The wedding day preparations - from the pastry chef's point of view
By Felicia Kalaluhi
Editor’s Note: Vail-based pastry chef Felicia Kalaluhi is the owner of Cornerstone Chocolates and Confections and teaches a pastry course at Colorado Mountain College. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feeling the support of its weight being transferred from my arms to the table, I pulled my fingers out from under the edge of the cake stand, letting out the long breath that I had been holding.
The wedding cake had safely made it to the table without any complications, and with a sigh of relief, I stood back to observe the cake in it’s new environment. I decided that the lights were positioned on the cake perfectly, and just as I was making a few last-minute adjustments to the table linen, the room was suddenly filled with the blissful presence of the bride and her groom on their wedding day.
I began to get nervous as they headed toward me.
I wondered to myself, “Do they like it? Is it just as they had imagined?”
As I turned to greet my client, Danielle, I was amazed by how beautiful she looked, dressed in a stunningly simple A-line gown.
Then I heard the affirming words I had been anxiously awaiting.
“Felicia,” Danielle says, “The cake is beautiful. It’s just like we planned and more! I can’t thank you enough for all your hard work!”
It’s an exciting moment when the bride and groom see their wedding cake for the very first time on the day of their wedding. It’s also one of the reasons that I truly enjoy making wedding cakes. The experience of making Danielle’s wedding cake was so memorable and rewarding, especially because Danielle and I had spent a significant amount of time together planning its design. That satisfaction is something that all couples can have if they know what to expect in the cake process.
We made the most of our meetings because Danielle brought pictures of designs she had viewed on popular wedding websites, such as www.theknot.com and www.weddingwire.com. She also shared with me a sample of her invitation and thoroughly described the details of her wedding day décor, including the style of her wedding dress and bridesmaids gowns.
After considering these important details, I was able to work with her to create a unique design that expressed her and her new husband’s personal style for their wedding day. After trying different combinations of their favorite cakes and filling flavors at their tasting, they decided to offer their guests two different cake flavors.
So after all the planning, what was the result? Danielle’s dream wedding cake was five tiers tall and featured some of Danielle’s favorite textures, including ruffles, vertical piping and a sheer pink ribbon that complemented the color scheme of her wedding day decor. With alternating flavors for each tier, the newlyweds and each of their 200 guests enjoyed a choice of either vanilla cake with lemon cream filling and raspberry jam, or chocolate cake with milk chocolate mousse.
With wedding season just around the corner, it’s important to contact your local baker/pastry chef as soon as possible to ensure their availability for your wedding. I recommend contacting them at least three months ahead to secure your date and to schedule a consultation and/or tasting. At your initial consultation, it’s important that you know how many guests you are expecting at your wedding, any special dietary needs your guests may have, and what your budget is.
Your budget is an important factor to openly communicate with your baker, since many designs may require intricate, handmade decor. Your baker/pastry chef can help you by offering a variety of design options that meet your desired budget. They can also assist you in choosing a flavor profile that is just right for you and your guests. Can’t make a decision? Opt for a tasting to sample different flavor combinations so you can determine the cake and filling flavors that you like best.
With the proper planning, you’ll have the same reaction on your wedding day that Danielle did when she saw her wedding cake – love at first sight!