January is bridal show month for me. This year I did both the Grand Bridal at the Cunard Center and Brides 2014 at the World Trade and Convention Center. Although these shows are a lot of work to prepare for, they offer great exposure and I get to make my own creations for the display. I like to try and mix it up a bit with cakes that are trending (rustic, modern romance) and classics that are always "in style", as my grandmother would say.
You have to be able to filter people's comments. It's impossible to please everyone - and that is never what I aim to do. People will critique out loud ("oh no, I don't like that at all"), but you can't take it personally, otherwise you'll fold up shop and deny many others of your talent! Everyone has a preference and everyone is entitled to have an opinion. For every person who dislikes a design, there may be 5 others who love it. We're all unique individuals with unique tastes.
I get asked lots of questions throughout the day - here are the top 5:
Q. Are these real cakes?
A. Real on the outside, not real on the inside.
I'm not sure why this question is so popular or sometimes what they mean by real cake - it's real fondant but what would I do with 12 real wedding cakes after the show?
Q. Can I touch this (cake)?
Inner voice: What?? Why?
A. I would prefer that you not touch the cakes to avoid damaging the display.
I cringe every time someone touches the display cakes (most won't ask). I guess it's human nature to want to touch - especially ones with a different texture or the flowers maybe to see if they really are made of fondant, but because it's something I, personally, would never do, I think it's a little rude (did their mothers never tap their fingers in a gift shop and say, "don't touch"? That's all I keep hearing in my head!). I now just laugh to myself, accept that it's just part of the day, and expect to leave the show with a few broken sugar flowers or ruffles. But I will still say no if you ask. ;)
Q. What size cake do I need for "x" number of servings?
A. The number of servings are so easy to fill in. You may be planning a wedding for 200 but your cake budget may only allow for a 3 tier cake for 100 in your chosen design, so instead on compromising on the design, we add undecorated serving cake to bridge any servings gaps. Something else to consider: do you think everyone will eat cake? Rule of thumb says only 60% will have a piece when served later in the evening after a full meal (this doesn't apply if you plan on serving the cake for dessert). Never compromise on your dream wedding cake to accommodate servings - ask me for options.
Q. How much notice do you need?
A. I accept bookings up to a year in advance with a paid deposit. I have no way of knowing which weekends will fill up first (though long weekends seem to be quite popular for weddings). Sometimes I'm able to take 5 cakes in a weekend and other times I can only take 2; it all depends on the size and complexity of the cakes. My advice is to get your deposit in as soon as you've decided you'd like to work with me. Even if we don't have the design details, at least your date will be secured.
Q. How much is this cake?
A. I always prefer to give a price range for cakes. Most clients I work with have budgeted $400 to $1000 for their wedding cake. Many times, a cake design can be altered to suit a range of prices (kind of like those articles in home decor magazine where they show a $5000 high end room and a $1500 low end room with similar features). Sometimes there's a bit of sticker shock when I quote a particular design, so they walk away because it's out of their budget, not realizing that we may be able to do something equally as beautiful for less with modifications (example: using real flowers vs sugar flowers, adding intricate design details to only one tier instead of all 3,etc). My job is to design your dream cake within your reasonably set budget. Try not to price shop - work with an artist you admire or who can work with your vision and within your budget.
Here are some beautiful shots captured by Rebecca Clarke from Brides 2014.