AI'm new to making and decorating cakes so I was wondering what I should get like tools and equipment and where you recommend getting them.
Depends. My own inclination, as one who only bakes a few cakes a year, is to get what I need, when I need it. Which is to say that I have, at this time, two tips and a 4-pack of couplers, and I use a zip-top bag with the corner cut out as a piping bag. And I generally only buy pans if I need something specific that isn't already on hand.
When I needed an 8x8 square, without nonstick coating, about the only one I could find that didn't cost an arm and a leg was a Wilton, at Michael's. When I needed a Bundt mold on short notice, I found a Calphalon at Macy's. But usually, Sur La Table and Bed, Bath and Beyond are my go-to stores. They've got decent enough prices on (espeiclaly in Sur La Table's case) some fairly esoteric stuff.
My understanding from lots of other people's postings on the Board, is that Wilton is more hype than substance. But some of the brands that are very popular on the Board look like they'd be a pain in the <equus asinius> to clean. I generally try to buy quality in proportion to how much use I expect to get out of stuff. I'm not by any means willing to splurge on pans the way I splurge on computer keyboards (I'm typing this on a $90 Unicomp), but I expect that I shouldn't have to buy the same pan twice.
I posted a blog about this earlier in the month. I listed a few of my favorite things that are great to get anyone interested in decorating started.
I purchase most of my stuff online wherever I can find free shipping as we don't have a cake supply store in my area other than Michaels which is mostly Wilton products.
Get yourself some really good cake pans. Do some research on the brands. I use Magic Line, but there are other reputable brands. As James said, buy only what you think you will need at the moment if you are just starting out, or don't know what your plan is. I am still in the research and development phase of my business, so I am buying things as I need them. I have found that cake board, dowels (or boba straws), cake pans, spatulas, etc, have worked for me. But your needs may be different. Figure out what you want to do and that will give you an idea of the things you need.
Don't rush out and buy every baking item. As you go along you'll begin to see what items you really need.