Luxury Wedding Cakes: How to get the most from planning a wedding online.

YOU’VE JUST GOT ENGAGED!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Yesterday was Valentines Day, statistically the most popular day to get engaged. It’s also a leap year, so, traditionally, the woman can propose to the man. I’m not quite sure this is in any way relevant these days, but it’s still romantic.
Of course you said yes (whoever proposed to who) otherwise you wouldn’t be reading a blog about wedding cakes. So first of all many congratulations! I would love you to tell me how it happened, was it terribly romantic? Or was there a funny story? When Mr ST proposed it was very far from romantic. It was in a car park, in a thunder storm. But it was certainly memorable, and we are still together 29 years later!

Our wedding in 2000!

Now back then there was no Instagram or Pinterest, there wasn’t even any internet! (I know!!!!!) And so planning a wedding was done very differently. Days off were spent physically going around bridal shops, florists, cake shops etc and patiently waiting for the next issue of bridal magazines to appear in the newsagents. But the basic process was the same, the order in which you booked things was the same then as it is now. We just did it differently.
In some ways I’m glad there wasn’t the endless online rabbit hole of websites and images. I’d probably still be planning my wedding now! But, use them right, and they are massive time savers.

NAWP are a great resource for online wedding planning
One of the best places to start online wedding planning

Online directories

These are huge, and there are literally hundreds of them. Some are good, and some are not. Now I’m not going to name and shame the bad ones, or praise the good ones, because that would just be my opinion. But I can help you get the most from using them.
Firstly look for ones that cover the area in which you are getting married. Some will be national and will allow you to select your chosen area, some will be smaller and only deal with local suppliers. If a directory doesn’t cover your area, or appeal to your style, then move straight on, there’s no point starting to look.
Next follow the links back to the suppliers website. This will give you a much better idea of what the supplier does. Often on directories we are only allowed a short word count and a limited number of photos, especially on the free ones. This is fine, it’s a directory after all. But it will only give you a snapshot of each supplier.
Avoid the template email options too. These are really annoying to receive and very limiting. Just this morning I got an enquiry via a directory listing. All it was was a template that they had ticked. So it read ‘Hi, we are interested in your goods/services. Please can you provide us with more information.’ This tells me that they are not really interested in me, but are simply ticking boxes and sending that same template, generated by the directory, to loads of different suppliers. It also gives me no information to base a reply on. Of course I replied, but I’m not confident I will hear back, and it wouldn’t be a priority email to reply to when I have lots to get through, simply because it’s so impersonal and not sent by the couple themselves. Instead click through to the suppliers website and contact them directly. And if you run a directory, please think about getting rid of these template emails and instead allow the couple to fill in a box with their direct enquiry.

white and red wedding cake
Just because I love this photo 🙂

Look before you leap

It can be very tempting to jump straight in and fire off a message to a supplier that you like the look of. But this can be counter productive. Again this is something I’ve had experience of. I will get a message from a couple asking about a wedding cake, and asking for a quote. They will often also ask about other things which tells me they haven’t actually been on my website. Or if they have, they haven’t spent much time there. I try to give as much information as I can on my website, and address as many potential questions as possible, there’s even a price guide and a serving guide. Now I am more than happy to answer all these questions, and give quotes. But it can be frustrating to then be ghosted. And they have also waisted their time getting in touch with suppliers who aren’t actually right for them.
So spend a few minutes on each suppliers website before you get in touch. Then you will save yourself lots of time later on. And your time is very precious!

Make lists

Yep. Old fashioned list making is as relevant when looking for things online as it is going to a physical shop. Maybe even more when online, as it’s easy to get sucked down that rabbit hole and end up looking at fluffy kittens (guilty)
As I said earlier, the basic process of planning a wedding hasn’t changed. So making a list of what needs to be booked when is still a good idea. And ticking things off a list is one of the most satisfying things there is.

Pace yourselves

Overwhelm is a big problem that I come across a lot. Often at wedding fairs and shows I hear couples getting stressed that there is so much to do. And the downside of the internet is that it doesn’t sleep. So you may well find yourself looking for a wedding venue at 3am.
If you start the planning well ahead, then there is no need for the all night Pinterest sessions, save that for Netflix.
On the flip side, doing these things online means you can email suppliers at 10pm in your PJ’s with a glass of wine. You may not get a reply at that time, but it’ll be there in their inbox next time they log in. This is especially useful when I have clients that are based in other countries. Time zones can make phone calls difficult, and face to face meeting impossible. But we both know we can email each other whenever we are able, and it will be there waiting.
Another thing I would recommend is to stop looking once you have made your choices. You know what will happen, you carry on and see something else you like. Then you start to doubt your decisions, then you get stressed. So once you have decided on the flowers or cake or dress, stop googling those things. Tick them off the list and move on.

