I graduated High School at 16 and joined the Army, where I served 16 years with the British Military. My interest in cakes started as a hobby. I served as a Master Chef Instructor in the British Army. In Ft. Lee, I served with the American Army as the Pastry Team Captain and Technical Advisor. I trained food service personnel and the U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team (USACAT).
In 1991, I got out of the British Army and worked at 2 local bakeries back to back. I worked at each of the bakeries for about a year. It was during this time that I had the desire to start my own business. In 1994, after I wrote my business plan, I sought advice and opened Cakes by Graham. Wanting to stand out from what was already existing, I came up with the slogan “More than just the icing on the cake” and “Richmond’s only custom cakery”. Weddings became a large part of Cakes by Graham.
What is your favorite part about working in the wedding industry?
My favorite part of working in the wedding industry is meeting with the bride, finding out what her vision is, and taking her vision and transforming it into a visual/physical object for everyone to savor. It is about seeing the end result and hearing the feedback from the bride that the cake exceeded her expectations, ultimately, adding even more joy to such a memorable day.
What question do you most often get from brides about wedding cakes?
One of the most common questions I get from brides about wedding cakes, especially in the beginning of the planning process, is about budget. Initially, she does not know how to set a budget and pre-printed articles use statistics and averages to determine cost. Every bride is an individual and not “the average”. I work with the bride to meet her needs. It is important for the bride to know that “a cake doesn’t have to be expensive to look expensive”
Are there any favorite wedding trends that you’ve liked as of late?
One of my favorite wedding trends is the bride’s desire to make the cake what she wants it to be.
Any tips you’d like to share with our 2012 brides?
The one tip I have for 2012 brides: Use websites such as Pinterest, Facebook, Etsy, and Instagram as a guide. Use them as inspiration only. Don’t think that all pictures apply to all circumstances- keep in mind that the pictures will probably need to be changed to meet the needs of her individual wedding. For example, a picture of a 5-tier cake would need to be scaled down to 3 tiers to accommodate a bride’s guest count of 100.
To learn more about Cakes by Graham and set up a tasting, visit their website! Thank you so much Graham for chatting with us!
Paula & Martin Ramirez
Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed and breakfast just minutes from Downtown Richmond. They enjoy new restaurant finds, Virginia wines and discovering fun events and activities throughout the area for their guests.