I then remembered with some sadness that a few weeks previously I had been commissioned to make a cake for the same venue – this bride and groom were having a much more modest wedding and only required a 2-tier cake. There is absolutely nothing wrong with smaller cakes but on this occasion the vast room overshadowed the cake which looked a little overwhelmed by the magnificent surroundings.
Another memory then came to mind of a cake we had been commissioned to make at the start of our career. The bride came to me with a picture of a beautiful butter-creamed cake which was set in a very rustic, country cottage setting and asked me to replicate the design for her own wedding day. The design was beautiful and, when finished, looked gorgeous set in our shop against the floral wallpaper and relaxed ambience. However, when I delivered this cake, I was slightly concerned at the formal grandeur of the room against our cake’s rustic beauty! They didn’t match and our beautiful little cake looked disappointingly sorry for herself and I knew she was worried that she might not please her recipient.
Learning from previous cakes has been invaluable and I have written about them in this article as brides do not generally benefit from experience or hindsight. You only choose your wedding cake once and, without some guidance, you may never consider the importance of selecting a design that will fit into it’s surroundings and your day. During consultations we have now learnt to delve into the whole style of your wedding and ask detailed questions about the venue, the décor, your dress, the flowers and the number of guests that will be attending. This way we can establish whether your venue, the décor, your own style and the number of guests will be more suited to a 2-tiered rustic, butter-creamed cake with fresh flowers or a formal 5-tier cake with intricate piping and hand-made sugar flowers. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t assume that our job is to listen to your dreams and dismiss them – quite the opposite.
A good cake decorator will simply suggest ideas to tie your own dreams together with the style and size of your wedding. Consider the following as an example:
• If your venue has high ceilings, it’s a good idea to consider a slightly taller cake. If you are having a smaller wedding, talk to your cake decorator about the inclusion of a dummy tier to provide additional height. Alternatively, consider a cake plate to create the same effect.
•If your venue is very formal you may want to avoid choosing a rustic style in your wedding cake. You may have found a beautiful picture of a cake but consider whether the photographer has styled this picture in the same way that your venue will look – if not, try cutting the picture out and placing it on your own mood board or sit it on a picture with more formal surroundings.
•If the style of your wedding will be more relaxed then you may want to opt for a more rustic style cake or even a cupcake tower where people can wander up and select a sweet treat as they wish.
•If your cake is not the only sweet treat at the wedding, try to tie the two in together. For example, a cake with brightly coloured spots and stripes would look delightful set against a candy bar.
•Ask your cake decorator whether they have supplied cakes for that venue on a previous occasion and what they feel will work best, bearing in mind your own dreams for the design of your cake.
The experience that your cake decorator has gained is invaluable and should be used wisely – they will be able to guide you through the process of choosing a cake which sits perfectly in your venue. So don’t worry, previous learning curbs experienced by your cake decorator are to your greatest advantage!