Dylan Humphrey knows cake. He should. He's been baking them for people since he was 13 years old. Inspired by his grandmother’s love of baking, Humphrey signed up for a Wilton Cake Decorating class at a Michaels store and hasn’t looked back.
He is now the owner of Kool Kakes by Dylan in Tyler, Texas.
“I’m the pastry engineer,” he says with a chuckle. “I came up with that in high school. I thought it sounded better.”
Humphrey has competed on "Cake Wars," "Dallas Cakes" and "The Big Bake" on Food Network. He even took home the top prize on an episode of the Food Network’s "Christmas Cookie Challenge" in 2017.
But cookies aren’t his specialty. It’s cakes. So who better to talk about wedding cakes than Dylan?
For most couples, a photo of them cutting their wedding cake or feeding it to each other finds its way into the wedding album. It’s an important symbol — one of the first things new husbands and wives do together — so they may feel pressure to make the perfect cake selection.
There's no need to stress out about your wedding cake. First, a consultation and tasting is a must. But before you make that appointment, you’ve got some prep work to do.
Here’s a quick Wedding Cake 101 to ensure a successful meeting with your cake artist.
Hit Up Pinterest
That’s right, enter wedding cake into the search bar and start scrolling. “Bring four to seven, max, photos of cakes you like,” Humphrey says. "Don't get hung up on finding the exact cake you want. Your cake artist will get a good sense of your style from the pictures you bring in. It gives us a great reference and starting point."
Photographs will help ensure everyone is on the same page.
"Almost everyone asks for simple and elegant, but that can be interpreted in many different ways.”
Bring Color Swatches
“There are a million shades of teal and blush pink,” Humphrey says. "By bringing in swatches, you’ll get the exact color match that you’re hoping for."
Have a Budget
When your cake artist knows your budget, they’ll be able to help you get what you want realistically. A smaller budget does not mean that you can’t get the cake of your dreams.
Humphrey offers several solutions. “Sometimes you can have a smaller, more complicated cake, and then have cupcakes or a sheet cake for serving. If a bride is set on a tall, tiered cake, we can use fake tiers to gain that height. Both of these solutions can save some money.”
Have a guest list because, among other things, cakes are priced on how many people will be served. Have a reliable estimate when you arrive.
Not only is it okay to shop around, but it’s also encouraged. It's an excellent time to ask questions, look at portfolios, taste samples, and fully understand the range of their abilities.
With these tips in mind and a little planning, you’ll be ready to pick the perfect confection for your big day.
Tami Brooks is a freelance writer based in East Texas.