The busy wedding season is coming up — and fast! Starting in March and through fall, cake decorators are busy making wedding cakes. It’s easy to get a little flustered during this time of year, especially if your calendar is full.
That’s why we’re here to share a few tips on how to prep for wedding cake season and not lose your cool.
1. Keep everything in sight (literally)
You know the old saying, “out of sigh out of mind”? That’s so not what you want or need when making a wedding cake!
It’s super helpful to frequently look through your planner, consultation and design sheets and emails with clients. Each week, find some time to sit and re-familiarize yourself with future wedding designs. Keeping everything fresh in your mind means it won’t sneak up on you later.
2. Prepare decorations in advance
Some things can be prepared in advance, which is always helpful. Custom cake toppers, iced boards or sugar flowers can all be made a week or two before the event. You can even make leaves, filler florals and berries in larger batches a month or so before you need them.
Once you have a few items ready, store them away in cake boxes filled with tissue paper or crumpled up foil or plastic wrap. Then you can pull them out when needed!
3. Order all your supplies and materials in advance
There’s nothing like a stalled online order to keep you from completing a cake! For example, make sure you have your most frequently used ingredients in stock or pre-ordered. Keep an eye on your inventory so you can re-stock well before you actually run out of something.
This works for fresh flowers, too! Order them in advance, and always double check your order with your florist a week before picking them up.
4. Talk over the details right away
One of the best pieces of advice we can offer is to get every fine detail from your clients at the beginning. You’ll eliminate masses of emails and unexpected phone calls that can make planning more difficult. This can be easier said than done, especially if the couple isn’t sure what they want. It’s OK to pinpoint finer details (like the exact flavor of filling they want) later on.
When you do start pinpointing details, think of everything. We often work with couples who don’t fully understand that details are insanely important for getting the job done. We’ve had people request “a pink wedding cake with some flowers.” But what type of pink? How much pink? Do they want pink fondant or pink buttercream? Would they like a solid color, or perhaps ombré or even marble? What type of flowers? What color flowers? How many flowers? Would they like foliage and berries too?
These details matter so so much. Have these conversations early, and write everything down so that you’re not tracking down the information as you’re stacking the tiers.
5. Spring clean before the season kicks off
Before wedding season gets in full swing, find some time to re-organize your office, stock up on supplies and deep clean your kitchen. Every January, we keep an entire week free of any bookings so we can concentrate on a good spring clean.
Re-arrange supplies, ingredients and tools and think about how to organize them better. For example, keeping your most-used cake pans at the back of a cupboard will just slow you down.
While a diligent cleaning sets you up for success come wedding season, you can’t only do this once a year. You should regularly check (every week!) the expiration date of ingredients. For things that have longer lasting period (colors, flavors, etc.) double check during your deep clean.
6. Master the art of scheduling
We schedule everything involved with making a cake. For us, this can begin a couple months before the due date or a week before the event, depending on our workload and the complexity of the cake. When scheduling, you need to consider the design and size of the cake, which will affect baking time, delivery, etc. Don’t forget about practicing techniques, juggling other orders, and taking some time off.
Yes, we said time off! You’ll go crazy without 30 minutes to an hour to just sit with a meal or your favorite TV show. When your workload is full it may seem ridiculous to stop and take a break, but high stress levels lead to mistakes.
7. Practice new techniques in advance
Never, ever, ever wait until the very last moment to try a new tool or technique. Taking on an order that requests techniques you’ve never done is a recipe for disaster — unless you give yourself plenty of time to master the new skill. Practice on a dummy cake or cupcakes well before the due date for your order.
Find must-have ingredients, tools and decorations right here on Craftsy.
Re-edited from a post that originally appeared in March 2017.