The Trials and Tribulations of Wedding Expo Participants
October 1, 2014
We thought we’d kick off our new weekly blog talking about the fabulous time we had participating in the Wine Country Wedding Expo in Santa Rosa on Sunday, September 21. I’m not sure if any of you who are reading this attended it, but talk about a turn out! It was hard work, but we truly did enjoy every minute of it.
That Takes the Cake had a booth at the Treasure Island Wedding Expo several months ago, and we had a great time there as well. It was my first wedding expo, and I learned so much from it. Besides all the prep work that went on the week before, we put in a solid 12-13 hour day the day of the event. The Wine Country Wedding Expo wasn’t any different! The bakers and decorators and anyone else who participates as a vendor in these kinds of events will tell you it’s both thrilling as well as downright exhausting to be a part of. The amount of preparation that goes into it is mind-boggling.
View From Our Booth at the Treasure Island Wedding Expo
To be honest, though, I absolutely love the week leading up to an Expo, despite all the craziness. We all rally around each other, doing whatever it takes to get all those mini cupcakes decorated, or to “pretty up” our catering menus. It’s all about the details! As a tiny, family-owned bakery, we have a small, closely-knit staff and often wear many hats in order to get the job done and to be the best we can be. I am the marketing assistant, who typically stays way the heck out of the kitchen and leaves that job to the experts. When we’re prepping for an expo, though, it’s all hands on deck, and I’m happily grabbing that mixing bowl and dropping the perfect quantity of batter into those cupcake pans when asked. In case you’ve never tried it, it’s seriously fun!
Me helping with last-minute decorating… Fun!
Last week, our decorator, Dawn, anxiously churned out batch after batch of freshly-made batter… first the champagne, then the vanilla, followed by the lemon. As anyone who has ever made thousands of ANYTHING, let alone mini cupcakes, it is a time-consuming task, to say the least. To those who love it, however, the stress is mitigated by the fact that they are doing what they love, and hoping that those who take that first bite can taste every morsel of that hard work and love that’s been put in to each and every cupcake. Since we were doing six flavors, Dawn split up the flavors with our other decorator, Seretha, who would work on the three other flavors that we were going to provide. As I sat on my laptop, working on Facebook status updates, Instagram posts, and organizing photos for a slideshow at the booth, the Kitchen Aid whirred on in the background, creating a batter with a beautiful, silky consistency that left it light and fluffy. After each batch was removed from the oven, Dawn would perform a strict selection process that left several cupcakes who didn’t make the cut stranded on the side of the table. I happily grabbed a “misfit” cupcake or two and was instantly reminded of how great working for a bakery really is! (Even if it isn’t exactly “great” for your waistline!)
The day of the Expo, Dawn and Seretha arose insanely early and began the long process of packing up the cars and heading over to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. They had been at it since nearly the crack of dawn, finishing up decorating the majority of the mini cupcakes which they were bringing with them to the Expo. The later you wait to frost the cupcakes, the fresher they’ll be (might sound obvious, but it was news to my ears to hear that many bakeries frost their cakes then freeze them before serving them).
Dawn and Seretha, Post-Set Up
Once inside the venue, the hustle and the bustle kept Seretha and Dawn going, despite the exhaustion creeping up on them. There is something that happens when you are surrounded by numerous happy, excited, enthusiastic brides-to-be: their energy rubs off on you. I remember being excited to plan my own wedding after attending the Treasure Island event (and no, I wasn’t engaged at that point! Ha!). All the possibilities and the decisions that at times can seem overwhelming to brides become fun talking points between bride and decorator. We often joke how lucky we are to be a cake vendor at one of these events, rather than an event planner or wedding venue… we get to tantalize people’s taste buds with our delicious cakes! I mean, who isn’t just a tad bit happier after enjoying a moist cake with a sweet pop of sugar on top? It just makes life a little better.
In addition to having some great talks with brides, grooms, and bridesmaids-to-be, Dawn and Seretha got the thrill of a [baker/decorator’s] lifetime: they both got to meet Reva Alexander-Hawk, of Merci Beaucoup Weddings, who was also in attendance at the Expo. Hearing Dawn talk about the experience of meeting Reva, I realized the depth of her love of cake decorating. Reva appeared on the popular WE TV show “Amazing Wedding Cakes” up until fairly recently, and is very well-respected in the wedding cake world. Dawn was downright giddy when talking about it with me, and I absolutely love the photograph of her and Seretha with Reva- she is grinning from ear-to-ear like a kid at Christmastime! Love it!
Seretha, Dawn, and Reva – Amazing Wedding Cakes!
After a long day of conversing, scheduling, appeasing and delighting, it was time to call the day quits. The last few brides trickled out, as the weary vendors began the arduous process of packing up and cleaning up.
The event was over, but the journey of each bride we met and spoke with that day was just beginning. The hours of planning, worrying, projecting, contemplating, and stressing had only just begun for many of them. We want to shout out that we’re here, ready to help them along the way, if only with just one small piece of the puzzle that comprises their “big day.”
That’s all for now… tune in next week. Catch you on the flip side, Cupcake Nation 🙂