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My first wedding cake!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I am so excited! My nephew is getting married this summer (end of June) and I will be making their cake as a gift to them. As I have very little experience (none for wedding cakes) I will be making 1-2 cakes per week between now and then to practice my techniques.

 

I have made a list of questions to send them.  Are there other questions I should be asking so that I don't have any surprises?

 

1. How many people will attend reception?

2. Will the cake be the only dessert?

3. Will they be saving the top layer for 1st yr anniversary? (1-3 used to determine number of servings)

4. Do they want a traditional cake, cup cakes, cake centerpieces or some combination?

5. What cake flavor(s)?

6. Will they want BC or fondant?

7. Will they want particular fillings?

8. Are there food allergies I need to be concerned with?

9. Will there be a cake topper (and if so I will need to know dimensions and weight)?

10. What colors are they using in their wedding?

11. What flowers will the be using?

12. I've asked for a picture of the wedding dress once it's picked out and a close up of the pattern.

13. How much time will there be between the ceremony and the reception (since I'll be at both)?

14. Do they want a special knife for cutting the first piece?

Additional questions regarding the venue:

15. Will they allow a cake made by hobbyist or does it need to be from a licensed company?

16. Will the cake have a 360 degree view or on a table against a wall?

17. Is the venue on the first floor or are there stairs/elevator?

18. What is the earliest the cake can be delivered?

20. Where is the cake stored until the reception (such as in a cooler)?

21. Will the venue take care of cutting the cake?

22. Does the venue supply dessert plates and utensils?

 

Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide me!

post #2 of 18

You have  certainly put a lot of thought into this.  Good for you.  One suggestion is to focus in on some details first....number of servings needed and cake design.  Then you can focus your practice on just those designs.  When I did a grad cake and a couple of wedding cakes I practiced just the design techniques for those cakes.  Truthfully, it only took one or two practice ones (smaller of course) that I used for other things.  One practice was used for a wedding shower, the others brought to friends houses.  I even did a couple of single layers when I wanted to practice an intricate design for the top of one of the cakes.  The big thing is to put some limits on it.  If you only have experience in fondant and don't want to get into fondant, don't give them that as an option as an example.  If you hate smoothing buttercream and love using fondant, don't give them the choice of BC.  Unless you want to learn new techniques as part of this process.  Same for cake and filling flavors.  Since this is all new to you put some limits on it.  If they want a 4 tier 200 serving with each tier a different flavor and different fillings it will be very overwhelming and expensive research and practice time.  Another way to look at is this... if you were giving them a normal gift or a check, how much would it cost you?  $100?  Give some thought to what this will cost you if you will be doing a cake a week for the next 4 months plus the actual event cake and all the related supplies.  It will cost WAY more than $100.  So yes, this will be a labor of love but think about the cost in your time and pocket book as well so you don't end up resenting it.  Because they will most likely have NO IDEA how much time and expense it will really cost you.  Good luck and based on your planning ahead it will  probably go fine.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you Denetteb, this will help.  The design will certainly be the hardest for so I have been saving off pictures of things I want to try.  Then I'll see if I'm good at any of them and build the design from there.  I've mostly been looking for elegant cakes with aspects that I've done before or think I can do.  I have provided them with a list of the cake flavors that I have made with success and let them know if they want a particular flavor that isn't on my list they will need to let me know soon so that I can find and perfect the recipe.

 

I'm also thinking of what will be my back-up plan should this turn into a disaster!  Either way, I'm really excited and looking forward to all the trial and error. Thanks again.
 

post #4 of 18

maybe i'm different--i am definitely old and crabby/curmudgeon in training but your list would overwhelm me

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kkmcmahan View Post

I am so excited! My nephew is getting married this summer (end of June) and I will be making their cake as a gift to them. As I have very little experience (none for wedding cakes) I will be making 1-2 cakes per week between now and then to practice my techniques.

 

I have made a list of questions to send them.  Are there other questions I should be asking so that I don't have any surprises?

