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Survive Wedding Planning: Cake Design

Survive Wedding Planning: Cake Design

The first part of our Survive Wedding Planning blog series is all about the cake! Learn all you need to know from local expert, Lori Hawkins from Desserts by Lori in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Passion

I started this business purely for the love of seeing people’s faces when they see and then taste my cakes, desserts, or other sugary creations! With wedding cakes, we set up before everyone arrives, so I miss that initial reaction – so when they follow up with me by sending me pictures of them with their cake, and let me know how much they enjoyed it – that is a great feeling!

Desserts by Lori

Desserts by Lori

Advice from the Expert

All brides should make a point of having a taste-test and consult with several bakeries. Just because someone’s website shows their artistic skill, does not mean that their cakes taste good, and vise-versa! Be respectful of the appointment – I have had a few no-shows or late appointments – most brides do not understand that the bakery probably baked a special cake sample just for them!

Bring ideas with you. Your cake artist will want to get a sense of your style! Many times our brides bring us several pictures, and want different features from each cake picture. We will then combine it to make it uniquely theirs.

Desserts by Lori

Desserts by Lori

Bakeries will be charging you by the slice, not the size of the cake layers. Each cake shape/size serves different amounts of people. Have an estimate of your guest list and the cake artist can help you figure out how big of a cake you will need. A tip for budget-conscious brides: Most brides are getting a smaller cake, and then ordering sheet cakes to make up the difference in guest count. After you and your groom cut the cake, it is whisked away to the kitchen to be cut and served to your guests – along with the sheet cake that will already be in the kitchen.

Desserts by Lori

Desserts by Lori

Another “hidden” charge comes from your venue. Check with your venue to see if they have a cake cutting/serving cost. I’m shocked that some of the venues charge more to cut and serve the cake than I charge to bake, design, and deliver it!

With that in mind, we are seeing a lot of brides wanting cupcake towers, so their guests can serve themselves; therefore cutting out that cost. To keep with the cake-cutting tradition, a small one-layer cake can be made for cutting.

Desserts by Lori

Desserts by Lori

Fondant: A big misconception is that fondant (rolled sugar-dough that covers the cake) is bad-tasting. Yes, there are some bad-tasting ones out there, but there are some great-tasting fondants now! The fondant gives a great artistic-palate for us to work with, is exceptional smooth and perfect-looking, and allows us to put on satin ribbons and other special things on the cake. There is buttercream underneath, and the fondant is soft enough to cut, so your guests can choose to eat it or eat around it!

Trends this Season

1. Black and white cakes

Black and White Trend

Desserts by Lori

2. Cake jewelry – broaches (some heirlooms from grandparents, some new) placed somewhere on the cake (in the middle of bows, etc.) Dripping crystals on wire, rhinestones.

3. Ribbons – satin ribbons can only be put on fondant. (Buttercream will soak right through them)

Desserts by Lori

Desserts by Lori

4. Surprise Groom’s cake (the sky is the limit on these!)

5. Table cakes – each cake gets a little cake, some decorated specifically for those guests, and the couple married the longest gets to cut the cake. The wonderful thing about these is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on centerpieces, because they are eaten!

Susan and Lori from Desserts by Lori

Susan and Lori from Desserts by Lori

For More Information

Check out designs and more information at Lori’s website.

Phone: 616.554.5500
Find Desserts by Lori on Facebook

Thanks for the great information, Lori! What does your dream cake look like? Did you find this article helpful? Do you have a question for Lori? Leave a comment below! We love to hear your thoughts!

For more wedding inspiration visit March 27 Designs!

Like March 27 Designs on Facebook!


About Mara Olson

I’m addicted to dreaming! I’m also a work in progress, constantly learning and falling in love with the beautiful things in life. This blog is a snapshot of my inspirations, loves, and desire to create something beautiful and meaningful through my designs. I hope that as you join me, you will be inspired to create a wedding that truly reflects you and your hopes for that day.

One response »

  1. Beautiful cakes and great ideas from Mara!


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