A recent enquiry from a couple getting married soon got me thinking.
They wanted to know if I had availability for their date as they hadn’t heard from their cake maker for several weeks They were getting worried they might be left without a cake.
This made me think about the timeline of the whole cake ordering process. And what to expect in terms of communication from your cake maker. Also what we need to know from you. After all we do this day in and day out, but it’s new to you.
In the early stages there are emails/messages being exchanged regularly (with one bride we exchanged 148 emails!).
I try hard to make sure I reply to all emails within a couple of hours (this isn’t always possible, so please don’t hold me to it.) I’m aware you are wanting the answers to your questions asap. I’m also aware that you many not get the time to sit down and get to your wedding planning until after work. This isn’t an issue. I’m not saying I work 24/7, but we all live and work in a 24/7 world now.
So if I am available at 9pm to reply to an email then I do. If not then I will reply first thing the next morning. The only time there will be a delay in responses is when there is a time zone difference involved, this often happens when my clients are based in other countries.
You will send me an email or fill in the contact form on my website with your enquiry. When doing this it’s really helpful to give me the date and venue of the wedding, then I can check my availability before replying. If that date is already booked I may be able to give you the names of other cake makers I know and trust who may be able to help.
I pick up your email and reply. I will ask you your wedding date and venue, (if you’ve not already told me that.) I’ll also ask if you know, roughly, the numbers the cake will need to be for, and if you have any ideas on style. This will give me the information I need to start putting a quote together for you. Usually I will be back in touch with that quote within 24 hours, unless there are other things I need to check, or unusual requests I may need to research.
I’ll get a quote back to you and if you want to meet with me, then we will arrange that too. I’ll also answer your questions, so don’t be afraid to ask anything.
Once we have met, you’ve tasted your chosen flavours, and discussed design, I will leave you to decide if you want to go ahead and book with me. If, in the meantime, I get another couple asking about your date then I will be back in touch sooner. If you’ve already enquired about a date, then you get first refusal on it.
If you decide to book, then I’ll give you the details you need to pay your booking fee (you cake isn’t booked in until that has been paid.) I’ll also check all the details I have so far. I will ask the time of the wedding so that I know when I need to deliver and set up your wedding cake. I will ask if there is a designated contact at the venue that I need to know about, and their contact details
You pay the booking fee, I confirm I’ve got it and that you’re booked in, and give you the date you need to pay the balance by (no later than 14 days before the wedding). I’ll also refer you to my Ts&Cs as by paying the booking fee you are agreeing to them.
Easy as that.
And really that’s it for now. I will know everything I need to in order get your wedding cake booked in and order whatever I need to for it etc. From my side I will have no need to get in touch until about a month before the wedding.
At that point I will get back in touch and confirm everything with you. As long as nothing has changed with your order then I’ll get on with everything and leave you in peace to enjoy the countdown to your big day!
However that doesn’t mean you can’t get in touch with me. You can email me at any stage about anything that is concerning you, and I will always be here to answer your questions. Remember there is no such thing as a silly question.
Time to panic?
So when should you be worried that you’ve not heard anything from your cake maker for a while? Well this depends. Did they tell you that they would be in touch? I always tell my couples that I will be in touch around a month before the wedding to check in and confirm everything is still the same with their wedding cake.
And I always ask that if things do change to let me know asap, so if you change your mind about flavours, colours etc, it’s best to communicate that straight away.
If your cake maker has said they will be in touch but then hasn’t.
I would drop them another email. And mark it as urgent.
You may get an ‘out of office’ response. So they will be in touch, just a little later. Maybe they have gone on holiday before wedding season kicks in and they won’t see daylight for weeks. I often have to pop up to London for a night or two, and the travelling (train wifi isn’t all it could be!) and meetings with couples can mean I’m a bit slower with replies. When this happens an autoresponder should ping back to you letting you know what’s going on, and telling you when you can expect to hear back.
But what if you have been trying and trying to get hold of your cake maker (or any supplier) and haven’t had anything, not even an autoresponder?
The first thing I would do is pop to their website and social media. Are they still active?
If yes, then it’s likely they will get back to you. Your email may have gone to their spam, or they may simply have missed it. So drop them a message on another platform and let them know that you’re waiting for a reply.
Still nothing? And no recent online activity? Then have a word with some of your other suppliers. The chances are they will know each other.
The wedding industry is a very friendly place, and we all get to know each other quite well. So I’m sure one of your other suppliers will have heard if there is anything to worry about.
Back to the email that I received that got me thinking about writing this post.
I heard back from that couple. Their original cake maker didn’t get back to them, so they are going with me. This did make me realise that, unless you know the process, it might be easy to panic and think something has gone wrong. In this case it had, but in most cases everything is fine.
Did they do the right thing by getting in touch with me before they heard back from their original cake maker? As they explained the situation, that they were just seeing if it would be possible to get something done at fairly short notice. Then yes, I think they did the right thing. It’s completely understandable that they were getting worried.
What I would say is that it is completely normal to book a supplier and then not hear anything for a while. We aren’t ignoring you. And have vanished or gone out of business. We have got all the information we need from you to be able to start work.
And as weddings are usually booked many months ahead, it’s quite normal for things to go quiet for a while. But if you are worried then drop us an email. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you 😊