As we are still in a semi lock down here in the UK, and the government is giving us NO information on when weddings will be allowed to go ahead, or in what form. I thought I would follow up on a previous post about micro and elopement weddings, and focus on cakes for smaller weddings.
I know some people think that we in the wedding industry, and especially venues, get given information ahead of the public about what the plans are for weddings. But I can assure you we really don’t. We know no more or less than everyone else, in spite of lobbying for information. Believe me this is all as frustrating for us as it is for you. I know of at least two wedding businesses that have folded due to the virus and weddings having to be called off this year. And, sadly, I think there will be many more. It’s a nightmare.
I was talking to a couple the other day who are getting married this September, and they were saying it would be so helpful if the government would just make the decision. And I couldn’t agree more!
Anyway back to the subject of smaller weddings and cakes.
The trend for micro and elopement weddings started a few years ago, in fact I think they have always been a thing. And, as I’ve said before, they do have a lot going for them. If the government does give the go ahead for weddings, then it’s likely to be with number restrictions to begin with (I’m not even going to try to guess what those numbers might be).
Now you may think that having a smaller wedding means you have to compromise on the cake. But this isn’t necessarily so. After all you may already have had to compromise on so much else.
I have often done a fake or dummy tier as part of a cake for a smaller wedding, in order to give it more height and more wow. And this is what I would recommend doing for your smaller wedding.
You may only need one or two tiers of real cake to feed you and your guests, and don’t leave yourselves out when thinking about how much cake you need. Too many times I’ve had couples tell me that all their guests loved the cake, but they never managed to get any!
Cake for you
Then there is the tradition of keeping a tier for the christening of the first baby. Of course this was back when wedding cakes were fruit cake, and we all know how long fruit cakes will keep for. But sponge cakes freeze really well, so it’s still possible to do this. And it doesn’t have to be for a christening. Several of my couples have kept the top tier and frozen it for their first anniversary. If you’re having a smaller wedding then this gives you plenty of scope to have a tier to keep, as you won’t need it to serve to guests.
In fact why not have an extra, smallest, top tier that’s just for you anyway? Sometimes called a ‘take to bed cake’ or ‘midnight feast cake.’ Don’t forget to tell your venue or wedding planner that it’s yours!
You don’t have to get married to have a party!
Yes the chances are that larger weddings will be on hold for a little while, or will be in a different form. And it’s also true that a lot of wedding budgets are having to be spent elsewhere at the moment. However having a smaller wedding has a lot of pluses, as I discussed here. And then, when all this is over, why not have the wedding you were originally planning as a vow renewal for your first anniversary? In fact this is a great idea because you get all of the fun and excitement with none of the wedding day nerves or worries, as you’ve already done that bit.
Nothing anyone says will lessen the disappointment that a lot of couples are feeling this year. Or the stress a lot of wedding businesses are under to try and stay alive. But weddings WILL happen again. And you WILL be able to marry the love of your life.
And think of it this way. You now have more time to iron out all those little things that have been niggling you. You have more time to save, should you need to. And you have time to make changes to anything you weren’t 100% about.
As to the cake?
Well there is no need to scale down that particular part of the dream. In fact the cake is one of the parts of a smaller wedding you can still go all out with. So get creative!
To get in touch about your wedding cake, large or small, click HERE
Finding the right wedding cake maker for you doesn’t have to be stressful
Well I was going to begin this post by asking if you were all enjoying the beautiful weather! Sadly, it’s now freezing cold and raining, normal British summer has resumed. But what better weather to be indoors planning your wedding? And today I’m not going to talk about choosing your ideal wedding cake, but choosing your ideal wedding cake maker.
Your wedding is a time where you will be getting a whole range of bespoke services, and they all need to work together to bring your vision to reality. And, as you know, whenever you have anything custom made, you need to form a relationship with the creator. Most of the services you need for a wedding you can’t get by just popping to the shops.
This means you will be in regular contact with your suppliers right up to, and maybe including, the big day. So you need to feel 100% comfortable with them, and trust them to deliver your vision.
