Once you have your cake design planned and your flavors picked out, it's now time to figure out different costs. Cakes are usually priced by the slice. Will the cake be large enough to feed your guests, or will you need to purchase another sheet cake to serve? Would it be cheaper for you to have a smaller cake and a larger sheet cake? Some even offer a fake cake (with real top tier) and a sheet cake in order to cut the costs. Also, what about the flavor/filling combos - you might love the fresh mixed berries, but if you're on a budget, replacing them with something else might be a good idea.
If you're going for floral decorations, make sure the baker is supplying them all, and if so, do you have a better connection that can get them at a better price? (Now's when I should also add, make sure the flowers you use are edible).
Don't overlook things like cake stands, cutters, toppers, either. Find out if they come with the cake (a cake always looks so much prettier on a cake stand), or if they require a deposit.
To read the last few tips,
Be sure to find out how busy the bakery is and how much time/attention they give to each cake. If they have a small staff and have several cakes needed for your wedding day, ask how they plan on pulling it off. Also, find out how far in advance the cake is prepared. The cake portion can be made up to a week in advance, but the icing shouldn't be more than a day or two.
One really important, and sometimes overlooked, fee is the delivery charge. Is there one? Does the place even deliver or will you have to pick it up (which to me, sounds like a recipe for disaster). Does a decorator accompany the cake delivery, or do they use a service. The ideal situation is one where a cake decorator accompanies the cake, this way if something slips during transportation, they'll be able to make any necessary repairs. Is it delivered whole or placed together on spot? Will the company travel to your location, or is it out of their delivery range? If they will, is it going to cost extra? Be sure to figure this stuff out, so that there are no "hidden" costs later.
Finally, have fun, be unique and be yourself - but don't skimp out, make sure it lives up to your expectations. As cake designer Edith Meyer (who created the two very different cakes shown here, and the one from yesterday) states, "Remember, it's the last thing your guests are going to remember from the reception, and it should be as special as the rest of your day."
Be sure to check out part one of how to find the perfect wedding cake!
Do you have any great tips on what to ask when choosing a cake designer? Or how about any great cake-tasting tales? Let us know below!