Southern Weddings

Monthly Archives: February 2012

Welcome back to my wedding planning journey, guys + gals! Today we’re talking cake + sweets – an important component of any wedding!

Call me traditional, but when I think wedding cake, I think tiered, white, and lovely, like these pretties below:

All cakes from Martha Stewart Weddings except bottom left, which is from Southern Weddings (photo by Tec Petaja)

In fact, that cake in the upper left is my all-time favorite wedding cake — it’s absolutely perfect in my mind!

However, after tasting the cakes at my sister’s wedding, I pretty much decided that I could never serve a tiered confection at my wedding. For me, tiered cakes are always too dense and/or dry. I’m not a baker, but I think this is because they have to be denser in order to support the weight of the tiers — I’m not sure a fluffy tiered cake is possible! (However, should any pastry artists out there wish to prove me wrong, I am always up for taste tests!)

Besides, we don’t really have the budget for a gorgeous tiered cake, anyway. Instead, we’re going to be serving an assortment of mini desserts (to go along with our mini food!). We’ll also have a small cutting cake, but more about that in a minute. First, let’s feast our eyes on some delicious-looking + diminutive desserts!

There’s mini pecan pies…

mini key lime tarts…

mini fruit tarts…

mini cookies…

and even more exotic offerings, like mini donuts, milkshakes, candy apples, and waffle bowls with ice cream!

Pecan pie photos by Caroline Joy (via SW) and Braedon Flynn (via SW); key lime tart photos by Karen Wise (via Style Me Pretty), Jessica Lorren (via SW), and Jodi Miller (via SW); fruit tart photos from Cannelle et Vanille and Martha Stewart Weddings; mini cookies both from Martha Stewart Weddings; mini milkshakes photo by Julie Lim (via SW); waffle bowls and candy apples from Martha Stewart Weddings; donuts photo by Chris Court

We’re still debating which, exactly, mini desserts we’ll be servings at our reception, but I do know that mini fruit tarts will be in the mix – they’re John’s favorite, and one of his only requests! I also know we’re going to be serving a special treat made by my Momma — I’m not going to spoil the surprise for any of our guests that might be reading, but I will say that all of my high school friends could probably guess correctly right away — these little treats have been a staple at the Ayer household for as long as I can remember! I’m so grateful that our caterer, A Thyme to Cook, is willing to transport and set out our homemade treats along with theirs — it makes it so much more possible to contribute family recipes and still have everything move smoothly and flow seamlessly!

Now about that cutting cake. We were originally going to have A Thyme to Cook make it, as well, but as we took a harder look at our budget, we realized that this was one detail we could pretty easily take care of ourselves, and save some money while doing so. I don’t think I would be brave enough to make a cake a few days before our wedding that I’d actually be feeding to our guests, but since John and I will be the only ones tasting this cake, I’m not that worried! All we have to do is make it edible and decently pretty on the outside. Here’s some of the “doable” cake inspiration I’ve been gathering:

Bow cake photo by Braedon Flynn (via SW), meringue cake photo by J. Malahy (via SW), white cake buffet photo by The Nichols (via Style Me Pretty), heart cake buffet photo by Brooke Images (via SW), ruffled cake photo by Melissa Schollaert (via SW), flag cake photo by The Nichols (via Style Me Pretty), and raspberry cake photo by Aaron Delesie

Surely my family and I can pull off something like the above – what do you think? Oh yes, and we’ll totally be making the cake itself from a box — no way am I going “from scratch” on this one!

I’d also love to hear what y’all will be serving for dessert at your weddings. A traditional cake? A cake buffet? Pies? Mini desserts? Please comment + let me know!

