I'm wondering how far ahead does everyone book their cakes? I had a call for a wedding that is over a year away. That seems awfully soon to me, but then again I do have some dates that are 7 months away & already booked so maybe stretching it to a year in advance it is not really so unreasonable? But then I wonder.....is the next call going to be for two years away? At what point do you draw the line?
What do you do????
I am finding that couples are booking further and further out. They make the decision early on so they have"less" to worry about. The furthest out I have booked right now is November 2009. But I have had 2 consultations for 2010 already! I think because reception places book up so fast, they feel the pressure to make sure their photographer, florist and baker are all done. To me it makes sense. All 4 of those vendors are limited to X amount of weddings a weekend. Even the biggest bakeries in town have a limit. I partner with a limo company and if they are pressed to their limits they can do at least 35+ weddings per weekend. It all depends on what part of the business you are in.
I will take up to the beginning of 2010 right now. But not any further then that.
I already have closed dates in 2009.
Agree with the above that brides are planning WAY in advance so it's not uncommon for them to want to get everything all confirmed and wrapped up. I just flipped thru my excel calendar and a lot of my 2008 bookings were set between 9 and 12 months prior to the event.
I have no problem telling brides they need to book early, and earning the reputation of "you have to book early with her! She's in high demand!"
I had a bride who was booked with me change her date and she was shocked to find I was already booked on the new date. I said, "Other brides are booking early, just like you!" (Do you ever catch yourself complaining about all the traffic at the mall before you realize that YOU are also part of all the traffic at the mall? )
I've never had to impose it, but there is a standard clause in my Terms about "prices may change due to price changes in the market". It's never come into play before, but with what prices are doing these days.....!
Yep it's becoming quit common for brides to book early. I prefer them to book far in advance.
Don't you just love those brides that come to you and say oh I'm getting married in a month and need a 4 tier cake with lots of work haha should have called me sooner. For the life of me can't understand why someone would wait until the last minute to get a 'presentation' item such as a cake at the last minute.
I'm the opposite from everyone else. I booked a cake for a bride last year for more than a year in advance and that was when I was just starting out so my prices were super cheap. Also the price of ingredients went up in the meantime. Since I had quoted her a price over a year ago, I didn't feel right telling her my prices had more than doubled since then and I ended up doing the cake at cost, making NO profit. So now I don't book cakes more than six months in advance because I know my prices will definitely increase by then. Besides, I don't want to plan my life around cakes booked a year and a half away. So I think if your going to book someone for more than 6 mo. away you should quote them double so they don't lock you into prices you'll regret later.
If the date is open when they call, I book away! I always get a deposit though...if they want to give that to me far ahead, that's perfectly ok with me.
They WANT to book way ahead, that assures them of getting the people they want.
I've booked 3-4 months in advance!!If I'm here...I'll book them!!
If a bride wants to book a date over a year in advance I will let her. I will also tell her that due to the nature of the business costs may go up by that time but not astronomically so.
I never book with a solid price for a date over a year out. I will give an estimate.
In May 2007, I booked a wedding for December 2008. Brides are booking farther and farther in advance for many reasons. I'm finding that my brides are wanting to get all of the details and vendors squared away; be able to pay over time for their purchases; and simply just to have the peace of mind of knowing that everything has been taken care of for their big day. I have 5 tastings scheduled for 5/10, and 3 of them are for 2009 weddings. For me, there is no such thing as booking TOO far in advance. I like knowing what's on my horizon.
Not to mention how the bank LUVS to see orders-on-the-books that far out for you.
Amen, Indydebi! I like seeing those dates booked, too.
I just got a wedding booked for next year, for March, and I already have an inquiry for April. Both the biggest I've got booked so far. Last month I booked one for December. While I was a little nervous about booking into next year at first, I like it now because I take the income month by month, and it's nice to have that jump-starts already there! I'm finding too that brides are really getting that stuff out of the way earlier so paying for it all is a little easier and they just feel more relaxed closer to the wedding. You certainly can't plan everything about life, but I've just gotten better at planning my vacation days and family affairs to work around the business.
Unless you are not sure if you are going to be in business next year, I don't know why you would hesitate to book a wedding not matter how far away the date is. I have about a dozen weddings already booked for 2009. For some of them the couple live away from home and are only here a couple of times before the wedding, so when they are back home, everything has to be decided and booked during that small window of time. If you turn a bride down for an appointment because her date is 6+ months away, she is not going to sit on the sidelines waiting for you to say when it is a good time for her to chose her cake, she is going to the next baker who will accomodate her. You can always put "prices subject to change" if it makes you feel better, but I have been in business for 18 years and always feel once a bride has taken the time to come in and design their cake, I honor that pice.
For those who book a year out, how do you handle price increases. I have an inquiry for May '09. I know the cost of food will still be going up. I thought about giving a quote, then saying that a fee of up to $50.00 may be added due to increases in food prices. Does that sound ok? Help!
As someone else mentioned earlier, if a bride takes the time to meet with me and pay the booking deposit, her rate is locked into the contract for my prices at the time that she booked. I just feel that that is fair. JMO...
I understand what you are saying about the price of supplies changing between booking and baking, but that happens lately from week to week, so I guess it falls a little bit under the cost of doing business. I would rather have the guaranteed bride and make a little less money that wait too long and have no bride and make no money. I do have them pay a retainer that is non-refundable so I have something for my time if plans change in a year or two's time! I have had people book 3 or 4 months ahead and I may change prices between there, but someone else mentioned, I just don't feel right changing the price once the deal is set up! Just me!
Most of my weddings are booked 6-9 months out, however this year was a little strange as I had to turn down 8 weddings for June that waited till 4-6 weeks out. And then you have the ones who wait til a week out! If I can do those I double my prices for the "Rush order" If I get a booking more then a year out I only ask for a $50.00 deposit to secure the date, which is non-refundable, when the their date gets closer they can make up the 50% deposit that I require. All in all, I take whatever bookings come in on a first come first serve basis. I start with a quote sheet on every call, getting names, dates, how many etc., when their deposit is received I then put them on the books. I keep a clip board on all my quotes, as I would never remember conversations on all the calls.