The wedding cake market, although competitive, is undeniably a profitable market to get into. For most people their wedding cake will be the most elaborate, expensive and pondered-over cake purchase they will make in their lives, so they are great orders to get, with lots of scope for profit.
I have found that customers ordering cakes for their weddings require a much more personal service than any other event. It is the bride and groom’s special day, so they will want everything to be perfect and you must make them feel that is what you can provide. Make them feel treated by giving them a consultation over a glass of bubbly and some cake samples. Be prepared to do a lot of listening, answering questions, discussing options, emailing photographs and ideas back and forth and providing samples. You will need to be patient, understanding and sympathetic to your customer’s needs. But also, be firm and clear in what you can and cannot create and make sure you put forward your own ideas and recommendations. You are far more experienced in the world of cake than your customers, so if asked to make something you think will be hideous, say so - in the most tactful way possible, of course.
At Upsy Daisy Bakery we have catered cupcake towers with a small topper cake for cutting for lots of weddings. We find these work really well, as they are so easy to adapt to each customer’s budget, numbers, taste and design requirements. I also find them reasonably easy to price up, though you need to make sure you charge sufficiently for all those little particular additions your customers will request.
One area that can be easily overlooked is delivery and set-up. Firstly, you must add a charge for this if you will be doing it yourself. Do not underestimate the time this will take and be sure to always be very punctual with your delivery and setting-up; you don’t want to be rushed, as this can lead to mistakes, which you really want to avoid. One example from my own experience is, while rushing on a delivery, my panicked driving led to two dozen cupcakes getting splattered across the inside of my windscreen. Not advisable!
For the occasions when mistakes do happen, I usually take a few essential bits of kit when setting up cakes - just in case I need to fix any damage that can occur in travelling. I would also advise you ask about the details of your setting up in advance: where will you be able to park?; where should the cake be set up?; will someone else set up the table and tablecloth for you or will you need to work this out on the day?; who do you contact with any questions on the day? And so on.
Lastly, and by no means least, make sure you take pictures. They will be your best advertisement for gaining future commissions. Invest in a decent camera, if possible, and take lots of shots to be sure you have everything you need. It is also always worth enquiring after any photographs taken by the newly-weds’ photographer from the day, which include the cake. It’s nice to have that cake-cutting moment. And, just so you know, after a speedy return to my bakery, I did manage to get those cupcakes delivered
About Emily Johnson
CakeBlogger Emily Johnson runs Upsy Daisy Bakery in Hammersmith and was winner of the National Cupcake Championships 2012.