kitchen to be cut, thereby still having enough cake to feed all your guests, but at a lower cost.
When I know how many people to feed, I can come up with a few different size/shape optionsfor the bride to choose from. This is important, as the overall look of a cake and it’s architectural integrity can be affected by poor choices at this stage. You don’t want something too top heavy, with lots of layers that may be difficult to cut, or a flimsy looking, thin bottom layer. You want something that looks balanced.
If a couple aren’t after a large tiered cake, there is always the option to have maybe one or two small cakes, some individual mini cakes, or a mix of a tiered cake and smaller cakes. I’ve had a couple who bypassed the idea of a wedding cake, and opted instead for a dessert table laden with roasted white chocolate profiteroles, mini meringues, salted caramel brownies and lemon and blueberry mini cakes.
Next, its all about flavour and the tasting. I ask the bride what flavours her and her partner like and I also throw in a few nice flavour combos as well. Usually I will meet with the bride and groom either in a cafe, or at their house and I will take along 3 different cakes for them to sample. I often find that couples can’t decide between the different cake flavours. In this case, there is the option to have different tiers in different flavours. I think it is good to go for different flavours on different tiers, as not all your guests might not like carrot cake, or lemon and lavender, so its good to have a choice.
I also use this meeting to try and get a feel for the couple, try to find out a bit about the kind of things they like and how they want their wedding to look and feel. Having previously chatted to the bride a bit over email about the kind of thing they are after, I come to the tasting meeting armed with lots of images and ideas to show them, so we can talk through the design together. We chat, talk through different options and ideas and I take down lots of notes, so that I don’t miss any small detail that may be important to them. I aim to make a cake that really fits the bride and groom, something personal and unique, so I find that this meeting very helpful. I also like to think that it is a nice experience for the couple as well, who get to take an hour off stressful wedding planning and can just indulge in some cake!
We then cover logistics – how, where and at what time the cake needs to arrive, where it will go in the venue, whether the couple want to hire a cake stand or board, essential phone numbers of staff or family members, and finally we cover payment.
After the tasting meeting, I will have an idea solidifying in my head about how the final cake will look; the size and shape, naked or covered, what kind of flowers and how they will be arranged on the cake, what kind of board or cake stand it will be on and how to include any elements that the couple want incorporated.
I send the bride a final invoice with a full description of the cake and the design and include my Terms and Conditions and also a Wedding Cake Cutting Guide. This is then finalised and usually there are a couple of months before the wedding date, so I will send an email nearer the time, just to check in with the bride and ensure that they know I haven’t forgotten them! After that, all that is left is for the newlyweds to enjoy the cake and their big day.