Expectation over reality

Ahh the pressure to have everything as perfect as a well curated Instagram feed. But the reality is that for every perfect photo on an Insta post, there are a dozen other photos that are far from perfect.
It’s like styled shoots. Now I love doing shoots, they are great fun and a great way to get creative. But they are not supposed to be a real wedding. Think of the perfect Insta account or the stunning styled shoot as a runway show at fashion week. It’s there to be inspirational and aspirational, and to give you new and exciting ideas. When I do a cake for a shoot I’m not expecting anyone to actually order that cake. Rather I’m showcasing what I’m capable of.
And who wants everything to be perfect anyway? How boring would that be? One of my favourite photos from our wedding was of a wasp in an upturned champagne glass, totally random!

Top Tips

1/ Avoid overwhelm by breaking things down into more manageable chunks. And make lists that you can tick off and feel accomplished.
2/ Avoid the rabbit holes! Stay focused on what you’re actually looking for and avoid the temptation to click ‘more like this’ or ‘you might also like.’ Or you’ll be there till 3am wondering why you’re looking at a dog on a surfboard.
3/ Use all the lovely images you’ll see as inspiration, not as a blueprint you must follow.
4/ Do some research before contacting suppliers. This will actually save you time in the long run. Spend a few minutes on their website seeing if the answers you want are already there.
5/ Avoid the template email options on directories. Instead contact that supplier directly. Again this will save you time and you’ll be more likely to get a speedy reply.

To get in touch about your wedding cake, click HERE

Luxury Wedding Cakes- How to Choose Your Wedding Cake.

Wedding fair season has started again!

Which is great, I love doing them. They are a really good way to get to meet all you lovely couples face to face, and for you to see that there’s a real person behind the cakes! And I get the chance to talk to you all about your worries and stresses, and help disperse some of them.

I hear a lot of people say that they are getting overwhelmed with the amount there is to do with planning a wedding. Recently I’ve spoken to a few brides at wedding shows who have been a tad frazzled.

So today I want to take one of those stresses away.

And give you one less thing to feel frazzled about. After all planning your wedding should be a good thing, not a source of stress. Although I know it can be stressful if it’s all new territory and you’re trying to do it in between running your life and job. I can’t, as yet, take away all the wedding stress (watch this space though), but I can help with the wedding cake. After all, that’s what I do, all day every day, one way or another. So you could say I kind of know what I’m talking about. I’ve even been known to dream about wedding cakes!

Claire setting up a wedding cake
ME!!! Doing my thing 🙂

The biggest two things I find couples struggle with when it comes to the cake is style and size. I’m not going to throw too much at you in one go, so today I’ll talk to you about choosing the style of your wedding cake.

But let’s cover the basics and bust a few myths.

TIME SCALE

Possibly one of the most asked questions I get at shows, is how much notice do I need? The answer is always the same, as much as possible. If you read my blog regularly (yay! Nice to see you back) then you will have heard me say this before. But it still seems to be a myth that the cake can be left to last, and that we don’t need much notice. Well it’s true that a cake is a perishable item and so won’t physically be made until a few days before the wedding. However there’s so much more to it than just baking the cakes. I have to plan the delivery, order materials and supplies, colour fondants and modelling pastes the exact right shades, make all the delicate sugar flowers and other details, the list goes on. And so getting your date booked in with your cake maker as early as possible is vital. And no, you won’t need to have made all the design decisions, or even be 100% sure on size to secure your date. Get the booking fee paid and you can relax and know that’s one thing done.

DESIGN

Ahh the fun part!! Yet this seems to also be one of the areas couples are getting stressed about. But no more! Even clients who think they have no idea at all on the style and look they want for their wedding cake, will actually have something lurking there. So have a look at all your wedding related pintrest boards, I bet you there’s a theme, a unifying colour perhaps. Maybe you’re pinning a lot of very natural, relaxed style wedding ideas. Or very traditional and formal themes. Share these boards and ideas with your cake maker so that we can see what you’re thinking. And don’t forget we can also make the cake super personal to you and your partner. I once hand painted one couples pet Guinee Pigs onto one tier of the cake, and added a Disney theme to another tier, they also had a tent in there too!

Maybe a monogram of your initials? Or have a cascade of sugar flowers that matches the wedding flowers. There are endless ways to really make the wedding cake not only wow your guests, but feel personal too.

wedding cake with monogram
A monogram is a subtle way to add a personal touch.

COLOUR

Wedding cakes no longer have to be white or ivory. In fact I actively encourage my couples to inject some colour. You’ll have seen me talk about this in the last post about trends. Colour at weddings, in all aspects, has become the norm, and long may that continue. And don’t think you can’t have a coloured cake if you are opting for semi naked or buttercream, this can be tinted too. Or you can make the colour statement with the flowers, either sugar or real.

wedding cake with bright colours cake
A very personal wedding cake with bright coloured buttercream.

