Focus on Flowers
questions to ask when choosing your wedding cake flowers:
Today on the blog, we are focusing on flowers for your wedding cake. Jenna of Sinfully Sweet will give us a few question to ask when selecting sugar flowers or fresh flowers to adorn your wedding cake.
- Should I choose fresh or sugar?
Please note in advance that either option is absolutely acceptable. Some clients have a vision for fresh flowers enrobing their cake, and realize that those same flowers in sugar form would be quite costly. So, why ARE sugar flowers so expensive? Simple: each flower is handmade, textured piece by piece, petals are assembled with delicate care and expertise. Then you have to color them: dusting, details, making them come to life with movement and intricate details added. Having a single designer make a number of flowers does get costly, but it is a part of the custom piece price. Even if you do choose fresh flowers and have hundreds on a towering cake design, this can get costly as well. It’s always best to research the pricing of what you have in mind to see which option fits your needs, if budget is a concern.
- Who will arrange the fresh flowers?
This is a crucial question when planning your cake. If you are having your florist assemble, everyone needs to ensure delivery is coordinated so that both parties are on site to prep and insert the flowers. If your cake artist is adding the flowers, they need to be well versed on proper flower preparations, food safety measures, and have a design aesthetic to go off of. Nothing is scarier than arriving with a cake, being told to assemble the flowers, and not having any idea of what the bride requested. If you are unsure of who places flowers on your wedding day, always send inspirations of the spray or blooms to your cake artist and help them see into your cake vision with fresh florals.
- Is there a charge for the florist or cake artist to assemble?
Always ask these questions to avoid a charge you may not expect. If someone is working on your event, chances are, their time is paid. Assembling flowers can get very time consuming, as they have to be dried, cut, wrapped, planned, assembled, and inserted properly into the cake for a finished piece. Some cake artists include floral arranging up to a certain number of stems, or charge their hourly rate to create a floral display on the cake.
- Are my chosen flowers safe to be placed on a food product?
This one SHOULD be a no brainer, but alas, is overlooked quite often. It is perfectly okay to ask your florist what the cake flowers are treated with prior to having them placed on the cake. You can even ask which are safe to be placed on a food product, or Google a list on your own. Reasons we as cake artists ask these questions are because: A) flowers are not intended to be eaten, therefore they are allowed to be treated and sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals, B) we ask cake artists cannot guarantee the quality provided by a third party, and the source or assembly location may not be as clean as our studios (even cottage bakers who follow the law have strict food safety and cleanliness standards), and C) some flowers may actually be poisonous to your guests, and the last thing we want is anyone to get sick, given the huge liability concerns and inability to distinguish whether it was the cake or flowers that caused an illness. The most common flower that I do not add to cakes (under any circumstance) are hydrangeas. These are usually placed by family or florists after my delivery is complete, without my prior knowledge. Below are more examples of popular styles that should not be placed directly on a cake.
- Calla Lily
- Gloriosa lily
- Sweet pea
- How are the flowers placed and arranged on the cake?
If your florist is arranging the cake flowers, they may not know the proper way to arrange and handle the stems for food products. Ask if they intend to stick stems directly into the cake, or ask your cake artist what their methods are. Never be shy when it comes to food safety, and you have a right to know that your cake designer is taking proper precautions when preparing your wedding day dessert. An experienced professional will be able to lay out the plans and give you a step by step idea of how things are arranged. Personally, I have a tool kit that I bring to deliveries where I know flowers are expected, so that I can handle the flowers and present them in a manner that is safe for my clients and their guests. Event planners, coordinators, and some florists may not take the same precautions, as it’s not their work and reputation on the line. Food safety is a huge priority of mine when it comes to cake flowers. Even if you choose sugar flowers, still be mindful of how they are placed, as wires for sugar pieces shouldn’t be placed directly into the cake either.
Who would have thought so much went into selecting the type of flowers you adorn your wedding cake with? I hope these tips from Jenna help you decide which will be better for your sweet creation. Stay tuned next week as we wrap up our wedding cake series with the dos and don’ts of wedding cake planning.
Principal Planner, Magnolia Rose Company