For many couples, ordering the perfect wedding cake can be a challenging process, especially for those who have never tackled this sort of task before. For couples with large guest lists, it can be especially difficult to know where to begin when it comes to ordering enough dessert to feed hundreds of people.
When it comes to designing artful and delicious wedding cakes for parties of all sizes, Alexandria Murray of Finespun Cakes & Pastries is an expert. The Toronto-based cake designer says the beauty of ordering a custom cake is having a designer as a guide through the entire process.
"Even if you don't have a wedding planner to help, the cake designer is there to answer all your questions," she says. "We lay out the flavour and design options, payments needed, and let you know exactly what's needed at each stage of the process to help you get your dream cake."
Here, Alexandria shares with us her tips for ensuring you get the wedding cake of your dreams:
1. Do your research before you meet the cake designer. Looking online at their work and reviews is important, Alexandria advises. "Some designers do beautiful and simple buttercream cakes, others will make gorgeous sugar flowers," Alexandria says. "It's important to research online to get an idea of what they specialize in." This will help you decide if the cake designer's style is in line with what you want for your wedding cake.
2. Figure out what the most important aspects of your cake should be. Alexandria typically asks couples: "Do you care more about how grand it looks at your wedding, or how it ties in with the decor? Or is flavour more important?" She explains that asking yourself these questions first will help you to make an informed decision on your dessert and its designer.
3. Come to the consultation armed with key information about your wedding to give the cake designer. "The couple should have the confirmed date, the venue for the wedding and know if they'll require the cake to be delivered," Alexandria says. Also helpful to know are the number of guests being served, and if it's a dessert served as a course after dinner or as a late-night offering. "This can have a big impact on the number of servings needed," she says. Last but not least, have a clear budget range in mind and let your designer know so that they can adjust the scope of the project as needed.
4. Show your designer anything that'll help communicate your vision for your cake. Having a few ideas, photos to reference, and even colour swatches are all great ways to help your designer start to visualize your creation, Alexandria says. "Couples should also bring anything important to them that they want to incorporate in the cake, even if they don't know how it'll be done," Alexandria explains. "It's the designer's job to figure out how these elements will be incorporated."
5. Communication is key throughout the entire process. You don't have to be in contact with your cake designer every day, but keeping the lines of communication open as well as responding to any questions or queries from your cake designer will make the process go much more smoothly. "The couple should always feel like their cake designer is being responsive to their requests and questions since purchasing a wedding cake can be overwhelming," Alexandria says. "I so appreciate when the couple is so quick to respond, it makes my job a lot easier."
6. When looking for ways to save on your cake, ask your designer. "Each designer specializes in something different, so the way they will price particular elements may vary," Alexandria explains. "As a general rule, things that are intricate, handmade and hand-painted will be pricier, and simpler designs such as minimalist-style or buttercream cakes will be more reasonable."
7. Flavour can be just as important as the design of the cake. "I think all designers will have their different opinions on this, but I believe no one should cut corners on great flavour," Alexandria says. "Your guests will remember the experience of eating the cake, especially if it's delicious." Alexandria also advises that if you're trying to choose between two cake artists who have a similar aesthetic, consider cake flavours as a deciding factor.
8. Provide your cake designer with a point of contact on your wedding day. Because you'll probably be too busy getting married, providing the cake designer with someone to reach, be it a wedding planner, day-of coordinator or bridesmaid, is crucial so day-of delivery can go smoothly, and so any questions can be answered.
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