June 19th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
image source, photography by Carly Bevan Photography
So, you’ve chosen your venue, decided on the date, picked your colour palette and drawn up your guest list. Dress dilemmas are done and dusted, and you’ve selected which gal pals will accompany you down the aisle (still agonising? Check out our tips!). You’ve painstakingly worked your way down the wedding admin tick-list, from the cool stuff – food, music, entertainment – to the not-so-cool stuff – insurance and checking the venue’s PAT testing requirements.
If that’s the case, then bravo and a big shiny gold star for you! And we have good news: it’s time to take a break from all the adulting and spend some time indulging in the frivolous – but fun – details. We’re talking about the kind of finishing touches and frippery that won’t necessarily make or break your day (or your budget, for that matter) but are nevertheless important to you. These little features are often used as a way to make your celebration more personal, more poignant or simply to pump up the wedding wow factor.
So how to make your big day stand out from the rest?
image source, photography by Weddings by Smith
Maybe I’m just a weird stationery fiend – always a possibility – but I find that there are so many ways to incorporate little personal paper details into your big day. I’ve been to weddings where origami decorations (flowers, rainbow-coloured cranes) featured heavily, paper pompoms, lanterns and streamers provided a colourful (and cheap) decor hit, and place settings and table plans and numbers/names were creatively inspired. Plus, any excuse for a creative get together and cava – oops, I mean crafting – session with your pals, eh?
image source, photography by Pixsmiths Photography
Couples who put thought into their favours just make us squeal with their cuteness. They don’t need to be expensive – bottles of Bolly and Creme de la Mer products might be affordable for Kimmy K, but not for us mere mortals – so get your thinking caps on. My favourites from recent years have included a pork pie wrapped in floral fabric, gingerbread men from a local bakery, Jameson miniatures from a fellow whiskey-loving bride and Nutella tubs with guests’ names on the label. What’s personal to you that you haven’t seen before at a wedding? I feel a spider diagram coming on….
image source, photography by Bethany Whittaker
Another detail we love – guest books with a twist. Colouring in charts, polaroid or photobooth sessions, date and anniversary ideas, advice for a happy marriage, memory requests, song recommendations – they all get a thumbs up for individuality and creativity from us. Could your venue or interests lend you some inspiration? One couple I know who married in Newcastle’s Baltic modern art gallery asked all of their guests to draw a self-portrait of themselves and stick it to the glass walls, later putting all of the pictures together into a book. It was a great ice-breaker activity on the tables for people who didn’t already know each other and caused a not-insignificant amount of hilarity – bonus!
image source, photography by Bethany Whittaker
It used to be that brides and grooms thanked their mums with a big bouquet of last-minute lilies and that was that. Well, no more. Bridal party gifts are another area where the bride gets to go off the beaten track and have some fun. You can go personal – family pictures from the past turned into a beautiful photobook? – or poignant – an engraved locket with a snapshot of the two of you? Maybe she’d appreciate a massage to unwind from all of the stress of the preparations, or perhaps you could book an afternoon tea for the two of you to debrief and share photos a few weeks down the line. The same goes for your #bridesquad, #groomsquad and all of the others who’ve lent a hand, an ear or a wedding car for the big day – think personal and be creative.
image source, photography by Hayley Blackledge Photography
We look at a lot of pictures of cake (I know, it’s a tough gig) and, by default, lots of cake toppers. It’s clear that this is an area where brides and grooms express their individuality, straying far from traditional couple figurines. We’ve seen Lego people, knitted creations, superhero motifs and even beloved pets rendered in icing. What tickles your fancy?
Also, we’ve lost count of the number of brides who declare their dislike – or their husband’s lack of enthusiasm – for a traditional fruit cake with marzipan icing. The cake flavours described on these hallowed pages, from chocolate orange to pink lemonade, reflect the individuality of each couple and make us drool with worrying regularity. But who says you even have to have cake? We love it when brides demand something a bit different: a favourite family pudding, a humungous cheeseboard or a croquembouche – or an entire wall of doughnuts?! Now we’re talking!
May 23rd, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Editor’s note: We were saddened to wake up this morning to the horrific news of the Manchester arena attack. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families on this dreadful day. We hope that our readers – no matter where you live – all draw your loved ones close for an extra kiss or hug this evening. Love always x
We’re thrilled to be introducing another Brides Up North Sponsor to the blog, Jeanette Moorhouse of Booootiful Cakes.
