Fair or Fayer

Whichever way you spell it, wedding fair season is about to start again! My first one of the season is this coming Sunday. It’s in the stunning and ethereal Dartington Hall, where I’m delighted to be a reccomended supplier.

If you’re planning on attending a wedding fair then there are a few tips to get the most from them.

Don’t get there as soon as it opens. There’s always a rush at the start, which makes it hard to talk to everyone, or for you to see everything. Try around mid way, there’s often a lull around 1/1.30. Then you’ll be able to have a proper chat to all the suppliers you want to. 

Make notes. Especially important at the bigger fairs and shows. There will be so much to see, that’s it’s easy to forget which stand you saw what on. There’s nothing worse that remembering that stunning cake/dress/flowers etc, but forgetting which supplier it was. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no stupid questions, we may do this everyday, but you don’t. And we know that. We will also ask questions. For me it’s always wedding date, location and rough numbers. The date is generally the first thing any supplier will ask about, as there’s no point going any further if that date is already booked up. 

Any supplier you really like, and think you would like to use, take their cards and give them your email address. Then, if it’s busy and no time to properly talk, we can get in touch later. 

If you’ve got pictures, colour swatches, mood boards, a Pinterest board, then bring them with you. That way we can instantly see what your ideas and tastes are. And that makes it easier for you to communicate to us what you want.

And lastly enjoy! 

Explanation, not justification 

The last couple of weeks have been rather frustrating here in STHQ. I’ve had a number of enquiries, which is great. However they have all vanished without trace as soon as money is mentioned. 

I’m a sole trader, I work hard. I take great care over every cake I make, and don’t charge for anything like the amount of hours I actually spend on them. The minimum wage? Not even close! Not to mention replying to messages late at night etc. 

Yes you can get a cake in Asda for £10. But you’ve not gone to Asda, you’ve come to a custom cake designer. And it’s sole destroying when our work is not valued. Would you go into a high end boutique and demand they make you a dress or suit for Primark prices? But, sadly, it’s okay to do it to us.

You see you’re not just paying for ‘a bit of eggs and flour.’ For a start we don’t buy in the huge bulk a supermarket bakery can, so don’t get the ingredients for the bottom price. Then we have public liability Insurence, business car Insurence etc. That’s all before we’ve turned the oven on. 

Next we mix in small, custom batches, to you’re flavour and dietary requirements. And this is done fresh for each order, not on a production line or stashed in huge freezers just in case. So baking, cooling, making fillings and putting the basic cake together has already taken a full day’s work. And we haven’t started decorating yet. 

Before we even start baking we will already have spent time discussing what you want with you, and designing your cake. Then we will have spent however many hours it takes to make the figures, flowers etc that you’ve requested. 

Next comes colouring the fondant, crumb coating the cake. More chilling to get it to the right stage for decorating. Then we cover the cake, smooth, level, smooth again. Before finally adding the decorations. All this takes at least another half day. 

And don’t forget that we often deliver your cakes. And, for wedding and large celebration cakes, we spend as much time as needed setting everything up. 

It’s not ‘just a cake.’ 

Size matters

Yes it does! Sorry boys. 

But seriously, getting the right size cake is important. It’s one of the first things I ask after the date of the wedding or event. Because the size of the cake will determine cost just as much as the decoration. 

I’ve got a size chart on the price guide page, it’s well worth checking out before asking about a cake. It will help you decide what is the minimum size you’ll need for your number of guests. They are based on the catering way of cutting a cake into cubes rather than the slices we would cut ourselves at home. If you’re having your event at a venue they should know how to do this. And there are cutting charts you can find on google, or I can print you one off. 

And don’t worry if your budget won’t cover a cake big enough for all your guests. You can have cutting cakes for the kitchen to cut. This is especially useful if you’re having lots more guests in the evening. 

Don’t be afraid to ask me (or your chosen cake maker) to work out what size you’ll need. We are used to doing it 🙂 The last thing you want on your wedding day is to worry if you’ve got enough cake. You can never have too much cake! 

Web maintenance 

Hi! The website is going through some changes. So don’t be put off if things look a little odd for a couple of days. You can still use all the links to contact me 🙂 

There be dragons….

I do love a dragon, although I’m not sure I believe the myth that they are bad and to be slayed.  

I’ve been wanting to make one for a while. And decided the time had come to give it a go. I used an upcoming wedding fair as the excuse.

Now I know what you’re thinking, a dragon is not very weddingy (is that a word?) But why shouldn’t it be? A wedding cake should reflect the couple, and if they are into that kind of thing, then why not? 

