Finding the perfect vendors from a distance can be difficult. You don’t have the luxury of shopping around in person and much of your planning is being done on your laptop. No worries, follow these top tips for finding the perfect bakers, even if you’re planning your destination mountain wedding from a distance.
1. Figure out if you’re allowed. First, does your venue even allow for an outside cake? Similarly, do they demand that you use a vendor on their preferred list? Answering yes to one of theses questions will limit your options but also make it easier to check “book wedding cake” off of your list of things to do.
2. Revisit your priorities. Refer back to your initial list of priorities. Where is the cake? High? Low? Let it remain where it is. If it’s low on the list, you may feel comfortable with cupcakes or a sweet and simple southern-style cake rather than and elaborate, multi-tiered confection festooned with delicate sugar flowers. If your cake was lower on the priority list but your feeling pressure to move it up, read this post on wedding cake priorities. Do it now, I’ll wait right here.
3. Ask your planner for guidance. If you’re planning a destination mountain wedding, hire a planner. Full stop. You’re planner will have worked with a majority of vendors you’re considering be able to help you find the perfect baker for your style and budget. IN addition to your planner’s suggestions, you can also check out the local wedding guide for a list of bakers. For the best and most reliable mountain wedding bakers, visit the Mountainside Guide.
4. Ask other vendors for recommendations. This is where the rubber meets the road. Vendor work weekend after weekend with each other and often see things the bride does not (professional attitude, grace under pressure, workmanship, etc.) Ask your other vendors who they like to work with and who they recommend.
5. Look at cake bakers’ websites. Pay close attention to their gallery. Are the cakes features the same style you’re looking for? If you’re looking for a modern, sleek, fondant covered, multi-tiered confection with bold lines, don’t hire the baker whose gallery is filled with single tiers and fluffy, rustic-inspired buttercream cakes.
6. Pick up the phone or email to ask some preliminary questions. Contact the baker and make sure they are available on your wedding day, are within your budget, and are capable of making the cake you want (custom design, gluten free, paleo, etc.) Ask if the baker meets the State requirements for health inspection and is licensed and insured. This last part is especially important because many venues won;t allow outside cakes in from someone who isn’t licensed and insured.
7. Schedule a visit or get on Skype. Ideally you’ll be able to meet your baker in person for a tasting. You want to make sure you feel comfortable with your vendor. If you can’t meet in person, schedule a Skype call. Take notes on their communication style, their appearance (is it professional and clean) and how well you feel like you “gel” with them. Take notes of the meeting and don’t feel pressured to book a baker on the spot. Take some time to compare notes, review website portfolios and think things over. And be sure to take the time to check references!
8. Look at reviews and ask for references. Check out online reviews like Yelp, WeddingWire, The Knot and Here Comes the Guide. Also ask for both bride and vendor references from potential bakers. Ask for more that 2 or three. Ask for 5-7 each.
9. Contract basics. When signing a contract be sure the that following items are in place:
- Name and contact info of both you and the vendor.
- Wedding date, time and location.
- When, how and where the cake will be delivered (or picked up).
- A detailed description of the cake ordered, including design, flavors, fillings, frosting and size.
- A list of anything your renting (cake stand, toppers, knife, etc).
- Delivery and set up fees.
- Total price.
- Deposit amount.
- Balance and due date.
- Cancellation policy.
- Cake designers signature.
10. Beware of no-review clauses. Read your contract carefully. There is a growing trend for vendors to include a clause in their contract saying that you will not post a negative review online. If you fond one of these, I recommend saying thanks, but no thanks to the vendor. Reputable vendors who offer excellent work and services are not typically so concerned about negative reviews that they contract your silence. For more information about this new trend, see this article by Offbeat Bride and this one by The Knot.
Wedding Cake #1: Photography by Erin McGinn Photography via Classic Bride | Wedding Cake #2: Photography by Meet The Burks via Budget Savvy Bride | Wedding Cake #3: Photography by Cariad Photography via Hey Wedding Lady | Wedding Cake #4: Photography by Britney Kay Photography via Storyboard Wedding | Wedding Cake #5: Photography by Lindsey Clare Photography via Budget Savvy Bride