torsdag den 14. maj 2020


I'm not sure if a man could ever write thoughtfully and intelligently about a woman being pregnant but… I do know that for my wife and for the women who have allowed me the privilege of photographing them that this is a special almost mystical time in their lives. Being able to incorporate the fathers or siblings into the session brings the family together around mother and the baby. I'm very open to trying to shoot an image that the woman will cherish and feel comfortable with. We've had clients borrow our "motherly" white nightgown, bring their own gowns, or just wear blue jeans and a white shirt. Probably the most fun I've had doing this was with a client who did a "Michael Jackson" impression in her husband's suit and hat!

The main thing to remember is this - this is your special time, I want you to be comfortable and creative. And I want to see your baby when she or he arrives!

Læs alt om bryllupper her

Family Portraits
Family portraits can be created in the studio for a more formal look or on location for a more casual look. There is an additional cost for working on location but remember that with all packagepurchases session fees are applied to the purchase

Bridal Services
Wade Studios has been offering Bridal Studies and Wedding Day Coverage to Brides in Hampton Roads since 1980. Mike Wade and his talented staff will create breathtaking images that capture the celebration of your day. 
We offer in-studio or on location Bridal Studies as well as black and white portraits created during the in-studio sessions. This service can be obtained separately or as part of your wedding package! Let us also offer you who are getting married help in the planning of your wedding. 

We offer you an online directory of those businesses in the Hampton Roads area that specialize in providing services for weddings. Just click on this The Wedding Planner link and see who else can assist you with your special day!

Children's Portraits

I have been blessed with four children ranging from a son who will be 21 years old this year to daughters aged 5 and 2 and a new baby boy 5 months old. 

I can remember how my oldest son would run into my arms and greet me when I came home, as a young man he doesn't do that anymore. When my first daughter was born I could hold her in my two hands, she was so tiny! Our next daughter is so precocious. Every day with them is a mystery to me - will they be a tomboy or a princess? They definitely have daddy wrapped around their fingers! I have no idea what blessings this little boy will bring to our home but this much I do know - 

our children are given to us for the briefest of moments and then they are grown and gone. What we are left with are the memories that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. And I have found a wonderful and powerful way to hold onto those images we have in our hearts; few things have the ability that a photograph has to preserve these precious memories. Memories that are as precious as our children themselves.

Imponerende fotograf med erfaring

We have one of the most unique children’s photograhy studios in Hampton Roads. While most studios offer only the traditional high key or a pastel backdrop we have sets for Windows, Faeries and Elves, Flower Pot Babies, Angels, the Beach as well as 12 different backdrops that can be pulled down for use. Our Custom Sessions are an hour long (just in case we need to have an “attitude adjustment” break), allow you to use up to 4 different sets, have no extra charge for brothers, sisters, moms or dads, and consist of 15 poses for you to select from.

“Traditional” children’s photography is a broad range of approaches from Classic images of children that are usually shot on white backdrops, plain backdrops without any props, using black and white film or created on location. Fees for sessions vary depending on materials and location.

Or as some as my clients refer to it -“Fantasy” photography. The work of such world renown photographers as Lisa Murphy and Anne Geddes has freed photographers to create fun photographs of children that capture the innocence and humor of being a child. (Actually this style has a longer “tradition” that any other style of children’s photography!) All fantasy images are created in our unique studio settings.

Heirloom Collection
Shlomo (Solomon) once said that, “There’s nothing new under the sun”. Recently black and white or sepia toned images have made a powerful resurgence in the portrait market. This work is best created in studio where we can control the lighting. Because of the unique nature of this work session fees and reprint costs are slightly higher.

Senior Portraits

The year we graduate from High School is an exciting time. And I realize that for many of my clients it is the last time that they will have a portrait created of themselves. It is also probably the first time that they've had "control" of a photo session. What I mean by that is this: for the last 12 years they have had school photographers sit them down on a stool, spin them around to shoot "both sides", or pose them in the same pose that the last 200 kids used along with the same background that everyone in the same city school system has used! 

Dygtig fotograf i KBH

I want this session to reveal something about them. What their interests are - where they see themselves going as adults. Our sessions in the studio last up to an hour with as many clothing changes as you can realistically do in 15 poses. Then, for a small additional fee, you can go on location to finish the session with another 15 poses.

My senior clients have taken me to the farm where their horse was, to the Botanical Gardens to play the cello in a tux in the gazebo, and to the beach to dance on the rocks at sunrise. I have a lot of fun with my seniors - I only wish someone was doing work like this when I was their age!

