Last weekend, perhaps against our better judgment, my new fiancé and I (still feels super weird to say that) decided to go to the Bridal Extravaganza in Austin.
I should begin the retelling of this adventure that by saying that I’m not exactly a ‘princess cut, sweetheart neckline, 9 bridesmaids in my bridal party’ type of girl, so going to this thing had me more nervous and skeptical than excited. I don’t like feeling pressured into anything, particularly when spending money is involved, so the idea of being accosted by wedding vendors for several hours on a Sunday did not sound like my idea of a swell time.
Two Tickets to Paradise, or Highway to Hell?
Watching the masses of people walk from the parking garage into the convention hall (some with gargantuan multi-child strollers), Brett looks at me and says “I’m going to need therapy after this,” which I found endlessly hysterical and somewhat ominous. We make our way in, round the corner from the entrance into the main hall, and almost immediately I see this:
All fears were quickly forgotten when I saw the expanse of cake vendors scattered around the joint. The endeavor of looking at various venues, photographers, etc. quickly changed in my head to “just try as many cake samples as you possibly can. Act interested in their aesthetic, listen to their pitch, whatever it takes to JUST GET CAKE.” And that’s exactly what happened for the next two hours.
The eight-year-old in me, hell, the 35-year-old in me was THRILLED at the prospect of having people WANT me to eat their cake. I’d chat up the booth attendant, they’d offer me whatever samples they had, I’d rave about it and take down their information as a potential vendor for our nuptials. I tried chocolate, vanilla, various fruit fillings, tiramisu flavors, cupcakes, petit fours… it was a socially acceptable smorgasbord of sweets that is officially my favorite part of all things wedding planning.
Like a bug, I’d become drawn to bright colors and catchy displays in the cake booths and just buzz right past the other brides and attendees to get at what I was there for: more cake. About halfway through our tour of the vendors, I started to slow down, my body screaming at me to stop giving it straight sugar. Never one to back down from a food-related challenge, I pressed on, determined to taste every single thing that I was allowed to sample at that event.
The designs of cakes ranged from normal and modest to downright crazy, and we were quickly able to identify the obvious trends that must be hot right now for weddings: ombré colors, geometric patterns, and this cool-looking effect with sugar crystals and rock candy that makes it look like there’s a geode on one side of the cake. Never one for unnecessary bells and whistles on things I like (mostly clothing and dessert), I wasn’t deterred by flashy add-ons. A cake should look like cake, in my opinion, which brings me to the next weird and wacky wedding tradition: groom’s cakes!
Am I the only one who finds groom’s cakes tacky no matter how clever and “fun” the theme/subject of the cake is supposed to be? Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t want a giant fondant rendering of a bucket of beers detracting in any way from the main cake event. And why is the tradition of a whimsical cake reserved for the groom? What’s stopping me from getting a gigantic dome of ombré rainbow frosting gilded with colorful candies and surrounded by lit sparklers? (Spoiler alert: nothing.) Perhaps I’m being a killjoy, but I don’t want the dessert table at my wedding looking like a sports bar.
One of the very last cakes we saw that day made me laugh out loud at how ridiculous it was, but it also made me kind of sad because I realized that someone at this thing must have seen it and said “This is it!!” Bank-breakingly outrageous and laughably impractical, here it is, the coup de grâce of the wedding extravaganza: the chandelier cake.
If this were at my wedding, I’d spend the entire time consumed by sugar-related anxiety worried the thing would come crashing down from its suspended state. I wonder how many brides have selected this cake for their wedding, only to have the big day ruined by a lack of structural integrity from their dessert. If you have kids at your wedding, heck: if you have ME at your wedding and you also have this cake, you can count on the reception coming to a screeching halt with the sound of a very expensive cake falling to the floor.
By the end of our time at the event, I was no closer to knowing what kind of “look” I wanted for our wedding cake, just that the frosting needed to be good. And no fondant; that shit’s terrible. In terms of other obviously less important wedding decisions unrelated to the cake, we’re getting closer. We’ve got time, though: our date isn’t until spring of 2018, so as soon as we lock down the big things like venue and food/beverage, I feel like the rest of the stuff can wait.
What did your wedding cake look like? Did it have a filling or any kind of special flavor? Tips for vetting cake vendors? Do tell!