Cake Table Decorating Service??

Business By underthesun Updated 19 Sep 2011 , 4:42pm by underthesun

underthesun Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
underthesun Posted 16 Sep 2011 , 12:04am
post #1 of 17

Cake Shops: I have had a bakery for over a year now and with the increase of Wedding Cake sales and venues I work with, I'm wondering about the cake table. I've learned I can count on a couple of the florists I work with, but if they are not involved, I find the hotels only provide a white table cloth. The cake table, often, is plain and tacky, but the reception dinner tables are beautiful. Sometimes, I gather small items off the dinner tables and use them to improve the cake table. I have learned to mention this detail to the brides, but I still find the plain, white table cloth awaiting the focal point.... The Cake.

Do any of you offer cake table decorating as a service to your brides? It seems like one more thing for me to take care of. What are your thoughts?

16 replies
MimiFix Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
MimiFix Posted 17 Sep 2011 , 4:36pm
post #2 of 17

I began a reply yesterday, then decided my opinion would not make people happy. But since no one else has replied...

I've always requested from the bride that their florist provide flowers for the table. I then get the florist's contact information to follow up. Your wedding cake is the star on that table. You need to make it look excellent and fresh flowers are perfect. You don't want anything else to compete with your cake. Asking for an additional fee is inappropriate.

aligotmatt Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
aligotmatt Posted 17 Sep 2011 , 5:06pm
post #3 of 17

I just recommend people plan for that table as well. And give them the same talk you just did - you spend a lot of money and effort having all of your other tables decorated, don't forget about the cake table. Then I show them some pictures of a cake sitting flat on a white table cloth, and then some on stands with flowers and candles around them. So I don't often show up to a plain table...

CakeItGood Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
CakeItGood Posted 17 Sep 2011 , 5:26pm
post #4 of 17

That is a tough one. I explain the plain white table thing, and offer to either work with their florist or be reimbursed for flowers or decorations that I purchase. But I don't charge extra or the service unless they want something really detailed. Few take me up on it, as they really view the cake as the primary focal centerpiece.

underthesun Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
underthesun Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 12:45am
post #5 of 17

Thank you all for your thoughts. I have been stressing the need to decorate the cake table, but so often get to the venue and find it with a white tablecloth. Was beginning to worry, maybe other cake businesses were doing the table, also. I appreciate your advice. I like the idea of showing photos of well dressed tables and of plain tables. THANKS icon_smile.gif

lutie Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
lutie Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 1:39am
post #6 of 17

I finished a wedding this last week and one hour before the wedding the mother of the bride came into me stressing that I did not have the cake on the table (I was also catering and will not put a buttercream iced cake out in 102 degree temperature until the last minute)...they were informed by my contract that I was not decorating the table (it was a family type wedding and the family was very involved)...I designed a table for them for the cake and they did a super job with all of the items...the only problem? They did not put anything on the table, sans the cloth...they cried they 'didn't know how to decorate for the cake and cupcakes', with guests standing around, I was out trying to decorate a table, while still trying to get the food ready...I was not paid for this, and will never get paid for being their decorator at this wedding.

The uncle who was heading up the decorating is a professional decorator at one of the swankiest hotel chains in the USA and did not know how to 'decorate the cake table'? I think not. ...BTW, the uncle came up to me and said it was the most beautiful cake table he had ever seen, but he 'would never had been able to do such a good job'...yeah, right!

They have to pay extra for the table decorating...I will give them a cake with so much 'stuff' to make my product look good, but I will not set up the table unless they pay.

underthesun Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
underthesun Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 10:50am
post #7 of 17

I'm thinking my #1 tip will be "Don't forget the cake table". Good idea to have it in your contract. I might have to add tHat. Thanks!

AnnieCahill Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
AnnieCahill Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 12:27pm
post #8 of 17

My cake table was far from white (gee I wonder why haha!). There is a lady who supplies linens in my town and we rented overlays to go over the ivory tablecloths. Then I put down lots of evergreens and Christmas lights woven throughout. My wedding was right before Christmas.

That said, maybe you can find someone who supplies linens in your town, and offer to rent one for the cake table. Or remind the customer that if they are doing overlays for the rest of the tables, not to forget the cake table.

Cake_Karen Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Cake_Karen Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 1:32pm
post #9 of 17

I am hired to make the wedding cake and thats all. I make it, deliver it and set it up I dont feel its down to me if the cake table is decorated or not thats the responsibility of the bride and groom.

You would not expect the chef to decorate the tables that his plates of food are put on so I feel the same about the cake table.

Apti Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Apti Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 2:33pm
post #10 of 17

This was a fascinating thread. I'm a hobby baker and just did my first presentation. I was fretting about the table because I had NO idea what I'd find except an 8' foot folding table. It ended up being ok (there was a tablecloth matching my cake design on the table), but now I really understand the importance of a well-dressed table.