Digital Photography Services

I have to tell you that in all honesty I figured I would be the last photographer to ever go digital. I should have had a bumper sticker that read “Yeah, I’ll go digital…when you pry my medium format camera out of my cold dead hands.” One of my friends, Clay Blackmore, is one of the top wedding photographers in the United States, maybe the world. He bought into the digital revolution back around 1996 for about $60,000. The camera alone cost $28,000. Four years later he had upgraded all his digital equipment for around $12,000 even though he was still paying off the loan for the original equipment. He would joke, “You know how I pay off all this digital equipment? By shooting weddings on film.”
Whenever I would see digital cameras at weddings they were almost impossible to focus with, the pictures were grainy and off color and it took forever for the things to take a picture. Going digital just because the cameras were out there made no sense. They weren’t as good as film, they were difficult to use and obsolete six months later. There was no way I was spending good money on a piece of equipment that would be worthless before it was even paid off!

Those were my arguments for not going digital and I was sticking to ‘em!

Erfaren og dygtig fotograf til bryllupsbilleder
And then I read that article.
Seems there was a photographer out in California who sounded just like me…who was now shooting his weddings entirely digital and sending his brides off on their honeymoon with a CD of all their proofs from the event. And producing large wall portraits from the results.

I contacted one of my former students who had a digital camera that she had paid $5500 for. She said, “Wait another month and the Nikon D100 will be out. It works just like your professional cameras, can produce wall images and it’s about $2500 with a good lens.”

Now $2500 is approximately what I pay for a lens for the medium format camera.
So I bought the camera and a laptop. I still had no idea what I was doing but now I had a real digital camera and a laptop computer, and I hated them both. I was 48 years old had been shooting for over 20 years and felt like a beginner. My wife, a font of wisdom, asked if I had mastered photography with film in two weeks or less. So I kept working at it. And in a couple of months it started to make sense.

At first I started using digital just for the photojournalism and continued shooting all the portrait work in medium format. Until Brandy’s wedding. The day before Brandy’s wedding I had a client named Stephanie drive up from Georgia for a bridal portrait session at a historical church in Smithfield. I shot digital and film and had a local lab process and proof the film. When I came into my studio Tuesday morning I had an urgent message from the lab – my camera had a light leak in it and several of the frames were destroyed! My first panicked thought was,“Holy Cow! (okay maybe not exactly that but your kids might be reading this) I SHOT BRANDY’S WEDDING WITH THAT SAME CAMERA!” But then I remembered that I had also shot everything digitally as back up and we had show those images at the wedding and they were alright. From that point on everything was shot digitally as back up.

We had so much fun that summer shooting weddings and showing the results at the receptions as a slide show that by September I was no longer shooting film anymore. Why? With digital I knew what I had, no longer would I be at the mercy of a lab or a faulty camera. My clients could see what we were doing and decide if they were happy with the results – instantly! We were pulling 16x20 images and displaying them. The color saturation was richer and the clarity was better than film. And we could correct problems so much easier. (I had a bride who wanted a picture of her and her dad dancing but what she felt was the best shot had a guest in bright yellow jacket right behind them. I took out the guest and an exit sign above their heads and she loved it.)

Super flotte bryllupsfotos ved fotograf 

Going digital has been an exciting and sometimes frustrating process but I just can’t see going back to film. There are too many benefits to both the client and the studio. For example once we download the images onto the hard-drive we make 2 CD copies of all the files. When we send in an order to the lab we don’t ship them the original negatives but copies of the files. There is no photographer, who if they’re honest, who has shot as many weddings as my studio has who hasn’t lost a negative. Not a problem with digital. There isn’t a photographer who hasn’t been in a situation where the camera is malfunctioning but you don’t know it’s a problem until you get the proofs back two weeks later. Not so with digital. Every film photographer has to watch the amount of images they shoot to keep within budget. With digital proofs I can provide any client with so many more photographs to select from and actually save them money. Also with digital proofs my clients don’t have to lug a proof book around, we can burn extra CDs for their parents and friends to look at and order from.
Shooting digital actually requires more skill and attention to detail but the rewards are significant for the photographer who is willing to join the 21st century and offer his clients a better product and service.
That’s a four letter word isn’t it?

Book a studio session


Book a studio session for a Tuesday, Thursday or Friday and if you will place your order within the next 48 hours after the session I’ll apply your session fee (all of it) to your photography purchase. That’s a savings of $50!