FLAVOUR

This can be another area that causes some stress. You have all these guests to please, so what flavours do you choose? Answer? You stop trying to please all of your guests, chances are you won’t manage that anyway. So go with what YOU like. I usually recommend having one tier in a ‘crowd pleasing’ flavour that most people will eat, vanilla or lemon say, but then have the rest in whatever you would like. One couple last year had red velvet for one tier, and hummingbird cake for the other, neither of which you could call conventional, and the cake was decorated with black fondant, not conventional at all. But that was what they wanted. One flavour was the brides favourite and one was the grooms, and they are they only two people who matter at a wedding. It suited not only them, but their wedding perfectly.

*Of course you may have to consider guests with allergies or dietary requirements.

gluten and dairy free wedding cake
The beauty was 100% gluten and dairy free.

STAGING

Oh how many times have I turned up with the wedding cake, only to find a boringly blank table with a white cloth, and nothing else. Now, of course, the cake is the star of it’s own show. But it is good to have a few supporting acts. Again this is not something you need to stress about. Talk to your stylist, and ask them to get in touch with your cake maker. We can discuss the colours that are in the cake any perhaps find a matching, or contrasting, tablecloth. And I often work with the florist when fresh flowers are going on the cake.

If you do want to keep it simple though, then think about a statement cake stand. Your cake maker or venue may have some they will hire, or have a look online. If you are going to get your own stand then do discuss the best size and shape option with your cake maker. And don’t worry, you won’t have to do anything with it, just leave it there for us to put the cake on when we deliver. Then you will also have a lovely keepsake of your day that can be used for other family events.

antique silver cake stand
A beautiful antique silver cake stand.

The same with a cake topper.

I’ve noticed that these have started to become less popular. But they can be a great way to add a personal touch. Go online and you’ll see dozens of shapes and styles. Once again this can be overwhelming, and once again we can help. Talk to your cake maker about the size of the top tier, and how much space there will be for a topper, then you know everything will fit together.  Your cake maker may be able to source the cake topper for you or you should be able to have it delivered direct to them if ordering your own. Some cake makers will make sugar figures, which can be done from photos of you (if they don’t then they probably know someone who does) Or why not have something a bit different? I did a tractor once, as the cake topper, with a sheep sitting in it. Another wedding had toy giraffes.

Hello! Full page spread
The giraffes! And the full page spread in Hello!

TOP TIPS

1/ Use your cake makers knowledge and experience. We have done this hundreds of times over many years. So pick our brains and let us design the cake for you.

2/ Don’t try to please everyone. This goes for the wedding as a whole actually.

3/ Have fun with the process. Take some time to sit and create pretty mood boards and even old school scrapbooks. These will be really useful for us to use when designing your cake.

4/ Trust us. Tell us everything you are thinking in terms of style, colour, shape etc. And let us design you something wonderful. We will talk to your florist and stylist to make sure everything comes together.

5/ Don’t stress! You’re in safe hands.

You can get in touch with me about your wedding cake HERE

Happy New Year!! Luxury Wedding Cakes- 2019 review.

It’s the end of another year!! Where has that gone?

2019 is almost over and so I thought I’d do a recap and a roundup of the year at STHQ. It’s been quite a year of changes for me. Here is my 2019 review

2019 for Sweet Temptations looked something like this:

42 Weddings

1 Celebrity wedding and feature in Hello!

1 Celebrity birthday cake

1 Business relocation

1 London base secured

Lots of meeting with lovely couples and other wedding industry professionals

Being courted by a luxury wedding show

Being invited to exclusive wedding industry events

And a bronze at Cake International in collaboration with two other local cakers, proving there really is collaboration over competition.

Not bad for a one woman show! It’s only when I look back like this that I realise how far things have moved on in a year.

One side of our piece
Part of our Cake International entry

Moving on.

The moving was quite literal! And not planned. But I think the best decisions are often not planned.

As you know I am now based out of the stunningly beautiful Clovelly on the North Devon/Cornwall border. Before you gasp at this, I’m up the top! There was no way I was going to be trying to take cakes up and down that hill and cobbles…… been there….. done that….. in the back of the open backed Landover….in reverse. That’s another story for another time though.

It happened by accident, if these things are ever really accidents. One of my best friends lives in Clovelly, also up top. We had been to the cinema to see Marry Poppins Returns (as two grown women, with no children in tow) I was dropping her home and happened to look across the car park to the row of shops that are there. One was obviously empty, so I asked her about it. The next day she took it upon herself to email John (the estate owner) and CC me into it, telling him that I was interested. I am so very glad that she did!! Now I had never really thought about having a business premises outside of the ‘cake nook’ at the back of the house, but it was clear I was outgrowing that. Had Em not been so proactive I may still be annoying the family with cake stuff all over the house, and moaning that I have no space. It has turned into one of the best things to have happened this year. And you can now come and see me there to talk about your wedding cake. The views are just breath-taking, and you can go and look around the village afterwards.

