Over the years of making wedding cakes, I feel as if I’ve met couples from both ends of the spectrum. On one end are those who know that they want a delicious and beautiful wedding cake but have zero idea on what they want it to look like. At the other end are those who have a specific idea in mind but haven’t sketched it on paper yet. Even though these couples might have very different journeys to go on throughout the planning process, a professional wedding cake maker should be able to work with anyone to create their vision of a beautiful wedding cake. If you’re one of the couples who have no idea where to start, this post is designed for you. Starting at the beginning, I’ll work through some tips, from setting a budget to booking your very own wedding cake.
Starting From Scratch
A beautiful wedding cake is one that reflects the style of the couple and complements the wedding as a whole. That might mean utilising a pattern from the wedding dress, or reflecting the colour scheme in the design elements. Although I would always recommend that you book your wedding cake maker as soon as possible, it’s often easier to discuss a wedding cake once some big decisions have been made about other elements of the wedding. So here are my top tips for starting to plan your wedding cake:
- Get some of the big decisions out of the way first. Date, colour scheme, venue, style (rustic, traditional, modern, fun), and approximate guest numbers. I often find that couples struggle to come up with ideas for the cake, or decide on ideas put in front of them because they just don’t know what the rest of the wedding will look like. With some details like venue and date, it’s absolutely essential that you know them before approaching a wedding cake maker. Unfortunately, the wedding cake is one of the most difficult things to transport over a long distance. Costs can also add up if you will be asking the cake maker to deliver the cake a long way. Finally, it will be impossible for a cake maker to provide you with an accurate quote without knowing the venue
- Think about the budget you will set aside for the cake. If having a beautiful wedding cake is really important, setting the right budget and protecting that is crucial. For a good quality, handmade wedding cake, you are unlikely to be able to book someone for less than £350. For a simple 3 tier cake to serve 100 people, you should expect to pay between £350 and £600. Costs vary greatly depending on a number of factors, from cake maker experience to their ingredient costs. However, the factor which has the greatest effect on price is design. If you have a set budget in mind, let your cake maker know so that they can create designs that fit within your budget and/or can recommend ways to keep the price within your budget range
- Do some initial research on the style of cake you might want. You might want to search Google, Facebook or even Instagram, or look at local cake makers’ galleries. You don’t have to know exactly what you want, and you certainly shouldn’t go to the effort of sketching anything out, but just start getting a feel for the type of cake that suits you as a couple. Try searching ‘rustic wedding cake’ or ‘pink wedding cake’ to see ideas that match the wedding you’re planning. Every couple’s idea of a beautiful wedding cake is different, so sit down with your other half and put all of those photos together on an inspiration board. What do you like? What don’t you like? Do you like the perfection of fondant or the imperfection of a semi-naked buttercream cake? Do you like a romantic pastel cake or a bright and fun cake? All of these pictures that you’ve gathered will be helpful later on in the process!
Looking for Wedding Cake Makers
Once you’ve got a few ideas about what the wedding will look like and the kind of cake that you think suits you both, you can move onto the next stage in the process – looking for wedding cake makers. Although this post won’t go into too much detail on selecting wedding cake makers (I’m hoping to do that in another post), there are some short tips here to kick start the process:
- Most wedding cake makers will have a certain style or may only work with buttercream/fondant. So use your initial research on cake ideas to narrow down the cake maker you might want to speak to. Try asking your wedding venue or suppliers if they can recommend any ‘XXXX’ wedding cake makers. Be that buttercream, flowery, fondant, girly, modern, bright, artistic. By picking a wedding cake maker with experience in the style of cake you’re looking for, you can almost guarantee that they will be able to create a beautiful wedding cake for you. Read this blog post to find out about the basic ‘tests’ you might want a wedding cake maker to pass
- Once you’ve got together a shortlist of cake makers, start reaching out to them. Most quality wedding cake makers will offer consultations. The cost of these range from £0 to £30 (but often all or part will be refunded if you book). If you’d rather avoid paying for consultations with 5 different cake makers, you may find it helpful to rank your cake makers, and reach out to them in order. When you speak to cake makers, there’s a few pieces of information that it would be helpful to send them. Wedding date, wedding venue, budget, # of servings, and style of cake (attach photos too if you can). With that information, they can tell you whether they’re available and can help you (i.e. deliver the style you’re looking for, to serve all of your guests, within the budget you have set)
- When you meet cake makers, ask lots of questions, look at photos of their cakes, and ask about their flavours. You want to feel like you know them and trust them to create something in your vision. No matter how good a cake sketch is, nothing compares to the real cake, and sometimes, cake makers have to make changes or swaps last minute, as the design comes together. So trusting them to create a beautiful wedding cake just for you is really important. For some in depth questions to ask, you can also head over to this blog post
- After you’ve met with your selected wedding cake maker(s), they will guide/support you in designing the cake. They’ll listen to your likes and dislikes, and come up with a design that encapsulates you as a couple. When you go on to book them, they’ll also work with you throughout the process, from cake flavours to allergens, cake table design to setting up on the day, making it as easy as possible for you both
Wedding planning can feel like a stop-start process of finding potential suppliers, enquiring with them, and waiting to meet them. Even with wedding cakes, you might get recommendations from lots of different places, start shortlisting cake makers and/or enquiring with them, all whilst trying to find some ideas about what a beautiful wedding cake might look like. Just start from the beginning, and work through each of the bullet points. Before you know it, you’ll be the best prepared bride ever! If you’re looking for a beautiful wedding cake in Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire or Sussex, please head over to the contact page and get in touch! Good luck and happy planning!
With love from lila xx