Tiny Dancers
Do you have a tiny dancer at home? Someone enrolled in a tap or ballet class? Want to avoid the cattle call photo sessions held on the evening of the recital? Then book a tiny dancer session with me! I’ll have special packages available just for your little ballerina.

High School Seniors
Class of 2005
Book a studio session this summer and choose your special!
You can either:
  • Create your own package at my already very affordable prices (no $100 8x10s here!)
  • Apply your session fee to your purchase if you order within 48 hours of your session
  • Select from our lab’s Special Offers
  • Add 48 wallets free with qualifying purchase

Business Professionals 
Need a new “head shot” for your business cards, brochures, listings, etc…?Need it NOW?! For $85 I’ll do a quick “head shot” session for you, review the images with you to select the “best” shot, do minor retouching if needed, make a black and white file of your favorite image and burn them onto a CD and provide you with a copy right release. Get 10 associates together to come to the studio with you and I’ll give you a group rate of only $60 per person.

Book din fotograf her

Photography Classes
Would you like to study photography with…me?
I’m looking for a minimum of 10 students to put together a class. If I can get my group together we’ll have classes Thursday evenings starting at 6:30 for 8 weeks. Fill in the contact form for me and as soon as we’re ready to go I’ll notify you. Classes are $180 for the 8 sessions but if you pre-register and pre-pay you’ll get in for only $150.00.

the best photographer

Q. How long have you been in business?
A. I started creating photographs back in 1976 and people actually started paying me in 1980, so I consider myself to have been “in business” from 1980.

Q. Where is the studio located?
From 64 EAST (if you’re coming from the beach, Norfolk or the Peninsula you’ll probably be heading east on I-64; if you’re coming from Suffolk, Western Branch or Deep Creek you’ll be heading west on I-64) you can use the off ramp at exit 290B. The exit will say Battlefield Blvd.; south business 168. From here you are approximately 3.8 miles (look at your odometer) from the studio. You’ll pass Volvo Parkway, Chesapeake General Hospital and the Water Tower at the intersection of Battlefield and Kempsville Road. We’ll be on your right at the Harbor Watch Shoppes. The buildings are kind of a light pink stucco with teal awnings and fixtures (I think the designer was watching too many Miami Vice reruns – one day I’m going to stick some pink flamingos in the hedges!)
You could also exit at the off ramp at 291B. Follow it to the fork and keep to your left – the signs will say 168 south, Manteo and Elizabeth City. Use the first exit which is 13B. At the bottom of this exit you’ll turn left onto Great Bridge Blvd – rt 190- and follow it to the intersection of 190 and 168 (Battlefield Blvd), you’ll see the Chesapeake Water Tower. Turn right onto Battlefield and follow it .7 of a mile and we’re on your right at the Harbor Watch Shoppes.
From Kempsville just follow Kempsville Road to Battlefield, turn left and go .7 of a mile. We’ll be on your right.
From farther south in Chesapeake (Hickory) and Carolina just follow Battlefield Blvd 168 north, you’ll cross over the big bridge and then almost immediately cross over a smaller bridge. After that little bridge I’m on your left.

Q. What hours are you open?

A. I discovered early in my career that I can’t work a 100 week and be creative for my clients plus I’m not a department store. I’m an artist and want the freedom to not be stuck in the studio when I can be shooting outside on location. In the summer I often find myself working about 60+ hours with my schedule including weddings on Fridays and Sundays as well as Saturdays; and portrait sessions at sunrise and just before sunset on the beach. 
I try to keep studio hours of Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10-6 and Wednesday and Saturday from 10-2 but these times are subject to change. Also I may not personally be available but have someone at the studio to allow client’s to drop off orders and pick up finished work.

Q. Most photography sites have a lot of copy about how “we capture those special moments”. You have very little of that but a lot of photographs. Why?

A. Too many photographers all use the same copy, it’s like they got the words off a Kodak Marketing Brochure or a greeting card. They all sound alike as they try to tell you how different they are from all the other photographers! Sheesh!
I believe that people come to a web site to either buy a product or find answers to questions. And since I can’t sell you someone else’s pictures I want to make sure that when you leave my site you will have a good idea of what I offer and will have seen lots of images. 

Q. There aren’t a lot of the traditional pictures like the bridal party at the altar in your gallery. Do you take those pictures?

