Wedding Cakes & Food Forum

Is it normal to pay for wedding cake samples?

I'm curious if its the norm to have the bride and groom come in for a private cake tasting?

This is what lead me to ask this question:

The venue we're have our wedding at includes the cake in the package cost.  Last week we went to a bridal sampler at the bakery thats doing the cake.  There was ALOT of people there, and not enough room for everyone.  My fiance asked if he could go sit in the car after 10 minutes of waiting at the entrance.  What we really wanted to do was tast the different cakes/fillings we got to try 3 and two of them we didn't like. We stepped aside to try our 3 samples and weren't able to get back to try anymore becasue it was so busy.  When we got home I sent an email asking if we could have a private tasting.  We were pretty much told know she said we could come in to buy the left over cupcakes to try.  Or if we waited longer than two days we could buy 6" round cakes at $10/ea.  Who wants to buy a $10 cake to see if they like it or not. 

What would have happened if I booked my wedding today and didn't know about the bridal sampler she had.  I thought a private cake tasting was the norm am I wrong?

Re: Is it normal to pay for wedding cake samples?

  • I agree with MilkDuds. It depends on the bakery. Personally, if they're laying out all their cake, filling, and frosting choices, I think they should charge. That's a lot of work, and they might otherwise not be preparing that kind of cake or filling at all that day. But if it's a big place, or the tasting choices are limited, so the extra work involved is just sitting down with you, then I don't think they should charge, but I don't blame them if they do. Time is still money.
  • edited February 2012
    I realize a company has to pay staff, overhead, etc... It seems to me if the bakery makes wedding cakes and you have the choice of 12 cake flavors, 9 icings, and 13 fillings that there would be some other way of trying these.  If I were to try another 3 flavors by purchasing 6" cakes it would cost $30.  As a bride to be I really don't need to be buying cakes weekly, it would defeat the purpose of working out.

    I wouldn't be complaing if they had a sampler to purchase, these could be sold to any customer not just brides/grooms. I think buying a whole cake to just try, is too much.
  • I would see if you could by a cupcake or 2 in each flavor. It's pretty normal to pay for tastings but it's a bit odd to have to pay for a whole cake just to try a flavor.
  • There's a way of trying: Show up early for public tastings.

    At the end of the day, a business gets to decide how to accommodate potential customers, making its own cost/benefit judgment on how to set up tastings, knowing not all potential customers will like minimally accommodating procedures, and might go elsewhere.

    You're it a tough position because you have less of a choice of bakers, because your cake contract is wrapped up in your venue contract. If the baker doesn't offer cupcakes or other low-cost ways of sampling (besides early, free tastings), call the venue and complain. The venue is in a better position to negotiate with the baker. They have the on-going relationship with the baker. They're whom the baker sees as the customer. Ask about finding your own baker if you can't be accommodated.
  • It's normal for bakeries to charge a fee for a tasting and then apply that fee towards the cake you end up purchasing if you go with the bakery.   I am not sure how normal it is to charge when you're stuck with the bakery because it comes with the venue. 

    But I agree with Elisabeth: they did provide you with a free tasting already even if it was a bit unpleasant because of the crowd.
  • It sounds like you're going to have to work for those free tastings dear and you're going to have to show up super early to make this happen. 

    It kinda makes sense that if they offer free tastings to the public, that they would charge for a private tasting. I'm really sorry that it's such a hassle because with everything that goes into a wedding, one more hassle is just a hassle too much.
    Vacation White Knot
  • Our wedding is 15 months away so I have plenty of time, but say I got engaged today I wouldn't have had the opportunity to try the free tasting in their extremely cramped bakeshop, and because of their cake tasting option we would have never thought of them for the cake.  I think if they had a cake sampler, not just for weddings, it would be much better for everyone. I'm assuming if the only way to try  these cakes is buying a 6" round for $10 then its probably an inconvenience for more people than just me.  We're seriously thinking about paying someone else to make our cake.
  • If the baker is contracted that is how the tasting goes. You had the opportunity to try the cake and even though it was a unpleasant experience they gave you a chance. I would keep this in mind for future tasting with your venue. Show up early! It is normal to have to pay for a second tasting. 
  • I think it really depends on where you are from. Everywhere we looked into around here offered free tastings, and the one we went with, actually sent samples home for my FI, since he wasn't able to be there. It wasn't extra cake, in addition to my sample, just what was left over. I had pretty much made the decision, and wanted him to confirm and she was more than willing to work with me. It all depends on the bakery. 
  • One of the bakeries we checked into did something similar to this. We got a free 6" sample cake and then if we wanted additional samples it was $10 each. However, within that cake, you could pick two cake flavors, filling flavors and icing flavors.  It was conveniently near my FMIL's birthday, so we bought two sample cakes and took them over for my fiance's family to sample with us. We would have typically paid $20 for a cake from the grocery store, so we kind of killed two birds with one stone and there was a variety of cake for everyone.

    You may want to check and see if your baker will do two flavors per cake, then it's only $5 to sample each cake.  It's still paying for a sample, but bakeries can't give unlimited samples to every client...that would get pricey. And, we ended up not going with this baker because the cake had weird after tastes and my fiance's family was not impressed.  I would have felt bad taking three sample cakes from her and not using her, so I was happy to have paid.

    photo KimberlyWedding_zps9ece9155.jpg
  • We've paid for ours but then we're doing a specialty baker because I'm vegan so they typically don't have those samples on-hand anyway and they need to be special ordered.
    imageDaisypath Anniversary tickers
  • We went to a second cake tasting for the same shop but at an expo they brought basic vanilla and chocolate.  They just handed brown paper bags out with a 1/2" slice of each.  No hey how are you, it was like an assembly line.  I'm not impressed with their customer service at all.  We've decided to go with another bakery even though the price for this shop was included in our venue price.  The last thing we need to worry about is having an awful cake on one of the most special days our lives.  We've recently found out that this shop doesn't make any cakes from scratch. This must be the reason for not being impressed with the red velvet. Our venue is beautiful, I'm really not sure why they deal with this bakery when we are paying alot of money.
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