As her business name suggests, this talented lady designs and creates show-stopping cakes to suit a whole range of preferences, themes and styles; from intricately iced and fancy floral creations, to metallic and marble masterpieces.
And her skills don’t end there – for these sweet spectacles also taste as good as they look with fabulous flavours all part of the offering!
Baking for Yorkshire-based Jeanette is more than a job, it’s a passion that’s been passed on through her family…
Tell us how your interest in baking first began and why you decided to start your own cake business?
jeanette says: As the daughter of a master baker, I was brought up with a love of cakes and so my father is my main inspiration.
At eighteen I studied decoration and flour confectionery at Thomas Danby College, Leeds, and after a number of years in the industry, I then went on to Slattery’s in Manchester to study the Art of Chocolatiering.
My father and I worked together for eight years until I moved to America to stay with friends and revaluate my career.
So, I’ve been full circle – from master baker’s daughter to watching the cake trade change from fruit cake royal icing to fondant icing, technics altering over 40 years and a few career changes along the way back round to the wedding cake trade that I was born in to.
Where do you get the inspiration from for your cake designs?
Inspiration comes from everywhere: from listening to brides and grooms (really listening), talking to other people in the industry and looking at venues to colour palettes, to the changing seasons of the year and the ever-changing fashions of wedding dresses.
What is it that you love about your job and working in the wedding industry?
I love seeing the pictures of the weddings after they have taken place to see the couple’s visions become a reality. From the venue to the details, I really love all aspects of a wedding day.
If a couple book you to make their wedding cake what is the process?
When a customer enquiries with me, we initially through their likes and dislikes in cake so that when they come for their free consultation I’ve prepared a variety of desirable flavours to taste. Designing comes after we have gone through various size options, as well as shapes, detailing and themes.
Tell us about the different styles of cake that you create and the flavours that you offer?
All our cakes are hand crafted to the highest standards, fully personalised to brides’ and grooms’ exact requirements and as such my service is fully bespoke and each design is individual.
The cakes I design vary from simple, plain styles decorated with ribbon to more intricate and colourful designs featuring iced flowers, ruffles or butterflies. Marble and metallic style cakes are also becoming more popular among my couples.
In terms of flavourings, I offer everything from classic vanilla, fruit and chocolate to more unusual flavours such as mocha, coconut and lime and red velvet. I’m also happy to take requests if there’s something special that a couple has in mind.
Where would you advise couples to get inspiration from for their wedding cake?
I always say to couples not to get bogged down with all the themes out there and to go with what they originally love as a couple. The moment comes down to the bride and groom cutting their cake on their big day and I want them to really love the cake that they choose.
What sets you apart from other wedding cake companies?
Booootiful Cakes prides itself on creating wedding cakes that make the cutting of the cake as special as the day itself. Each cake is crafted from the finest ingredients, all locally from around West Yorkshire, so that the cake not only looks amazing but tastes even better. The wow factor is truly at the heart of Booootiful Cakes and the attention to detail must be seen to be believed.
What is the feedback like from clients? What do they love about our cakes?
It is my belief that what’s on the inside of a cake should be as good as the outside, my couples feel the same way and always comment on the taste being as wonderful as the design.
November 30th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Image by Photography By Kathryn
We have something pretty tasty in store for you this afternoon, as we welcome new Brides Up North Sponsor, Debbie Gillespie Cake Design, to the blog.
Based in Yorkshire, Debbie loves nothing more than the challenge of creating a cake that tells a story and is a big advocate of couples expressing their personalities and interests through their big day design.
From beautiful hand-painted creations to rustic sensations and fun novelty designs, Debbie has the skills to do it all!
So, let’s take a look at some of her show-stoppers while hearing a little more from the lovely lady herself.
Can you tell us a little bit about Debbie Gillespie Cake Design and how it came to fruition?
debbie says: My first wedding cake was my own in 2005. Although it was a very simple design, I found the process renewed the love of art and creativity that I had had as a child, whilst at the same time producing something beautiful and tasty for someone else to enjoy. The arrival of two children meant that cakes became more elaborate and soon I was being approached by family and friends to make cakes for them.
I am largely self-taught but draw on a love of watercolour painting, gardening and my kids’ creative input to inspire my designs.
What is it about your job that you love?
I love sitting down with customers over tea and stickies and hearing their stories e.g. proposals, common interests, nicknames, and then designing their cake together. Many of my customers have become friends and I have continued to watch their lives unfold, even getting the opportunity to make cakes for their children. The wedding is only the beginning!
Where do you get your inspiration from for your cake designs?