A. Of course we do! Every photographer worth their pay takes those images. I knew enough to take those images at my first wedding, stuff like that is a no brainer. Probably 80% of every wedding event has those images in common. Is that why you want to hire a photographer – because they have a limited imagination? What I want to show and want to try and create for you is that 20% where we tried something that was exciting and different. If you want a cookie cutter wedding where all we had to do was replace someone else’s face with yours then please don’t come to me. That’s boring. 

Q. How many weddings do you shoot a day?

A. Only one – yours. When you book me for that date it doesn’t matter if 2 weeks before the event the location and times change, I’m still your photographer. In 2003 we had a spring wedding on a local military facility; wedding and reception were both scheduled to happen on the base. And the couple was told that because we had just gone to war with Iraq that they wouldn’t be allowed to use the chapel or O Club. As they were frantically trying to find new facilities their worry with me was, “Are you still going to be able to shoot our wedding or will we end up with a substitute photographer?” They hired me – they got me. Probably the hardest assignment I ever shot was on August 19, 2000; just as I was heading out the door I got a phone call telling me my father had passed away. I still worked the event. That’s my job and my level of commitment.

Q. How does someone book you to shoot a wedding?

A. With a signed contract and a $300 non-refundable deposit that will be applied to the coverage cost. Once the contract is signed I allow you 72 hours to change your mind. Once that time passes you will be responsible for the total amount of coverage no matter what.

Q. The client must pay the full amount? Even if they decide to book a cheaper photographer at a later date? Is that fair?

A. I implemented this policy after having 2 brides cancel their events with me. One had been booked for 4 months with me and I had turned down 2 other weddings because I had a booked date. She found a studio that dropped a $6000.00 package to $2395.00. The other bride told me the week of her wedding that the fiancé had dumped her. I found out later that she told the Founder’s Inn 3 months earlier that her father had suffered a stroke and the DJ a month earlier that she had decided to get married in the Bahamas. In both cases all the other vendors had contracts that specified what mine currently does and they got paid. I didn’t and I lost money because I turned away weddings. I don’t like having a policy like this but the alternative isn’t fair to me or my family. This isn’t a hobby and I certainly don’t lack for clients. Now I’ve had clients that had honest situations that I was able to work with and I refunded them their deposits and have not held them to the contract. But that’s because they were honest with me and I was able to rebook the date. 

Q. How does the client know who is shooting their wedding?

A. They know because they book that photographer and it’s specified on the contract. Only once have I changed a photographer on a client. The photographer assigned to shoot their event was having some serious health problems and I was able to call in a personal friend who is an outstanding photographer as a replacement. I called the couple up and explained to them what I was doing and why. It also turned out that my wedding event was at the same reception facility and ended prior to theirs – in fact their reception hall would be the one I just finished shooting in. So I stayed for a couple hours at their reception to make sure they were having a great time and got excellent coverage. They were delighted that I had taken so much interest in them.

Dygtig fotograf til bryllupper

Q. How many photographs do you take at a wedding and reception?

A. I have no idea. I don’t limit the amount of images produced. I’d guess a wedding shot on film usually produces around 250 images. Events shot digitallyand using digital proofs might give the bride 400 or more pictures to select from. The important thing is this – I shoot the event. A small intimate event might only produce 150 photographs. The last wedding I shot at the Chrysler Museum was done totally digital and I had 2 other photographers assisting and I think we gave that couple almost 900 digital proofs.

Q. Are you the only person to show up or do you have an assistant?

A. Depends on the event. Most occasions I have at least one person with me just to move equipment from the church to the reception hall. That person may or may not be a photographer also.

Q. What kind of equipment do you use?

A. The best. When we shoot film I use Mamyia medium format with 35mm for the photojournalism. Now we’re using the Nikon D100 which gives me the best of both portrait and journalism equipment.

Q. Do you allow the bride to suggest photographs and will you let guests take pictures?

A. That’s two questions and the answer to both is absolutely. While I have a generic list that I’ll go over with the bride the week of the wedding I also encourage you to ask for anything you want during the event. And I don’t mind if guests take pictures – for heavens sake it’s a family day, what am I going to do, run around forbidding people to take pictures? (But I do know photographers who do just that.)

