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

Emerging from the Blog Fog

I don’t even know where to begin…. I’m feeling pretty badly about the fact that my blog is withering in the corner like an unwatered plant! It’s certainly not for the lack of things to write about…. It’s actually just the opposite.

During the past six to eight weeks I’ve had the pleasure of working on some really spectacular projects! I spent a number of weeks working with the Director of Events at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management assisting with the development of the 2009 Grande Hospitality Gala. It was very exciting to be invited back as Assistant to the Event Producer, as I had a phenomenal time assisting with the 2008 Grande Gala!

Fall wedding season is keeping me quite busy! I was fortunate to squeeze in a post on an event that took place early in October. Subsequently, I’ve been posting little blurbs on Facebook regarding my recent adventures with weddings and events.(Be sure to check out the A Flair for Affairs fan page if you are active on Facebook!)

During October I was also busy planning a wonderful event for the Central Florida members of ABC. With the help of my ABC LNG Co-Director, Kerline Docteur, we organized a luncheon at Casa Feliz and had the privilege of having Rebecca Grinnels, President of Engaging Concepts as our guest speaker! She gave an outstanding presentation to our group and I continue to receive raves about her and endless compliments on the event. It was a great day! (I could’ve and should’ve written a full blog on this alone, but alas, the days just keep flying by!… I may try to recap it more completely after I catch up…).

ISES’s monthly event was held at IKEA in October; the event centered on a Table Top Design Competition using preselected IKEA merchandise and featured well known ISES member Ira Steiman as our speaker. Teams of ISES members and guests created about a dozen amazing tablescapes which were judged by the IKEA managers. It was an incredible treat to be part of an event that has NEVER been done before!

Looking forward to December, there is a huge industry luncheon on the horizon…! I’ve been attending committee meetings for this event on behalf of ISES and ABC and I’m really excited about the holiday theme that’s taking shape! This event will take place at the stunning Ginn Reunion Resort on Dec. 4th – can’t wait!

Let’s see… Let’s see… what am I leaving out…? I think I forgot to mention the chihuahua puppy (!) who joined our family about 5 weeks ago. His name is Baci – which I believe means ‘kisses’ in Italian. He’s the cutest little thing and seems to be adjusting to his new life; overall he’s been quite good and we love him!

Whew! – I’m suddenly feeling much better!

© 2008 E. Delgardio All Rights Reserved

19

11 2008

The Evolution of "The List"

There has always been a list…

When I was younger, it was in the form of a large grid that existed on the side of the fridge. It divided the household chores and displayed the daily responsibilities of each family member: feed the dog, clean the bathroom, fold the laundry, practice piano, etc. It mapped out 7 days x 7 people – this was an organizational feat and weekly project for my mother. To say it was helpful would be an understatement; we would’ve been lost without it.

I started honing my list making skills in my late twenties. Back then they were mostly used to help me focus on goals and project related to-do’s. In my thirties, list making became more a part of my daily routine… I was a mommy, a homeowner and entrepreneur, so there was quite a bit to keep track of… much more than could be easily organized into the little boxes on the wall calendar. So about 10 years ago, I began logging my lists into spiral bound notebooks.

Eventually I purchased a PDA to help manage my daily activities and synchronize appointments, but I still rely on my notebook with it’s handwritten to-do lists, reminders and goals to chart my course and track my progress.

These days lists rule my world and my notebook is indispensable. At times I’m unsure whether this is more reflective of my age or the age we live in. It seems that we are busier than ever (“crazy busy” – to coin a phrase), sometimes overwhelmed and often distracted. I often say “I need a score card to keep up”! I remember a recent situation where I became quite upset with myself because I forgot something really important when I went out of town for a business conference. I started to wonder if I was was losing my edge, and why my list had failed me! However, the reality of the situation was that there were just too many stressors: hurricane rains, school closings, salon appointments, packing and various other preparations which contributed to short circuiting my careful planning. Sometimes stuff just happens… we live and learn, and do our best to keep up.

The other day I was straightening the den and came across a list my daughter had typed and printed. “Aww! What’s this?” I said, feeling so proud – apparently she does take after me! Then I read it… it said (word for word):

1. play a couple of games
2. make brownies
3. watch movie (half)
4. stop movie eat brownies
5. finish movie
6. chillax
7. start getting ready for bed

Underneath the list was a big happy face.

I didn’t have to look in my notebook to know that there wasn’t a happy face at the bottom of any one of my lists… So, I am going to tape my daughter’s list to the fridge as a reminder to make time for some fun stuff. Yep – kids sure can teach us a lot about life.

© 2008 E. Delgardio All Rights Reserved

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06

10 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
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