July 2017

For a Unique Wedding Cake Option, Try a Croquembouche
A French Croquembouche can be a delicious alternative to a traditional wedding cake.

A Croquembouche can be a unique wedding cake option.

With the number of French contributions to our culture, you probably won’t be surprised to find a croquembouche at a Canadian wedding. However, you might not be familiar with the history, details and preparation behind these fascinating pastry desserts. Whether you’ve adopted a French theme for your festivities or just want a different type of wedding cake for your reception, this delightful tower of goodness might be just right for your crowd.

Origins in 19th Century France 

While much of Canada was still under British rule, a young Parisian baker began crafting a pastry creation that would become his enduring legacy. In January 2017, the U.S. media network National Public Radio website published a piece on legendary French chef Marie-Antoine Carême, the famed inventor of the croquembouche. Born to an impoverished family around 1783 or 1784, he was presumably orphaned by social turmoil resulting from the French revolution. Carême began working in a Paris kitchen at the age of eight, and by the time he was 15 years old, he’d landed a position as an apprentice to top-rated pastry chef Sylvain Bailly.

As Carême honed his craft during his late teen years, Bailly regularly displayed Carême’s stunningly elaborate pastries in his bakery shop window. By the late 1700s, this young sensation had fashioned a tower of small, round cream puffs called “choux” festooned with spun sugar. A recipe for this dessert, which he called a croquembouche, was published in his 1815 cookbook “Le Pâtissier royal parisien.” Meanwhile, Carême continued to rise to culinary stardom, designing lavish, beautiful sweets for the likes of Napoleon, Russia’s Czar Alexander I and prince regent George IV of England.

The Croquembouche in the Modern World

While there are many modern variations on this delicious pastry, they still follow the same basic format: a tall mountain of cream puffs covered in spun sugar and other wonderful edibles. You’ll probably have no difficulty finding bakers in any province to supply one for your special day, and it’s an appropriate wedding cake for many types of wedding themes. Wedding Bells Magazine showcased a French vintage matrimonial affair in a 2012 piece on its website, adding that the couple chose a croquembouche to add a delicate grandeur to their festivities.

If you think that such a spectacular wedding cake should get its own entrance and fanfare, you’re absolutely right. In fact, contributor Kim Petyt on The Good Life France blog revealed that a croquembouche is usually not presented until dessert time. With the lights dimmed and celebratory music playing, guests typically begin chanting “Le gateau! Le gateau!” as the star of the hour is brought out to the dining hall while decorated in small, sizzling fireworks. Once the display is over, the staff serves each guest three or four of the sweet, creamy choux to enjoy.

Flavorful Possibilities Abound

In both exterior decorative touches and inner fillings, the croquembouche presents a wide variety of lovely flavors. Traditionally, each choux contains vanilla-bourbon crème in the center. Nevertheless, bakeries offer several popular filling choices which can include favorites such as caramel and chocolate, or less common tastes like rose, pistachio or orange blossom. Besides spun sugar or pastel-tinted icing, a croquembouche wedding cake can be decked out in sugared almonds, chocolate, candied ribbons or even edible flowers.

A Delicious Wedding Cake Idea for Your Nuptial Affair 

The croquembouche is a distinctive and delightful wedding cake that offers a complex combination of aesthetics, French culture and flavor. Its name appropriately translates to “crunch in the mouth,” and your guests will enjoy the taste and texture of this now-classic sweet treat. Add to that the customary celebratory fanfare with which it’s presented during your festivities, and your croquembouche will certainly be a memorable part of your wedding day.

A Quick Guide to Planning Your Backyard Wedding
A backyard wedding can be way more cost effective than the bloated chapel-centered counterparts.

A backyard wedding can be closer and more intimate than the traditional church wedding.

A backyard wedding can be a great alternative to traditional nuptials in a house of worship or an expensive venue. This is great for couples who want to publicly celebrate their love and long-term commitment while saving money. Arranging such an affair takes some time and careful planning to ensure you don’t miss any of the important details. Before you dive headfirst into pulling together your intimate backyard wedding, consider these important tips.

