Thursday, March 29, 2012

Your Money & Your Wedding Cake

(M. Clay Photography)

I am so excited about this series and instead of just only sharing my experiences with you regarding wedding vendors, I figured I would get some of my preferred vendors to chime in. There is nothing better than hearing it right from the vendors mouth!

This post is about your Cake Budget. I interviewed one of my favorite and most trusted vendor, Gail Buff from the fabulous Cheesecake, Etc in Charlotte, NC. She offered a lot of insight to brides as they prepare their budget for their wedding cake. I asked Gail several questions and below are her responses.

1. What is the price range per serving for your wedding cakes?

Every baker has a different price range for their cakes. Mine start at $3.75 per person and go up from there. The most expensive cake I have done was at $10.00 per person. Most average about $4.00 - $4.25.

2. Do certain designs and flavors cost more money?

Yes- certain designs and flavors cost more. Basic designs include single dots, tricot dots and scrolls. My basic flavors include chocolate, vanilla, almond, pound and lemon. The basic filling is butter cream. Items that add to the cost of a cake include intricate designs, dragees, multiple colors, anything made of fondant, gumpaste flowers, stenciling, and hand painted designs.

3. If a bride wants five layers and five different flavor cakes and fillings is that more expensive?

If a bride wants a cake that is five tiers and five different flavors and fillings, that may or may not add to her cost. If all five flavors are standards, then I do not charge more. The fillings would add a bit to the price. I recommend that my brides limit their flavor choices to two. This will give their guests choices, but not so many that the guests will want to sample a piece of every flavor offered!

4. How many flavors of cake and fillings do you try at your cake tasting?

At my tasting, I suggest that my brides select up to four cake flavors and three fillings to mix and match. More than this can be a bit overwhelming!

5. Do you as the cake designer, decorate the wedding cake with fresh flowers?

As a cake designer, I will definitely decorate the cake with fresh flowers. Fresh flowers on the cake will match exactly with the other flowers from the event. This is a more cost effective choice than sugar flowers that can be very pricey. I prefer to add the flowers to the cake myself. If the florist adds the flowers and they inadvertently stick a finger in the cake, they can't fix it!!! When I leave the venue, I make sure that the cake is set up, flowers and/or topper in place, and empty box for the cake top under the table.

6. What advice would you give a bride about their cake budget?

Budgeting for a wedding cake can be a bit tricky. All the cake shows on television show us these fabulous cakes. Remember that they come with fabulous prices!! Don't forget to include delivery/set up costs and a cake stand. For a wedding with 150 guests, brides should budget a minimum of $650.00. This cost can be cut by having a smaller cake on display and then serving sheet cakes from the kitchen. "Fake" cake layers do NOT save any money. Those layers also have to be decorated!!!

I really hope you found this interview helpful. Beginning your wedding planning process with realistic expectations will alleviate a lot of unnecessary stress as well as keep you on your planned budget.

(Tim Hines Photography)

(Cheesecake, Etc)

Next post we will discuss Your Money and Your Wedding: Wedding Stationery

Your Money and Your Wedding

bride will work for food

Well I have revived my blog from the dead. I had not written in awhile because the inspiration had not been there. But like I said on twitter this morning, sometimes it takes something crazy to jolt you back on the grind. So I'm back!!!

This is the beginning of a series about spending your money for your wedding. A touchy subject I know, but I think brides and grooms need to know what is realistic and what is "fantasy wedding TV shows". So, what I will be doing is making this as basic and elementary as possible, because I want everyone to know what can really happen with YOUR budget. So I welcome your comments and please share with any bride you know who is living in "wedding tv" fantasy land.

Below are all items that should be included in your wedding budget.
  • Your Reception: Which includes your food and beverage (catering) and venue
  • Your Decor: Which includes your flowers (personal and ceremony/reception flowers), table linen, lighting, draping or any special decor items you love.
  • Photography
  • Wedding Coordinator
  • Music (ceremony and reception)
  • Wedding Cake
  • Ceremony Venue
  • Your Dress
  • Transportation
  • Wedding Stationery: Invitations, programs, escort cards
  • Hair and Makeup
  • Miscellaneous items: wedding licence, tips, wedding favors
  • Rehearsal Dinner
  • Wedding Rings

I know if you are planning your wedding you have seen this list before, but please know that the brides who are chosen for that "fantasy wedding television show" are not presented with a budget. Therefore, anything is possible, because she is on TV!!! We will look at all of these vendor costs individually so you can have a realistic expectation of what each vendor costs, so you can properly budget.

The goal of this series is for couples to plan the beautiful wedding THEY can afford. Inspiration for your wedding can be received from wedding blogs, magazines and television, but you have to allow your budget dictate what you do with that inspiration.

I welcome your questions and comments. So feel free to leave them. Happy planning to you all!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Your Summer Wedding: Wedding Stationery Etiquette


While I was browsing around the Crane & Co. website, I stumbled upon an etiquette page that I thought would be useful. If you need to confirm that you are addressing your wedding invitiations correctly or if you have questions about correctly assembling your invitations this link should help you. Visit the wedding etiquette link here.

Image by Three Little Birds

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Charlotte Wedding: FAMU graduates at The Duke Mansion

Ok, well for those of you who really know me, know that I LOVE my school Florida A&M University. I am a very proud Rattler. So imagine my delight to book a couple who met and fell in love at FAMU. This May wedding was truly a labor of love for me. During the planning process I hardly spoke with Candace + Daniel (CanDan), but worked directly with the mother of the bride, Mary Wilson and enjoyed every moment. I got a glimpse of how detailed I'll be when helping my own daugher (Ronni) plan her wedding, many years from now of course. :-)


Critsey Rowe Photography captured the Asian-infused details from the hundreds of handmade and strung orgami cranes to the Asian inspired food served in bento boxes. There were soooo many wonderful images so here are just a handful of my favorites. Enjoy!










Wedding Planning & Coordination: SJB Weddings & Events

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Your Summer Wedding : Make it Interactive

Making wedding receptions interactive has been a growing trend for years and has been one of my favorites that have come along. Keep in mind guests will be overjoyed to enjoy great food, delicious cake and to dance the night away, but to have a little something fun for them to do is always a nice touch. Here are a few of my favorites.

So who doesn't like smores? Having this delicious treat at your summer wedding will allow guests to transport back to their childhood while making these yummy treats.


Now everyone by now knows what a candy buffet is, but just in case you've been under a rock most candy buffets are stocked with favorite candies of the bride and groom in really cute containers for the guests to take a few pieces to enjoy at the reception or later. It's a wonderful favor for your guests. Because remember your favors should be either edible or practical. (Image from All You Can Treat)


Now, on to my favorite interactive fun thing to do at a wedding...It's the photobooth. Shutterbooth in Charlotte creates an amazing experience with props and gives each guests a copy of their fun time in the booth. You'll be amazed at how much fun your guests will have just by taking pictures of themselves (it doesn't take much to entertain them). Here is a sample of me and my SJB Weddings & Events girls at a wedding this past April.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Favorite Wedding Shot Friday

Some wedding photographers can create art. I am in love with this image from Indigo Photography.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Your Summer Wedding: We all Scream for Ice Cream!

I've got a very important question to ask you summer brides and grooms out there:

ben and jerry1

I personally can not think of a better way to impress your guests at your summer wedding. Maybe because I would rather eat ice cream than anything else on earth. Whether you are saying I do in the afternoon or in the evening, having the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Truck at your event is a sweet way to say thanks to your guests.

ben and jerry