Yea...I'm bored tonight so I seem to be wanting to post questions as they pop into my head. This came to me after thinking about the cake I posted about a little while ago. 'Cause quite frankly that cake scares me!
When a bride sends you a picture of a cake they like, do you automatically go with it, or do you try and steer them in another direction? Possibly to come up with a design that might have the elements of the cake they like, but making it more their own? Unless a bride is steadfast on "this HAS to be the cake they get", do you budge them towards a cake that is more "just for them"? The last couple of wedding cakes I've done, I've gone pretty much by the design they've wanted. (I do let them know that since the picture of the cake they want is not one of my cakes, it won't be "exactly" like that...but will get as close to it as possible). However, when I get to the venue and see how the place is decorated, I see things that would have looked nice incorporated on the cake.
One place was decorated in what I would call a Victorian style. What they wanted in the cake didn't have that feel at all. To me, the cake looked kind of out of place. So...along with the usual questions on color, flavor, how many does the cake need to feed questions, would it be ok to ask to see samples of decorations they plan on using, what look they're going for etc? Since I've been back doing cakes I have only done a few wedding cakes so that's why I'm asking. When I used to do them back in the "only- butter cream" days, it was basically just "How many tiers, what flavor, what color do you want your roses, how many plastic bridesmaids do you want on the staircase, and do you want a fountain"?
I laughed at your bored comment. I am laughing at myself because I have not business spendigng time on CC when I have tons to do, but the forums are calling to me today. I must need to give out my opinion or something!
Anyway, to your question. I came into the wedding cake scene 7 years or so ago. I am all about taste, design, and fitting the mood. I think you absolutely should ask about the "vibe" of the wedding. I do this at every design consultation appointment. I learned this lesson the same way you mentioned.
I made a cake for my "boss" at a part-time job I used to have. It was her 2nd marriage and she was keeping it small and simple. Just a ceremony at home and a reception at a local restaurant. She simply would not come and do a consultation. She kept telling me just to pick a design and go with it. I hate doing that because I like to meet the customer's expectations. Finally I got her to pick one from my portfolio and just change up the color scheme. Well, I wish she would've thought of her venue because it was at a downtown, hip, urban restaurant. The cake design she chose was like Grandma Gertie came to town. The wait staff actually snickered a little.....I think? Maybe I was just being paranoid. But, since then, I always ask about the venue and feel of event. I was really embarassed!
I want my cakes to reflect my skills and taste as well as the couple.
My last bride told me she wanted basket weave.
I think I might have audibly sucked in as I have issues with my wrists and this was a huge cake.
I've hated that basket weave since I learned it in the Wilton classes. So old fashioned. Ugg.
No matter or side taking was going to move her away from it.Turns out all her decorations were white wicker baskets.
Well...she happened to bring one with her to the tasting. It was smooth so I did a google search and found a smooth version of basket weave. She loved it.
My hands were killing me when it was done, but at least she let me make a modern version of a granny cake.
It's in my pictures.
Sometimes the bride just wants what she wants.