Decide on Your Backyard Wedding Budget Early

As couples like Leigha and Todd from Ontario frequently prove, it is possible to hold a lovely affair for less. Intimate Weddings profiled the pair in a 2015 featured post, detailing how they planned their 2014 ceremony and reception. They opted to keep the guest list small, with only 24 people in attendance. They also opted for a backyard wedding with home-cooked food for their guests. As Leigha revealed, this allowed them to devote significant portions of their budget to food, flowers, and photography. Overall, the couple spent less than $5,000. Similarly, if you know your own upper limits for what you and your sweetie can set aside for your nuptials, it will enable you to make decisions and prioritise where you spend your money.

Is Your Backyard Ready?

Of course, the backyard or acreage in which you hold your nuptials must be prepared for you, your sweetie, and your guests. HGTV Canada published several tips in an October 2016 article about backyard weddings, recommending that you examine the land and layout of your yard first. The level of the ground is important, as you’ll need to know whether your land is flat or sloping, as well as the approximate number of people it can realistically hold. If you evaluate your yard and then realise it will not hold 100 people comfortably, you have a crucial choice to make: Either invite fewer people or decide on another location for your nuptials.

In addition, you must consider other factors besides the size and layout of your yard while planning. If your location boasts a lot of natural flora and greenery, you could save significantly when it comes to site decorations and flower arrangements. Moreover, you should think about how to accommodate parking for your guests as well as be prepared for any potential noise concerns from your neighbours.

A Wedding at Home Isnt Always Cheaper

With a backyard wedding, the costs can be as much or as little as you make them. In other words, you can plan anything from a lavish, extravagant affair to a simple yet tasteful celebration. It’s all in the details—or rather, the prices of them. Shop wisely, and get a good idea of what each item will cost before paying any money or signing contracts. You’ll need to factor in extra items that you don’t require for an indoor celebration, like tents, tables, and seating. If you’re aiming for less expensive nuptials, consider these cost-cutting ideas:

  • Hold a breakfast, brunch, or lunchtime reception.
  • Choose fresh flowers for only the wedding party and ceremonial focal points.
  • Wed on an off-peak day or time, avoiding Saturday evenings.
  • Purchase inexpensive party decorations in bulk.
  • Design and print your own invitations and programs.

Planning Your Affair Takes Attention to Detail and Forethought

There’s no need to stress over your upcoming nuptials. Nevertheless, making sure that you take the time to plan the details is important to ensuring your backyard wedding happens with as few complications as possible. Thinking of the size of your guest list, your budget, your physical location, and other important factors will aid you in successfully arranging your special day.

Your Wedding Is Just the Beginning
Your wedding is simply the starting point of your new life.

People tend to think of a wedding as an end, however is should be viewed as a beginning of a new life with your partner.

Getting hitched to your significant other can be a fantastic move to make. While you may have been dating your partner for several years at this point, it is important for you to keep in mind that your wedding is the start of a completely different chapter of your lives together. Of course, a wedding can also add a ton of stress to your shoulders. You and your significant other are likely to bump heads once or twice throughout the process. How you handle these encounters will set the stage for your future as a married couple.

Since planning for your wedding can bring forth some tense situations, it is helpful to use this process as a way of working through your own relationship issues. If you do not address problems in the relationship before the wedding, then they are only going to get worse as the years go on. Take a look at a couple of these simple ways to use your wedding planning as a form of couples therapy and see how you can strengthen your bond while getting ready for your big day.

After the Wedding: Cohabitation

Times have changed. Once, it was common for a couple to live separate lives until the day where they joined in matrimony. The wedding would mark the first time the bride and groom would sleep in the same bed. Of course, this is a trend that has changed greatly. Nowadays, most couples live together for years before deciding to get married. Whether to live with your partner can be a big thing to consider before you go about the process of planning for your wedding.

Learning how to cohabitate in advance is very important. You do not want to marry someone and discover that he or she is a completely different person at home. Easing yourselves into domestic life together before the wedding can help you to learn about each other in new ways. Have discussions about things like household chores, bills, owning versus renting, and anything else that is important to you about your home. Having these conversations and trying your hand at cohabitation early can help you to see what you are in store for with your partner.

Disagreements Are Good 

You and your significant other are going to disagree a lot while planning for your wedding. There are very few instances where a couple comes to agreement on every little detail. While you might feel uncomfortable with disagreeing with your partner, it is very healthy to learn how to handle altercations. Your knee-jerk reaction might be to fight your partner on something as simple as the color palette of the reception, but there are much bigger issues in life that you are going to have to face together.