Decisions Decisions. 

Another snap decision was joining The Wedding Gallery in London. I knew about it, and had been following them on Instagram. I knew it was the most amazing place, and also that it was quite exclusive. A girl can dream. However I was at a NAWP meeting (national association of wedding professionals) and got chatting to a wedding planner there. She said I really needed to go and see them at The Wedding Gallery, especially as it was literally just around the corner. So I did. I turned up, introduced myself, told them a fellow NAWP member recommended I visit. They were so lovely and welcoming. Hannah showed me around and said that if I wanted to become a member, they would be delighted to have me. And so I did just that! And it’s another decision I am very glad I made.

images of the wedding gallery
The Wedding Gallery

I would say around 75% of my couples are London based, even thought they are getting married here in the South West. And many are unable to get down to see me in person. I’ve done countless weddings where I haven’t met the couple at all, and that’s a shame. So being able to have a London base that I can use to meet with couples has proved invaluable. I’ve already met several couples there this year, and hope to meet many more.

More Decisions!

When you are a sole trader you have to make a lot of decisions about how to structure your time. And one thing I did this year was to cut down on the number of wedding fairs I decided to do. I enjoy wedding fairs, but there are so many of them, and only one of me. One opportunity I did say yes to though, was to exhibit at South West Wed Meet Up. I always try to go to these industry networking and training events, and the March one is the biggest one of the year. This year it was at Deer Park near Honiton over two days, with lots of workshops and guest speakers. There’s also the chance to exhibit to your fellow industry professionals, and they asked me.

Again I said yes, and again it was a good decision. Also attending the event was the lovely Anisha from BrideLux, who curate some of the worlds most luxurious wedding shows. My cakes clearly impressed her, as she asked me if I would like to be part of future BrideLux shows. Sadly I’ve not managed to do that yet, but it’s on my list. And, in the meantime, she invites me to their stunningly beautiful industry events. They pride themselves on only working with the best, so being on their radar, and included in their world, is an honour.

Mayfair rooms The Connaught
The Mayfair Room at The Connaught

Celebrity Love.

Now you may have noticed on the intro list that I mentioned a couple of celebrity cakes? Well one I can talk about, and one not. Well I probably could, but I won’t.

Back in the new year I got a phone call about a wedding cake. Nothing unusual. We chatted cake, date, venue etc as usual. It was the bride I was talking to, she gave me her name and then said that the wedding was probably going to be featured in Hello! Magazine. This took me back for a second as I hadn’t recognised the name, but then I’m not good with names in general. It turns out the wedding was of top model Jade Parfitt, and was attended by other super models and society figures. And it was indeed featured in Hello! A five page spread with a full page just of the cake cutting photo!

Hello! Full page spread
The giraffes! And the full page spread in Hello!

The other celebrity cake? Well it was a birthday cake, and all I’m going to say is Hollywood A list, and leave it at that.

What a Year!

In between all of this I seem to have done 42 wedding cakes! I didn’t realise it had been this many, although I knew it was a busy year. My feet and knees will attest to that! I’ve been so very lucky to be able to work with some truly lovely couples this year. It is always my pleasure to be able to be a part of such a special day, and to help create beautiful memories. Every wedding, and therefore every wedding cake, is unique, and that’s part of what makes my job so special.

cake pic round up
A few cakes from 2019

All in all it’s been quite a year! Behind the scenes there’s also been a lot going on, and I’ve relied on my work to keep me going. My husband and the man I’ve been with since I was 17, has been battling prostate cancer, then went and got facial shingles, which gave our son chickenpox! So, although the above reads a bit like a dream, it’s not all been good. Life never is. I’d hate you to think this is a smug post about how wonderful things are, because there’s been parts of this year I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But I have also been very lucky.

If 2019 has taught me anything, it’s to celebrate the wins. I hope you have many things in 2019 to celebrate, and that there’s even more of those moments in 2020.

If you’re interested in having a Sweet Temptations cake for your wedding, click HERE

How to get the most out of Wedding Fairs.

It’s that time of year again!! Wedding fair season. Feel for us poor wedding suppliers. We just about manage to recover from wedding season, when wedding fairs start again.

Personally I love a good wedding fair, they are a great social event for suppliers to catch up after the gruelling wedding season. Although I have cut right down on the amount of them I now do. Why? A few reasons. Firstly I’ve got busier over the years, and, as it’s mostly just me doing everything, I can’t be in two places at once. And also because, over the years, I’ve found which fairs and shows work best for me.

 

wedding fair display
One of my wedding fair stands from last season

 

But today I wan to talk about how to make wedding fairs work for you. Why should you even go to a wedding fair when you can do almost everything online? What should you expect from a fair? How can you get the most out of them? And how do you decide which ones to go to?

