As one of the first vendors who is booked in the wedding planning process, I am constantly asked for advice on vendors or for referrals to people I trust, people who inspire me, or make me want to get married ALL over again!
So I figured I would do some blog features on Vendors I LOVE! And JEN is for sure one of them.
Jen and I are both Pilot’s wives. We both know how important it is to have something that is your own passion, because frankly, as a pilot’s wife, you can’t survive without independence. Jen and I both pretty much have joined the wedding industry in the last year, and I couldn’t be more proud to sing her praises. She has done cakes for everyone in my home (Well, Jana’s cake is on the way for this weekend I’m sure) and everytime, I’ve basically just said “You know what we like – so go crazy” and I am always BLOWN away!
I interviewed Jen on some questions I thought might be important to some of my brides as they plan their weddings and collect ideas for having their own unique wedding cake! If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact Jen or myself!
1. Jen, What inspires you to do what you do?
Above all else, seeing a customer’s face when they see their cake. I do what I do to make your day. Whether it’s a birthday cake, engagement party, wedding cake or anniversary cake, seeing your face light up when you see it for the first time makes me happy; it makes the days and hours of work worth it. Knowing that I have helped to create your perfect day is an amazing feeling, and hopefully you’ll be thinking about your cake for years to come.
2. What sets you apart from other vendors in your industry?
I love to learn and try new things. If you come to me with something I’ve never seen before, I won’t turn you away or try to talk you into something else. I’ll take a week and try to figure out how to do it. This way you get exactly what you want, and I’ve come away with a new skill. I’ll then be honest and tell you if I can’t make your idea work; I won’t attempt something and have it come out only so-so. And if all else fails, I can recommend another baker who might be able to make your idea come to life. I want you to have the best day possible, even if I can’t make that happen.
3. What advice specific to creating the perfect wedding cake would you give to brides and grooms as they plan their wedding?
Research. Lots of research. Wedding cakes are so personal and intimate, and no one wants a cookie cutter cake. Coming to me with pictures of cakes brides and grooms have seen and liked makes it much easier for me to figure out their style. It’s hard to envision the perfect cake when all I have to work with is a few descriptive words. Flowery or floral can mean totally different things. Trendy and modern to me might be traditional and boring to you. Give me 5 photographs and I’ll know what you are looking for.
Make sure you know your colours, and what your linens will look like. A stark white cake covered in stripes will clash on an off white table cloth with polka dots. If the hall provides the linens, take a picture and keep that in mind for your cake.
Think about what you already have. Do you have lace or beading decorations on your dress? Did you choose a pattern for your invitations that will be incorporated elsewhere in your wedding? Are you wearing a broach or necklace that belonged to your great-grandmother with an interesting design to it? Those ideas can be re-created on your cake and make everything look polished and refined.
Think of you and your theme. Outdoorsy? Scrabble buffs? Met at the beach? Who says you need to have a white 3 tier cake? A birch bark look with your initials ‘carved’ into it is perfect for the couple that hike or met in the park. Be creative!
4. As a Wedding photographer who covers many areas in Ontario, and even travels beyond that, I’ve come to learn that everyone is on a budget now a days. How can they save money in their planning process specific to the services you provide?
Think alternative. You might want the 5 tier showstopper center piece, but those cakes will be pricey. Think instead about using a dummy cake (Styrofoam layers decorated to look real) for the show, and then sheet cake to serve to your guests. Cupcakes are a great choice these days too. Not a fan of cake? Why not serve cookies instead? Or loaves. A friend of mine had five different types of pie on his dessert table in lieu of cake. They weren’t cake people, so it worked, and only a few of us noticed there was no cake. When we sit down the first time to go over flavour and size, we’ll talk budget and I’ll give you some options.
5. When should a bride and groom contact you in their Wedding planning process?
For weddings, 4-6 months is a great place to start. Wait until you have your dresses and colours picked out. I’m in a first come first serve industry, so the earlier you book the greater the chance I’ll have an open slot for you. But booking too far in advance leaves too much time for brides and grooms to make changes. Once we have decided on a design things are set in stone, and you can move on the next item on your to-do list. If you add on another tier or change to a more intricate design I may have to alter the price to include new ingredients and to reflect the longer time needed to get it done.
Birthdays, engagement and anniversary parties only need 1 month notice – but remember, first come first serve! I bake all my cakes from scratch, so I’m limited in the number of cakes I can do each week. My fridge is only so big!
6. You are pretty new to the industry, should brides and grooms be concerned that you don’t have decades of experience creating wedding cakes?
I have officially been in the business since 2012, but I have been making extravagant cakes for over 10 years for family and friends. I finally decided to share my passion with you, and have a real go at this. I went to pastry school in 2007, and learned so much, but found that I learned more working in the industry, and more still from just playing around with cakes to see what I could do. I am always growing and learning, changing recipes and techniques based on feedback. I am finally at a place where I have a great arsenal of winning cakes and icing recipes that I can handle whatever you throw at me.
7. How can bride and grooms reach Jen Bakes Cakes if they are looking for more information or availability?
I’m everywhere! Brides and Grooms can find me at my website Jen Bakes Cakes
post or message me from My Facebook ; comment or post on my Blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or, for a little human contact, call me at 905-906-7076. I post all my birthday and wedding cakes on Pinteresttoo!