Guest Column: What Wedding Planners Need to Know About Cakes

Cake designer Ron Ben-Israel shares his tips for helping a couple choose the right wedding cake—and how he really feels about dessert buffets.

Cake 6
Photo: Courtesy of Ron Ben-Israel Cakes

Ron Ben-Israel has developed a distinct style in his two decades of designing cakes for weddings and other events. He has appeared on the Food Network and other TV shows, and will be speaking at BizBash Live: New York on October 25. Here’s his advice for wedding planners to help clients choose the perfect wedding cake.

Trust the baker.
The most important thing you can present to a couple who is choosing where to go for their wedding cake is that you have a sense of trust in a particular baker. It sets the couple’s mind at ease to know this is someone you admire and respect. You want to assure your clients that not only will you receive the best service and the cake will be perfect inside and out, but that it will also be delivered on time. These guarantees can only be made with confidence when you are working with someone you trust.

Do the research.
Familiarize yourself with a cake designer’s portfolio of work. Know which bakery creates which style of cake so you aren’t setting your client up for disappointment if a bakery only does a “naked cake” when they want a fondant cake. The baker’s Instagram and website are good places to start to show you what to expect.

Relationships matter.
The wedding industry is smaller than you may think. Be sure to be an advocate for your couple’s cake needs and not causing additional headaches for your industry partner. You are a negotiator, not a dictator.

Recommend something different.
A couple’s wedding, including cake design, could become a calling card for you for future business. Help them choose something noteworthy to add to your portfolio, and then leverage it on social media to showcase that you are a planner who looks for new ideas.

Prepare for your cake appointment.
Recommend your couple schedules a wedding cake consultation at least six months in advance, and be on time. Bring no more than four to five people, including yourself, and refrain from using a mobile phone or texting during the appointment.

Know the budget.
A cake budget is determined by size, style, and expertise of the artisans. Discuss design concepts with the cake artisan in advance of the appointment so you can gently guide your couple to have realistic expectations about the design and size based on their budget.

Location, location, location.
As the wedding planner, you are responsible for arranging the cake delivery to the venue. That means making sure your staff on-site is aware of the cake delivery time and the placement location. Coordinate the delivery time frame well in advance of the guest arrival.

Say no to the dessert buffet.
One good cake is much more impressive than a large buffet of many desserts. Also, the cake should taste as good as it looks. Buttercream should have butter as the main ingredient. Fondant should be rolled very thin and never be hard.

Check the bakery’s credentials.
Make sure the bakery is fully licensed and insured and that it is a commercial facility. Guide your clients through the contract specifying what the plan for the cake is to make sure they understand all the terminology and expectations are clear.

Finally: Reviews matter.
After the wedding, ask your couple to review all of their vendors, including the cake designer, to make sure they get the kudos they deserve. As the planner, you should also give vendors a shout-out since an industry referral is just as important to an online audience as one directly from the client.

To hear more from Ron Ben-Israel, register for BizBash Live: New York here.

More in Catering