 

Let’s take that last question first. How do you decide which wedding fair to go to? It seems like there are a dozen fairs every weekend! And it’s true that there are a lot of fairs and shows around these days. One thing would be to look if your wedding venue is holding their own fair or open day. This is a good way to get to meet your venues recommended suppliers, as well as having the chance to have another look around your venue. If your venue has a recommended supplier list, but doesn’t hold its own fair, then look to see if any of those suppliers are going to be at any other fairs. If you have a shortlist of suppliers you’re thinking of using then look to see if they are exhibiting at any fairs. I have a list on my website of all the shows and wedding fairs I’m doing, and many suppliers do this. It’s also a good idea to go to the fairs that are local to where you are getting married. Look for fairs that have been running year after year, as these are often ones with a good reputation and repeat exhibitors.

 

wedding fair display stand
Another view of the same stand

 

What should you expect from a good wedding fair? Well, firstly there will be a good range and number of wedding suppliers of all kinds. This might look overwhelming when you first walk in, but don’t panic! Just make your way around at your own pace. When you first arrive, you’ll likely be given a glass of fizz and a goody bag of magazines and other bits and bobs. Some wedding fairs charge an entry fee or require you to book tickets, this is usually when a show is more exclusive or is known to get busy and needs to control numbers. If a show you’re interested in is ticketed, then it’s best to book early. Also you should expect lots of people! A good fair will get busy, and so you won’t get much time to talk in depth with the exhibitors. And that’s not really the purpose of wedding fairs anyway. They are more to give you the chance to look up close and in person at things you’ve seen online, and to make first contact with suppliers you’re interested in working with. Often you can make appointments with suppliers to go back and consult properly with them at a later date.

 

How do you make the most of a wedding fair? As I’ve already mentioned, the good wedding fairs get busy, especially in the first hour or two. If you want to talk to specific suppliers then it’s a good idea to leave it until the last hour, that’s almost always the quietest time. And it’s worth getting in touch with the suppliers you want to meet with and ask them if they can advise on the best time to come to see them. It might be possible to book a mini consultation with them at the end of the fair.

Make a list and take notes. This might sound a bit over organised, but there will be so much to look at and people to talk to, that it’s easy to forget which stand you saw what on. I had a phone call once from a lady who had seen me at a fair ‘Are you the lady with the coconut and lime cake?’ When I said yes she said ‘oh thank goodness! I couldn’t remember who you were!’ So if you see something you really like then note it down. Pick up business cards and note down on them that they are the ‘coconut and lime cake lady’ etc. The postcards I have on my stand are blank on the reverse for just this purpose. Taking pics of things you like is also a good idea, but always ask first.

Do you have to have your date set and venue booked before you start going to fairs? Not necessarily, although it will be something you’ll get asked by suppliers. This is because good suppliers get booked up fast, and we need to make sure your wedding date is available. But if you’ve not got a date set yet then fairs are still a great starting point for your wedding planning. Although if you’ve not yet got to the planning stage, then it’s even more important to note down which suppliers you liked, so you know who to go back to when the time comes.

 

But you can do everything online, suppliers all have a website, why go to fairs? Well yes, this is very true. But on the website you can’t taste the cake or feel the dress fabric. You can also meet us face to face and get to know the face behind the website. This is especially useful if you are getting married a distance from where you live. I’d say around 70-80% of my couples are getting married in Devon or Cornwall, but don’t live here. But having a weekend down here to check out venues and go to a couple of fairs is a great way to ease your mind. By meeting us you can then go home knowing that your wedding is in safe hands.

 

So here’s your wedding fair checklist:

1/ Wedding fairs are a great way to get ideas and get to meet suppliers in person. If you have suppliers you’re thinking of using, then look to see if they are going to be doing any fairs. And see if your wedding venue is having a wedding fair or open day.

2/ Wedding fairs get busy. The quieter times are usually around lunchtime (especially on Sundays) And also in the last hour or so of the show.

3/ Take notes. If you see something you like, then make a note of which stand you saw it on. Remember, if you want to take photos then please ask first.

4/ There will never be (or shouldn’t be) any pressure on you to book anything there and then. So don’t be afraid to talk to people.

5/ Ask questions. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. No one will judge you. We work in the wedding industry, but this is all new to you.

6/ Enjoy it! The bigger fairs and shows can feel a little overwhelming at first, especially if you’ve never been to one before. But you’ll soon relax. Take your time and go back around as many times as you feel you need to.

 

I’m doing two fairs this autumn. The Art of Weddings Show at the Royal Cornwall Show Ground in Wadebridge on October 20th. And The Bold and Beautiful Wedding Show at Ocean Studio in Plymouth on October 27th. Maybe I’ll see you there!!