Learning to disagree early in the relationship can help you to build a strong foundation for your future. The moments that matter are going to be the ones that appear out of the blue and blindside you both. When the time comes to make an important and difficult decision, you want to be sure that you can turn to your partner and work through the problem without it devolving into an argument. Use your wedding planning as a chance to grow better at dealing with disagreements.

Many Years Ahead

A wedding marks a very big day for you and your partner. After you have tied the knot, you will be together for the foreseeable future. If you want your marriage to go well, be sure to get off on the right foot by learning as you go. Use your wedding planning as a way to handle disagreements, and you will discover new ways to work through your problems as a couple.

Sticking Close to Home for Your Honeymoon
There are plenty of places around Canada to spend your honeymoon.

When planning your honeymoon, it may be more financially sound to stay around your home.

Getting married can be an expensive endeavor. Even a small reception might wind up costing you way more than you anticipated. It might be useful for you to consider ways to cut back on your expenses. The costs don’t stop coming once the wedding has ended. Your honeymoon is also a financial hit. Instead of rushing off to some far-flung corner of the globe for your romantic getaway, it might be more exciting to take a look at what Canada has to offer.

There are some absolutely lovely destinations located across Canada for you and your spouse to explore. No matter what you enjoy doing on your vacations, you can be sure you’ll find something worth your time when you begin your search. To get you started, here are a few wonderful spots to consider for your honeymoon.

By the Bay

Many couples determine their honeymoon destinations based on what they are hoping to get from the trip. For some, the dream honeymoon is one that provides ample time to unwind. You and your new spouse want to spend time alone together. This means you could gain a lot from a trip to Ontario to relax at Georgian Bay. If you enjoy the thought of sitting in a lodge, watching the sunlight sparkle over the lazy waters of the bay, then this might be for you.

Immersing yourself in the splendor of nature has a way of revitalizing the spirits. There are tons of exciting activities to take part in during this trip as well. When you’re done with relaxation for a bit, take a boat out on the water and explore some of the islands located throughout the bay. Adventure awaits you when you decide to visit this amazing destination right in Ontario.

Something Different for Your Honeymoon

Those born and raised in Canada are usually well aware of the beauty of the land. This is one of the reasons some couples don’t consider sticking close to home for the honeymoon. If you’ve already been on endless hikes through the woods and seen many of the sights the country has to offer, you may want to think about something a bit different. A trip to Yukon can allow you a totally new experience with a visit to Kluane.

Kluane National Park has a diverse and appealing geography that offers couples a wealth of different activities to explore. You and your partner can hit the trails and see Canada from an entirely new perspective by hiking through a truly remarkable environment. Thrillseekers will have the opportunity to kayak in a rushing river, scale some wild heights and engage with the natural world in a spectacular manner.

City Life

Where you visit in Canada for your honeymoon will have a lot to do with where you currently live. One might find the idea of a trip to Quebec City to be quite appealing. The hustle and bustle of the city might not be the right place for everyone to live but there is a ton of fun to be had during a vacation. You and your partner will be able to take in all of the sights of the city during the day and indulge in some amazing nightlife activities after sunset.

There are many wonderful destinations to explore right in your own backyard. Instead of traveling across the planet for your honeymoon, think about the fun that can be had here in Canada. Explore all of your options and you’re bound to discover an amazing trip.

The Destination Wedding and its Growing Popularity
A destination wedding on a beach has become fairly common as the scenery is beautiful.

Many people choose exotic beaches to hold their destination wedding. Generally you will want to pick a place that most, if not all of your attendees will be comfortable and will have fun.

The Destination wedding has been growing steadily in popularity for many years. At first glance, the thought of rushing away from Canada toward an international spot might be an expensive one. In truth, destination weddings are far easier to plan and do not require the same level of financial commitment. To be successful with your wedding, you will need to make sure you go about the process in the right way and consider a few key elements.

Times change and trends change along with it. While weddings have been happening all over the world for quite a bit of time, the ways weddings happen always shift in style and scope. For many years now, the trend for weddings has been to throw a large and somewhat lavish event. Even small-scale weddings can wind up costing a fortune due to the way many couples go about their events. Now, many people are turning away from this trend and opting for something more personal and affordable. Not all couples will benefit from a destination wedding but it can be interesting to learn some of the pros.

