So often I have an opportunity to speak with "soon to be" brides looking for someone to design their wedding cake. Before I talk to them about anything cake related, my first question is, "do you have a budget"? Having a budget means having a focus, were we need to be financially. I know exactly what kind of cake I can design when I know what you want versus what your budget will allow!!!
Everytime someone would call, I would ask the same questions over and over. I decided to write them down in the form of a questionnaire. This questionnaire will help you to organize and plan and maybe by the end of the form you will know exactly what kind of cake you want, how many guest you want to serve, and just how much you are willing to spend.
1. The first and most important question...how many people do you plan to serve wedding cake to? Not how many you invited, but how many do you really plan to serve cake to? This is not a trick question. A lot of people use what I call the "1/3" method; only count a 1/3 of who you invite. So if you invite 300 plan to serve 100. Keep in mind that wedding cake is based on a per serving price, so each piece is $$$$$. Count wisely, you might want to limit who you invite to the reception.
2. The shape of your cake is extremely important. It is important to know that you can get more cake from some shapes than others, but keep in mind what I said in #1, "wedding cake is based on a per serving price", you will pay for each serving that the cake will yield. Know exactly how much cake you need based on the number of servings you will get from each tier.
3. Cutting the cake - Wedding cake slices are much smaller than party slices. The dimensions of a slice of wedding cake is 1"x2" and if you have someone cutting your cake that is unaware of this, well, you can end up without enough cake for everyone. Make sure you have someone assigned to cutting the cake who is familiar with wedding cakes. That person must know how to take the cake apart and cut it the correct way to get the maximum number of slices.
4. Decorations - This is an area were the most fat can be trimmed from the budget. Anytime a cake designer must make sugar paste flowers, you are talking a lot of time, and sometimes a lot of money. You might want to consider silk flowers instead. They are just as pretty, and cost half as much. You can also use silk ribbons, or even bling it out with a crystal cake ribbon for your border. There are tons of ideas. Keep in mind every decoration that has to be made has a price, so if you are ok with some of the decorations on your cake non-edible this might be an option for you.