Luxury Wedding Cakes: FAQs

Welcome back ?
Today I thought I would answer a few FAQs that seem to come up. I’m always aware that I may work in the wedding industry, and deal with wedding cakes daily, but for you it’s likely going to be a one off, and something you’ve not done before.
So here are my most frequently asked questions.

When should I order the wedding cake? I get asked this at every wedding fair I do. And my answer is always the same; as soon as possible! Sadly there is still a belief out there that the cake can be left to last, and that three to four months is a long enough lead time, but it’s really not!! It’s May 2019 and I’ve already got bookings for September and October 2020. Yet I’m still being asked about wedding cakes for August this year, which has been booked up for months. I hate having to say no, but when I’m booked then I’m booked. So when you have found the person you want to make your wedding cake, then get that booking fee paid to secure your date, even if you haven’t decided 100% on exactly what you want.

How big should the cake be? The simple answer to this is; as big as you want. If you want a huge wedding cake, then have one! But most couples want a cake to feed the number of guests they are having. And it’s perfectly reasonable for you not to know how much cake you’ll need. This is something we can work out for you, if you tell us how many guests the cake will be for, and how you want to serve it. I have a sizing chart that I work from, which gives me portion sizes, and how many portions each size cake will provide. So tell us numbers, and if you’re serving as buffet/with coffee or as desert, we will then work out what size cake will be best. Size will affect cost to a certain extent, so it is something we need to know in order to quote you accurately.

Why do wedding cakes cost so much?! Oh if I had a pound every time the cost of a cake is questioned. I understand that if you’ve never ordered a bespoke cake before, then you won’t know how much work and time goes into them. And this is why they cost what they do. I used to get offended whenever people made rude comments about my prices. But now I just accept that it will happen from time to time. Think about it though. If you are going to get a new bookshelf you can go and get a flat pack, factory made one from a DIY store, or you can get one designed and made for you. You wouldn’t go to the bespoke craftsman, who is going to make your bookshelf to fit exactly, and be designed just for you, and expect them to do it for the cost of the flat pack would you? You would know that getting something crafted just for you, to all your spec, and delivered and set up for you, will cost more than going to Ikea. So why is it any different with cakes? Basically it’s not. There are hours, and even days of work involved in a wedding cake. Sometimes weeks if there is a lot of sugar flowers etc. And it’s skilled work. There is a myth that we add a premium on as soon as we know it’s a wedding. NOT TRUE! And no true professional will. We work out our prices based on the time, skill, materials involved in producing your cake, and then the delivery time needed. So what you are paying for is not just flour, eggs, sugar and butter. You are paying for skill and hours of time.

Can I change my mind about what I want? Within reason, yes. There will reach a point where it won’t be possible to change your order, because ingredients and materials will need to be purchased, and some of the sugar work will have started. Your cake maker will tell you their policy on this. For me it’s around a month before the wedding or event. Remember that changing the design or size of the cake will mean the cost can also change, down as well as up depending on what your changes are.

How long will the cakes last? Probably longer than you think. Of course fruit cake can literally last for years. But sponge cakes will last up to a week as long as they are kept wrapped up. One of the reasons large cakes are covered in icing is to preserve the cake. Originally this icing would have been royal icing, which sets so rock hard you really wouldn’t want to eat it, instead it was there to protect and preserve the cake inside. These days it’s usually sugar paste/fondant that is used to cover cakes. This is much more appealing to eat than royal, but still not there primarily to eat. So don’t worry if you don’t like fondant (I don’t like eating it!) as it’s not really there to be eaten, but to protect the cake and to look beautiful. With a fondant covered cake you will find you’ll get a good week before the cake starts to deteriorate as long as it’s not yet cut. Once the cake it cut then you need to cover the cut sides in cling film to stop the air getting to it. Air is really the enemy here. Which is why the fully naked cakes, without even a coat of buttercream, wont last long at all. If you know you are going to want to keep the cake for a few days after the wedding or event, then it’s best to go with a fully iced cake. Buttercream cakes will still keep a good few days though, especially if kept wrapped after cutting. With this in mind, don’t cut the cake and then leave it out. Ask the venue to cut the cake up just before you’re wanting to serve it, as we don’t use preservatives.

Never be afraid to ask questions. We are here not only to make you a beautiful cake, but also to make it stress free. And remember, there is no such thing as a silly question!

Wedding cakes (and weddings) from afar

Hello again!
I’ve been busy moving my studio from our home, to a lovely space in Clovelly. Which is where you’ll now be able to come and see me to talk all things wedding cake! And taste cake too, and drink tea. All with a sea view. Don’t worry, I’m up top.

