In last week’s post, I stepped you through the process of how we decided on our wedding cake, in the hope that it helps other couples in figuring out how to tackle the cake task for their own special day. In that post we went through choosing the vendor, sizes and flavors, and this week we take a look at the look of the wedding cake.
Part 2: Design
As mentioned last week, at the Reflective Wedding we settled on a three-tier, round wedding cake. Our three tiers would be 10, 8 and 6 inches in diameter, with each tier being six inches high. The bottom two tiers would be stacked on top of each other, and then the top tier would rest on a level of 7-inch pillars. The flavor for each tier would be chocolate, carrot and caramel. Enough with the logistics, now on to the fun stuff of designing it all up…
One thing that I absolutely had my heart set on for the decoration of our wedding cake was a sweet little bride and groom cake topper – partly for fun on the day, and partly to keep as a memento of the day. I didn’t simply want a traditional bride and groom standing glumly side by side, but thought that a custom-made sugar caricature of each of us might be a little too out-of-place with our decor theme of “formal elegance”.
I found online several wedding supplies websites that stock novelty toppers for wedding cakes, and tried to find some that spoke to our personalities without being too… well, “controversial”. In the latter category we ruled out toppers with the bride’s legs wrapped around the groom, and ones with the bride figurine wearing “the pants”. (I’m all for feminism, but I don’t think your wedding day is the best moment to make light of who’s the more passive one in the relationship.) On toppers that spoke to our personalities, we found a few that reflect hobbies and sports we’re interested in… but these didn’t fit so well for a formal wedding cake. In the end we took a fancy to ones showing beach scenes; our wedding ceremony would take place on a beach, in my very beachy hometown. We selected the one to the left because it was different to the standard bride and groom poses, rather romantic, and there’s even a cute little “just married” sign drawn in the sand at their feet. (Not to mention that the hair colors of the figurines pretty much hit the nail on the head!)
Ribbons, frosting and flowers
Our wedding cake vendor offered free, as part of her quote, ribbons around each tier of the wedding cake. They would feature a satin finish, and we would simply need to nominate the colors for them. Too easy! The color scheme that we had chosen for our big day was beige, royal blue and powder blue. Although I was leaning toward royal blue for the ribbons, my groom vetoed that color decision in favor of beige – declaring that any shade of blue would make it look like a baby shower cake. (The fabric-covered chairs for our guests had beige rather than blue sashes, for the same reason.) As such, ribbons of different colors for the different tiers were also out as an option! I had quite liked the idea of decorative diamante buckles around the ribbons, but my groom again overruled this as being “too blingy”.
Still on color, another point that we had to decide on was our preferred shade for the vanilla fondant frosting. Going for a formal, elegant look, we thought it best to stick to the classic shades of white or ivory. My wedding gown was ivory rather than white (because I’m 10 kinds of pasty and ivory is apparently what we pale lasses are supposed to wear), and we had read that the groom’s shirt should then be ivory as well to avoid us clashing. So we figured then that perhaps other big day accessories should fall in line, and we opted for ivory fondant.
The color of the pillars between the tiers also came up. With so much of the cake now ivory or beige, we thought things would start to look a bit too flat if the pillars were also ivory, but also weren’t sure what else would match the existing look. Our cake maker informed us that she usually bought transparent pillars and then painted them to suit the couple’s preferences… so in the absence of a clear preference, we thought we’d stick with clear.
Sugar flowers on the top tier of the cake were another freebie included in our vendor’s cost package. I’m not the most creative person in the world (as you might have guessed from that whole transparent pillar thang), and definitely no good with plants and flowers, so I thought the most logical thing would be to match these sugar flowers to the blooms in my and the bridemaids’ bouquets. The flowers that I had already chosen for our bouquets were ivory open roses, white gardenias, copper (ahem, beige) rosebuds and baby blue orchids. I had opted for artificial flowers for the bouquets (again, for keeping as a memento of the day), and these bouquets had already been completed and delivered to my home three months before the wedding as we were having these cake decoration discussions. As such, I simply sent photographs of the bouquets to the cake maker so that she could replicate them in her floral handiwork. Tick!
The arrangement of the the sugar flowers of the cake was another matter. (Who knew there were so many cake decisions to be made?) How would they fit on top of tier along side our beloved bride-and-groom cake topper? I spoke to the baker about this, and when my sister and bridesmaid went to do the cake tasting on our behalf, they dropped off the topper so that the baker could see the exact size and determine how it would fit in. Our baker suggested that the topper stand in the middle of the tier, and that she arrange the sugar flowers in a U-shape around it.
I also proposed that we include some sugar flowers on the cake’s second tier, the one with the pillars on it, so that the tier wouldn’t look too bare. However, I wanted to do something a little more creative than simply covering the entire tier with flowers. As there were three pillars, we settled on radiating the flowers outwards from the middle, in three directions between the pillars (imagine the Mercedes Benz logo… that’s the best comparison I can think of for it!). The three directions of flowers would juust start to cascade over the sides of the cake. I had seen this approach on other cakes displayed in the baker’s gallery and thought it looked fab!
During my dreamy gazing at wedding cake inspiration boards, I became quite taken with cakes that incorporate some kind of subtle design into the side of the tiers – featuring everything from floral patterns and rosettes, to criss-cross textures and silvery sugar pearls. One design that stood out as interesting for us was damask (see left). The wedding website template we had chosen incorporated a beige damask background, and we had asked our invitation maker to replicate that style in all our stationery.
So we thought, for consistency (and for lack of more creativity; the Reflective Couple are not very artistic), we thought that our wedding cake could feature the same pattern. We simply directed the cake maker to our wedding website, and asked if was something she could reproduce in sugar or fondant – and she could indeed! She quoted the price per tier as $20, and – as that was more expensive than we were shooting for – we decided to only add the pattern to one tier, the middle one.
And with that final damask decision, all our wedding cake plans were complete! Tune in next week for After: how it all turned out!