How to commission your perfect wedding cake
With an influx of enquiries following Boris’s announcement on Monday 22 February I thought I’d give some tips on what to do (and best not to do) when searching for your perfect wedding cake.
Wedding suppliers and couples alike were eager to see what the 22nd would bring. And, with light at the end of the tunnel, it’s brought an influx of new enquiries from couples finally given hope they’ll be able to marry (and have the wedding they wish) this year.
Of course, it’s always exciting when an enquiry drops into my inbox. Generally, over my almost twelve years in business I’ve found that enquiries fall into three categories…
Just googled it!
Firstly, there are those of you who’ve googled ‘wedding cakes’ and now come to me with many (copyrighted) images. Yes, google is the easy and obvious place to start. But it’s fraught with pitfalls. There are soooo many images out there that it’s easy to feel bamboozled when faced with too much choice.
You’re now not really sure what you want. I’m not either as your screenshot images are quite different from one another. Often they’re also a vastly different style to mine. I used to worry about these enquires. How do I respond? They’re just not anything like I would make but I don’t want to offend as they’re what you like. So, meekly, I just used to politely decline the order and suggest a cake designer I thought more suitable.
But, with experience, I realised you just needed some guidance. Was there a common thread in the designs? Did this correlate with any elements of your wedding day? It can often be something as simple as colour. Or it could be the tiniest detail that prompted you to screenshot that image. So I changed my approach. Now, rather than running the other way, I invite you to view my Portfolio to see if you’re particularly drawn to any of my designs. Not so I can replicate my own work, but just so we can start from a similar page. It seems obvious, really, as that’s the whole purpose of a portfolio. I guess it was just having the courage and confidence to say, “Hey – why not have a look at my work too?”
Uniquely designed for you
This method has worked like a dream. And the final cake on display on your wedding day has been nothing like any of those screenshots, yet you’re happy because you have your perfect wedding cake uniquely designed for you. And I’m happy because you’re happy (and because I designed it).
Pinned, pinned, pinned!
Secondly, there are those of you who’ve spent (a long!) time in Pinterest and have a good idea what your perfect wedding cake looks like. You’ve entered the phrase ‘wedding cakes’ plus an adjective or noun or two – influenced by current trends. Pinterest is fabulous for inspiration. You can pin to your heart’s content, discovering a common theme in the type of design you’re drawn towards. But, again, it’s fraught with pitfalls. The design may be a vastly different size to what you need and just won’t work scaled down. It may conflict with other elements of your wedding. So, it will look completely out of place with your venue, your flowers, your dress, your wedding. And, most importantly, it’ll be subject to copyright (see later).
I frequently get asked for a price for this cake or that cake or something similar. Or I receive numerous (copyrighted) images with many different design elements you’d like incorporating into your cake. Piling many design features on to a cake (even as a self-professed maximalist) I know will result in a design which isn’t cohesive.
With this method of working, the result would be neither a cake unique to you nor a design that’s my work. A mediocre experience all round. Not what you want for your wedding day or what I want from my job. I wouldn’t get to use my creativity, you’d end up with an on-trend cake like everyone else’s and I’d feel I’d short-changed you by not providing my full design service to you.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, I won’t copy. I won’t seek permission from another cake designer then replicate their ideas for my own profit. It just makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. This doesn’t come from a place of pretentiousness or a large ego (far from it). I would just feel like a fraud and pretty rubbish not making my own work. Of course, every artist finds inspiration from someone or something, often many things – sometimes intentionally, often subconsciously. No-one is truly original. But it’s how you use that inspiration that’s important.
To avoid being subconsciously influenced by other cake designers I deliberately follow very few on social media. Instead, I seek inspiration elsewhere – nature, ceramics, abstract art, textile art and fashion (see image below), jewellery, pattern design, graphic design, interior design, architecture. Of course, many of these feature in a wedding – nature (the flowers/foliage and floral styling), graphic design (the stationery suite), fashion (the wedding outfits), interior design/architecture (the venue). All provide inspiration for your perfect wedding cake!
As someone who likes to create, not copy, over the years I’ve taken your inspiration along with my own influences and projected these into my own work to develop my own style. A fellow cake maker once told me they could recognise my work even without my watermark and this made me very happy!
Finally, there are those of you who’ve done your research into cake designers based on a regional search, discovered (and love) my work and would like me to create your perfect wedding cake (yay!). Some of you tell me the specific designs in my portfolio that you like or that you just like the look of my work generally. Either way, this is a great place to start from and makes for a wonderful working relationship. You like my style of work and I can do that!
Starting with a blank canvas, I take inspiration from elements of your wedding day to create a cake to complement. You end up with a cake (in my style which you already know you like) incorporating elements you’ve already chosen for your wedding. I get to use my creativity and design skills and you get a cake unique to you – your perfect wedding cake. It’s a recipe for absolute satisfaction and success for both of us.
Your perfect wedding cake
So, in summary, for your perfect wedding cake to suit your wedding day my recommendation is to seek out the designer you like not the cake. (I’m not saying it has to be me – though of course that’d be nice!) This way, you’ll end up with a cake unique to you, your style and your wedding. (And you won’t be asking the designer to breach copyright!)
I’d love to design your perfect wedding cake. If you’d like me to just get in touch!
With love, Amanda x