Many of you are planning , or will soon be planning your big day. It can definitely be overwhelming with all that is involved. I really believe most of the stress comes from walking into the unknown. Most of us have never planned a party so large before, or had to select a menu for 200 people. Of course it is stressful, and understandably so. Planning your wedding cake is just as important as any other aspect of your wedding, but it doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. In fact, if you let it, planning a wedding cake can be a lot of fun. I have some tips that will help you approach the planning process with ease, prepare you with what to expect from most bakers, and make your wedding cake plannng a good experience.
1) Be Informed about how Wedding Cake Pricing Works
Most local bakeries have a standard base pricing set up, usually broken down for you per person. For example, our base wedding cakes start at $5.50 per person for buttercream design cakes and $6.50 per person for fondant design cakes. This is how most food vendors cost their items such as the dinner, liquor, late night snacks, etc... We all do it this way to help you create a budget per person and to give you an idea of the price range. Wedding cakes, however, can be tricky to spontaneously price because of the art factor. With some elaborate cake designs, you get to a certain point where you are paying for artwork as well as cake. I often use the analogy of someone walking into a car dealership and asking “how much for a car?”. It’s just as difficult for a baker to answer the question “how much is a wedding cake?” I have made cakes for $500 and I have made cakes for $4,500..... there are just so many options and factors involved. Any baker you approach, can help you better if you provide more details in your inquiry . For example, “ I would like a wedding cake for 120 people, simple buttercream design, and I want the whole cake to be white chocolate raspberry, could you give me a rough estimate?” This will definitely get you a closer estimate if you provide the expected number of people (roughly), design , and general direction of flavor. More accurate pricing can be obtained after a cake tasting meeting when more details are given.
2) Set Up a few Different Cake Tastings. Give yourself options and see what’s out there. Every wedding cake baker is going to conduct the meeting differently, but they all should provide you with the basics: pictures, cake samples, and general pricing. It’s important to match your style and taste with the prospective baker and what they can provide for you. Everyone’s preferences are different and you should select someone who you feel understands what you want most.
3) Have Fun Picking the Flavors and Select at least One Unique Option to Taste
Wedding cake flavors have come along way, even in the last 10 years. There really isn’t a standard anymore of what you should or shouldn’t pick for your wedding cake flavor. A lot of people pick our vanilla chiffon cake, which is very popular and delicious. But don’t feel like you need to just pick vanilla buttercream because you think it’s more appropriate for a wedding. Vanilla buttercream is delicious too, but think about spiking it with a fun flavor like salted caramel, Bailey's Irish Cream, or lime zest with coconut. A lot of people select basic flavors to accommodate a large group of people, which is fine, but you don’t have to pick just one flavor for your wedding cake. We, for example, offer 2 flavors in the base price of the wedding cake. I always recommend that the couple pick flavors that they each like. So, you can have your classic vanilla cake for the guests if that’s what you prefer, but get the other flavor something fun that you really enjoy. It’s wonderful when you plan a wedding to accommodate your guests, but it’s ok to make the cake your own, they will love what you pick.
4) Don’t Let the Design Process be Intimidating .
With so many design options out there, it can be overwhelming to pick one. A good place to start is to think about your theme, colors and the overall feel of what you want. Internet search engines can be a very helpful tool when you type in those key words that first come to mind. In my experience , when you find the cake design that is right for your wedding, you just know. It’s important to not overthink it, yes.... explore your options.... but if something speaks to you strongly, trust your instincts. Also, you don’t have to have a fully realized idea ready before your cake tasting meeting. Most bakers will guide you with design options that are available in the genre that you want. It is, however, very helpful when you have a starting off point.
5) Take Time Off to Enjoy Your Cake Tasting.
There is always so much going on planning a wedding, sometimes we forget to slow down. Of course, I know it can be difficult for engaged couples to have a window of time, when you both can be off work and enjoy an afternoon together. However, giving yourself a little time to relax before the tasting can be really beneficial to the planning process as well as the couple. I recommend the couple taking a long, romantic, late lunch, take time to relax a bit, then come to the cake tasting. If you try to cram too much into a day, you can get flustered and stressed and it can really make things more difficult then they need to be. Enjoy your planning & don’t power through it, you both will be a lot happier.
6) limit the Number of People at Your Tasting.
Bring who makes you most comfortable to your cake tasting. You deserve to have the freedom to be yourselves, relax , and just enjoy the cake. If too many people are present, it can create unessesary stress on the couple. Some couples think it’s a good idea to bring both sets of parents, this sounds like a nice outing, but it usually turns out to be overwhelming for both the couple as well as the baker. Too many opinions can be a bad thing, and you don’t want to be distracted from what you really want. If you want to bring your mother, maid of honor, father-in-law-to-be, or anyone you like, of course that is fine. Just think about who would make you and your fiancé the most at ease while making important decisions.
Hopefully all this has been helpful. My main goal is to guide you towards having a wonderful wedding cake experience. If you have any questions or would like to book a cake tasting with us, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (508) 812-8748.
- Kate Repko co-owner Sugar Bake Shoppe