Starting Wedding Cakes

Business By something_sweet Updated 11 May 2008 , 3:55am by Tomoore

something_sweet Posted 6 May 2008 , 12:47pm
post #1 of 15

I have taken all of the Wilton cake decorating courses (and I realize there is much more to know than what is taught in those courses). I have done sheet cakes and layer cakes for friends, I even did a tiered cake for my in-laws' anniversary party. I think I am ready to start doing wedding cakes, but I am not sure where to go from here.
I have a unique situation because my family actually owns 1/2 of an up-scale catering and banquet facility, that holds at least 35 weddings a year. My mom is the chef, and her business partner does most of the office work and meeting with clients, etc. She (her business partner) told me that once I was done with classes that she would start promoting me as a cake decorator for wedding cakes. Well I am finished now, but she has started telling everyone that I am going to start doing wedding cakes in 2009! It makes me feel like she doesn't think I am ready and doesn't think I can handle it.
I am working with another cake decorator to learn some new techniques, but my thought was that I would buy the supplies I needed for the cakes that were ordered and that I would learn what I needed to along the way (and practice a lot before hand).
So I am wondering what you did to get started? Did you practice actually making wedding cakes at home, just to make them? To me, it seems like an awful waste of cake! I feel like making a wedding cake and taking it in to her, so that she can see what I can do. She has seen some of my smaller cakes, and I understand that they don't compare to a wedding cake, but she has seemed to be impressed with them. Any advice on where I should go from here!

14 replies
sambugjoebear Posted 6 May 2008 , 1:23pm
post #2 of 15

buy some dummy cakes that you can stack and practice on that way you can concentrate on making new designs and not wasting time and cake icon_smile.gif when you complete a design, take a picture, clean the dummies, then create a new design. Wash, rinse, repeat icon_smile.gif By taking the pictures you can start your own portfolio that potential customers will be able to look at and to also show your work to your mom's business partner (so she KNOWS WITHOUT DOUBT) that you CAN do it and that you don't need a year to start! Good luck! icon_smile.gif

ccr03 Posted 6 May 2008 , 1:29pm
post #3 of 15

First question, do you think you are ready to start making wedding cake? Do you think that your cakes are up to par?

If so, then I would suggest buying some cake dummies and make as many cake as you can/want to help build your wedding cake portfolio.

Also, don't limit yourself to your family's banquet center. Market yourself, do bridal expos, get yourself a Web site, search this board for way to build your business.

Oh, but before you go full-force on any advertising - GET LEGAL!!! That way you won't have to worry about flying under the radar and getting caught.

something_sweet Posted 6 May 2008 , 1:39pm
post #4 of 15

I am in the process of getting legal now, so that will be taken care of before I get any business.
I had thought about the cake dummies, so that is great, I will do that! Where do you buy them at? Online?
Thanks for your help!!! icon_biggrin.gif

something_sweet Posted 6 May 2008 , 1:43pm
post #5 of 15

oh, and yes, I do think I am ready. I have already had 2 people to ask me to do their wedding cakes, and I constantly get compliments on my cakes. I know that it takes a lot of time and effort, and I am ready for all of that.

Tomoore Posted 9 May 2008 , 1:54am
post #6 of 15

Sweetestthing,

I understand how you feel (somewhat)...However, I feel that the more practice the better. One thing that terrifies me is making a mess of someone's wedding reception.

Example, I hadn't practiced the topsy turvy. I committed myself to a three tier topsy turvy. The client told me about her dream cake the day I met her and she was extremely excited about it. Because I have experience with stacked cakes, I assumed I'd be okay. Because I constructed the cake improperly, it topple over and was ruined. Had I given myself the practice I needed, I could have properly executed that project successfully and saved myself the embarassment and blah, blah, blah...

The "wasted cakes" (that I also recommend you drive around to learn about transporting them) will allow you to comfortably know your capabilities and practice new ones icon_wink.gif Cake dummies are great, but they wouldn't fall over (necessarilty) the way her wedding cake might when you hit a bump. It will also allow you to get more photographs for your portfolios. I offer to donate stacked cakes for various events to build my portfolio. Brides will trust me more when they see what they're looking for in my portfolio.

Also, there's gotta be some tax break for the donations??

lovetofrost Posted 9 May 2008 , 2:28am
post #7 of 15

i got my dummy cakes from taylorfoam.com. they shipped fast and look great. i haven't got to use them yet, but am planning on doing that next week. good luck. i am in the same boat. i talked to a lady with the wedding shows and will be attending one in june to get an idea and plan on being a vendor in september. i feel like that will give me plenty of time to prepare and get ready. i hear they are alot of fun.

poshcakedesigns Posted 9 May 2008 , 2:37am
post #8 of 15

You really do need to practice with some real cakes. I know it does seem like a waste but to get a feel for the weight and distribution you need to do a few.

(Tomore) yes the cakes can be deducted on your taxes. When you make a donation in your receipt book you need to list the item as a donation and have the business that you donate the cake to sign for the cake. It's good to have them print and sign the gift receipt for tax purposes. You will also want to list the value of the cake that you donated.

littlecake Posted 9 May 2008 , 2:41am
post #9 of 15

it was sink or swim for me....i took the wilton courses...went to work at a in store bakery...they trained me for a few weeks...

they transfered me to a store who hadn't had a decorator in quite some time...

the bakery manager was so thrilled to have a decorator...she took orders for everything...including wedding cakes...i flew by the seat of my pants, was as slow as christmas...but they all turned out pretty nice.

lulus Posted 9 May 2008 , 3:49am
post #10 of 15

Littlecake,

Where in Oklahoma are you located? I'm in Tulsa.

mjcakes Posted 9 May 2008 , 1:18pm
post #11 of 15

PRACTICE!!! My 1st wedding cake was for a friend and at her wedding was a wedding coordinator, who I am now so very fortunate to know because she throws me all kinds of business. For sure, get to know the real thing and how to maneuver with it. The best advice? Leave yourself tons of extra time so you're not frantic getting it out the door. With time and paractice comes the experience you'll need to become successful! Good luck...and how lucky to have the resources you have!

ccr03 Posted 9 May 2008 , 1:46pm
post #12 of 15

You know I know I said to get dummies - but I would absolutely practice on real cakes as well. As a matter of fact if you haven't do a wedding-style cake, I would DEFINITELY practice, practice, practice. As it's been stated, dummies and real cakes are WORLD different.

HOwever, once you 'conquer' the real cakes, use dummies to build up your portfolio.

indydebi Posted 11 May 2008 , 2:58am
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomoore

..... (that I also recommend you drive around to learn about transporting them)




What a brilliant idea that I never, ever thought of suggesting!!

Your mom might have pushed you out to 2009, because the year is half over and a lot of brides plan for their cake months and months in advance. So perhaps their 2008 bookings already have a cake taken care of .... she's not pushing you "all the way out" to 2009. In her eyes, she may be thinking you'll start making cakes "as soon as" 2009.

Tomoore Posted 11 May 2008 , 3:08am
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomoore

..... (that I also recommend you drive around to learn about transporting them)



What a brilliant idea that I never, ever thought of suggesting!!




Oh, I could just die now...Indydebi said my idea was brilliant! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Tomoore Posted 11 May 2008 , 3:55am
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomoore

..... (that I also recommend you drive around to learn about transporting them)



What a brilliant idea that I never, ever thought of suggesting!!




Oh, I could just die now...Indydebi said my idea was brilliant! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%