How Do You Conduct Your Wedding Cake Consultations?

Decorating By SweetDreams Updated 19 Jan 2012 , 5:29am by Bridgette1129

SweetDreams Posted 20 Oct 2006 , 11:35am
post #1 of 13

I have my first consultation set up for this Sunday and i am so nervous. I feel like i am going to look like a fool due to not looking organized or professional. Is there any advise you can give me as to how you all organize your consultations. First you...., then you...., etc. I am also not sure if you should sit with them the whole time or let them look through pictures and taste the products alone? Since i have never done an actual wedding cake (i have done many tiered cakes) i was going to put together a sort of scrapbook of wedding cakes i find in magazines (wilton, wedding cake) that i feel comfortable doing and about what price i would charge per serving.
Her wedding is not until next July so at the end of her consult do you ask for a deposit to hold the date right then and there or do you just tell her to give a call if she decides to book with me?

Can you tell i have no idea what i am doing when it comes to this!

Thanks so much for your help!!!!

12 replies
ellepal Posted 20 Oct 2006 , 11:47am
post #2 of 13

I usually sit down with them the whole time, maybe leaving the room once to let them talk for about 3 or 4 minutes in private.

I send samples home with them so they can feel free to comment in private, and I don't feel funny if they don't like the cake.

I usually start by asking them what they are looking for, and then I draw out a picture for them. Sometimes I'll open magazines/books to show them ideas if they are not sure. I try to get a sense of who they are and what style they are. Then I have a cake worksheet that I start writing notes on as they tell me what they want. After I figure out what their flavor/style/wedding date, etc, is, I come up with a price quote. If they decide to book with me, then I leave the room to get a contract (allowing them to talk amongst themselves for a few minutes). When I get back in, I go over the contract, explaining all the terms. At that point, they usually start signing. They have to put down 30% and a 50.00 deposit that is refundable to book the date. Once they sign, they get a copy of everything: contract, cake worksheet (notes), picture, and an original receipt. I also started having them sign their cake worksheet as sometimes the brides forget what was discussed during the appointment. They then usually write a check for the deposit, we small talk, and voila! I hope that helps you!
Ellen

indydebi Posted 20 Oct 2006 , 12:09pm
post #3 of 13

I bake a six inch square cake. I tort it and cut it in half, giving me two cakes that are 3"x6". I fill each with a different filling and ice. Sometimes, I may do add'l cakes, like 2 days ago I also did a chocolate cake (3"x6") iced with white icing and topped with a choc ganache. (I also do catering so I usually also have some hot foods for them, too).

I serve them on the actual plates that I will be supplying for the wedding. While they are eating, I tell them "This is the time that you eat and I talk!" icon_wink.gif While they are eating, I tell them a little about how long I've been doing this, our company philosophy, I explain the differences between the dishes they are sampling, etc. I know there are a number of opinions on this, but I'm in there while they are sampling in case they have questions like "Now is this the marsala or the chardonnay chicken?" or "can we get bavarian creme filling instead of raspberry?".

We talk about what they are looking for, cake design (pillars or cake on cake?), flavors, number of guests, where the reception is, etc. I have 2 books of cake pictures ..... one is a book of pics of cakes I've actually made and the other is a collection of cake pics I've collected from magz, internet, etc., as suggestions for wedding cakes. (I've taken my Wilton books and removed the wedding cake pics and put them in this 3-ring binder. That way I don't have 15 years of Wilton books all over the table. The pics are organized in one place.)

I explain that cake decorating is like any art or craft. If you can sew, you can buy any pattern and make that article of clothing. Book 1 (my cakes) shows you that I can sew ..... Book2 (magz pics) is a collection of patterns.

At the end, I look over the notes I've taken and summarize what they are asking for.

I then explain what will happen next: I will email them the proposal based on what we've discussed. I ask them to "look it over and make sure that what I've written is what you're expecting." I explain that I talk to a number of brides each week and by the time their wedding gets here, I will NOT remember this conversation, ".....so if it's not written down, it's not happening!"

I tell them "Should you select us for your wedding cake/catering, then I will need an email from you confirming that. That way I have it in writing that you placed the order and you have it in writing that you told me to be there!" thumbs_up.gif Once that email is rec'd, I will need their down payment of (whatever amt we've agreed to) asap.

I do not like them to give me a deposit that day. I want them to look it over and think about it and comparison shop and be VERY SURE before they book with me. As a result I have almost nil cancellations due to buyer's remorse (the only cancellations I've had have been because of canc'd or postponed weddings or one where the groom got shipped off to Afghanistan earlier than he thought). That's why I don't have a problem sitting in there with them while they are sampling ..... they should have some time to discuss it without me being there and I give them that time after they leave with no pressure.

I book about 99% of all brides that come for a sampling. In the last 2.5 years, I've only not booked 3 or 4 (and I sample anywhere from 2-4 brides a week).

There are a number of different ways to handle your sampling. This is what appears to be working very well for me. You'll find your comfort level as you do more of them.