A possible idea would be to add the cost of a medium sized tablecloth and 4 votive candles to the cost of each cake ($5?, $10?). Purchase a table cloth in cream, gold, or silver that will match the cake/cake base/colors, etc. Your square tablecloth could then be placed diagonally over the white tablecloth, and the cake could be set in the center. It would highlight the cake, be an extra glimpse of color on a plain white tablecloth, and if it ends up NOT being needed, no worries.

cakegirl1973 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
cakegirl1973 Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 3:12pm
post #11 of 17

During the consultation, we discuss what the cake table will look like and whether the florist or venue will be decorating the table. I make it clear to the bride that they are responsible for the decorations and need to make arrangements with the florist or venue for set up.

That said, it is not unusual for me to have to do a little rearranging on the table after I have placed the cake down. I'm fine with that, and I don't charge anything extra. It literally takes just a couple of minutes, and I want the table to compliment the cake.

underthesun Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
underthesun Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 3:18pm
post #12 of 17

I have to be honest, when I started this thread, I was really hoping to find, that most cake decorators don't go to the trouble of becoming table decorators, also. I really don't have the time or want to invest the money or find a place to store everything. I also find, with teal, blue and lime greens being a huge color, this year, there are soooo many different shades. I have shown up with teal or green ribbon and found it totally clashed with the rest of the "teals" or "greens" in the room. About 60% of my brides are from out of town and only arrive a few days before (yes, I live in Florida), so samples are very difficult to come by.

My experience, tells me that those who have a florist decorating at the reception or have arranged for the venue to decorate, usually have the best tables. I always coordinate with my florists, but find it harder to coordinate with hotels. I have shown up at so many hotels, to find a plain white table cloth.

I'm happy to find that most of you do not take on the responsibility.... yeah!! I appreciate everyone sharing and it sounds like I just have to be diligent about giving the cake table information to my brides. I really like the photo idea. I have so many photos of awesome tables and then those placed on plain white. Thanks icon_biggrin.gif

underthesun Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
underthesun Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 3:20pm
post #13 of 17

Thanks cakegirl! Again, glad to hear you don't take it all on. I, too, have rearranged things, including taking a few items from reception tables. I was beginning to worry, my competition my be doing this and never want to be leaving a detail out. THANKS!!

FromScratchSF Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
FromScratchSF Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 3:57pm
post #14 of 17

I offer this service and include it in my delivery fee, but honestly every time I show up to drop off a cake the table is never ready. Never. Due to the limited space we deal with here the ceremony and reception are often in the same room, it's set up for the ceremony, then the coordinator shoos everyone out to break the room down and set it up for dinner - so when I drop off the cake I've had to leave it "in the back" and trust the venue or coordinator to take care of it. BUT - I have no problem dressing the table because I always take pictures of my cakes and all wedding pictures go directly in my portfolio, and they'd look much better with all the pretty around it. Since most of my cakes are assembled and/or finished on site, I have to do the best that I can with what I have to work with, crappy light and all, but I'd much prefer to spend the extra 15 minutes setting out candles or whatever. It takes me much longer then 15 minutes to seriously Photoshop out boxes and the wait staff huddled around or the dirty walls in the background... or to color/exposure correct like crazy because there's no light.

indydebi Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
indydebi Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 4:24pm
post #15 of 17
Originally Posted by Cake_Karen

I am hired to make the wedding cake and thats all. I make it, deliver it and set it up I dont feel its down to me if the cake table is decorated or not thats the responsibility of the bride and groom.

You would not expect the chef to decorate the tables that his plates of food are put on so I feel the same about the cake table.

ditto. I always told brides the table should be ready for me to "walk in, set the cake down, and walk out." Neither the bride nor I wanted to add yet MORE equipment and supplies that needed returned to a vendor and deal with yet MORE deposits for returned equipment.

Quick, simple and easy.

Most brides (in my experience) have wedding planners and/or hotel event coordinators who handle all of the decorating. In the pre-ordering discussion, I also told them, "Put anything you want on the cake table. If it's in my way, I'll just move it anyway!" icon_biggrin.gif (Why or WHY do brides think they can put strands of lights UNDER the tablecloth and still expect a cake to sit nice and level ON TOP OF those lights! Geesh!)

leah_s Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
leah_s Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 4:25pm
post #16 of 17

I'm with you guys. I'm not a decorator. I tell my brides that if they leave a bag/box of decor for the cake table - clearly labeled, I will put the things on the table. Other than that, no way. There have been times when I was relieved to see a white cloth table linen. Seriously, I've dropped off cake with plastic tablecloths, obviously hurriedly cut with scissors to "fit" the table.

underthesun Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
underthesun Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 4:42pm
post #17 of 17

Fromscratch: glad to hear your venues get your cakes out without trouble. The only cake I have ever left for a venue to put out (due to oudoor reception with 95 degree heat, I ended up refunding the cake. I never found out what happened to it. But I know, when I left, there were no cracks in the fondant, no wires were used and no buttercream oozing out the sides. Lesson learned, I will never let a venue place the cake, again. No one fessed up either, so I, also won't makes cakes with this venue.

Good point Indydebi... I worry enough about getting my cupcake tower back, much less have to deal with charging and crediting another security deposit.

Quote by @%username% on %date%