Now, at the moment, it’s still not really possible (or safe in my opinion) to be meeting up for face to face consultations. And that’s often not possible anyway. I would say around 75% of my clients are holding their weddings or events in the South West, but don’t live here. We are very much a hot spot for destination weddings.
So how do you go about finding the right wedding cake maker? Especially when we can’t do wedding fairs or meet with each other? And how do you even start looking?
Firstly decide what kind of wedding you want.
By this I mean are you wanting an intimate, micro wedding, or a big affair with the whole shooting match? Are you thinking pastels and lace and romance, or are you thinking bright and bold? Boho/rustic or high end glam? The list goes on.
Don’t be. Even if you don’t think you know what you want, chances are you actually do. Just take a look at your Pinterest boards, I bet there’s a lot they all have in common. The colours and styles you are being drawn to and saving will form the basis for your wedding style or theme. And, let’s be honest, most of us have known the kind of wedding we want for years. I can still remember saying I wanted a gold wedding dress when I was around 14. When I was 26 and getting married, guess what? Yep, my dress was a beautiful, matt gold slugged silk with a red bodice (there’s a wedding pic HERE if you want to see it.)
Whatever your vision, there will be the perfect team of suppliers out there to create it for you. You just have to find them.
For many the starting point for any search is good old google (other search engines are available) But what are you searching for?
My advice would be to be a niche as you can with your search terms. Just typing ‘Wedding Cakes’ into google with make your head explode with the number of results you’ll get. So try to narrow it down. Start with the geographical area in which you’re getting married, ‘Wedding Cake Makers South West.’ You’ll still get tens if not hundreds of thousands of hits. ‘Wedding Cake Makers Cornwall’ will bring you a little closer.
And don’t just look at page one of search results, we aren’t all able to be on page one all the time. Some of the smaller, hidden gems, will be on pages 3 or 4 or even further.
You can then narrow things down even more but adding other keywords into your search and so on, I’m sure you already know all this. But there are a lot of search terms that are unique to the wedding industry, especially with dresses and accessories. If you can find out the name of the shape of dress or colour of shoe you want, that’s a big help. I never knew there were so many names for so many dress shapes and colours until I joined the wedding industry.
Back to cakes though.
You may want a white wedding cake with pink sugar flowers for example. So ‘Sugar flower wedding cakes Cornwall’ might be a good starting point. Or you may want a black wedding cake, or a semi naked cake. Whatever your choice, use that with your geographical area, and you’ll get a good range of results.
Another popular way to find suppliers is the online directories.
Although simply finding the right directory to search in can be a full-time job in itself! There are so many of them now. But again, there are ways to save time and narrow things down. Only use ones that cover the area in which you’re getting married for example. Sounds obvious? But I’ve had so many people contact me over the years who haven’t looked to see where I’m based. And this is important if you are getting married away from home. Your dress you may want to get locally to where you live because of fittings etc, but the cake will be something it is best to get from a cake maker closer to where you are getting married. Although many of us will deliver UK wide.
Personally there are a few directories I would recommend trying first, And I’ll list these at the bottom.
A tip for directories.
A top tip for using a directory to contact a supplier is to ignore the enquiry form they sometimes have on them. These send us a generic, often slightly irrelevant, automated message like ‘Hi, we are interested in your services, please send us your brochure.’
It gives us very little info and is usually rather impersonal. If you get emails like this, I bet they are the ones you assign the least amount of time to? And they will sometimes go straight to spam and get missed anyway. It also makes it seem like you aren’t really that interested in us, but are just throwing a net out to see who replies.
Instead click the link to the suppliers own website and use their own contact form. This way you know your message won’t get lost, and will give your supplier the information they need. Even better drop us an email. Emailing us direct will also allow you to send us your mood board links etc, which will save time later down the line.
Should you contact more than one wedding cake maker at a time?
This goes for any supplier really. And of course you can if you wish. No one would expect you not to have a good look at all your options. Especially not for your wedding. Personally I always reply as soon as I can to all my enquiries, and I never expect or assume I’ll be the chosen cake maker. When you have made you decision, just drop the others a quick ‘thanks but no thanks’ email so that they can open that date back up.