I know that many of my couples are getting married in Devon or Cornwall, but don’t live down here. We have become a very popular place for destination weddings, and it’s obvious why. With the dramatic coastlines, the romantic moors and the beautiful woods and picture postcard villages (like Clovelly) There are dozens of options for a beautiful wedding. As well as offering your guests the chance to combine your wedding with a sneaky holiday!
So what happens if you are planning your wedding down here but don’t live here? How do you find suppliers? How do you have consultations with those suppliers? Don’t stress!!! It’s really not that difficult. I’m very used to helping distant couples plan their perfect wedding cake.
Firstly, I would always suggest talking to your venue and asking if they have recommended suppliers. Many venues have suppliers that they like to work with and hold details for. Word of mouth is still the best way to get the quality wedding suppliers you’re looking for. And we all know many other people in the wedding industry, so always ask us. Your florist will almost certainly know a hairdresser, who will know a caterer, who will know a DJ etc. And they will also know who has the best reputations and the most skill in their field.
A wedding planner is also a good idea for any kind of destination wedding. A lot of suppliers also work with planners, and so have a large network of contacts. A wedding planner based in the location you’ve chosen to get married in will know all the best local wedding suppliers. They will also have lots of valuable local knowledge, the best places for your guests to stay, the best routes to use (the sat nav can get raging PMT around here!)
With the issues of distance in mind, many suppliers will offer skype or similar options for consultations. And I also offer cake tasting boxes by post, which works really well. I do try hard to make myself available when my couples are visiting and arranging supplier visits, but that’s not always possible.
Another thing that is a good idea is to plan your visits when there are local wedding fairs or shows. This will allow you to meet and talk to lots of suppliers local to where you are getting married, all in one place and in one day. Don’t forget to give us your email address, this way we can get back to you with the information you’re asking for in more detail.
I’ve also gone a step further and secured a London base too ? Very exciting!!! I’m delighted to have been accepted as a member of The Wedding Gallery at 1 Marylebone Road. If you’ve never visited, then you need to book an appointment! It’s the most stunning wedding emporium, filled with the best wedding suppliers you can find. As a member I can now meet you there to discuss your wedding cake, and also drink more tea.

So here’s you checklist for finding suppliers when you don’t live in the place you’re getting married.
1/ Don’t stress! There may be logistical issues to bear in mind when planning a destination wedding. But that needn’t mean extra stress.
2/ Ask your wedding venue if they have any suppliers they recommend. This will give you a good starting point, and give you piece of mind.
3/ Consider using a wedding planner who is based in the place you’re getting married. Again, they will have lots of local knowledge and contacts. It will also mean you have someone ‘on the ground’ to troubleshoot for you.
4/ When you’re planning your visits try to time then to coincide with local wedding fairs or shows. And try to give the suppliers you want to visit as much notice as possible.
5/ Pick the brains of all your suppliers. We all have a ‘little black book’ of contacts. And word of mouth is still the best way to find the best suppliers.

Luxury Wedding Cakes; A week in the life! (well of the cake maker)

Last week was a busy one for Sweet Temptations. Although wedding season hasn’t really started yet, and my next wedding cake isn’t until March 9th, that doesn’t mean any time to rest!
When there are no cakes to make there is still lots to do. And so this time on the blog I thought I’d lift the lid on what happens when we aren’t in the cake studio.
The week started and ended with a wedding fair.
On the 17th Feb I was exhibiting at the first really big fair of the year, the Art of Weddings show at The Pavilions Centre at The Royal Cornwall Showground in Wadebridge. These are always super busy, and last week was no exception! It’s great to get to meet couples face to face. So often everything is done via email, which is fine. But, sometimes, it’s good to get out of the cake nook and let people meet the face behind their wedding cakes. I always take tasting samples with me to fairs, and I almost ran out! Keep an eye on the ‘come and see me’ tab on the main site to see where I will be and when.
The Monday was my birthday, so I did take the day off (more or less). It was also the first day of half term. I don’t think you ever really get a day off when you run your own business though, your brain is always ticking over. I keep a notepad and pen by the side of the bed for those 2am AHA!!! Moments.
Tuesday saw me at the new STHQ for a spot of painting. I’ve just signed a three-year lease on a studio at the stunning Clovelly. You may have heard of Clovelly, or even been there, as it’s a very popular place to visit. This will become the ‘go to’ place to come and see me to discuss your cakes. Although the baking and constructions of your wedding and events cakes will still take place in the cake nook near Bude. So Sweet Temptations now has a base in both Devon and Cornwall!
After the painting (and feeding one of my best friends’ cats) It was home to pack ready for a flying visit to London.