In case you missed a post…
The main characters
Where we’re getting married
I go dress shopping
We choose a photographer
I ponder bridesmaid style
Mini food!
The music
We’re renting a tent!
We discuss bouquets + boutonnieres
We send out our save the dates
I gather hair and makeup inspiration

Jessica Lorren, Brooke Images, Jodi Miller Photography, and Melissa Schollaert are fabulous members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
17 Comments
  1. avatar Laura reply

    We’re planning on having a dessert buffet of pies, cupcakes, and doughnuts (Krispy Kreme, of course!), but I also wanted to have a very small cake for our actual cake-cutting. I hadn’t thought about making it myself, but like you said, we’ll be the only ones eating it and it would be far more economical. How far in advance will you make it? I just wouldn’t want to be worrying about it the day before or the day of.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Laura! That all sounds DELICIOUS! We’ll probably make ours the Wednesday before the wedding. I don’t really care if it’s all that fresh, since I’ll probably just be eating a bite or two anyway! :) You could also make the cake layers a few weeks or even months before your wedding and freeze them!

    • avatar Laura reply

      That is true. I think you may have inspired me to bake my own wedding cake!

  2. avatar Haley reply

    Hiya Emily! My fiance and I are doing a tiered cake and mini pies. We can’t wait! We’ll be using my apple pie recipe and my mother will be making my grandmother’s chocolate chess pie. YUM! Your wedding is going to be lovely! Congratulations!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Haley! YUM! Mini pies are just the most adorable thing to me… I’m sure yours will be lovely!

  3. avatar Brittany R reply

    I love the idea of mini desserts! They will be a huge hit.

    We opted to do a cake buffet with 5 flavors-they are each a 2-3 layer round cake like you would by from a bakery…only we ordered 2 of all of them, so we can have backups for when they run out. My grandmother has been gifting me milk glass cake stands for the past few years, and unbeknownst to her, we will be using them for our cake buffet! I thought that was a sweet way to pay homage to her. :)
    In place of a traditional groom’s cake, he opted to do a cobbler bar with vanilla ice cream…so far, everyone loves the idea!

    • avatar Brittany R reply

      Brittany R: sorry, typo! “like you would *buy from a bakery

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Brittany! A cobbler bar sounds AMAZING, and I love the idea of using the cake stands from your grandmother as a surprise! I’m sure she’ll be thrilled!

  4. avatar Madelynne Miller reply

    Hi Emily!

    We are doing 2 cakes – a groom’s cake and a bride’s cake. His cake is going to alternate between tiers of chocolate and strawberry w/ vanilla buttercream and will be grey on the outside with one tier possessing the pattern from his argyle sock! My cake is going to be lemon w/ lemon buttercream and will be all white on the outside with one tier possessing the chevron pattern we used on our stationery and table linens! We are going for a very modern look with one tier taller than the rest and both cakes will be the same size. Our cake is definitely contributing/enhancing the decor!

    PS: Y’all can totally handle a traditional small cake! You should do funfetti!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Madelynne! Love that you’re using patterns pulled from other places in your design — so fun!! And you’re right, those cakes will TOTALLY add to the overall vibe/decor!

  5. avatar Desiree reply

    Hey Emily – So, I made a small layered cake for a photoshoot last year. I would highly recommend getting the following tools: round shallow cake pan, skinny knife for trimming top layers, those plastic pipes that you shove in the cake to support the layers, a good icing spatula, cardboard platter that you wrap in pretty paper and construct the cake on (dang near impossible to move a cake once its layered and iced…duh.) and you might want to find a DEEP freezer. My cake melted in the car ride bc I didn’t have it frozen beforehand. ALSO – get one of these:
    http://www.amazon.com/Progressive-International-Collapsible-Cupcake-Carrier/dp/B002C741M2

    I carried mine it just a general rubbermaid box and you guessed it, cake all over the place. It’s totally doable but you just need the right tools. Go add those things to your registry ;o) xoxo

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Desiree! Thanks for the tips! I actually learned a bit about cake making from the owner of Sugarland a few years ago for an SW feature, and one tip she had was to use bubble tea straws for the supports! They work great!