Another option is the recommended supplier list from your wedding venue.
Not all venues have this, but it’s always worth asking if they do. Some will have a list on their website, others will simply have people they like to work with who they will tell you about if you ask. In fact this goes for all suppliers. I have a mental list of other suppliers I’ve worked with over the years that I would recommend, and do when I’m asked. And so will your florist, DJ, caterer etc. We work with all these people and get to know them, and their work, really well.
Word of mouth in any walk of life is probably the best way to find the best people. So if your venue or another supplier is recommending a cake maker to you, then it’s worth checking them out. There will be a page coming to the website soon of all the other wedding suppliers I love to work with.
Then there is your wedding planner.
If you are engaging a wedding planner then make full use of their little black book of contacts, they all have them! Your wedding planner will know which suppliers you’ll get on with, and will fit your style. They will often work directly with us too. So we also trust them to bring us clients that are a good fit for what we do. If a trusted wedding planner puts a couple my way, I know they will be my kind of people, and vice versa. If you wanted a novelty wedding cake, for example, they will only put you in touch with cake makers they know do those (I don’t by the way, but I know a few who do.)
A wedding planner is also a good idea if you are having a destination wedding, as I’ve mentioned before. Hiring a wedding planner local to where you are getting married will save you a lot of time and stress, as they will know all the best local suppliers, and also the ones to avoid!
Finding ‘the one’
Finding the perfect wedding cake maker for you is the same as finding all the other suppliers. The bonus with us is that you will get to try cake 😊
A lot of it is going to come down to that gut feeling you get when you speak to us. And if you have followed the above advice you should have narrowed your choices down to those cake makers who fit your style and budget. Only you know what’s most important to you when it comes to your wedding. So trust that voice that tells you that yes, you like this one, they get you and make you feel relaxed. If you don’t get that feeling, however stunning their work might be, you won’t be as relaxed.
Something I try very hard to do is not only reply swiftly, as I know your wedding is a big deal, and you want answers asap. But I also make sure I build a relationship with my clients, and to put them at ease so they know that they can trust me completely.
Top tips for finding your perfect wedding cake maker
1/ If you’re using google then niche down your search terms as much as possible. This will give you less results to have to wade through.
2/ Directories are a good resource. Find ones that cover the area in which you are getting married.
3/ If you do use a directory avoid the autofill/auto message forms. These often go to our spam. They don’t give us much info, and tend to be very impersonal. Better to click through to the suppliers website and contact them directly.
4/ If you are contacting more than one cake maker then remember to let the others know when you’ve made your decision, so that they can open that date back up.
5/ Check with your venue to see if they can recommend a cake maker (or any other supplier) As direct recommendations like this are always better.
6/ If you are using a wedding planner then tap into their local knowledge of the best suppliers.
7/ Trust your instincts. If you find a cake maker you click with, then book them, quick!
There’s no getting away from it. The days of the big, 200 plus guest weddings are on hold for now. But does this mean that getting married is on hold? I don’t believe so! In fact I think elopement and micro weddings are going to become the next big trend.
There are many reasons why an elopement wedding is a good thing.
I know there’s a lot of disappointment at the moment with weddings having to be postponed. As a wedding supplier I’ve been at the sharp end of the fall out. It’s upsetting to have to move weddings when so many plans have already been made. And money already spent.
But there is hope. And it comes in the form of an elopement wedding, or micro weddings as they are starting to be called.
These days an elopement doesn’t mean the two of you running away is secret. These days it simply means a small wedding, maybe twenty people maximum. You and your nearest and dearest celebrating your special day with you, relaxed and happy.
Although we still don’t know when weddings will be allowed again, I think it’s safe to say that elopement style weddings will be the first to be given the green light. So it’s well worth considering. Why not have an elopement wedding now, and then a big party or a vowel renewal for your first anniversary, when everything is back to normal.
And there are other reason for an elopement or micro wedding that have nothing to do with ‘the virus.’
Firstly the financial aspect. Let’s face it, most of us have been impacted either with jobs or businesses. And there’s much uncertainty. Now I’m not going to dwell on that, but it is worth looking at switching to an elopement style wedding if budget is becoming a consideration.
