Things every bride should know about wedding cake designers
As the following sayings go “Someone else can always do it cheaper”, “Cheaper isn’t always better”, and “Sometimes you get what you pay for”, that doesn’t mean there isn’t skilled, undiscovered talent out there at a reasonable price. However, that is the exception and not the rule. Not all wedding cake designers are created equal.
Before making your final decision on a wedding cake designer take all of the following into consideration:
Experience and Education.
A good decorator continually invests in their education and craft. I have been doing wedding cakes for over 30 years and still take classes to learn even more. Natural ability is a must, and is great, but a true accomplished artist has spent a lot of time, money, and travel to learn their trade and reach a degree of excellence. A one-day class from well-known cake artists can cost hundreds of dollars. For this you can expect to pay more for that skill level. Kind of like in teaching. Something tells me you don’t have to be a genius to be smart enough to teach a Kindergartner. However, it takes a special kind of person to teach Kindergarten, and if you have earned advanced degrees, then you deserve to be paid in turn for that. A quality skilled cake designer should be respected and looked at in the same way.
Do your personalities mesh?
Do you feel both comfortable and relaxed at your consultation session? Is the cake designer taking the time and listening to what you have to say and seeing your vision, or just trying to sell you on their ideas? That doesn’t mean they are not willing to guide you or offer suggestions. Keep in mind they know their craft and work with cake every day. A true-at-heart skilled professional is knowledgeable and confident, but not cocky.
Beware of the high pressure salesman.
If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. This will usually happen more if they are under qualified or over-priced, and they want you to commit before you are any wiser. I never pressure a bride into placing an order. Especially if they are reluctant over price. If I did, in their eyes they think they paid more than they wanted to, and will never be happy. I don’t need to work under that kind of pressure. I want someone who, in turn, appreciates my talents and skill level, and is willing to compensate me for that.
Are you looking at their own work?
If they are showing you pictures from a bridal magazine, cake decorating book, etc., are you confident in their abilities that they can actually duplicate the work they are showing you? That is OK if they are just starting out, and don’t have an extensive portfolio just yet. Is the work they have done so far clean, neat, and executed well? If it is not, is it worth the savings? Another favorite saying “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”.
Have you tasted their work?
A cake can look great but you want it to taste great too. You wouldn’t want to buy a car without test driving it first. If you are in doubt, order a small cake for any occasion. You do not even have to tell them you are a prospective bride. If they take pride in the quality of their work, this will show. Even if it is a small order. If it is not up to your standards, think twice. You don’t want to be disappointed on your wedding day.
Do they book up?
A true professional is honest with themselves and knows their timeframe limitations. In order to keep a good quality product they can be proud of, they have to have a cut-off point. A good designer will be in high demand and will book up in the more popular wedding months and turn work down. Don’t take it personally. Don’t ask them “Can you squeeze in one more?” Respect them for their professionalism and honesty. Just keep in mind, you wouldn’t want someone doing a sloppy, rushed job on your wedding cake because they overbooked themselves.
Working with a budget.
Every bride has a different income bracket, price point, or budget. I have had brides who ordered at our highest price end for a cake and say “That wasn’t near as much as I thought it was going to be“. Then I have had brides who have gone into sticker shock at my rock bottom starting base price. A serious, passionate, designer will be willing to work with you if you have any realistic budget. Many time consuming and more costly cake decorating techniques can be substituted with less expensive methods with similar results. You can then compare and weigh your options and decide if a more costly design technique is worth it to you.
Respect the Talent.
Never ask a cake designer “Can you make an exception and do this cheaper?” This says “I don’t value your talent and skill level.” You would not expect your boss to approach you at work and ask you “Can you work for half your salary today? I have a customer who doesn‘t want to pay that much.” Keep in mind, a store front bakery has a lot of overhead. Look at it this way, it is someone’s lively hood and job too, just like yours. If we are not making some kind of a profit then we will be eventually be going out of business. Before you book your wedding cake with the cheapest price quote you can get, consider this: After you pay them hard-earned money for your order, are you confident they will still be in business in six months when it’s time to actually make your wedding cake?
Article Submitted By Creations by Laura Bakery & Cafe
"Happy Cake Hunting!" -Laura
*Photos taken by Rodrigo Pineda Photography of various cake designers.