  6. avatar Elizabeth | Glessner Photography reply

    OBSESSED with that Pecan Pie tower… my absolute favorite dessert (my grandmother’s recipe is the best of. all. time). I’m just jealous I didn’t think of it for my own wedding :)

  7. avatar Lindsay Ann reply

    Emily, I love the mini dessert idea. It reminds me of the cookie table tradition in a lot of Italian American weddings that I attended while growing up in Northeastern Ohio. There were always lots of pizelles, tarts, and oh so heavenly clothespin cookies. Yum!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Lindsay Ann! I completely agree with the similarities! Also, you’ve really got me intrigued as to what a “clothespin cookie” is…

  8. avatar Allie@HoneyBeeInvites reply

    You’re going to be a gorgeous bride Emily! And I know how you feel so many dessert options! We just picked donuts for our mini dessert bar options. I am obsessed with donuts so it was a total “duh” moment when we selected Glazed in Charleston to create the fun flavors! They are the best!
    Good luck planning girl!! xo

  9. avatar Kelcey H. reply

    I LOVE that you’re making your own cake! As an aspiring self-taught baker I think everything is better (and sweeter) homemade. The rose cake you have shown above is actually super easy (even for a not so regular cake baker). There are tons of how to videos online if you’d like to give it a try. Plus, no one would ever know you made it yourself.

    Happy Baking!

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Welcome back to our Southern Hospitality feature! Each month, we pick a Southern city and an expert host. Our host shares their favorite items custom to that city that would be perfect packed into a welcome bag for family and friends at a weekend wedding. There’s nothing like Southern hospitality, especially at a destination wedding!

What better city to pick for our next Southern Hospitality tote than Charleston, one of, if not THE, most popular wedding destinations in the South? More importantly, Charleston is home to as much Southern history and culture as the skies are wide! Fortunately, I’ve been able to travel to Charleston many a time for weddings, photo shoots and visiting family who live in the area. In fact, I’ll be dropping by Charleston to board my cruise next week (literally counting down the minutes until water and sunshine)!

We asked our friend Charlotte, of Charlotte Elizabeth Photographer, who Emily bumped into at Engage last fall, to be our expert this month, and she did a fabulous job! See her picks below, and, Charleston natives, be sure comment with suggestions of what you might add!

A. Bar of Sweeteeth Chocolate. Local chocolatier, Johnny Battles, whips up small-batch chocolate bars that are to die for! Charlotte’s absolute favorite is the “Sea is for Caramel” bar. The wrapper has adorable little drawings to boot. ($5.00 for 1 bar)

B. Sweetgrass Palmetto Rose. The Sweetgrass baskets have been a part of Charleston/Mt. Pleasant culture for more than 300 years! Throwing in a palmetto rose would be a cute touch! ($10.00 for 6)

C. Copy of Charleston Magazine. I can’t think of a better introduction to this beautiful and vibrant town. Charlotte subscribes to this mag and reads it cover to cover every month. There is an extensive calendar of events at the back of the mag that your guests can use as a guideline for their weekend. ($7.95 for 1 magazine)

D. Copy of Charleston Art Mag. It’s the best guide to Charleston’s creative scene, including information about Charlotte’s favorite aspect of town: The French Quarter Art Galleries. (free)

E. South Carolina Magnet. A South Carolina or Charleston specific magnet would be a cute souvenir to throw in your hospitality tote. You could even look into printing custom magnets or stickers. (price varies)

F. Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka. Crafted in a small still on Wadamalaw Island (say it with me now: wah-dah-maw-law), Firefly tastes like sweet tea but has a big kick! Charlotte and her husband keep a bottle in the fridge during the summer for when unexpected visitors pop by. They serve it over ice with a splash of water and lemon. ($20.00 for 1 liter, but can purchase airplane bottles for sampling)

G. Charleston Tea Plantation Loose Tea. Charlotte’s personal favorite is the peach. This would be especially perfect for the couple that marries at the tea plantation! ($9.95 for 1.6 oz. of tea)

H. Carolina Plantation Stone Ground Grits. Need I say more? It’s the South, y’all! Attach a personalized recipe card to add a touch of personalization. ($6.00 for a 1 lb bag)