Keeping the Destination Wedding Cost Down

A wedding has a habit of being a costly endeavor. You need to rent a venue, find caterers, think about decorations, hire entertainment, bring on a photographer, and that is only the beginning of it. You might be spending frustrating amounts of money on everything from stamps for your invites to the tips you give to the servers at the end of the reception. Instead of dealing with all of that, you can condense all of your expenses in one swoop. A destination wedding limits your options in the best ways possible.

For example, if you decide to go to Costa Rica for your destination wedding, then you might want to stay at a specific resort. This resort probably sees a lot of weddings throughout the course of the year, and it may offer some excellent packages for you and your guests. This means you can find a venue, caterers, entertainment, and hotel rooms in the same place. On top of all of this, you will be surrounded by the lush views and cool breezes of Costa Rica. 

Fewer Guests 

Something to be mindful of with a destination wedding is that you will need to keep your guest list low. This is a perfect idea for couples who do not have extensive circles of family and friends. Unfortunately, you also need to make sure the people you are inviting are able to afford the trip. Keeping your own costs down for the wedding is one thing, but you will be asking your guests to shell out a lot more money for your event than they would have at home.

Before you start to make all of your plans, sit down with your significant other and come up with a realistic list of who you would like to be present for your wedding. Reach out to these people and speak to them about your idea. If it seems like most people wouldn’t be able to make the journey for your wedding due to financial constraints or scheduling problems, then you should probably consider another option. You could always go away somewhere tropical and inviting for your honeymoon.

A World to See 

There are many different reasons to consider a destination wedding. With such a big world out there to see, you and your partner simply might want to start your married life in a new location. Before you get ahead of yourself, be sure to consider the specifics of your event and whether you’re making the right choice for you and the people you care about. In the end, make the decision that will help you and your significant other to have the special day you both desire.

Responsibilities of a Wedding Guest
A great wedding guest can make or break your wedding experience.

To be a great wedding guest, make sure that you are polite and courteous.

April showers bring May flowers, but for brides, April showers bring June flowers. Summer is a popular time for weddings, so you might start getting invitations from your friends who are getting married. To survive wedding season, be the best wedding guest you can. Here are a few tips to help you:

  • RSVP by the date requested. Do not put the invitation aside for a few days, because you’ll forget. Don’t make the couple track you down for an answer.
  • Look at the invitation to see who was invited. Do not invite anyone yourself. If your children aren’t mentioned on the envelope, they are not invited to the wedding. It is customary to invite partners, but if you aren’t married or in a long-term relationship, you may have to go single.
  • Show up if you RSVP “yes.” Barring an emergency, don’t change plans at the last minute. The caterer will charge the couple for your plate, whether you show up or not.
  • Do not talk about the wedding with friends who may not have been invited. This means on social media too. You don’t want to come off as boasting or make others feel bad because they were not invited.
  • Be on time for the ceremony. Better yet, be there 10 to 15 minutes early to get the lay of the land. When you arrive late, you disrupt the flow of the ceremony. If you do arrive late, wait for a break in the action to sneak in.
  • Dress appropriately. If the invitation says “semi-formal,” don’t wear jeans. For a beach wedding, dress more casually. Don’t wear white.
  • Put your phone on silent during the ceremony. Let your babysitter know your phone will be off for a half-hour to forty-five minutes and promise to check immediately after.
  • Don’t take pictures during the ceremony. Respect the wedding photographer.
  • Ask the couple if you can share pictures on social media before you do.
  • Send the gift, if you do, to the home of the bride or groom. Don’t make them deal with more stuff at the reception.
  • During the reception, sit where the bride and groom have placed you. Make conversation with those around you. It’s only for a couple of hours. Your phone will wait.

What About the Rights of a Wedding Guest?

Wedding guests also have rights that come with their invitation:

  • You can expect to receive an invitation if you received a save-the-date card.
  • You have the right to decline the invitation if you cannot attend. No explanation needed, just say, “Thank you, I’d love to be there, but I can’t.”
  • You can ask the couple if you need clarification about your invitation. Maybe you want to make sure you understand the dress code or are confused about the plus one.
  • You have a right to not send a gift at all. You also have up to a year to send a wedding gift.
  • If you do send a gift, you have a right to expect a timely thank-you note. You might want to give the couple a few weeks after the wedding to wrap up all their duties, but if you don’t receive a thank-you note within three months, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask if they received your gift.
  • You should take advantage of the open bar, but don’t overdo it.

