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What is your process for handling wedding cakes?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
When a customer asks you to do their wedding cake how do you get started? Do you have them come to your house and look through Wilton books at different cakes (assuming you dont have a giant portfolio)?

Do you have samples of different flavors of cake and icings there for them to try to help them make their decision? If not would you have them come back at a later date and try them? If so would you charge for that and how much and when would they pay?

After they have decided on a cake do you already have a price ready for them or do you contact them later and quote them a price? Or would you ask them to wait while you figured everything up in the pricing matrix?

Do you collect a down payment from them or do they pay you in full at the time of delivery? If you collect a DP when do you take it?

Do you require your customers to sign a contract? When would you have them do this?

Sorry so many questions. I do mainly special event cakes sans weddings but Ive been getting quite a few folks asking me to do them. Weddings are a whole different ball game. Normally my customers will just call, give me a general idea of what they want and I usually get free reign over the cake. Theyll come and pick it up, pay me then and I get to watch them jump up and down and giggle at how great the cake is etc etc. But obviously I cant do that with a wedding cake. Im a little confused about how the process should work. I dont want to seem like the newbie that I am. I want it to be professional and organized, not so casual like I am with my other orders.
post #2 of 12
Everyone usually has their own way of taking wedding cake orders so I'll just tell you what I usually do.

When asked to do a wedding cake order I usually let them know that I do a free cake tasting so they can decide if they want me to make their wedding. Sometimes I give customers a starting base price so they can know what they can afford.

If they want a second tasting then I would charge them but I only offer four different flavors. I'm not sure how much I would charge yet since I haven't had a request for a second tasting.

If they've decided on a cake then I give them the price but I let them know the price will change if the cake design is more complex. I charge additional fees for different flavors per tier, gumpaste flowers, fruits added to tiers, silk flowers, etc.

I collect a deposit which is usually unrefundable b/c the deposit reserves their wedding date. A down payment is due the day the contract is signed and contract is signed the day they order the cake.

Make sure you have your list of terms and conditions for cancellations, delivery & setup, return checks (if you accept them), final payments, etc.

I hope this helps. Good luck!
post #3 of 12
I worked hard at getting a flavor & pricing flyer together with all the info needed for them to view. When they call, I send them a copy via email. That sorts out those who want a bargain. I then set up a taste test, with one choice of cake flavor. Then at time of contract signing, we discuss all extras. I get the deposit at that time.
post #4 of 12
Hi there

Check this site out. Maybe it can help a bit. Good luck!

www.earlenescakes.com/brdslet1.html
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
You guys are great! Thank you for all the responses.

My biggest problem is pricing the cakes. I had planned on scanning the pictures from my Wilton wedding books, printing off enlarged versions and putting the one's I can make into a portfolio until I have one with my own cakes. I didnt know if that would be totally tacky or not.

How do you decide on a price for a cake? With my other cakes Ive just gone with what my Wilton instructors told us they charged for their cakes but they didnt give me any info when pricing wedding cakes.
post #6 of 12
I usually ask the potential customer to bring a picture of a design that she likes. You can tell her to look online....or offer her the actual Wilton books to look at. I would wait and create your portfolio with your actual photos. In my opinion...that just looks better. You can also have photos that you have printed from other websites if she gives you an idea of what kind of cake she wants(stacked, pillars, stand, etc.).

I have been really lucky...all of the brides that I've dealt with have been really easy to work with! icon_smile.gif
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post #7 of 12
This is a great tool to help you with your pricing:

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-5711-pricing.html+matrix

icon_biggrin.gif
Cake's a powerful food. Cake can actually bring people together. You know... "It's Bill's birthday" "Yeah, I hate that guy." "There's cake in the conference room." "Well, I should say hello."-Jim Gaffigan
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Cake's a powerful food. Cake can actually bring people together. You know... "It's Bill's birthday" "Yeah, I hate that guy." "There's cake in the conference room." "Well, I should say hello."-Jim Gaffigan
Reply
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by LNW

You guys are great! Thank you for all the responses.

My biggest problem is pricing the cakes. I had planned on scanning the pictures from my Wilton wedding books, printing off enlarged versions and putting the one's I can make into a portfolio until I have one with my own cakes. I didnt know if that would be totally tacky or not.

How do you decide on a price for a cake? With my other cakes Ive just gone with what my Wilton instructors told us they charged for their cakes but they didnt give me any info when pricing wedding cakes.


After researching my area where I live, I came up with $3.00 per person for buttercream. There are extra charges for things like white chocolate seashells etc.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
That certainly makes it a lot easier candyladyhelen. I was trying to be to specific with my prices. Taking into account the amount of every ingredient I was using etc.

I have only looked at the price matrix. It's pretty scary icon_eek.gif
post #10 of 12
Hi, I don't do many wedding cakes, but as a complete cake pan addict/Wilton yearbook collector, I definitely recommend the portfolio side, too. It's definitely amazing if you can open a Wilton yearbook and say, I could make anything you see here, but I think clients would rather see work you've done. They also often have their own photos and ideas from magazines, websites, etc. Most importantly, I think everyone has made that mistake of underestimating how much work and effort a particular design requires. This isn't a huge deal for smaller cakes, but for larger cakes, it can up your stress level significantly (usually in the middle of the night while you're fixing some catastrophe!) if you haven't practiced a particular design first.

I realize that's a no-win circle--you can't add the cakes to your portfolio unless you do them, which is harder without a portfolio . . .

Some of the pricing and decorating is going to be trial and error, but do as much research and practice as possible so you can offer realistic pricing from the beginning, and not shortchange yourself.
post #11 of 12
The matrix is really easy to use once you start to try to do it. It just takes a few minutes to get the hang of it.
Cake's a powerful food. Cake can actually bring people together. You know... "It's Bill's birthday" "Yeah, I hate that guy." "There's cake in the conference room." "Well, I should say hello."-Jim Gaffigan
Reply
Cake's a powerful food. Cake can actually bring people together. You know... "It's Bill's birthday" "Yeah, I hate that guy." "There's cake in the conference room." "Well, I should say hello."-Jim Gaffigan
Reply
post #12 of 12
This is late, but hopefully helpful.

Check your competition. What do they charge? Price yourself competitively with them. Do not underprice yourself. Charge more than a grocery store would, because you are giving the customer a better product. We charge $3.25/buttercream serving and $4.25/fondant serving; gumpaste flowers, fondant bows and things like that are extra.

The matrix is a little overwhelming. Sit down when you have some free time and look at it, play around with it and import your recipes into it, so it's personalized to your needs. It's not that bad once you get the hang of it. I rarely use it, however.

Good luck,
Suz
"Love is grand, but all I really need is chocolate." -Miss Piggy
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"Love is grand, but all I really need is chocolate." -Miss Piggy
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