I’d like to think that Illuminate: the Workshop is a no brainer- wedding marketing education, fantastic speakers and networking with wedding pros from around the state of Virginia. But in case you’re still on the fence, did I mention that we have cake for breakfast? 🙂
I was thrilled when Laura Reynolds of The Buttercream Bee agreed to be our “Sweets Sponsor” for this month’s Illuminate. Since Illuminate is turning the big 1 point 0, she has agreed to create Illuminate’s very first Birthday cake! Laura has taken the wedding world by storm this past year and I am lucky she had time not only for Illuminate, but to visit with us on the Illuminate blog for a few minutes and give us a little more insight into “the Bee.”
Laura will be with us throughout the Workshop so be sure you say hello (in between bites of course).
How did you get your start in the wedding industry?
Wow, where to begin. Looking back, my entire career in baking was a path towards having my own business. I always knew I wanted to make wedding cakes, but I also knew that I needed the skills and experience before I could succeed on my own. I started by attending the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. After school, I wanted to get as much hands-on experience as possible. The best path to getting this experience was working for others professionals. After 8 years of working in the industry, I was ready to take the plunge and I haven’t looked back.
What keeps you motivated as a small business owner?
I now completely understand the phrase “you get out what you put in.” It’s a terrific feeling at the end of the weekend when I have a chance to reflect on the past week’s cakes. It feels great to accomplish something on your own and to do it for yourself instead of for someone else.
It is also a wonderful feeling when I hear from a satisfied bride. That totally makes my whole week.
Any favorite wedding cakes to date?
Oh, this is hard. Overall, I am a classic round wedding cake girl. I love the simplicity of Swiss dots and fresh flowers. I know many people think this may be boring but I think it is timeless. When a bride looks back at her photos in 20 years she won’t be horrified by her choice.
What trends are you now seeing in the industry?
I am seeing continued requests for personalized groom’s cakes. Brides are really making an effort to make their guy feel special on the big day. We have the Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes to thank for this trend. It’s been great also because these shows have educated people on the cake making process. I have a Newfoundland dog cake coming up. I am super excited about that one.
I am also seeing a lot of requests for small wedding cakes just for the ceremonial cut. Instead, couples has chosen to have other types of sweets such as dessert bars, chocolate fountains, cake pops, candy bar, etc. Not everyone is into cake, and these alternative desserts coupled with a small cake to cut represent a happy median for some couples.
Not sure how wide spread this trend is, but I am amazed with the dislike of rolled fondant. It is almost a four letter word to some brides. When I was in culinary school, fondant was the best thing ever because of the array of décor it could create. It also provides a very polished and elegant finish. I’ve been surprised by how many brides want nothing to do with the stuff.
Any advice for fellow colleagues who are now breaking into the business?
Get as much experience as possible working with other professionals before starting your own business. Some of the best things I learned came from watching seasoned pros thinking on their feet.
Network! Get to know as many people in the business as possible. I have been amazed how supportive other wedding professionals have been, even some of my competitors.
Still hoping to join us at Illuminate? We have just a few tickets left! Visit our Eventbrite page for more info!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive wedding pr columnist to wedding marketing journal WedLock magazine and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. She loves ruffle table runners and Royal Wedding Tchotchkes. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding pr, please contact us today.