NAWP spring meeting at RIBA
On Wednesday I headed off to London for the spring NAWP meeting. NAWP is the National Association of Wedding Professionals of which I’m a professional member. I took a good friend with me who is also a local cake maker and caterer. In theory we are in direct competition, but in reality we are anything but. I’m a strong believer in the hashtag #collaborationovercompetition, as that is what truly makes everyone’s business work so much better. And so Jax (Jax’s Cakes N Bakes) and I headed off to beautiful Fitzrovia.
The meeting was at the Royal Institute of British Architects on Portland Place. A magnificent art deco building and a stunning wedding venue. It was a great evening of networking with fellow wedding professionals from every area of the industry. Many of us work alone, and so the chance to meet up is very important. I met some new contacts and caught up with others who have become friends. If you are looking for high end, reliable and dedicated suppliers then I highly recommend giving NAWP a visit.
Literally just up the road from out hotel was The Wedding Gallery Official at One Marylebone Rd. I’ve wanted to visit this luxury wedding showcase since it opened just over a year ago. And so being so close was too good an opportunity to miss! On Thursday morning we went for a lovely walk around Regents Park, and then headed to the Wedding Gallery.


Wow! What an amazing place it is! They were very welcoming and allowed us to wander around. I will be joining their private members club so that I can make them my London base. They have an elegant bar and meeting area that is perfect for meeting with my London brides.
Sadly we couldn’t spend as long there as we would have liked because we had the train home to catch.
While I was in London I had a phone call asking if I could do a last minute birthday cake for the Saturday. I always take my diary away with me as this often happens. Although it might take me longer to get back to you when I’m away, I always will as soon as I can.
And so Friday I hit the ground running. An early start to get the birthday cake baked and decorated. I do try to accommodate last minute requests, but this isn’t always possible. However, this time I was able to help. One birthday cake was lovingly designed based on the details I was given, baked and decorated ready for the birthday on the Saturday.
Fortunately the birthday cake was only going a few miles, so that was the first job on Saturday. From there it was back to Clovelly to meet up with Jax again who helped me with the rest of the panting. I am a big woose with heights, so Jax did the high bits for me. She then had way too much fun being destructive and taking the old sign from the previous business off the outside.
After collecting flying silver letters from across the car park it was back home to prep for another wedding fair.
Which leads us to the end of the week. Another Sunday and another wedding fair. This time it was an open day at a new venue, Fir Hill, near Newquay. Completely the opposite of the venues we were in in London, but no less beautiful. It just shows the wide variety of venues on offer. We were given a delicious lunch by the food truck exhibiting there, and got to chat to excited couples in the spring sunshine. Not a bad way to end the week.

Fir Hill
A week in the life of a luxury cake maker. I can’t say it’s a typical week. Because I don’t think there is a typical week in this business. But it was a fun and productive week, and why I love doing what I do.

The most wonderful time of the year….

‘Tis the season to……..GET ENGAGED!!!!!
CONGRATULATIONS!!
I know a lot of you reading this will have had a beautiful ring waiting under the tree for them this Christmas. And now you’re spending the Christmas holiday looking for wedding ideas. Which can all get very overwhelming. And you might think it’s too soon to start planning.
But it’s never too soon. Especially when looking at wedding venues. I know of several sought-after venues that have bookings years in advance. I’m not saying this to scare you! But to reassure you that there’s nothing wrong with getting the planning ball rolling. Once you’ve got a date in mind, you’re good to go.
So how do you do that? When you work in the wedding industry you get to know lots of suppliers and how they work. This is one reason a good wedding planner can be worth their weight in gold, they know a slew of people and lots of tricks to make everything run perfectly. A lot of people dismiss a wedding planner and think it’s easy enough to plan a wedding. But I would recommend giving it some thought. A good wedding planner will have a contact book that has taken years to build, and that knowledge is priceless.
A good starting point to your planning journey is attending wedding fairs. And, as luck would have it, they start in the new year ? Before you go, make a list of the things you want to find out about. This list will grow as you get a better idea of what’s available and the kind of wedding you want. I would start with the basics. Venue, wedding dress/bridesmaids’ dresses/grooms’ suit, flowers, catering (which the venue may well include in their packages) and, of course, the cake! That’s the main checklist for a wedding. You can then add as much as you like, the sky is the limit!
Which leads me to my next piece of advice, budget. Another reason going to wedding fairs is a good idea is that you can start to get an idea of what things are going to cost. A lot of people are surprised at the cost of a wedding, and that’s understandable. If you’ve never organised a wedding before, then you’re not to know. Take a notebook and take lots of notes, you don’t want to forget the name of a supplier or any advice they may give you. So don’t be afraid to talk to the suppliers exhibiting, that’s what we are there for. We will happily talk to you about our area of expertise, it’s our passion. Collect business cards and flyers from anyone you think you might like to work with. And there you go! You’ve started.
Also, there will often be show offers that you can take advantage of.
Talking of which. I have a nice offer running for all you newly engaged couples. Get in touch before January 31st and get 15% off your wedding cake! I often have special offers on at wedding fairs to, so it’s always worth coming to see me. In fact you can come and see me this coming Sunday the 6th and the stunning Tawstock Court near Barnstaple.
*Any offers are always subject to date availability. Dates can’t be held, so a booking fee is required to secure your booking.