I. Benne Wafers from Olde Colony Bakery. No hospitality tote would be complete without Benne Wafers. Benne, which means sesame, was brought from East Africa and planted extensively throughout the South. These sweet and salty wafers have been unique to the Low Country since colonial times. They are delicious and buttery! ($3.50 for a 5 oz. bag)

J. Custom Map from Studio R. I love it when a hospitality tote includes a menu of events or recommendations of places to eat and drink chosen by the bride and groom. Why not come up with your own map of things to do and places to see as well as an itinerary of where to be and when? Charlotte’s friend, Rachael Blessinger can help you come up with a one-of-a-kind illustration. (prices vary)

K. Tickets for a Bicycle Taxi Ride. Why not coordinate 1 free Rickshaw Ride for your guests with one of the local pedicab companies? Design your own “pedicab pass!” ($5.00 for 15 minutes, not including tip)

You can check out even more of Charlotte’s favorite things here!

We paired these expert picks with a tote design by Sarah Reed of Dodeline Design. Is this not just adorable? You can download it here to take to your local screen printer for a tote of your own. Thank you, Sarah!

From the Charleston area and have additional suggestions to add to our tote? What did you love about Charleston if you’ve visited before? Have a city in mind for future posts? Comment below and let us know!

Dodeline Design is a member of our fabulous Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Check out past totes:
Nashville
Atlanta
Austin
Richmond
Emerald Coast

Written with love by Sierra
12 Comments
  1. avatar Carly Totten reply

    Oh my!! I can’t even begin to talk about my love of Charleston – it’s big, y’all! I’m from outside of Philadelphia, and I am so lucky to be able to travel to Charleston quite frequently, including a trip this past weekend. I have to add pralines from Market Street Sweets to your list of items to include. They are beyond delicious (I die!), and there are shops selling these sweets throughout the city. Market Street Sweets has to be my favorite place to purchase them though. The tote designed by Sarah is awesome and so is she!

  2. avatar charlotte reply

    Thanks so much for including me for this cute little post! I had so much fun contributing! :-)

  3. avatar Theresa reply

    Can you do a feature on Hilton Head Island?

  4. avatar Sheila reply

    I’m proud to say I’m a native of Charleston. And I love the selections. The tote bag is great and Sarah’s designs are beautiful and representative of Charleston.

  5. avatar Jenny Clark reply

    Loved the tote featured in Tara Gerard wedding yesterday. Any chance I can get the template for that design?? Thanks!!

  6. avatar Southern Hospitality: Charleston Tote by Southern Weddings | Olde Colony Bakery | Home of the Original Charleston Benne Wafer | Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, USA reply

    […] http://iloveswmag.com/2012/02/29/southern-hospitality-charleston-tote/ […]

  7. avatar Christine reply

    I’m looking to make a welcome basket for an event being held in Charleston and was interested in including palmetto roses. The link above that said you could get six for $10 doesn’t seem to be working. Would you happen to know if they are still being sold? Thanks!

  8. avatar Kristina Weatherlow reply

    please help, I would really like this download for the tote bad but I cant get it to work. do you still offer the file?

  9. avatar Melissa reply

    Love it! Any chance that the file for the tote is still available? I’d love to use it!