I have very much a split design personality; enjoying bold and fabulous florals as much as fun and funky personal designs. I love the hand-painted and floral designs of Emily Hankins and Amy Swann, but would say that my biggest cake hero is Duff Goldman (of Ace of Cakes fame), as I love his ‘anything goes’ philosophy. Ultimately, my main inspiration are the couple and their life together and feel that their wedding cake should be a reflection of this, however bold and crazy it may be!
What should couples look for when searching for a supplier to make their wedding cake?
With any wedding supplier, there should be an ease so always find someone you feel comfortable with. Check out their portfolio to ensure that they can provide the style you want and don’t be afraid to ask questions. With cakes, always ensure that they are EHA-registered with good hygiene practices, have adequate public liability insurance and ultimately that they serve a tasty cake. You don’t want any nasty or unpalatable surprises!
What is the process if couples book you to make their wedding cake?
All my wedding couples are invited for a no-obligation consultation, where they are provided with a sample selection of our most popular flavours. We then chat over the design and I will provide a detailed quotation and sketch (if required). Their date is then secured with a 25% non-returnable deposit. Alternatively, as I will only have limited capacity per week, a wedding date can be secured with a £50 deposit and the design process completed nearer the date.
What styles and flavours of cake do you tend to create?
I do believe that the cake should taste as wonderful as it looks and for that reason, I prefer to stick to a smaller selection of popular and traditional flavours, e.g. lemon drizzle, red velvet, rich fruit etc. that I know are exceptional. However, I have just introduced a courgette and lime cake, which is proving very popular.
As for styles, I love to incorporate bold floral displays with hand-painting to produce a modern but rustic look. However, I am also partial to a little novelty and one of my biggest trends for 2017/18 are the reveal cakes – traditional at the front, party at the back!
January 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
The Whimsical Cake Company is known for whimsical and opulent wedding cakes, also specialising in ‘naked ‘ and now chalkboard wedding cakes across Yorkshire and the surrounding areas.
I first met Skye, the owner and chief baker, when she made some stunning Brides Up North branded cake pops for one of my first ever wedding industry networking events back in autumn 2011, and she was first on my speed dial when it came to a christening cake (complete with fairies and glittering flowers) for my baby daughter last spring. Only the best for Little Miss Braime!
Skye’s cakes and treats are the prettiest around. Fact.
She’s here today to show off the range of dessert tables and wedding favours that The Whimsical Cake Company can provide to compliment their wedding cakes or as a feature in themselves. And now that Brides Up North can order her products online, these little delights would be most excellent boxed up as a St Valentine’s surprise for someone special.
Think about it. You buy him chocolate. Collect brownie points. Redeem against shoes.
You can thank me later.
skye says: Dessert tables are a huge trend for 2015 as more brides are choosing to have lots of little sweet surprises for their guests to choose from. Many of our brides come to us to supply their wedding cake, dessert table and also their wedding favours.
Our specialty is to create a bespoke dessert table with sweet treats which include, macaroons, iced cookies, macaroon towers, individual cakes, cake pops, caramel apples, cupcakes and ornate jars of sweets.
I have lots of enquiries for my dessert tables and wedding favours from brides further afield and this is why I decided to offer our wedding items online for delivery.
These chocolate pyramids are this year’s must have for any bride. The pyramids are made from pure Belgian chocolate with a cookie centre. These treats can be personalised and made in any colour and heavily featured in my dessert tables this year. Bespoke cookies are another favourite for weddings and are co-ordinated with the wedding theme or colour.
September 24th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
At this point in the wedding alphabet I’m bringing you a delicious post on wedding cakes. As a lover of all things sweet (and unfortunately bad for you) this is one area of wedding planning that I feel requires some serious deliberation.
For me one of the most disappointing experiences in life is biting into something that doesn’t taste as good as it looks. So not to sound too Mary Berry about it, but style and substance are 100 per cent necessary here.
There’s no doubt about it, competition in the wedding cake industry is growing. I’ve spoken to designers who are not only upping their game to stay ahead of the pack, but who are also being continuously asked by wedding couples to create a cakes that are more impressive than ones they’ve seen at previous weddings.
Thankfully most couples are avoiding the monstrous gypsy-wedding-style cakes, complete with 20 tiers, bride Barbie and Ken and LED lights, and instead are looking for creative confectionery with striking déco and inventive flavours.
So to ensure you get a show stopping cake, and your guests can actually eat it, let’s take a look at the key considerations.
Image sources as credited in gallery.
