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A Slice of Advice: When to Book Your Dream Wedding Cake

white desktop with open planner and laptop, surrounded by blush pink flowers, macarons, red tea and a cinnamon roll, planning a wedding

Planning a wedding is an exciting journey, filled with countless decisions to make and details to perfect. One such decision, that's both delightful and delicious, is choosing your wedding cake. As engaged couples embark on this task, timing plays a crucial role. Here's a guide to help you decide when to book your dream wedding cake, including advice specifically for us here at Painting With Sugar. As a very small New Hampshire wedding bakery offering an exclusive one to one wedding desserts service based in the White Mountains region, we tend to book a little earlier than general recommendations!


1. Start Early.

   It's essential to allow ample time for cake consultations, tastings and customization, especially if you are unsure of whom you’d like to work with and intend to shop around. While you are shopping, your top choice could end up booked by the time you make your decision. We always give priority to our first inquiries and follow up before booking the next couple, however we believe these decisions should not be made under pressure, it’s best to simply inquire early so you’ll have plenty of time to make the best choice for you. Booking your cake too close to your event date might limit not only your flexibility in choosing design elements, as some designs are more labor intensive, require specialty ingredients/supplies or even fabrication of a tool, all of which will need extra time to accommodate.Leaving booking your cake too late can also limit your choice of cake artist. Generally, aim to book your cake baker on year to six months before your wedding date. We here at Painting With Sugar typically book a year and a half to nine months in advance. Couples who know they would like to work with us tend to reach out as soon as they have their venue/date booked, an estimated guest count and a wedding mood board/vision in mind. One year to six months is a very general timeline, read on for more elements to keep in mind as you begin assembling your dream vendor team!


spring wedding tables cape with lush florals and plated macarons, skinny taper candles in brass candle holders
Photo Credit- Carolina Marles Photography

2. Consider Your Wedding Date:

   The time of year you're getting married can impact the availability of cake bakers. Popular wedding months, like May, June, and September, tend to book up quickly. If you're planning a wedding during peak season, it's wise to secure your cake baker at least one year to nine months in advance.


3. Venue and Theme Matter:

   Your wedding venue and theme play a role in determining the style and size of your cake. If you've chosen a unique or elaborate theme that requires intricate cake designs, you might want to start the booking process even earlier to ensure your baker has sufficient time to create a masterpiece that aligns with your vision. Your venue selection can impact which bakers are available on your date as well and it is very important to have your venue booked before reaching out to cake vendors. Your venue itself could also impact your options, some "all inclusive" style venues may not allow outside desserts/catering, so it is vital to check with your venue contact regarding their policies before you spend any of your precious time searching for vendors that won't be allowed at the venue.


decadent wedding dessert-scape, dessert table, velvet fabrics, painted cake, surrounded by small desserts, cookies, macarons and more
Photo credit- Katelyn Mallet Photography

4. Don't Forget About Design:

   The design process can be as straightforward as sending your wedding mood board and allowing your cake artist to design the perfect cake for your event and choosing your favorite flavor. If you are not working with an experienced artist however, the design process can take more time than you might expect. Once you've found your ideal cake baker, plan for a consultation and tasting session. If you're someone who enjoys taking your time making decisions and especially if the vendor you have chosen isn’t accustomed to working with creative license, factor in additional time to finalize the design details.


5. Guest Count and Size:

   Your guest count will directly influence the size of your cake. Aim to have a rough estimate of your guest count before reaching out to cake vendors. We recommend using the number of people you plan to send invitations to as your guide and deducting 15% from that number. Booking your cake well in advance allows you to secure the baker of your choice, however, unexpected changes in plans can occur. Therefore, it's a good idea to communicate with your baker about any potential changes to your wedding well in advance. Most professional bakers will work with you to accommodate such changes whenever possible, but pay attention to change clauses in your contract to ensure you meet the deadlines agreed upon. Your vendor includes these clauses and deadlines for very good reason and may not be able to accommodate changes beyond them even if they’d like to go above and beyond for you. Generally, if more people RSVP yes than you anticipated your vendor can adjust your order to include more servings as long as it is within the specified timeframe in your contract. If more people RSVP no than you anticipated Painting With Sugar allows order adjustments within a certain percentage of the original amount, provided the adjusted amount will still meet our order minimum and it is within the timeframe specified in your contract.


rustic dessert table, slices of cake on plates, chocolate cake and vanilla cake slices
Photo credit- Ends Of The Earth Innovations

Timing is essential when it comes to booking your wedding cake. Starting the process about one year to six months in advance strikes a balance between securing your preferred baker and having the flexibility to decide and finalize design details. However, for peak wedding months, a specific vendor you know books out earlier than others, elaborate designs, or larger guest lists, booking your cake even earlier is advisable. Remember that every wedding is unique, so tailor your timeline based on your individual needs and preferences. Happy cake hunting!

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