Q. How much does wedding coverage cost?

A. Both on the site and right here I’m telling people that basic coverage runs between $2000-$2500. And Basic Coverage is described in the wedding section, if you don’t know what that is then please go and look over the information.
But understand that coverage will vary from bride to bride. If you want me to shoot your event on a Saturday in the middle of a busy wedding month like June than naturally I will cost more. But if you use one of my associates than the cost is less. If we can provide you with digital proofs as opposed to paper proofs than you can reduce your expenses. A wedding event for 40 people, all in a church or Temple, on a Friday or Sunday, in an off month, with digital proofs and a small album will cost less. 
If you want pricing info then use the form we’ve provided on the web site and send me an inquiry. If you can actually call that’s even better. I’ll be glad to talk with you and give you an estimate.
But please show me more respect than sending me an e mail saying, “Just give me your prices.” Someone whose main concern in hiring a photographer is only “how cheap are you” is not the kind of client I’m looking for.

Q. So how then can someone who isn’t local get prices from you?

A. That’s an entirely different situation. Wade Studios shoots between 35-50 weddings a year and about 40% of those events are from brides who are getting married here but live out of the area. They have found my site through a web search (some months we have between 15-20,000 visits on our sister site ) and can’t meet me but are doing everything via the internet and some long distance phone calls. I’ve had clients book me from California, Washington – state and D.C. – New England, both the Carolina’s, Georgia, Texas, etc… in fact I’m trying to figure out who the “longest distance” client would be as I have had brides book me from Seoul, Korea; Kobe, Japan; Hawaii and Bogotá, Columbia.
If you fit into then use the form we’ve provided for wedding information and contacting me via the site. I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can to provide you with as much information and cost estimates or quotes as I can based on what you tell me about your event. 

Q. Isn’t your pricing policy evasive?

A. I’m not trying to be evasive. I want the best clients I can get. And I want you to get an accurate price – what I quote you is exactly what it will cost. There are no hidden fees. Some studios that will give you a price sheet are more interested in “getting you in the door” and then adding on extra items and services. In some businesses that’s called “switch and bait” and it’s illegal.

Q. So do you actually turn some business away?

A. Yes. Sometimes I’m really not the best photographer for that bride or event. I had a mother of the bride call me once whose daughter’s wedding was on a summer in July. She was having the ceremony at a church that I know costs between $800-$1000 to use, depending on who officiates. The reception was being held at the Chrysler Museum which would run several more thousands and was a sit down dinner for approximately 180 guests at $30 a head and they were paying for the first $3000 of drinks and had both a DJ and a live band. (I know all this because the mother went to great lengths to impress me on how up-scale this event would be.) But she thought that my cost for covering the event and producing the album was outrageous – after all, they were just pictures. She told me her budget for photography was around $800. I could only politely explain to her that covering the event and producing the album would cost me more than that and that I could probably easily book 3-4 children’s or high school senior portrait sessions on a Saturday and make more profit than she was allowing in her budget. 
She asked if I had anyone I could refer her to and I gave her the names of a couple of other photographers who were in her price range. She then asked (I still have to laugh about this) if they were any good. I replied not really but they were within her budget. That didn’t go over very well…
Now here was someone who had no respect for the photography and whose main focus in hiring a photographer was cost. She could easily have afforded me but can you honestly think of any reason why I would have wanted to work with her? Instead I booked a small ceremony that was held on a little farm way out in the country. In fact I was probably the most expensive investment that couple made in both their wedding coverage and their honeymoon! But they were a delight to work with and loved the work I produced for them.

Q. Why is wedding coverage so “expensive”?

A. You’re asking a photographer to give up 8 hours of prime studio time and provide you with a beautiful leather album which, on the average, holds about 80 images. At the studio the photographer will spend another 8-12 hours designing your album and placing orders. On a Saturday an average photographer should produce a session every hour that brings in between $300-$400 dollars. And that’s an average photographer. And on top of all that time and expense the photographer gets to work under all the pressure of coordinating a whole bunch of people with never enough time and lighting conditions that he didn’t select and must correct and control and be everywhere at once.
And you wonder why wedding photography is “expensive”?

