Have your cake and eat it, too

By Faren Knowles | Melissa’s Bakery

It’s finally here! You are in love, engaged and ready to walk hand in hand into life with your fiancé. After a few weeks, the planning starts, and you find yourself left with more questions than answers. It happens to almost every bride. The options are endless, and everyone is giving you advice or opinions. I’m no expert on all things wedding, but one thing I do know is wedding cakes.

Getting started

The best way to start planning your wedding cake is simply to look through various inspiration sources, such as Pinterest or The Knot. Save the images that contain elements that speak to you. No one knows your style better than you. Being prepared with styles and colors helps tremendously when it comes to designing your cake. Determining your budget is essential at this stage. Set a figure before meeting with vendors to keep your wedding on track and avoid overspending and stress.

Decisions, decisions

Before meeting with a cake designer, make sure you are prepared to answer questions accurately. Your answers will determine not only the design, but the price of the cake as well. Standard questions are as follows: How many guests will you be serving? Will you have a groom’s cake? Are you planning on saving your top tier? Will alcohol be served? Do you have a budget set?

Finding the perfect bakery

With your plan in hand, make appointments with local bakeries. Yes, actually go to the bakery; do not call or email requesting a quote. When pricing is not provided in person, it may be generalized and not give you adequate information. Meet with more than one cake designer to determine who would best execute your vision. Look through their work and taste samples before making any decisions. Ensure that whatever vendor you choose, if not a brick-and-mortar location, has all the proper credentials, such as a Mississippi Department of Health license, a retail sales permit and insurance. A wedding cake is a large investment and should be approached as such. Read the business’s contract at the consultation. It is important that a contract is put in place to protect your investment. If your bakery needs to coordinate with another vendor, such as a florist, provide that information at the time of booking.

Location, location, location

Always think about the big picture when planning your cake. Consider the location of your event. If it is a private location, rather than a traditional venue, make sure the road is in good shape before the wedding with no muddy potholes. You wouldn’t want a cake disaster to happen in the driveway.

Do you have the cake table with linens ready? The wedding cake usually is a focal point of the reception and should be treated accordingly. This masterpiece should always be placed on its own decent-size table to keep it safe from guest disruption. Bear in mind that your cake is fragile.

Are you having an outdoor wedding? If so, just remember that icing contains oil. Oil liquefies when exposed to heat. To avoid a catastrophe, have an air- conditioned location where your cake can be stored until just before time to cut it.

Savor the moment

Most of all, enjoy the work of art you designed. The biggest compliment you can give your baker after the wedding is telling others how much you loved your cake. It is always nice to hear new clients say that they sought you out due to rave reviews from a previous wedding.