Next to your dress, the cake is probably a wedding's most important icon. And whether you want a traditional multitiered confection, a miniature Statue of Liberty (hey, that's where he proposed!) or a cupcake tower, your wedding cake should reflect your personality.
Be sure to use the following questions as a guide when evaluating a potential wedding cake designer.
- Do you have my wedding date open?
- How many wedding cakes do you schedule on the same day? NOTE: You want to feel comfortable that your designer is sufficiently staffed to handle the number of cakes they've scheduled to deliver and set up on your date.
- How do you price your cakes? By the slice? Does the cost vary depending on the design and flavors I choose?
- What is your minimum per-person cake cost?
- What recommendations can you give me to maximize my budget?
- Do you have a "menu" of cakes and prices that I can take with me?
- What are the fees for delivery and setup of the cake? Do you decorate the cake table, too?
- What do you do if the cake gets damaged in transit to or at my reception site?
- Do you provide or rent cake toppers, a cake-cutting knife, cake stands, etc.? What are the fees?
- How far in advance should I order my cake?
- How much is the deposit and when is it due?
- When is the final payment due?
- Are there any additional fees that I should be aware of?
- What is your refund policy if for some reason I need to cancel my order? What if I'm not happy with the cake?
- When can I expect to receive my contract from you?
- How long have you been in business? Are you licensed and insured?
- How many weddings have you done?
- Where did you receive your training?
- Can you provide me with 3–4 recent brides that I can contact for references? TIP: Check out the cake vendors featured on HereComesTheGuide.com. They're some of the best cake designers and they've all been Certified By The Guide.
→ If you're not familiar with cake terms, please look at the cake glossary.
- Do you have a portfolio of your work I can view, and did you make all the cakes in it?
- What are your specialties?
- Can you design a custom cake to match my theme, dress or color scheme, or do I select from set designs?
- If I provide you with a picture of what I'd like, can you recreate it? Does it cost extra for a custom design?
- I have an old family cake recipe. Can you adapt it for my wedding cake design?
- If I don't have a clear vision of what I would like, can you offer some design ideas based on my theme and budget?
- What flavors and fillings do you offer?
- What are the different ingredients you typically use? Do you offer all organic or vegan options? TIP: Quality ingredients cost more, but the investment is worth it—the cake will taste better.
- Do you have cake tastings? Is there a charge?
- Do you do both fondant and buttercream icing? TIP: For the skinny on these two icing options, see this article.
- Are there any other icing options I should consider? Which do you recommend for my cake design?
- Can you create sugar paste, gum paste or chocolate flowers? If I decide to have fresh flowers on my cake will you work with my florist or will you obtain and arrange the flowers yourself?
- Will you preserve the top tier of my cake for my first wedding anniversary or do you provide a special cake for the occasion?
- Can you make a groom's cake? Is this priced the same as my wedding cake?
- How much in advance of the wedding is the cake actually made? Do you freeze your cakes? NOTE: Wedding cakes usually take at least a couple of days to make.
- Arrange a consultation with your potential cake designer in person, and do a tasting before you sign a contract. NOTE: Not all cake tastings are complimentary.
- Make sure your cake designer specializes in wedding cakes. A wedding cake is generally much more elaborate than a birthday cake from your local bakery. Your cake professional should have special training in constructing this type of cake.
- In general, you should order your cake 6–8 months prior to your wedding.
- You might be able to save money by choosing one overall flavor for your cake, or by having a small cake for display and the cake cutting accompanied by a sheet cake to serve to your guests.