Q. What should a bride look out for in selecting a studio for their wedding?

A. I’d say watch out for studios that book your event but can’t tell you who is covering it. They either are booking the dates and then hiring anyone who answers an ad to cover it or are showing you the owner’s work and booking the date with a “lower priced” package and then switching their coverage to the next bride who books their more expensive package. Have them put it in writing exactly who is shooting your wedding. If they give you some reason why they won’t do that – run!
If they say you get or can buy “all your proofs” make sure that means “all”. Studios are notorious for using proofs in the wedding album and giving you what was left over.
Never let anyone place charges on your credit card without your authorization. Never. 
Don’t get hung up on equipment. If the only thing the photographer has to impress you with is the size or expense of her camera then you’re in trouble. I’ve seen some of the most gosh awful work done on $4000 Hassleblads. And one of the most beautiful images I ever created I did with a $10 plastic Holga camera as an experiment. While it’s true that “it’s a poor workman who blames his tools” it’s also true that the best equipment in the hands of a poor photographer won’t get you anything better than your old Aunt Minnie could have taken.
Don’t buckle into a high pressure salesman approach. One local studio actually tries to get prospects that are just out collecting information or “shopping” to sign a contract before they are allowed to leave. They’ll tell you it’s better to have a contract now rather then possibly lose the opportunity to hire them and besides – they’ll let you change your mind. Of course you lose the $500 deposit and they can take you to court but, yes, you can change your mind.
And don’t place a lot of faith in those “personal referral” letters. Do you think someone is going to show you a letter of complaint or a bad referral? Come on!

Q. When should someone book you?
A. As soon as possible. I usually am booked solid from sometime in April through mid-November. Many brides book me a year in advance. With any vendor, and I mean florist, caterer, DJ, photographer, etc… if you like their price and service and feel comfortable with them then that’s when you should book them. Never let anyone pressure you but always remember that the first person to book gets the date.

mandag den 24. december 2018

6 Useful Tips To Cut Wedding Costs

Weddings are very nice occasions people want to attend to. 

But they can be time consuming and demand enormous attention on the part of the couple with lots of things to prepare for, in order for their wedding to be memorable. They can be very expensive, too. So how can you prepare for your wedding if you wan to save and are on a budget? Here are some tips.

1.Invitations. If you think that inviting people by giving them cards with fancy designs and made of expensive ink is still important to you, you may consider discarding that idea. You’re on a budget, right? Your main goal is to cut costs on things not that important to you. Besides, the people you’re inviting might just throw them away after reading it or when the wedding is over, so why bother? It could just waste your time and money. If you still insist on giving them invitations, then do it on a budget. You may go for DIY wedding cards instead. Or buy an inexpensive ink and cheap but lovely papers. You may also just send them an ecard, especially to people living out of the country. Or better yet, if you’re not thinking about formality, just call them.
2.Guests. The number of guests shouldn’t be too large if you want to cut wedding costs. Invite only your closest friends and family members. You’ll save on the food, too.
3.Photographer. No matter what the cost is, you’ll be able to find a professional wedding photographer. If you want your memories to last forever, then hire a professional who has the equipment and knows his craft. It’s a more preferable choice to a mere hobbyist who just might make mistakes. Remember, you’re paying for a service and you don’t want to risk on it. 
4.Cake. If you’re no the type who values the look of your wedding cake a lot, then don’t go for a tall, grand look that costs a lot. Have a small cakeshop do the job instead.
5.Musicians. Don’t go for a band if you can’t afford it. Hire a very talented small-time singer instead. Give her the piece or the songs she will sing in advance and make sure she’ll be able to carry them out really well.
6.Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. There are things that you want in your wedding that may not be within your budget. List those that are important to you in one group, then list those that are not in another. Learn to give value to those you believe will make your wedding memorable and discard the ones that are just frill to you, or go for a budget-friendly alternative. The key is to adjust with the budget you have.
A wedding is an important occasion to people who will spend their lives together, and it must be something that should be taken much time and preparation. Remember to save in advance if you want to have that special day a success to you both, and to people who will attend it.

Wedding Cake Design Through History

The design of the traditional wedding cake has varied greatly over time. 

Once a sign of fertility, the wedding cake of the Roman Empire was made of wheat or Barley. The small cake was then broken over the bride’s head, celebrating her fertility.
The design of the wedding cake changed and it became a tradition to pile several small cakes on top of each other. The bride and groom then tried kiss over the top of the cakes without knocking them down. A successful kiss was a good omen, bringing a lifetime of prosperity to the new couple.
The current traditional design of wedding cakes first appeared in the 1660’s. A French Chef visiting London attended a cake piling ceremony. He was shocked at the way the cakes were stacked on top of each other, and how often they fell over, so he created the tiered iced style of wedding cake we know today.
The wedding cake is more than just a desert at your reception. It is a symbol of good fortune and married bliss. Your guests always enjoy admiring the wedding cake and devouring the cake too. Even on a limited budget, you can present a beautiful wedding cake. Low cost options could include buying a stacked cake from your local bakery and dressing it up yourself. Ordering a cake from a pastry class at a culinary school could also be an option. There are also supermarkets and wholesale clubs that may offer bargain priced customized cakes.