 

1. How many people will attend reception?

2. Will the cake be the only dessert?

3. Will they be saving the top layer for 1st yr anniversary? (1-3 used to determine number of servings)

1-3 i would just ask them how many cake servings do they want in their cake

 

4. Do they want a traditional cake, cup cakes, cake centerpieces or some combination?

4- be careful to not open pandora's box --

 

i think just asking about the decor you can get this insight about their preference for the shape of the cake without throwing out too many ideas--

 

it is common to be overwhelmed  by planning a wedding--

 

you wanna save them from that but i mean she might be a very detailed person so you never know

 

5. What cake flavor(s)?

6. Will they want BC or fondant?

7. Will they want particular fillings?

5-7 good stuff ^^^

 

8. Are there food allergies I need to be concerned with?

8- are you equipped to handle food allergies where someone can die if cross contamination occurs?

 

if you are great--but if not then maybe don't offer

 

9. Will there be a cake topper (and if so I will need to know dimensions and weight)?

10. What colors are they using in their wedding?

11. What flowers will the be using?

12. I've asked for a picture of the wedding dress once it's picked out and a close up of the pattern.

9-12 i just ask what kind of decor does the bride want--then go from there--

 

if she wants it to match flowers then ask what kind if she wants it to match the dress then ask for picture if she wants both there you go ask all of it--

 

if she doesn't know ask her to look at pictures--be ready with a few websites to steer her to-

 

-if she still doesn't know ask her to describe her idea of her wedding day in two or three words--

 

she might say elegant or country or rustic or shabby chic or sweet simple--old fashioned--sublime--whatever--then go from there
 

13. How much time will there be between the ceremony and the reception (since I'll be at both)?

13- why? depending on the particular event you would want to have the cake in place before the ceremony

 

14. Do they want a special knife for cutting the first piece?

 

14- they take care of this apart from ordering the cake

 

Additional questions regarding the venue:

15. Will they allow a cake made by hobbyist or does it need to be from a licensed company?

 

15- good question

 

16. Will the cake have a 360 degree view or on a table against a wall?

17. Is the venue on the first floor or are there stairs/elevator?

 

16-17 i'd ask the venue person see 18-

 

18. What is the earliest the cake can be delivered?

 

18- i tell them when the cake will be delivered --

 

two hours before the ceremony depending on the variables--

 

and i advise them to be sure to have the cake table ready first--

 

i get the name of person who is in charge of setting up/decorating at the reception venue and their phone #--

 

20. Where is the cake stored until the reception (such as in a cooler)?

 

20- cake is stored where you deliver it to the cake table- no coolers-- if cake table isn't ready call the person and wait for them to get it ready for you

 

21. Will the venue take care of cutting the cake?

22. Does the venue supply dessert plates and utensils?

 

21-22 not your call--someone else's purview--unless you want to cut the cake but that is work and the caterer should do this--the brides family should take care of it

 

also something i have noticed over the years for you to be aware of--there can be a naturally occurring disconnect between the brides family (who is traditionally responsible for the cake) and the groom's family--

 

after all the only thing they have in common is their children and they are not married yet--

 

weddings always have drama always--s

 

so watch out for the communication thing--be sure everyone is on board and talking freely and you're feeling a good vibe that things are preceding fluently with the cake

 

you said that you will be sending them these questions--

 

that's a good idea and then get a phone number for a follow up call with the bride and her mom if possible

 

 

you might even want to go through and just ask specifically about the cake and save the venue questions for over the phone 'in person' thumbs_up.gif

 

Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide me!

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkmcmahan View Post

Thank you Denetteb, this will help.  The design will certainly be the hardest for so I have been saving off pictures of things I want to try. 

 

I've mostly been looking for elegant cakes with aspects that I've done before or think I can do. 

The most elegant cake would be covered with a perfect icing job and then with simple borders.  Plus decorations...

 

For a wedding, you can't beat piped flowers because you make them from royal icing ahead of time, and they blow the minds of people who see them. You practise these separate from the rest of the learning curve.  You can use buttercream to practise flowers and use it over and over. With a shortlist of 6 types, you could have these down perfect in 3-6 weeks.

 

If the bride is interested in a "rustic" cake you could do basket weave or a birchbark finish so that YOU do not stress over  learning 5 years of skills in 4 months.

