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Picking the Perfect Wedding Cake

Courtesy of Damon TucciThis post is long overdue! I have a few words of advice on the topic of wedding cakes and I will try to keep it short and “sweet”.

There are many things you need to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the cake that’s right for you. My experience has been that Cost, Purpose, Flavor, Style and Size are the most important factors to consider, although every couple will prioritize these factors differently.

I coach my clients to approach the cake selection process like this:

#1 – Identify the purpose of the cake: Will the cake be the ‘dessert’ for the event? Or will you have other sweet treats, for example, a chocolate fountain or a plated dessert that will be served to your guests? If the cake is the singular dessert that will be served after the meal, you will want to pay particular attention to the size and flavor of the cake.

#2 – Consider the cost: Many of my couples are looking for ways to trim excess expenses from their wedding budget (especially in today’s economy!). Here are some money saving tips:

  • Simple = savings! Wedding cake prices can vary widely and oftentimes a large part of the cake’s cost can be attributed to the complexity of the design and how it’s decorated. Fondant icing and intricate designs will drive up costs; foregoing these options is cost effective and will not affect your guests enjoyment of this dessert. Likewise, a ‘kitchen cake’ (a simple iced sheet cake that’s kept in the kitchen) can supplement the number of servings at an affordable price.
  • What are you saving it for…? Make your cake go farther by serving the top layer. Honestly, you don’t want to eat that cake a year later! Here’s a fresh idea: consider using a bakery that offers an anniversary cake.
  • Grocery store cakes are not always cheaper! Set a cake budget and then look around for a custom cake baker who can work within that budget; chances are you will be able to find an independent baker/bakery who can make the cake of your dreams at a price you can afford. (Note: Always get references, taste samples and ask to see pictures!)

#3 – Make it flavorful: I always recommend serving the best tasting cake you can, especially if the cake will be the primary (only) dessert. And, whenever possible, order layered cakes in multiple flavors! Three layers of yellow cake with white icing screams ‘boring’. I realize that some people just prefer vanilla or chocolate, but when it comes to your wedding cake, why order something you can buy any other day of the week? Make it memorable! There are so many options available to brides today – why not take advantage of them?

#4 – Selecting the perfect size: As a general rule, some guests may decline a serving of wedding cake, or some guests may leave before cake is served. While bakeries seem to provide serving information based on very small pieces (my opinion), odds are you will not run out of cake if you order the cake based on your guest count. Here are some money saving tips:

  • When the wedding cake is not the only dessert, you can likely order less servings – up to 10% – 20% less!
  • If a Groom’s cake will be served in addition to the wedding cake, you should deduct an equal number of servings from the size of the wedding cake. For example, based on 120 guests and a groom’s cake sized to serve 40 guests, you would order the wedding cake to serve 80 people.
  • Another thing to be aware of is that bakers/bakeries that specialize in wedding cakes have perfected the baking methods that allow large cakes to be stable; this means that the cake is firm without being dry, and easy to cut. Cakes that are overly moist, undercooked, or filled with chunky fruit (such as fresh strawberries, for example) can result in a lot of wasted cake.

#5 – Stylish cakes rule when it’s all about the look: Style is the highest priority for some of my brides, and there’s not much that can top that joyous gasp of, “Look at my cake!”. In these circumstances, cost is less of a concern, but using ‘dummy cakes’ (iced and decorated styrofoam layers) to boost the height of the cake may save a few dollars over ordering more cake than you require. On the other hand, you can plan to use the extra cake at the wedding brunch or arrange to donate uncut cakes to a nursing home.

One last bit of advice: be sure that your baker/bakery provides boxes for leftover cake!

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23

11 2008

Green with Envy! – Wedding Reception at Lake Mary Events Center

Wedding Reception - Lake Mary Events Center; A Flair for AffairsI just had to share a few images of this fabulously stylish reception from last weekend. This apple green and brown color theme is not exactly new, but it’s still quite popular; and this reception was exceptionally chic! It exemplifies how a few simple details, such as custom graphics, granny smith apples and cymbidium orchids, can deliver a huge, dramatic impact!