Let’s face it all elements of wedding planning start at this point but it’s important to set a budget and stick to it. Many c0uples report being shocked at the price of wedding cakes when they start their search but as is the case with most things in life – you get what you pay for. If you want intricate detailing, complex colours and gourmet flavours you will need to cover the cake designer’s time and expert efforts. The amount of guests you will be inviting and portion size will also affect the overall cost.
Once you have your budget in mind you can search for a cake creator that will fall into your price bracket. Word of mouth recommendations are a great way to find top bakers as is the internet. Most designers will have a gallery of their work and a suggestion of prices so you can narrow down your search before meeting with your shortlist for consultations and those all important tastings.
If you are thinking of making your wedding cake yourself then practise and preparation is key to avoid a kitchen dramarama. Alternatively if you are fortunate enough to have a master baker within your friend or family circles, ensure you trust them with the task and that they feel comfortable with your requirements. Some couples also go down the route of asking several guests to make and bring cakes to the wedding table. This can be a lovely way to include people in the proceedings while saving money, but just make sure enough guests take-up the invite so everyone gets a slice of the action.
Now that you know who is making the cake you can start planning its design. Colour, structure and décor will each need to be considered. It’s helpful to search in magazines and online for inspiration and to talk to your designer about all the elements you have planned so far such as venue, colour scheme, dress design etc so they can be incorporated, if you so wish. Naked cakes with stunning floral décor are weakness of mine at the moment – I just love their naturally stark and simple appearance. If you desire such a cake see if your florist and cake designer can collaborate to make it a reality. Other striking options include hand-painted cakes, sculptural designs and colouful ombre creations.
Don’t forget, what’s on the inside needs to be as fabulous as the cake’s exterior. While many couples (often at the request of an older guest) still request a small traditional tier of fruit cake the options go way beyond this point. Chocolate and lemon are crowd pleasers, but for those really wanting to push the boat out, some bakers offer more luxurious flavours such as vanilla bean and raspberry, mocha or orange and cardamon.
We’ve all heard horror stories about cakes falling apart on route or resembling the Leaning Tower of Pisa when the set up goes wrong. Therefore it’s vital to prearrange when, where and by whom the cake will be delivered and to allow time for any complicated set-ups to be perfected.
The cake has been designed, made and delivered so now it’s time to show it off. Make sure your cake is a focal point at the reception before it’s cut up. Those having a sweetie table might like include the cake there while others may prefer to display the cake on a table with themed décor to help it stand out.
May 19th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Ladies we’ve all been there (before finding fiancées that is) – you see an attractive man on a night out, pluck up the courage to say hi, or even better, he approaches you, and then within matter of measly minutes the dream falls apart. Turns out he’s a mannequin man – perfectly formed on the outside but there’s nothing on the inside – he clearly has a low IQ, he’s way too laid back, or worse: he’s just plain boring.
I’ve had similar experiences with cakes – there’s nothing worse than a highly attractive cake that disappoints massively once you get a taste of the inside (just like mannequin man).
Surely for a wedding cake it’s essential that the style and taste stakes match up? Some couples are fortunate enough to have a talented relative or friend capable of producing a culinary masterpiece while others can afford to task a cake supplier with making a bespoke creation that tastes as good as it looks.
Chocolate Plaque Vintage Rose
But what are the options for couples’ whose cake budget just doesn’t stretch that far? Cue the Marks & Spencer wedding cake collection – yes that’s right folks, this is not just any wedding cake collection, it’s an M&S wedding cake collection. And, though we traditionally reserve the honour for fast fashion, these cakes totally deserve our High Street Honey accolade.
Shimmering Hoop (Dark & Gold)
Upside Down Raspberry
The high street supplier is close to many Brits’ hearts, especially the contents of its food hall – whether it’s the cheesy puffs, ultimate mash or faithful Percy Pigs, we trust M&S to deliver wonderful pleasures for our palettes. This is perhaps why so many couples turn to Marks and Sparks for their wedding cake.
The fabulous collection features a stunning range of both contemporary and traditional options, including exceptionally pretty vintage and floral designs, with a choice of delicious sponges and fillings.
Shimmering Hoop (White & Pink)
M&S itself states that a wedding cake should look and taste amazing, and encourages its customers to pick a cake that reflects them as a couple. Personal favourites of mine include the Birdcage and Bauble cake designs – it’s just a shame there isn’t a bride or groom version of Colin the Caterpillar!
For more information about wedding cakes by Marks & Spencer, visit their website.
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