 

So what I am saying is this: get a specific focus of the wedding cake NOW from the bride, to learn what you need to for that one cake. 

 

And your list needs to be pruned before you send it...

--do not offer any special fillings other than buttercream (which can be different flavours)--not for your first wedding cake

--do not offer fondant unless you have already done several cakes with a good finish

 

--do not ask about the wedding dress, but do ask colour of bridesmaid dresses

--ask if they want stacked or with pillars

--ask what the general theme of the wedding is (very formal, rustic, cosmopolitan, traditional...)

 

I used to show brides up to 10 pictures of cakes based on their general theme, and they always ended up with a combo of 2-3 designs.  YOU keep control of the complexity of the design based on your skill at the end of February.

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

Wow...this is a lot of great information!  I think I better print these off and go through them very carefully.  I can see where it would be overwhelming for them let along me.  No, I don't want to worry about food allergies and I guess I don't want to offer making cake center pieces for all the tables (what was I thinking icon_eek.gif).  This is why this forum is so useful.  Thanks everyone!
 

post #7 of 18
K8 & Irene are right. That list is overwhelming. You do need all those answers, just not all at once.

Also, they probably won't know how many servings they need. This is where you get to shine. You get to ask some of these ?s during the consult & guide them through it all.

To start, ask them the date, how many guests they expect, & the ceremony & reception location.

Ask them to bring photos of cakes they like & anything hat can be used for inspiration (dress photos, invites, etc.)

www.VeryDeliciousDesserts.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Desserts/207874222593145

 

It's never "just cake!"

 

You may get a cake for $way to little but you won't get this cake!

Animal
(4 photos)
 
Reply

www.VeryDeliciousDesserts.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delicious-Desserts/207874222593145

 

It's never "just cake!"

 

You may get a cake for $way to little but you won't get this cake!

Animal
(4 photos)
 
Reply
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks DelicousDesserts.  I do have the date, place and approximate number of people.  I'm not sure when I will be able to meet with them in person (for a tasting) as they are in NY and I'm in Chicago.  I will start by having them start looking for cakes they like and back off on all of the other questions for now!  Take it slow so they aren't overwhelmed.
 

post #9 of 18

so what are the logistics on this

 

y'know don't make it easy on yourself for your first wedding cake

 

oh is the wedding in chicago please say yes

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yes, the wedding is here in Chicago.  It is not too far from my place and I know the bride and have met her mother a couple of times.  They know I just started doing this so their expectations aren't too high but I would like to wow them if I can.  So lots and lots of practice.
 

post #11 of 18

i traveled from tennessee to do my neice's cake in california

 

so it's quite a production within quite a production to pull off a long distance cake

 

just hoping you don't have to go through that

 

('cause i'm dying for yah here  ;)

 

icon_biggrin.gif

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply
post #12 of 18

oh wow awesome

 

really good

 

you know them already--perfect!!!

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

K8, I actually did a long distance cake last year (one of my first). I traveled from Chicago to DC for my granddaughter's 1st birthday.  Brought all the fixin's to make her cake with me.  It was indeed a pain, not something I would care to attempt for a wedding though. Certainly not with my limited experience at least!
 

post #14 of 18

wow--that's a big deal--long distance cakin' is not easy--not for the timid~~

 

awesome--this sounds like a really nice plan for you

 

glad you only have to deliver locally this time!!!

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply
post #15 of 18

Can I also suggest that you keep it simple? Sometimes the wow comes from a great execution, and I think the simple, but perfectly stacked and frosted, cake makes the most impact. One of my favorite cake decorators is glass slipper cakes in san fran. her cakes are so tasteful and just immaculately frosted. I take my inspiration there. 

 

One side note: i baked, decorated and delivered a 5 tier cake for my sister's wedding last July. In order to keep my personal freak out at a low, I took 1/2 a Xanax. Really. It took the edge off my nerves and I was able to sail through the assembly, despite the fact that I waited an hour to get into the "cake room". 

 

Jen

 

Edited to add: only my sister's wedding would make me have this level of nervousness.

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