Then there is all the family and relationship politics surrounding the guest list and seating plan. Been there, done that (we ended up in the pub). I think it was the part of the planning that took the longest! How many people are on that guest list that you’d rather weren’t? Or that you hardly know but feel obliged to invite? I think this is a given for most weddings.
Guest list nightmares
You feel you should invite work colleagues, your parents want you to invite some of their friends, and if they are on your Christmas card list then you feel they should be on your wedding guest list, even if it’s just the evening party. And before you know it you’ve got 150 plus people to feed and entertain! And some of those people feel obliged to come to your wedding even if they’d rather not. How many weddings have you been to where you’ve hardly got to speak to the happy couple, and have been sat with total strangers? It can all get a bit awkward. You should be enjoying your wedding day, not going around introducing people to each other and hoping they will all get along.
An elopement solves that at a stroke.
You can only have, say, 20 people at your wedding. This instantly means you can drop all those obligation invites. You only need to invite those you really want to share your day with, and who you know will want to be a part of that day. The guest list pressure is off! And you know that everyone will know each other well, and so will be relaxed. Plus you will be able to spend quality time with all your guests, and not feel you’ve got to be playing the host.
Another plus is that, with the smaller numbers, you’re more likely to be able to find a venue where you can all stay together. Many hotels offer a discount for wedding guests, but won’t always have enough vacant rooms to accommodate them all, especially of you’re getting married in the height of summer.
A smaller party will mean more chance of getting rooms for everyone, so no driving or hassle with getting taxis late at night. And a smaller wedding is also perfect for some of the exclusive use venues.
Why not hire a large holiday home for you all to stay in for the whole weekend, or even the whole week? You can have the actual wedding at a licenced venue, church, chapel or registry office. Then back to your rented house for the party? Hire in private caterers who can do the whole weekend. Or go all out and hire a place that comes with staff and a chef. And then just chill. After the guests have gone you can have the rest of the week there as a mini honeymoon.
I’ve delivered wedding cakes to privately rented houses a few times, and there is always a lovely vibe about the place.
Now I know I said I wasn’t going to dwell on finances
But another good thing about a smaller wedding is that you will have more to spend on lots of the extras. One of the biggest costs of any wedding is the reception, and the food/wine/service and entertainment for all those people, then even more people in the evening. This can mean compromises have to be made elsewhere. With a micro wedding there’s no need to choose between one thing or another. Because you’ll be, potentially, saving thousands on the reception, you can have that Vera Wang dress you’ve been dreaming of. Or you can have the most amazing honeymoon.
It’s much easier to get personal with a micro wedding too. Why not use some of that spare budget to hire some quirky props, go OTT with the flowers, or hire a live band? The space will be smaller as well, and so easier to customise and personalise.
Okay, Claire, but what about the cake?
Well I have to talk about the cake!
Over the years I’ve done many elopement cakes as there are several venues here in Cornwall and the South West who specialise in them. And they have always been completely different, and a true representation of the couple. From very simple semi naked cakes with fresh flowers, to a cake with a cow theme. I think people allow their personalities to come to the fore much more at small, intimate weddings. There’s no one there to impress, just those who already know all your quirks. And you’ll already know theirs, so no sudden ‘oh by the way I’m vegan’ surprises at the last minute.
Desert tables work well for small weddings too. As do grazing tables where people can just go and get what they want, when they want it. No long line at the buffet, or harassed waiting staff trying to get everyone seated and served.
Yes a smaller wedding means a smaller cake. And so a lower spend. In theory I should be against this, and encouraging you all to wait until you can have those 200 plus guests and that £1K wedding cake.
But I’m a realist. Weddings like that aren’t going to be happening anytime soon. Small cakes can be just as special. And you can still have that huge, six tier creation you’ve dreamed of if you want to, just have five of the tiers as dummies.
The wedding industry, as with everything else, is going to be changed by this. And we are going to have to adapt to the ‘new normal.’ This is going to mean smaller weddings for a while. And I, for one, am okay with that.
To get in touch about your elopement or micro wedding cake click HERE
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