More stories:

Wedding Cakes - Bakery Tips

Choosing wedding cake is not easy. 

Also, it is very important to know how to talk to the baker when ordering your cake.
That is why I decided to help you. 
Wedding cake bakeries will have a cake portfolio to look at and that will help you decide if they are able to make the cake you want. 
Have an idea of how many guests you will have at your reception, this will help determine the amount of wedding cake you will need or number of cupcake wedding cakes. The pastry chef/cake decorator may ask how many invitations are being sent to how many people and how many are from out of town or from more than a certain number of miles away. 
The pastry chef/cake decorator will use this information to calculate how many people will actually show up at the reception and how many of those will actually eat a piece or more of cake. 
By this time several people, such as the minister and caterer, will have asked for this information. They will have calculated and told you how many people they think will actually attend your wedding and reception. 
You will have been appalled at the low number they came up with. You know that everyone you invite is waiting breathlessly to attend your wedding and that only those who are ill or incapacitated or on Moon will pass up the chance to wish you well in person on your big day. When the baker comes up with a similar number, believe him because it’s true. 
Many people will simply forget and others can think of no way worse to spend a summer Saturday than at another wedding. That’s just the way it is. And you can believe it and save some money, or you can believe that everyone will come and then have to decide what to do with the leftover cake. 
Do whatever will do the most to put your mind at ease for the next six to eight months. Saving money by ordering only a sufficient amount of cake based on the years of experience of your baker is no good if you are going to fret over it and be nervous about it for more than half a year. 
Sleeping well, feeling good and setting your mind at ease before your big day is a lot more important than saving money and having no leftovers. You will have enough to go crazy with as your wedding approaches. 
When in wedding cake bakery, be clear about the date, time, and location of the wedding and receptions; set deadlines for changes to the cake design and size and for delivery; provide the address of and a map to the reception. 
Make sure that the cake can be delivered at a time convenient to you or whomever you will have to receive and inspect the cake. 
There should be a written contract with the wedding cake bakery to specify the size, shape, flavor, color, decorations, delivery day, delivery time, delivery place, and price of wedding cake. 
Such a contract, of course, does not need a special form or a lawyer to draw it up. It can be a simple list with this information. The list should be dated and signed by both the baker and you, and you should each have a copy. 
Many wedding cake bakeries have their own form for such orders because it is as important to them that you remember exactly what you asked for and don’t remember asking for something that you never mentioned as it is to you that they deliver what you did ask for. 
If they have their form, use it and add any items or information that you need to. Make sure you take a copy of their form. 
Bring swatches of material to match the cake to your wedding colors because colors in pictures are often slightly off and a picture’s colors can fade with time. (But again, don’t forget the picture of the wedding cake.) 
Below you will find list of questions you should ask the pastry chef, baker, or cake decorator at the wedding cake bakery. It is your special day you have every right to ask questions! 

Questions to ask at the bakery: 