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Y’all, long distance is hard — I mean both long distance relationships and long distance wedding planning. I am in awe of how beautifully Audrey + Jordan’s turned out considering that they planned it while overseas in Asia working for a college ministry AND while they were both five hours apart from each other. Their wedding day came together with what looks like the ease, comfort and elegance of the best Southern soirees. These photos by Caroline Joy convinces us that not only are Audrey + Jordan a gorgeous couple, but that they must also be superheroes.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I went shopping three months before the wedding because for the first 2 months of our engagement, I was overseas and couldn’t shop yet! My mother and stepmother and I went to some stores in Birmingham, found one dress I loved. We made the decision to get that one, but decided to wait and look around more that day. My mom urged me to go to a shop in Hartselle, Alabama, the next day just to look. When I went in, the first dress I tried on was the exact dress I had been looking for! We bought that one immediately! It had a sash that tied around my waist, which matched the ivory dress, but when I went for my dress fitting, I realized it just wasn’t the look I wanted — it was all too white and shiny. I wanted a softer, more natural look so a family friend dyed the sash a tan/light cocoa color and it was perfect!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we wanted our first time to see each other to be an intimate setting without people around- and it was way more practical as far as picture-taking goes.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our food! We had pulled pork, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, corn pudding, black eyed pea slaw, apple crisp, pecan pies and mint sweet tea with vodka. Our decorations included quilts, hat boxes, mason jars, dough bowls, rustic wooden serving pieces that looked like they came from a barn. And the outdoor barn setting was Southern!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Our cake was two gigantic round layers with a collection of flowers similar to our bouquets on top of the cake. The cake was placed on a giant wooden stand and had a messy buttercream frosting that looked rustic!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met in college at the University of Alabama. I saw Jordan onstage playing music for a college ministry we both were going to. I had a crush on him for a few weeks before we met at a concert. We hit it off instantly and spent every day together after that.
Describe the proposal. We were in East Asia, working for a college ministry there. I had gone to visit Jordan in his city and we were supposed to go to a friend’s house for dinner that night. I was called to go to someone else’s apartment to grab some wine for the dinner. Upon arrival, I found Jordan on a rooftop garden with flowers and candles everywhere. We wrote our names on some Chinese lanterns and were going to set them off, when I found the engagement ring tied to the bottom of one! He asked me to marry him then!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Emotional, peaceful, natural.
In what month did you get married? October
How many guests attended your wedding? About 300
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The ceremony began at sunset and we were married under a giant oak tree on my family farm.
Describe your wedding flowers: They were pastel colors- peaches, greens, creams, a lot of dahlias and some berry looking plants. I wanted them to have a wildflower look. I pretty much gave our florist/decorator my wedding invitation from Rifle Paper Co. and told them to use the flowers illustrated. The flowers were tied with some lace, and my bouquet was tied with an old piece of knitted fabric I found at a second hand store.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000 -50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Over-communicate about details to be sure you have everything taken care of and know who is doing what!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Establishing our life together in Birmingham and enjoying each other as husband and wife. We are looking forward to knowing each other more intimately and having more and more fun every day.

Photographer: Caroline Joy Photography // Planner: Randy Roper // Venue: Private residence // Florist: In Bloom, Huntsville, Alabama // Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Cake by Cakes, etc, Desserts by Mary Lynn Carlton // Caterer: Mary Lynn Carlton // Rentals: Limestone Bay Trading Company // Lighting: In Bloom // Paper Products: Invitations from Rifle Paper Company // Bride’s Dress: Robert Bullock via Something Blue Bridal Shoppe // Bride’s Shoes: Pour Le Victoire // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Urban Outfitters

If you love this wedding, might we suggest these?
Holly + Chase’s homemade Alabama wedding here
Melissa + Eric’s peach, green and grey wedding here and here
Lauren + Tommy’s outdoor ranch wedding here and here

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
12 Comments
  1. avatar NatalieG reply

    I love the BM dresses!!!! Please share!!!!! :)

    • avatar Nicole reply

      Hi Natalie! I love those bridesmaids’ dresses, too! They’re from Urban Outfitters :)

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Love those mini pecan pies – so cute!

  3. avatar Madelynne Miller reply

    SO wonderfully southern! And what a handsome couple! Congrats to y’all for a beautiful wedding and for the start of a beautiful life together!

  4. avatar Marissa, Foldable shoes reply

    wow! what cute wedding! love the photos :)

  5. avatar Kristine {In Love, Engaged} reply

    I love the feel of the outdoor venue. So relaxed, peaceful, and fun. All the antique details are so fun too. What a great wedding!

  6. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    Love love love the her dress and the bridesmaids dresses! What a cute couple!

  7. avatar Natalie reply

    Wow! This was an absolutely gorgeous wedding! And the pictures… Beautiful!

  8. avatar Honey reply

    Love the pics- looks like a great wedding! Where did y’all find the getaway car?

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Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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