A lady emailed me about pricing a for a grooms cake. The first question in my mind was "who's making your wedding cake and why aren't they making your grooms cake?"
We make secondary cakes for events all the time, this usually happens when the bride wants to accommodate one or more guests with allergies to nuts/eggs/gluten/dairy/etc (we specialize in allergy-friendly cakes).
If you're concerned about your reputation I would ask who is making the wedding cake...it could be the venue, another bakery, or a friend/family member. If the venue is making the wedding cake I would check with them to make sure outside food is allowed. If another bakery is making it, just take a look at some of their work and see if you are comfortable with their level of quality -- IMO you don't need to contact the other baker and ask about exclusivity clauses, since that's between the customer and the other baker, and the other baker can't reject your cake like the venue can. If a guest is making the other cake, that would be a judgment call on your end.
I do grooms cakes for rehearsal dinners all the time that I'm not making the wedding cake.
There are a few reason this happens from my experience. The biggest is this, the bride orders a cake, the date gets all booked up, then they want to order a grooms cake, but there isn't any more slots.
Another reason is not every wedding cake maker can make a crazy sculpted grooms cake. I get a lot of recommendations when someones bride wants a sculpted team mascot, or a car, or boat, or something else they don't really make...
And another is people just don't think about it like that. They have a list, and they go through and check things off, and in their brain, a wedding cake person is not the same as a groom's cake person.
AND the grooms family tends to "throw" the rehearsal dinner, where the brides family does the wedding. They use different contacts and recommendations.
I don't think it's at all strange to book 2 different people for each cake.
We've done that too, and I don't think it's a problem. It's not like the situation where they want a display cake from you, but then they want to get sheet cakes from the local grocery store or something like that. In that case, those who get the grocery store cake would naturally assume that it came from your display cake, and if it tastes like crap, that's what they will think of your cake! In the case of a Groom's cake, it is a completely separate cake, and is almost always a completely different flavor as well.
Sometimes the caterer includes the wedding cake in the package, so the couple look elsewhere for the groom's cake.
If the groom's cake is going to be served at the same event (reception, not rehearsal dinner), then yes both must come from me unless I sign off on using someone else. It has to be someone I know to be licensed, and who's work I know.
I only do groom's cakes for rehearsal dinners if I don't do the wedding cake too. And I have to deliver them, they can't pick them up and play switchy switchy and hold onto it for the next day!
Around here, so many caterers include wedding cakes in their package. So the bride actually does not shop around for a wedding cake...but she MAY shop around for a groom's cake, and she may ask me to do one. I don't mind doing that....especially since its really not a competitor doing the wedding cake...its just included in the catering package. (Which I hate, but its okay...no reason not to provide the groom's cake.)
I had a Lebanese bride having a traditional wedding where the dessert is baklava. She had me make a "grooms cake" (a life sized tennis racquet, ball & dew rag) for her parents to present his parents out of respect. Apparently, the grooms family were all chocolate loving tennis nuts! LOL