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Weddings call for a lot of details to be planned. Amid the flurry of fancy clothes, invitations, seating plans, rings, vows and flowers, it’s easy to overlook the cake table. If you’re saying ‘Cake table?’ like it didn’t occur to you that your caterers would do anything but plop your designer cake down next to the other desserts, read on to find out the importance of the cake table – and how you can make it a focal point for your entire reception.
Decorating the Cake Table
You may not realize it, but the wedding cake will be ogled nearly as much as the bride’s dress – and everyone wants a photo op near the cake table. There is much more you can do than leave the table plain white. The key to making the cake table work with your other décor is to use your overall wedding theme as a guide. Here are some tips to a beautiful cake table:
Don’t use a table at all! Place your wedding cake on a stand that works with your wedding theme. For example, for a wedding held at a winery, you could place the cake on a wooden cask; for a country or farm wedding, put the cake on a wagon.
Lay the table with a tablecloth that incorporates your wedding colours – whatever the pattern, the colours must be an exact match to your wedding colours. You can have lots of fun with fabric here – damask, lace, tulle, silk, velvet, the textural possibilities are endless.
Decorate the wedding cake table with flower petals, flowers, or greenery. One money-saving tip is to transfer some of the flowers used in the ceremony, like the aisle runners or urn flowers, for instance, to bedeck the cake table later.
Use elegant food items, like candied almonds in fine china bowls, or sugared fruits such as lemons, pears or berries, to festoon the cake table.
Photo collages make a nice backdrop for the cake; try a large, black and white print of the bride and groom, or various photos of the bride’s family (see photo courtesy of com)
Work with your wedding theme, using items that complement it. For example, for a beach wedding, you could incorporate shells or coral.
Tips for the Most Beautiful Wedding Cake Table
Following these tips will ensure your cake table steals the show at your wedding! It’ll be so nice, your photographer might just decide to go into food photography as a new career.
Choose a solid foundation. Make sure the cake table is stable, can hold a lot of weight, and won’t topple over if someone accidentally leans on it.
Keep the cake table out of the elements; direct sunlight, for example, can melt the icing. So can candles for that matter, so be careful how you decorate.
If you have a non-traditional wedding cake – such as cupcakes, or several cakes that don’t stack on top of one another – elevate them above one another, on cake stands or fabric-draped, sturdy boxes of different heights, for visual appeal.
Consider a backdrop for the cake table that matches your overall theme. Backdrops can be created with anything from balloons to lights to plants or flowers; just make sure they don’t completely steal the show from the cake itself.
As a nearly-wed, you know all about flowers and balloons and fabrics and backdrops…but have you given much thought to the lighting? Specifically, candle-lighting? No, it’s not 1699; you don’t have to illuminate your wedding with candle-power, but candles have never lost their romantic appeal. If they’re good enough for a romantic evening alone together, imagine what dramatic touches that candles – regular, or LED – can lend to your special day?
Ways to Use Candles at Your Wedding
Candlelight, when used properly, can set a romantic tone for your wedding ceremony or reception (or both) while providing a soft, dreamy light; however, problems can arise if candles are used improperly. For example, insufficient candlelight can leave guests with a cold, creepy feeling instead of a warm glow. Here are some ways to use candles to good effect.
Floating candles are always lovely, and often come in flower shapes which are perfect for a wedding. You can place them in glass bowls of various sizes and even add a drop of food colouring or some glass pebbles to the water for special effect. One caveat: their burn time tends to be low, so plan well.
Tapers in candelabras make a fabulous statement; just be certain to get the dripless kind, to save your expensive linens.
Tea lights are extremely inexpensive; any couple can afford to absolutely fill the room with them. You can mix the votives (which come in a huge range of different colours and shapes) with candles of different sizes and place flower garlands around the various groupings.
Large pillar candles can go on stands near the altar or at the end of each pew, to provide just enough light for pictures
Tips for a Perfect Candlelit Wedding Ceremony
Anyone who’s planned a wedding knows that the best laid plans can be derailed by the most trivial-seeming thing – and a candlelit ceremony is no exception. Before you finalize your plans, make sure…
The fire ordinances and the venue permit the lighting of candles
Your wedding party knows it will be a candlelight ceremony, and where the candles will be placed, to help avoid accidents or confusion
You opt for scent-free or preferably natural beeswax candles as much as possible, to minimize the risk of allergic reactions or overly strong scents
You provide sufficient protection from the elements (wind, rain) so that your candles don’t go out
The person in charge of lighting the candles has sufficient lighters or matches to do the job
You have a plan to leave no lit candles burning unattended
Enjoy your beautiful ‘evening out’ – think romantic candlelit dinner, shared with a few dozen of your closest friends and family!
Once upon a time, everyone wrote everything by hand – whether it was a love note, an important message, or just saying hello, you had to take pen (or quill) in hand and fire off a missive. Today, snail mail is so rare that most people don’t have a lot of experience writing out cards of any kind; why bother, when you can create a Facebook event or send an e-vite?
Sadly, digital formats are not yet in vogue when it comes to wedding invitations. There is still an art to the wedding summons, one that you will need to learn if you intend to send out your own wedding invitations rather than engaging a service to handle this detail for you. Your wedding invitations may be handmade or store-bought, but even the most gorgeous stationery can fall flat if the envelopes are improperly addressed. Here is what you need to know about addressing wedding invitations:
Outer & Inner Envelopes – This may seem confusing, but it’s not when you recall that the wedding invitation requires a snail mail reply. Of course, many of your enthusiastic guests will probably call or message you as soon as they receive their envelope, but the hard copy RSVP must still be included, and really, you do want them back in the mail so you can track exactly who is coming and who they are bringing.
When addressing the outer envelope, the recipient’s name is, of course, in the To position; when addressing the inner envelope, your name is in the To position and the recipient’s name is in the From position.
Salutations – They might not matter much anywhere else, but they matter here. Some of the common salutations to use when addressing wedding invitations include:
Miss/Ms. are the appropriate salutations for unmarried females
If guests are unmarried but living together, address the envelope alphabetically by last name, i.e. ‘Miss Jane Doe and Mr. John Smith’
If addressing to a single person who will nevertheless bring a guest of some kind, use the person’s name on the outer envelope (Mr. John Smith) and then on the inner envelope, put ‘Mr. Smith and Guest’
Married guests with different last names: put the male’s name first followed by the female (Mr. John Smith and Jane Doe)
For guests with children under 16, use the children’s names on the inner envelope only: Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Tom, Dick, and Harry
Tips for Wedding Invitations
What if you have a lot of single friends – should you force them to scramble to find a guest who is willing to come to your wedding and share in the costs? Not necessarily. Your single guests should be free to bring someone only if they choose. They can definitely come solo.
It’s a faux pas to say ‘Adults Only’ – simply do not include the children’s names, and let your guests phone you for confirmation. You can tell them individually that you prefer a child-free affair. The same goes with including other information, like your wedding registry – DON’T! Let your guests ask you what an appropriate gift would be; you can direct them personally to your registry.
Stuffing the Envelope
Much like your wedding cake, your invitation has many layers. Start with the outer envelope. The next layer is the inner envelope, into which goes your invitation, followed by the reception card, the RSVP card with envelope, and finally map and directions on top.
Success! Your wedding invitations are both beautiful and in good taste.