(Suggestion: print these questions, you will certainly need them)! 
1. Can pastry chef/cake decorator create custom cake from your instructions and to look like your wedding-cake picture. 
2. What flavors of wedding cake and icing are available? Or if you already have an idea what you want, ask “Can you make a (type of cake) with (flavor of icing)?” 
3. Ask to sample some of the bakery’s cakes. If you don’t care for any of the cake samples offered by the bakery, ask for additional samples or as what other choices are available. 
Even if you have to order a small cake to try the baker’s version of what you want, it is a small price to pay for satisfaction. 
4. In case you want to use fresh flowers to decorate the wedding cake, ask if the bakery can provide them or if you or a florist must deliver them. 
5.Request to see pictures of wedding cakes from their photo gallery. Take a look at their album and see if you like the looks of the cakes. Ask how old the pictures are and if the person who baked and decorated these cakes is the same person who will create yours. 
6. Does the bakery, baker, pastry chef, or cake decorator has the required licenses and has passed health inspections. Licensing varies from state to state, but a bakery is probably required to be licensed as a retail food establishment or as a food preparer. 
The health department of the city, county, or state probably issues licenses. The baker, pastry chef, and decorator may also be required to be licensed or qualified as a food handler. 
You can go to most states’ web sites and find out just what licensing is required so that you know what to ask for. 
Most bakeries will gladly let you look at the kitchen to see where the cake will be mixed, baked, decorated, and stored; this is probably as satisfying as seeing the licenses. 
You should probably ask to take a peek at the kitchen after asking about the licenses. You can also ask to see the results of the latest health inspection. 
7. If you simply don’t like frozen food and don’t want it served at your wedding, ask if the wedding cake will be frozen. But understand that some people believe the taste of several cakes improves after freezing. 
8. Ask how long before the wedding date the cakes will be prepared and how they will be kept until time for delivery. If you think the time or the method of storage will result in the bridal cake not being as fresh as you want, express your feeling to the person you are talking with. 
He or she either will explain or demonstrate that this will not be a problem or will negotiate a shorter length of storage. She may let you sample some cake kept for that length of time. Some cakes keep well when frozen, and others do not. 
Pound cakes and some carrot cakes seem to improve with freezing. If you are not satisfied and cannot reach some agreement, you must use another bakery. 
9. To find how much time and attention will be spent on your cake, ask how many orders the bakery typically has for the weekend of your order and how many of those your pastry chef might be producing. 
A large volume can be an indication that not a lot of time and attention can be devoted to your cake. But a very busy bakery also indicates that many people like its products and trusts its work. Wedding cake bakery that no one likes will have plenty of time to dedicate to your cake, but that alone will not guarantee good results. 
Neither will a very busy bakery guarantee good results all the time. For one, you may need to check with them during the week of production to make sure that things are going well. 
For the other, you may want to check to make sure that your order has not somehow been overlooked among so many orders. In either case verify that your cake is in the process of being prepared. 
10. Ask if the decorator is experienced and good and if he or she decorated the cakes pictured in the bakery’s gallery. 
The point of such a question is to find out whether you will be getting the best the bakery has to offer and whether you will be served by the same personnel that did the work seen in the bakery’s photo album and for the references you will contact. 
You may be satisfied that all decoration is supervised by a master decorator with long experience and excellent references, even though the actual work may be done by one of several less experienced decorators. 
11. Ask to be introduced to each of the people who will bake, decorate, and deliver the cake. You may have questions you want to ask. If you do, ask them. 
For example, you might be concerned with the experience each one has. If so, you might ask how many cakes they have baked or decorated. I might be more concerned to simply ask whether they did the cakes in the bakery’s album of cakes. 
If you have no questions, ask to meet them anyway. Introduce yourself and try to make it easy for them to remember your name and your face. Show a great pleasure at meeting the people who have created the wonderful masterpieces that have come from this bakery and tell them that you look forward to having them create your wedding cake. 
What you are creating is a personal relationship with these artists at the wedding cake bakery. Like all workers and artists, these people like being appreciated and will do their best work for someone who has praised them and treats them as a master of their craft. 
This goes as well for the person taking your order, whether it is the owner, manager, or just the order taker. I suggest that you work to make as good an impression on them as you expect them to try to make on you. Dress well when you are shopping for a bakery. 
You don’t have to dress like you’re meeting the Queen or the First Lady, but don’t be dressing like you’re about to be hitting the bars with your friends on your bachelorette party–not unless you dress a lot better for that than most of the young women in my neighborhood. 
Please try to time your visits so that the bakery is not crowded with customers. This is particularly important in smaller bakeries. 
12.If you are concerned, ask whether the cake be made from scratch or from packaged mixes. Packaged mixes are so much more expensive that few busy bakeries would use them. And if they produce the wedding cake you want and it tastes good, do you care whether it’s from a mix or from scratch? 
13. Ask what the price will be. If the baker can give you an estimate but not the final cost, ask how much the final cost might vary from the estimate. 
If the baker says that they will charge by how long it takes because they charge by the hour, ask how many hours it will take and do the calculation yourself. 
Again, if it’s an estimate of hours, ask how far the hours might vary from that estimate. If you feel uncomfortable with the bakery’s commitment to giving you a number, maybe you should find another bakery. 
14. Ask for customer references so that you can talk to with them. Then actually contact them and ask about their experience with the bakery. 
While they were probably very pleased with the bakery (otherwise you’d think the bakery would not be giving them as a reference), they may give you some pointers about how best to deal with the bakery. 
15. Request a written proposal that includes the size of the cake, the flavor, the icing type and flavor, the description of the cake: Number of tiers or number of cupcakes or miniature cakes, decorations, the date and time the cake would be ready, whether it would be delivered and where and when, and the price. 
Some bakeries will put all of this in a proposal and some will commit to just the basic items. Press for commitment to everything that is important to you. 
I would suggest you to print this page and take it to the bakery!