I would say that it's very important to follow up with a written proposal to them with a "thanks for spending time with me to discuss your wedding plans" note.

SweetDreams Posted 21 Oct 2006 , 12:46pm
post #4 of 13

Thank you both so much for your input. What great advise!!!!! I am a no pressure type person. I figure if they want to book with me great but i want to make sure they are sure first also.

Thanks again so much!!!! icon_biggrin.gif

sweetchef Posted 21 Oct 2006 , 9:14pm
post #5 of 13

Do you guys feel it's OK to use magazine pictures and not have pictures of your own? I'm in the same boat--I haven't done any wedding cakes, but I know I wouldn't buy a cake from someone with no book of pictures!

indydebi Posted 23 Oct 2006 , 12:00pm
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetchef

Do you guys feel it's OK to use magazine pictures and not have pictures of your own? I'm in the same boat--I haven't done any wedding cakes, but I know I wouldn't buy a cake from someone with no book of pictures!




Do you have pictures of non-wedding cakes? Those pics show you can "sew", as I mentioned above. Ordering a wedding cake is a cut-n-paste decision anyway .... the flowers on this one, the borders on that one, This cake with pillars, that cake except without the ribbon, etc.

You can always do a couple of small cakes or dummy cakes (styrofoam). Dummies dont' have to take a lot of time. For example: Do a dummy with smooth sides and ribbon around the base. Take a photo. Add some scrolls or other decor to the sides. take a photo. now remove the ribbon and add a border. take a photo. Add some flowers made of icing or gumpaste or whatever medium you prefer. Take a photo. You've now got pictures of 4 wedding cakes from the one cake you decorated. Want more? Set the cake on top of a fountain stand. take photo #5. Set the dummies on 3 staggered-height acrylic stands. Take photo #6.

Katie-Bug Posted 23 Oct 2006 , 12:12pm
post #7 of 13

Okay I saw where you were using cake contracts, and worksheets. Did you order them or make them up yourself? I saw where you can order them through SweetC, but you can't veiw the details. I am affraid they aren't big enough.

vixterfsu Posted 23 Oct 2006 , 12:14pm
post #8 of 13

I meet with the bride and usually she already has something in mind. I show pictures and draw some ideas from the questions I ask. Never quote a price, because then you're held to that. I ask, "What is your budget" and go from there.
I ask her what kind of cake she has in mind and then set up a tasting appointment. I like everything to be fresh and not frozen so they get a fresh product. They usually will pick two kinds of cakes with various fillings and then I make that for the tasting.
I leave the drawings with them and then sched a tasting. At the tasting I let them taste and I throw
some other things I think will taste good which they
always like and then the contract begins.
I always let the bride know that I don't like to copy a cake since there's a strong possibility it won't look the same and I don't want her to be disapointed. I want her to have her cake.
Contract is drawn up and I tell her to think about it
for a day or two, then she signs and hands the deposit money over for the date.
Everyone is different here. So many ways to go.
Do what you are comfortable with.
Good luck.

indydebi Posted 23 Oct 2006 , 1:26pm
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by culinarycreations

Okay I saw where you were using cake contracts, and worksheets. Did you order them or make them up yourself? I saw where you can order them through SweetC, but you can't veiw the details. I am affraid they aren't big enough.




I created my own. My "terms of agreement" was derived from various food contracts I had been exposed to and I pulled the best parts. (My attorney has given his seal of approval on it).

My order forms were also created by me. I just created one with all the info I would need. When I send them these forms, these are the order forms and the work that is contracted.

mommabuda Posted 23 Oct 2006 , 1:41pm
post #10 of 13

I was so nervous too, then the lady never showed up! But I was all ready for her... I had made cupcakes the day before and frosted them, I had about 4 cake yearbooks out marked where the wedding cakes were and of course, I had my portfolio of cakes out there which really isn't much... it didn't contain any 3 tiered cakes yet so I was scared about that. I had my price list and flavor list out and I had gone over in my head how much other things were. Like I require a $50 deposit to hold the date and that is refundable up to a month before the date... also $20 refundable deposit for all the plates, pillars and other things is also added on... she wanted to know about a cake dummy too so I figured that I would charge 25 cents less a serving for a dummy but that would still cost her quite a bit so I was hoping to steer her clear of it... I made my husband take the baby and our 3 dogs over to my parent's house and then the lady never even showed up... how rude!

antonia74 Posted 23 Oct 2006 , 1:46pm
post #11 of 13

This thread was started last winter and it was really good for info:

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-14134-consultations.html




.

bobwonderbuns Posted 18 Jan 2012 , 10:33pm
post #12 of 13

Lots of good info here! Don't know how I missed this thread! icon_biggrin.gif

Bridgette1129 Posted 19 Jan 2012 , 5:29am
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi


I explain that cake decorating is like any art or craft. If you can sew, you can buy any pattern and make that article of clothing. Book 1 (my cakes) shows you that I can sew ..... Book2 (magz pics) is a collection of patterns.




IndyDebi explains things so well.... icon_smile.gif

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