Have a Good Time

A wedding is a celebration, and you should have a good time. Thank the host and hostess, typically the bride’s parents, before you leave. Don’t be offended if you don’t get a few minutes with the bride and groom. One of the best things you can do as a wedding guest is to be flexible and gracious, no matter what happens at the ceremony or reception.

Wedding Photographer: Tips for Choosing The Right One
The proper wedding photographer will make your ceremony one worth remembering.

When choosing a wedding photographer, make sure that they are experienced and professional.

You’ll probably spend more time with your wedding photographer on the day of your wedding than any other professional or person. Although many wedding magazines recommend that you ask about equipment and style, it’s more important to choose a photographer with whom you can relax and who will provide what you’re looking for. Here are seven tips to help you select the right person.

  1. There are probably hundreds of listings in your area for wedding photographers. Browse through their portfolios and find three or four with images that you like. Once you’ve narrowed your choices, set up a time to meet with the photographer. Make sure you’re meeting with the person who will be at your wedding, not a sales person/consultant or the owner of the studio. You’re putting your wedding memories in the photographer’s hands. You have to like and trust this person.
  1. Don’t choose a photographer for these reasons:
    • He or she is family or the friend of a family member. Just imagine if something goes wrong. You have to face this person at family reunions for the rest of your life.
    • The venue made the recommendation. There are some venues that actually allow vendors to pay to be on the “preferred list.” It’s marketing, not preference.
    • The wedding photographer is running a sale. Good photographers have to invest in professional equipment and pay taxes and insurance. If they’re offering a deep discount, you have to ask yourself, “Where are they cutting corners?”
    • They’re popular and booked out for 300 weddings this year. Think about the logistics of doing 300 weddings in one year. Who knows who will be actually taking pictures of you on your wedding day?
  1. Ask what you get for their services. On average, you should expect 50 to 100 photos for each hour the photographer works.  Who owns the rights to the photographs? How will you get reprints? How many of the pictures will be edited in post-production?
  2. Will the photographer do a first-look session? A first look is when the bride and groom spend a few minutes alone together before the ceremony. It helps to get the jitters out and lets you have that real moment of seeing each other in private. Your photographer can capture those raw emotions before the ceremony and then you can enjoy the cocktail hour after the ceremony.
  3. What happens if the photographer is sick? Although it is unlikely that the photographer you choose will get sick, you should know what the contingency plan is.
  4. Find out how much experience the wedding photographer has. Don’t simply look at years in business, but consider how many weddings the person has actually shot in that time frame. Someone with five years of experience who has only done 10 weddings may not compare to someone with just one year of experience who has done 50 weddings over that time.
  5. Do you get a contract that clearly outlines the details of the services? Be extremely wary of photographers who do not have a contract that offers pricing, resolution terms and cancellation terms. This is for your protection as much as theirs. Once you have a contract, any verbal statements that change the terms of the contract should be obtained in writing.

Choose Your Wedding Photographer Sooner Rather Than Later

You may need to book your photographer right after you choose the date of the wedding. However, don’t panic if you don’t get your first choice. You may be able to get a referral to someone with a similar style who doesn’t have a full schedule. Should you tip your photographer? While most photographers don’t expect tips, most will appreciate one if it is given.

Eco-Friendly Wedding Ideas
Having a more eco-friendly wedding helps reduce our carbon footprint.

Using used goods, having an outdoor ceremony, and using recyclables are a good way to have a more eco-friendly wedding.

One environmentally friendly philosophy has entered the wedding industry. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint during your special day, you don’t have to give up the vision you have for your wedding. Here are some tips to help you find ways to turn your ceremony and reception into an eco-friendly wedding.

