Traditional cake toppers have been little used in recent years, but they can be a great expression of your bridal style. There are elegant toppers and kitschy ones. Some are whimsical, some are caricatures, some play a favorite tune. Often couples choose collectibles that later serve as sentimental curios. Some commission artists to render their likenesses in polymer. If you decide to use a cake topper, be sure to discuss it with your pastry chef. But remember, the decision is ultimately yours.
The groom’s cake
A well-loved tradition in the South, the groom’s cake is growing in popularity. Usually darker than the “bride’s cake” (the wedding cake) and richer (often chocolate or mousse), the groom’s cake is typically sliced and sent home with guests in pretty boxes. Rumor has it that if an unmarried woman sleeps with a piece of the groom’s cake tucked under her pillow, she will find true love within a year. We’re not guaranteeing anything, but we’re always up for more cake.
One alternative to stacking your wedding cake in the expected layers or tiers is to use an eye-catching cake stand. Most bakeries can offer a selection of designs, but virtually anything can be used as a cake stand. Brides often browse flea markets and estate sales for vintage plant stands, baker’s racks and even bric-a-brac display shelves. Before you buy or build a cake stand of your own, double-check the size, shape and weight of your cake.
For years, you’ve admired Grandma’s lacy milk glass cake pedestal that looks as frothy and delicious as her famous lemon-coconut cake. Sweet, old-fashioned and somehow always personal, a beautiful pedestal is a lovely complement to any wedding cake. A footed cake plate made of crystal, china, glass or silver-plate, or an antique or heirloom pedestal is a great choice for any style of cake. Snap up one-of-a-kind designs at antique shops, flea markets and estate sales or borrow an old favorite from Mom.
Granite or glass, silver-plate or soapstone, the smooth-edged cake plate can be yet another one-of-a-kind addition to your one-of-a-kind cake. Designed to be easy to serve from (the edge of the plate is rounded out for easy plate-to-plate maneuvers), look for great cake plates at antique shops, estate sales and in Grandma’s china cabinet.
Your cake is yet another expression of you, so not just any old table will do for its display. Ask your florist to decorate your cake table with rose petals, fresh blooms, fragrant foliage such as lemon or camellia leaves, tea lights or pillar candles (not too close to that delicate frosting, mind you). For a family touch, why not add framed pictures of both sets of parents cutting their wedding cakes? You might just start a tradition. Don’t be surprised if your cake table becomes a main attraction. The only thing guests love more than looking at the wedding cake is watching the bride and groom cut it. So go ahead and drape your table in organza, tulle, a beautiful print fabric or an heirloom linen.
Whether from your registry or from your mother-in-law’s collection, a great pair of champagne glasses will add extra sparkle to your cake table. Wind ribbons, velvet leaves, silk flowers or other beautiful embellishments around the stems. You also could start a tradition by having your initials and wedding date monogrammed on the crystal itself. With a little luck, one day your wedding flutes will be covered with the initials of your great-great-great-grandchildren.
Lest you find yourself in the awkward position of being unprepared, make sure your knife and cake server are on the table next to your wedding cake. They may be antique, heirloom or brand new, depending on your wedding style. Many couples choose decorative serving sets, engraved with floral designs or the couple’s new initials. Consider adding a pretty ribbon or wire-wrap a bloom to the handle of the knife and spatula.