Call ahead for an appointment – Many bakers are busy making cakes. An appointment assures that you will get the attention you deserve.
Keep your party to a minimum – Many bakeries do not have room to seat more than 2 or 3 persons. Limit your associates. Make sure to bring the decision maker. The bride will lose control over choices when there are many different opinions being voiced during the cake appointment.
Keep young children at home – We love kids! But it is very hard to give you our undivided attention when there is a distraction of a young child. Cake consultations can take up to an hour and a half. Many bakeries and especially sugar artists have delicate displays with sugar decorations that will break if touched. Young children tend to find various creative uses for cake and frosting. Find a babysitter for a few hours. You deserve all the attention at the appointment.
Know what you’re doing with the cake – If the cake is the MAIN DESSERT (meaning a piece of cake will be placed in front of each guest) you will need a piece of cake for everyone. If there is a dessert table or if the cake will be wrapped up to take home, there is some room for determining how many servings you will need. Knowing this information will help determine the size of the cake.
Bring photos of cakes with you – When you bring photos, bakers are able to relate to your preferences. Sometimes cakes can be reproduced or something similar can be created.
Bring swatches of fabric, photos of centerpieces, clippings of dresses etc. – Your cake is a work of art. Bring everything you can to give us an idea of the theme and colors of your wedding so the cake can play in role in the presentation as well the rest of the décor.
Taste the cake! – Do not ever book your cake without tasting a sample first. Gone are the days of dried out cake with heavy sugar frosting! Wedding cakes actually taste good. If it does not, call another baker for an appointment.
Take a good look at the photos and displays – Look at the quality of the cakes. There shouldn’t be any spatula marks, crooked lines, uneven borders, no tails on polka dots, no lopsided tiers etc. You should never be able to see the cake through the frosting either! No cracks in fondant icing. Look at actual photos of cakes that have been created by the bakery/sugar artist that you are meeting with. If there are no photos, be wary. Anyone can say they can copy a photo found on the internet. Ask if there are any upcoming wedding cakes that you can go see in person. (Before the reception of course.) Don’t be impressed with bakeries that produce 10 or more wedding cakes per week if the quality is poor.
Be ready for sticker shock – The average price of a wedding cake is $3.00 to $25.00 per serving. The price is determined by many things. If you want a cake that has hand made sugar decorations such as gum paste flowers, ribbons, bows, tassels, lace, drapes etc. the price will be higher. If it is a butter cream creation without the above mentioned adornments, the price will be more toward the lower end of the scale. Do the math ahead of time. A cake for 300 guests could range from $1200 – $4500. Keep in mind that a wedding cake is more than just flour, sugar, milk, eggs, etc. You are paying an artist to create a work of art. (A painting is just canvas and paint, yet they can sell for millions of dollars.)
Be prepared to leave a deposit – Popular bakers and sugar artists book up fast. A deposit will hire the baker for your wedding. It should also be deducted from the price of the cake. Most deposits are non-refundable if the wedding is cancelled. The reason for this is because the baker reserved his/her time/services just for you and has turned others down.
Etiquette please! – Turn off the cell phone. Don’t insult the baker by trying to price haggle. (in doing so, you are saying their work of art is not worth the price that was set.) Be on time for the appointment. If you can’t make it or if you booked with someone else, call and cancel.