Budget Your Expectations.

Ah, "Say Yes To The Dress," another show that makes my husband ask "is there anything on besides wedding shows?" Of course there are, there are some cake shows, too.

Anyway, I was watching Say Yes the other day and one of the dress consultants said the quote of the year. She was talking about the brides who disappoint themselves by trying on gowns that are way more expensive than they can afford, then feeling like the cheaper gowns aren't as nice. She said "You don't go shopping for a Honda and test drive the Maserati."

Thing is, the cheap gowns aren't usually as nice as the expensive ones. There's a reason for why certain gowns cost more. The fabric is a better quality, the fit is more precise, the details have been better designed, and the workmanship that goes into making couture gowns does make a difference. They look and feel different...If you've ever owned an expensive handbag and compared it to the cheapo one that you bought at Target, you'll understand.

The same is true for many things, wedding cakes included. You will have to pay more for quality work. That could come in the form of a cake design that's completely personalized to you, or in the form of a cake that actually tastes good so that it's eaten and not left on plates all around the reception with one bite taken out of each piece. (That's called "wasted cake that you paid for anyway so you didn't really save any money")

I'm not saying that you have to pay the highest price for everything, but I am saying that you need to decide what's important to you and budget to spend more on those things. Don't go to a high-end baker who makes amazing cakes and expect to pay what you'd pay at the Walmart bakery. The two products may both be called cake, but there's a vast difference in the quality. Go into it with reasonable expectations and you'll be happy when the price is in the range of your budget, not disappointed to find out you were shopping for the Maserati on a Honda budget.

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com