This is a true story: A UK bride, inspired by car tire-themed wedding cake (photo on the left), asked her cake baker to make hers look identical to the one in the photo. The sad, droopy cake to the right is what arrived the day of the wedding. She thought it was so appalling and funny that as a joke, she actually posted a photo of it on Ebay to sell it. Obviously this is an incredibly extreme scenario but there are some precautions you can take to avoid the same disaster.
1. Choose your cake baker carefully.
Do careful research, check reviews and chat with other brides to find a cake baker that not only makes beautiful cakes, but is also consistent and reliable in their work. Make sure to look through photos of their past work and even look at some in person if they have any samples around their bake shop. You can meet with a few bakers after you’ve narrowed down options according to price and style, and make sure to ask plenty of questions before you book to make sure they can pull off what you want. After you’ve booked your baker you should meet with them at least once for a tasting. Provide your baker photos and detailed descriptions if you have a specific vision in mind for your cake. Many cake bakers will offer sketches of designs for you to consider beforehand too!
2. Double and triple check your contract.
This goes without saying for every vendor you book. Until you put down a deposit, there is no contract, and you have no guarantees. Read everything in your contracts and receipts, and be sure to document every single wedding arrangement you make. The contract should include the name and number of the person the vendor should call if anything goes wrong or gets delayed. Also don’t forget to include the terms for set-up and delivery times and locations.
3. Plan for the conditions.
When discussing your cake with your baker make sure to talk about the time of year, whether the cake will be displayed indoors and outdoors and the timing of the cake cutting. For a summer wedding outside, opt for a heartier frosting like fondant. Another tip: Make sure your cake isn’t displayed too early. When the weather is warm, a cake shouldn’t be left out for more than two hours. Keep it in an air-conditioned room until it’s time for the cake cutting.
4. Have someone on hand to take care of last-minute problems
Whether this is a day-of-coordinator or a friend or family member you trust to get things done, you’ll want someone on duty to quickly identify a situation and take care of it calmly so you can relax and enjoy your day. Give them everything they’ll need beforehand (like the baker’s contact info and a schedule of the events), so they’ll be equipped to take care of something if an issue comes up. If the cake shows up and it’s not up to snuff, then they’re the person you want to run to a bakery and pick up an assortment of cupcakes and a cake stand to fill out the dessert table.
5. Go with the flow.
This bride had an extreme case where the cake that arrived wasn’t acceptable to display. Usually the situation will be much less drastic (the sugar flowers are pink instead of orange). The best thing you can do is relax. Yes, you’ll notice the difference, but focus on all the other details that went off without a hitch. You’ll probably be so wrapped up in the spending time with your new husband, friends and family that it won’t even make an impact on your day. Remember that if you have a signed contract that clearly states what you’ve ordered, you’ll be okay; you can either get reimbursed or dispute a charge with your credit card company if you paid by credit.
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