What is the most memorable aspect of your wedding? Some of your guests will talk about the bridesmaids' gowns. Others will discuss the lovely flowers. Many will exclaim over how beautiful the bride looked.
But the one aspect of the wedding that all your guests - men and women, children, parents and grandparents - will remark on is the wedding cake. Your wedding cake not only serves as the culmination of a delightful dinner - and a wonderful day - but also as a delicious dessert. It makes a style statement as it embodies the theme of your wedding, whether you chose seasonal or sophisticated celebrations of your marital vows.
Starting the Planning
Throughout the wedding planning process, you should always keep the cake in mind. However, you shouldn't officially start designing your cake until after other major decisions - such as the theme, dress styles and reception venue - are finalized. All of these factors will affect how you look at and make choices regarding your cake.
When choosing a baker or cake designer, ask friends and families for recommendations. Make appointments with these bakers for some tastings and discuss what they offer, including flavors, fillings, frostings, as well as toppers and/or other décor. Find out which combinations you like and ask them to estimate a price per slice based on the number of guests.
Then choose the baker that meets your tastes and your budget.
Confections With Class
Today, you don't see many cakes with pillars and fountains. Modern cakes resemble current dress design - clean and simple design. Of course, the variations on this classic wedding reception element put the icing on your personal style.
The tiers of a cake are much like the shape of diamonds. The most popular tier shape is round. But square tiers are also becoming popular. They can be styled to resemble stacked gift boxes. Oval shapes are a new trend, giving cakes a distinctive look. You can also consider stacking differently shaped tiers atop one another to create a multidimensional appearance.
What is your favorite kind of cake? Of course, the classics are white and chocolate, but there are many other flavors available. What about lemon or lime? Cranberry or hazelnut? Even carrot cake! Alert your baker to your favorite flavor, and he or she may be able to satisfy that sweet tooth.
You should base your filling choice on the kind of cake you select. Combine classic white cake with classic vanilla crème, aromatic lemon curd or mousse, or white chocolate. Pair rich, moist chocolate cake with mocha, amaretto or Grand Marnier crème. Tiramisu and cannoli crème (sweet ricotta cheese) also make flavorful and unique fillings.
Or look at exotic fruits for exciting fillings - passion fruit, pineapple, coconut, cherry or orange. Your filling can be as subtle or as unusual as you'd like.
Wedding cakes usually are iced in white to match the bride's dress. Rich vanilla buttercream is a perfect choice.
However, you can pick any of a number of colors. Hues that match or complement the bridesmaids' gowns can add subtle color to your cake - through pink, pale green, ice blue and lavender ornamentation. Dark chocolate mocha-flavored cream on a chocolate cake makes a flavorful combination.
Cake trimmings are available to meet any desire. Fresh flowers that match the bride's or bridesmaids' bouquet(s) can grace the cake. Ribbons can encircle the tiers. The icing can also be textured. Basketweave patterns, Swiss dots, swirls or even your married initials can be woven throughout the cake's design.
Flowers or ribbons (made of sugar or real materials) can grace the top of your cake. Or you can use ornamental pieces that have special meaning to you. A vintage topper that your parents or grandparents used can be lovely.
Don't Forget the Groom
If you've always dreamed of a classic white cake but also want to include another flavor or style, a groom's cake can accommodate your wishes. This unique cake can be anything from classic tiers to unusual shapes. It may have a theme centered around special moments (i.e., a replica of the place you were engaged, or the place you're going on your honeymoon) or a favorite hobby (i.e., tennis or golf). Just don't forget to consult the groom - it is his cake after all.
Consulting Your Baker
Whatever your dream cake may be, however extravagant or simple, consult your baker about the reality of making that cake come to life. Using pictures you've snipped out of magazines, or the description of what's in your imagination, he or she can help you make your wedding cake dream come true.
Wedding favors are little "thank you" gifts for your guests. To show them how much you appreciate having them celebrate with you on your special day. How can you find a favor all your guests will enjoy? Give them a "sweet memory" of your wedding - a treat they can eat.
Check out the following suggestions for edible favors that you can order either from a baker or a local confectionery.
• Candied almonds - a tradition at Italian weddings - represent the bitter and the sweet that come with married life. Go classic by gathering them in white tulle and tying with a ribbon in your wedding colors; or place the almonds in decorative boxes.
• Like the Italian but not the almonds? Give each guest a cannoli or a variety of traditional Italian cookies.
• A petit four iced with your new initial will last only a moment on the lips but leave a lasting impression.
• Give each guest Kisses and Hugs - Hershey's, that is! Gather them in tulle or tissue paper.
• You don't have to be Greek to have a little piece of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." Share some baklava with friends and family.
• Help your guests cleanse their palettes between dinner and dessert - offer them mints. Maybe in small tins bearing your name and your groom's.
• Think conversation hearts are fun and romantic? Order some for your wedding marked, "Just Married" and "Kiss the Bride."
• Colorful, personalized lollipops in your wedding colors can display your new monogram.