You are paying for the cake decorator’s time. Know ahead of time what amount of money you can budget toward your cake and that will help the decorator help you choose wisely from the designs. If you choose to use sugar flowers on a cake you must be prepared to pay for the time it takes to make these exquisite flowers. Deciding cost will start in the detail of the cake. The more detail you order, the higher the cost. The more flexibility/creativity allowed by the decorator, the lower the cost.
The taste, flavour and texture of the cake itself is the most important decision you will make when you order your cake. However, not all flavors can support the weight of being a bottom tier. For example, carrot cake is best suited as a top layer and should not be used as a bottom layer on a heavy cake. The decorator cannot be held responsible when her advice is not heeded and cake flavours are chosen which are not best suited for each tier.
Decorating the Cake
You will see many pictures of cakes in magazines and in the decorator’s portfolio. Please note that the magazine cakes are not actual cakes. These are “dummy” cakes made from Styrofoam. This is why the are “perfect.” Your decorator will do her best to make the cake in the picture. However, 100% accuracy cannot be expected or anticipated. Your decorator will get the details as close to the picture as humanly possible.
If you are planning an outdoor wedding, remember – flies love sweets, heat melts most icings, high humidity will turn even sugar flowers limp, chocolate curls will melt and fresh flowers will wilt in prolonged exposure to the elements. Rain and wind can cause havoc such as collapsing tents and blowing tablecloths right off of the tables. The decorator cannot be held liable for any occurrence (including a falling or collapsing cake) of Mother Nature during an outdoor wedding or reception.
Fresh Flowers to go on a cake have possibly been treated with insecticides and pesticides (besides the chemicals they are inserted into to keep them fresh longer before they reach your florist). Some flowers and greenery might be harmful – toxic. While fresh flowers are beautiful, the cake decorator will more than likely advise against the use of fresh flowers on a cake.
If you expect the cake decorator to come close to the colors you are using in the wedding you must take a swatch of fabric to the artist at least 3 inches square, preferably solid color in each swatch. Dark colors are difficult to achieve the right shade and color in icing – as well as difficult to arrange attractively on a decorated cake.
Each Tier is guaranteed a certain number of servings when cut and served by a professional. If you choose to not hire the services of a professional cake cutter (a restaurant or hotel employee is not necessarily a professional cake cutter) you will get less servings per tier than promised. Don’t assume that a caterer or reception site personnel will be cutting your cake. You should ask if this service is included. If you ask a personal good friend to serve your cake, you are asking them to work your wedding party event. Are you bestowing an honor on them, or are you cutting corners at the expense of your party guests?
Be considerate of your guests. Seeds, coconut and nuts in fruit fillings can be very difficult for many people and should usually be avoided in a wedding cake.
Cake Toppers and Other Ornaments
When picking an ornament for your cake, consider the weight. Icing and cake are soft. Very heavy ornaments must have some extra support in the cake. If you do select a heavy ornament and it should fall from the top it can do damage to tiers as gravity pulls it downward. All ornaments are not center balanced. If that should happen you should be prepared to pay the decorator extra to make an extra trip back to the reception site to repair the damage. If you require the cake decorator to use artificial objects on a wedding cake – these items must be removed as the cake is cut. Also keep in mind; with each support dowel needed in a cake to balance a topper or other ornament, you will be taking away a serving that you have paid for.
Cake Placement at your Reception
Where will your cake(s) be place in the reception area? Consult the reception site consultant as well as the cake decorator. Look at the walls and consider the background for your wedding pictures when planning where the cake(s) will be placed. Are there fire extinguishers, plugs, toilet signs, and etc. in the background of your cake placement? If you are planning to use a fountain in your cake set up, is there a wall plug nearby. Does the reception site furnish extension cords or will you need to provide those?
Other things you might want to consider at the reception site are how the traffic flow will be handled. All of the food placement in one area might cause a traffic jam. A cake placed near a dance floor can be hazardous for traffic flow. Will children be running/playing near the cake? Is there a door that opens in toward the cake? Are the tables sturdy enough to hold the cake(s)? Does the reception site have tables and table coverings? The decorator guarantees the cake will be delivered and set up as promised. The decorator cannot be held liable for traffic, which may harm the cake. The decorator will bring it to the wedding coordinator’s attention if she feels there may be a hazard. Ultimately, it is the coordinator’s decision and responsibility as to the placement of the cake.
The persons you have hired to work together on your wedding would appreciate phone numbers. The caterer, florist, cake decorator and reception site coordinator generally need to know the other’s schedules to be able to coordinate deliveries and set ups for your wedding day schedule.
Final Cake Payment
Three weeks in advance of your wedding is reasonable for wedding cakes. When you consider that your name and residence will be changing it is very reasonable for payment to be expected in advance.
The delivery of your cake is normally covered in the cost of your cake (in most instances). Cake deliveries out of town will have an additional delivery charge. A discount is NOT given if the cake is picked up from the bakery location.
If for some reason you must cancel your wedding, you must notify the cake decorator as soon as possible. A forfeiture of the deposit is required. A cancellation notice of at least 1 week is required to avoid a forfeiture of the full cost.
We are very dependent on human nature, hot weather, cold weather, rain, snow, illness, good health, and so on. You are planning the most wonderful, memorable day of your life. Yet, even with all the advanced, well-thought planning, something will go wrong. There are many people/services pulling together to make your day as great as it can be. No one is out to hurt or ruin your day. When a mistake is made, the service provider will remember it long after you have forgotten. The professionals you have hired only want to uphold the good reputations that caused you seek them out to begin with. If a mistake is made, don’t let it control the whole day. Just chalk it up to memories. What seems upsetting today will probably be a funny memory years from now. We do not live in Utopia and no one person is perfect. Try to remember what is really important. At the end of the day, did that mistake (no matter how little or how grand) keep you from becoming married? The bottom line, at the end of the day you are still just as married as if nothing went wrong and the world is perfect. Don’t lose sight of the real reason you’re here. Do you want to remember your wedding day as the day you got married and were joyous, or the day you cried and became angry because the music wasn’t just right, the DJ didn’t play the right song, the caterer served chicken legs instead of wings, or the cake has lavender flowers instead of purple? It’s your day. It will ultimately be as joyous as you allow it to be. The decorator cannot be held liable for mishaps beyond her control.
In the event the cake is not delivered and setup on time, or as promised in the outline of this contract, due to negligence on behalf of the decorator, a full refund would normally be awarded.
Written by Dawn Becker
Thursday, 26 February 2009 19:39