My very talented bride designed her own invitations, custom favors and table signage. The same brown and green motif was also incorporated into the cake design (cake by Karen Alvarez) and the graphic for the video screen. It’s easy to see how these signature details were instrumental in tying event decor together.

The major splurge for the reception decor was a lighting package by Kaleidoscope Productions; they provided perimeter and accent lighting throughout ballroom which glowed apple green most of the evening, but also changed periodically to enhance the mood of special dances and draw attention to the cutting of the cake, etc.

I also must say a few words about the beautiful Lake Mary Events Center. The Events Center has so much to offer! It’s a state of the art events venue with a tastefully appointed interior and lovely lake front views. Wedding ceremonies can be accommodated outdoors as well as indoors. The Events Center has a spacious Grand Ballroom with a dark wood dance floor and a small stage, a large Rotunda, flexible pre-function space, meeting and conference rooms, and dressing rooms. It is well designed and provides a “comfortable flow” – meaning everything is convenient and easily accessible – which is important to every event. Be sure to consider it for your next event!
© 2008 E. Delgardio All Rights Reserved / Photos by E. Delgardio

05

10 2008

ISES GIVES BACK 2 – An Amazing Night at HEAVEN Event Center

A few weeks ago I attended “ISES GIVES BACK 2 – Heavenly Holidaze” at the Heaven Event Center. (I blogged briefly about Heaven once before; it’s a ultra cool new venue space in Orlando.) This event was a spin-off of a fundraising event our ISES Programs team – led by J. Michael Hicks – produced last September.


Flashback to ISES GIVES BACK – 2007
Elisa with J.Michael Hicks, Derek Eaton and Jason Gabel
Courtesy: Christie’s Photographics

ISES GIVES BACK – It all began as a group of ISES friends came together to help a hardworking woman in the midst of some tragic circumstances. Quickly, many members of the special events industry also stepped forward to assist, and created this event. “ISES GIVES BACK – A Party for A Purpose” succeeded in raising critical funds that helped stabilize the recipient’s financial situation. In addition to generous support and contributions from local friends and associates, The SEARCH Foundation also provided a significant donation.

ISES GIVES BACK 2 – 2008
Courtesy: Elisa Delgardio

The “Heavenly Holidaze” event featured approximately two dozen ISES members who provided incredible food, furniture and floral decor, entertainment, lighting and more! The sponsorships for this event totaled over 85k and the venue looked amazing both inside and out! One of the fun-tastic features of the evening was the Laser Graffiti display, provided by ISES member Jon Adcock of Chameleon Designs. Jon describes Laser Graffiti as a combination of laser light, computers and projection, used in conjunction to create artistic and whimsical entertainment that’s so mesmerizing everyone wants to participate! I must agree – it was a blast!


ISES GIVES BACK 2 – 2008
Courtesy: Christie’s Photographics

The event which was widely covered by the local and industry media, was a complete success – all for a worthy cause!

Cool Tools for Brides & Planners

Wedding Mapper.com

Looking for a great way to get everyone to the church on time? A wedding map makes it easy to communicate detailed information about your wedding and the local area to a large number of people. By sharing your wedding map with guests and your wedding vendors you can ensure no one gets lost on the big day. In addition to listing the key locations, such as the ceremony and reception, you can also easily…

  • Add restaurants, spas, parks, and your favorite local attractions to your wedding map
  • Add photos and custom descriptions make your wedding map more personalized
  • Store vendor contact information, hidden from guests, on your wedding map to keep everything in one place.
  • Create a printed version of your wedding map to enclose with your invitations or create a custom URL for an map that’s viewable online.

Visit the Wedding Mapper website to take advantage of this terrific service – it’s FREE!

02

08 2008
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