And this is straight from the brides, not from a magazine or blog telling you what brides will want. Nooo...Pinterest serves up what brides want without having to worry about whether the prediction will be right or not.
You can go to Pinterest and do a search for the basic terms like "wedding cake" and see what comes up. Be aware, though, that most of the cake photos that are being pinned are probably from cake decorators. That won't tell you what customers are looking for.
The best way to see what brides are pinning is to find out what they're taking off of websites that appeal to brides, Like The Knot or Style me Pretty. To see what photos are being taken from specific websites (including your own) use this link: www.pinterest.com/source/(insert the website you're looking for here without the www in front of the name).
So if you want to see what people have pinned from Style Me Pretty, for example, you can put in www.pinterest.com/source/stylemepretty.com and see what comes up.
(If you want to be really surprised, put in your own website to see what people have pinned from there. Whenever I check I'm always surprised that none of the cakes I would suspect would be pinned are the ones that do get pinned.)
This will give you an overview of what brides from all over are choosing to save, but trends are usually regional.
If you want to really narrow down what brides in YOUR area are looking at, do a search for weddings in your city. So I'd search for Weddings Richmond VA. Pinterest will bring up results that show what everyone in Richmond is pinning.
Look through the results and find actual brides' boards, not boards from photographers, venues, etc. Each pin will show the person who pinned it at the bottom of the photo, plus the name of the board she posted it to. If a board is called "wedding planning" or something like that, you'll get a lot more information about what local brides are looking at than you will if you look at a venue's boards.
Make sure to pay attention to the results that are toward the top of the page, since those will be the most recently-pinned images. The one downside to Pinterest is that you can't see when an image was pinned, but the results they show first will be the most recent ones.
When I did this I wasn't surprised to see that rustic outdoor weddings are still big in Richmond, and that the pins for New York weddings are a lot different. I was surprised to see that there isn't a lot of pinning of metallic cakes going on, since all the cake decorators seem to be hyperventilating over them. It looks like brides are still liking simpler things...
So give it a shot and see what you can find. It might feel a little like snooping, and it is. but if you have the source of a lot of information in front of you, why not look at it to see what you should be planning for?
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, online cake supplies at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com