  1. Choose an outdoor venue where the sun can provide the lighting. Many outdoor venues have the modern conveniences of toilets and sinks, making a more comfortable atmosphere for your guests.
  2. If an outdoor venue is not an option, hold the ceremony and reception during the day in a venue that offers natural lighting. Host all the festivities during the day to avoid having to use electricity.
  3. Also, hold your ceremony and reception in the same place. This will reduce the fuel emissions from guests.
  4. Look for a venue that is environmentally friendly.
  5. Print up wedding invitations on recycled paper, but instead of multiple inserts in the envelope, send your guests to your wedding website for more information. Go paperless with save-the-date notices.
  6. Buy seasonal flowers from local vendors. Use potted plants or topiaries as centerpieces. You could also use silk flowers for your bouquet and decorate with items that can be reused later. There are also many options for decorations that can be found in your garden, such as twigs, moss and ivy.
  7. Rent hybrid vehicles or use a horse and carriage to arrive and leave the wedding venue, if you must have a special moment.
  8. Rent linen napkins instead of paper. Ask for glass tabletops and forego tablecloths.
  9. Choose caterers that source from local farms and dairies. You can also serve local wines, champagnes and beers. Ask your caterer about its green philosophy. Does the company use eco-friendly cleaning products and is it careful with its paper consumption? Your cake baker should also use organic products and source locally as much as possible.
  10. Avoid sturgeon caviar or Chilean sea bass and other threatened species.
  11. Choose a honeymoon location that keeps your green vision in mind. Travel in eco-friendly methods and look for a hotel that is designed to be environmentally friendly.

What to Wear for an Eco-Friendly Wedding

For the bridal party’s attire, go eco-friendly by reusing garments. Many brides wear a gown from their mom or grandma, but if that is not an option, shop at a vintage clothing or consignment store. You can also rent gowns, much like you rent tuxedoes. If you want your own dress, look for one made of sustainable fabrics, such as silk, hemp or organic cotton.

Instead of choosing specific bridal party dresses, allow the bridesmaids to wear dresses they already own or give just a few guidelines to allow them to choose a dress that can be worn again. Your bridal party can show off their own style while finding dresses they love.

For the groom, instead of wearing a tux that might never come out of the closet again, invest in a good suit that can be used for other special occasions. Allow the groom’s attendants to wear nice pants, button-down shirts and matching vests instead of jackets.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

You might have to ask your vendors what they are doing to reduce their carbon footprint. Find ways to reuse items from your eco-friendly wedding. Shop at flea markets or antique stores for decorations. Ask your decorator or designer about what he or she already has in inventory. Talk to your friends about reusing wedding decorations. It might take a little more effort on your part to be environmentally conscious, but it can also make for a beautiful wedding that matches your philosophy.

Wedding Cake Trends for 2017
Modern cake trends seem to be shifting from what was considered "normal" to becoming something completely abnormal.

Common wedding cake trends seem to be drifting away from the traditional white cake and more towards making cakes more vibrant and fun with their colors.

The most common wedding cake trend seems to be moving more toward coordinating with the bride’s colors, even if there is no white on the cake. Here are some of the trends for cakes this year:

When most people think of a wedding cake, they automatically assume it should be white. There are a lot of reasons for this. White denotes purity, which became popular during the Victorian era. The white wedding cake is also a visual link between the bride and the cake. White cakes and frosting, at one time, symbolized affluence. It was difficult to get refined sugar before the Victorian age. The whiter the cake, the more wealth a family had to obtain those difficult ingredients.

Here are some of the cake trends for this year:

  • Metallic decorations – think edible glitter for sparkle, or gold- or silver-leaf sheets in cutout embroidery lace-like designs.
  • White on white – a traditional cake with only white decorations.
  • Ruffles – no, not fabric ruffles, but embellishments of sugar frills. Include fresh or sugar flowers to finish off the cake.
  • Naked cakes – show off the inside of a cake by not frosting it. Fill the layers with seasonal fruits or nuts to add texture and taste.
  • Marbleized decorations – hand-painted designs on the frosting, set off with a simple ribbon or flower border.
  • Stained-glass – these cakes are part of the hand-painted variety but include outlining the images in black.
  • Beads – cover your cake with edible beads for a unique look.
  • Greenery and botany – don’t limit your cake decorations to flowers, but use fruits and greenery or anything organic to make it your own.
  • Navy and black – most people don’t associate navy blue or black with a wedding, but more brides are choosing one of these elegant colors as part of their attire.
  • Whimsical cakes – more brides are forgoing the elegant white cake for a tiered cake that represents their personality.
  • Ombre effect – blend colors on the wedding cake from a dark, deep tone to the lightest tint.
  • A cake trio, or quartet – a table of cakes at your reception, giving your guests two to three flavors to choose from. Not only does this make for a spectacular display, but you won’t have to choose between your two favorite flavors.
  • Rainbow cake – the inside of the cake is done in the colors of the rainbow, while the outside of the cake is more traditional.
  • A “sweet” cake – cover your wedding cake in the candies or sweets you enjoy. Some brides are even creating cakes out of their favorite goodies, opting for a different type of dessert altogether.
  • Monograms – decorate with your initials in a repetitive pattern around the cake. From a distance, it will be a pretty pattern. You could also have a sugar-made plaque with your new monogram.
  • Buttercream cakes – instead of the smooth fondant layer on the cake, more brides are going with a simple buttercream frosting in a pattern that might not be perfect. It tastes much different than fondant and can feel more casual and relaxed.

