Yes, you will! As soon as a baker takes your deposit (many bakers are now calling it; nonrefundable retainer fee) they have committed to making your wedding cake in return for your commitment to receive a cake on a particular date. Your deposit (retainer fee) represents an earnest payment toward an outstanding balance.
Your wedding cake bakery will now turn away other orders if they are completely booked for that particular date. After accepting your order it can be difficult to replace your order if you cancel. In addition, they already have a time commitment and possibly a materials commitment in arranging your order.
For these reasons, most wedding cake designers will not refund your deposit (retainer fee) or “initial payment.”
According to our last 112 surveyed bakers (WeddingCake.org), 86 said if you cancel your cake under any conditions, you would not receive any of your deposit back. The 26 exceptions were from wedding cake bakers in smaller communities.
We found some bakers who had “minimum fixed deposits” as low as $25. Most of them had “minimum deposits” between $50-$100.
Also, there are bakers who make you pay a deposit based upon the total price of the order. These designers typically charge you a percentage between 10%-50% of the total amount due.
To put this into context, if you place an order for a wedding cake with a baker who has a deposit of 50% and the wedding cake costs $1,000, you will need to put down $500. The $500 represents your nonrefundable deposit. If you cancel for any reason, be prepared to forfeit the entire $500.
If paying a large up-front deposit is a concern for you, put this question on your list to ask in your preappointment planning.