And he got a great reception. We called him Dave, for no other reason than alliteration and that everyone knows a Dave. 

So here is Dave the dragon! 


And to carry on the theme of individually I threw these into the mix too. White chocolate hand painted with cocoa butter paint. I’m a little in love with them, and with Dave. 

Tatler

Yes, that’s right. Tatler. The society magazine above all others. 

You may remember I was in Vogue back in November? Well soon after Tatler got in touch. It was another read and read again moment, but indeed the email was there, and addressed to me. They would like to feature me in their Wedding 2017 supplement! Well okay then! I mean I wasn’t going to say no to that. 

If you’d told me when I started this that I would be in both Vogue AND Tatler, I’d never have belived you. But here I am! My little cake business is going places! 

Glam, lux and seagulls

Just before Christmas I was involved in a beautiful photo shoot at nearby Clovelly. If you don’t know Clovelly then google it! It’s stunning, and a more romantic place to marry you’d be hard pushed to find. 

  The styling was done by the very talented Suzi from Ambience Devon . And massive thank you to Em from Clovelly Weddings for organising everything. 

This was my first shoot, and I was amazed how many people are involved! 

Thank you for including me. And many thanks to Tim Lamerton and  Nick Pearce for their wonderful photography. 

I am looking forward to many more trips to Clovelly! Including the Wedding Fair on April 2nd. Come along, there will be cake! 

London Calling! 

When London calls it’s only polite to answer. Especially when it’s asking you to bring a cake with you. 

Now I know what you’re thinking, I live in Cornwall. That’s quite a way from London! Well yes, that’s very true. But where there’s a will, a sturdy box and lots of bubble wrap, there’s a way. 

You see I’m not Cornish by birth. I’m from Northampton. And most of my family are still up that way. Except my cousin and her family who are in London. Hence the call to bring a cake from Cornwall to London. As I was invited to the family party anyway, I may as well do the cake, right? After all doing cakes for family was how this whole thing started in the first place. 

So I packed the cake, and a bag. Catching up with family was by far the best part of the weekend, as well as watching the cake be chopped up and eaten. I don’t usually see that part! 

I do love London. So when it next calls and asks for cake, I’ll be there! 

A plea to wedding magazines and blogs. 

On Sunday I did my first wedding fair of the year at the beautiful Saunton Sands Hotel. It’s one of the best ones I do and such a lovely start to the year. 

However this year I had a issue. Not with the hotel, but with brides asking availability. It’s January, and several were asking about dates in May this year. Only four months away! Of course I had to turn them down because May has been booked out for months. However the magazines and blogs are still advising that you don’t need to bother about the cake until 4 or 5 months ahead. Please, please, please stop advising this! It’s not fair on the couples getting married, as they select their cake designer only to be told we are booked. June 2018 is already booked up for me. 

Those of us who are good at what we do, and have the reputations, get booked up early. Just like a popular venue does. So please wedding industry, please stop advising that the cake is an afterthought and can be last on the list. Seeing people’s eyes light up on seeing my stand, and tasting my cakes, only to have to tell them I can’t do their cake, and watching their faces fall was depressing. 

I get asked a lot when they should book the cake? How much notice do I need? It’s not a question of how much notice, but have I got availability. My answer is always the same. As soon as you possibly can! Book the date, pay the deposit to secure it. Then you can think about exactly what you’d like the cake to look and taste like. But get that deposit paid! Don’t lose your dream cake designer because you’ve listened to the ‘4-5 month lead time’ advise. 

I hope I don’t have to keep blogging about this problem. I really hope the industry takes responsibility for the advice they give. 

Rant over! Here’s my stand from Sunday with new 2017 designs. 

Christmas offer. 

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me……not five gold rings, but…. a BIG DIAMOND RING! Far preferable to French hens and partrages I think you’d agree?

If that’s what happened over Christmas then huge congratulations! I hope the proposal was everything you’d dreamed of. 

Personally my husband proposed to me in a layby, during a thunderstorm….. but hey ho. It was memorable at least! 

So now you can put all those dream wedding plans into action. Including the cake. 

And, as it’s Christmas, I’ll give you 50% off a consultation  (usually £25) if you book one between now and the new year. Remember you don’t have to know exactly what you want, or for how many at this stage. But if you think you’d like me to make your cake, then don’t leave it too long! May 2017 and June 2018 are already pretty much booked up. Fear not though, a deposit will secure your date, even if you’ve not decided yet what you want. 

Happy Christmas and a peaceful new year!