Why Stacked Wedding Cakes?

In the Middle Ages, legend has it that cakes or buns would be stacked in a large pile before the newly wedded couple. The couple would then try to kiss each other over the stack, and if they could, it symbolized a lifetime of prosperity. Eventually, the layers of cake would be stacked together with frosting. Because modern refrigeration wasn’t available, the cakes would be covered with lard to keep them moist. The lard would be scraped off before serving, but invariably, a small amount of the lard could not be removed. Bakers began adding sugar to the lard to improve the taste, and thus, the modern wedding cake came into being.

Choosing the Wedding Officiant for Your Ceremony
A wedding officiant marrying a couple.

Choosing the right wedding officiant can take your wedding from being great to being spectacular.

Once you’ve chosen a date, chosen your wedding colors and booked a venue, you have thousands of other details to manage in regards to your ceremony. A wedding coordinator might be able to handle the catering and decorations, but you and your future spouse are the only ones who can choose the wedding officiant. Whether you’re looking for a professional and skilled officiant or want a friend to do the service, you should still ask questions. Here are some of questions you can ask a potential officiant:

  • Are you available on our wedding date? Consider this carefully if travel is involved. Better to check the calendar first. Don’t forget to check the availability for your rehearsal dinner.
  • Can you personalize the ceremony? Many religious leaders use the ritual from the church, but some wedding officiants will allow you to customize your ceremony. At the ULC, we offer a template for our ministers, but it can be personalized to your own style.
  • How many pre-wedding sessions do you require? Although a friend or family member may not require pre-wedding counseling, some officiants might. It can help you get to know each other better, but the wedding officiant might charge for the sessions too. Find out what to expect before you sign a contract.
  • Do you charge a standard fee or do we make a donation to the church? When talking to a professional officiant, you want to make sure you know how much will be charged. Every minister is different. If you’re talking to a family member or friend, it might be awkward to bring up a fee, but remember that this person will be going above and beyond for your wedding, similar to your attendants.
  • How will you respect our wishes, if our beliefs don’t fall in line with yours? In today’s culture, it might be difficult to find a wedding officiant who believes exactly what the two of you do. Consider how the officiant acts when presented with personal requests and whether he or she respects your beliefs.
  • Do you want to come to the reception? Will you be bringing a guest? When you are having a catered dinner, one or two extras can throw the numbers off. You might be close to the fire code limit or not have enough seating for two extra. Make sure to find out all expectations before the wedding.
  • Do you have any restrictions on whether we can be married? Some officiants might not marry couples outside of their own faith. You may not be allowed to have another officiant take part in the ceremony.
  • Do you plan on giving a sermon during a wedding? We’re not sure why people think that a wedding is an appropriate place to proselytize, but some do.
  • What do you plan to wear? Can you adjust to our wedding style? If you’re having a themed wedding, better find out if the officiant will participate or not.
  • What happens if you get sick? No one wants to think about getting sick, but the reality is always there. Find out what the backup plan is before the wedding.

Other Considerations When Choosing a Wedding Officiant

Does the officiant make you feel comfortable? You want someone who is genuinely interested in your wedding and services. This person will be welcoming your guests and playing best supporting actor to you and your partner. Does the officiant have the presence to handle a noisy guest? What happens if someone stands up and says that you shouldn’t get married?

Before you start talking to wedding officiants, think about what you expect. Do you want someone spiritual or secular? Do you have special readings or music you want included? Will your officiant adapt to your wedding or do you have to adapt to his or her plan? By taking time to consider your options, you will find the right person to lead your ceremony.