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I think “meant to be” is a good way to describe Kelly and Dan’s story–these two lawyers met in the most unassuming way (at a bar!), and after their lakeside engagement, they set out to plan their Georgia wedding in a way that was true to them as a couple. From knowing Foxhall Resort was their venue as soon as they drove onto the property, to Kelly finding her dream, out-of-budget gown off the rack at a great price, their wedding fell into place beautifully, allowing them to focus on their relationship and the fun ways they could introduce guests to their personalities. My favorite details are the ones that are a little unconventional, but oh so them, like the signature cocktails served from copper mugs and the brownies and ice cream they dished out in lieu of cake!

Thanks so much to Sowing Clover Photography for sharing this fun day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had had my eye on Monique Lhuillier’s Scarlet dress for some time. I knew I wanted a romantic sheath with straps, and nothing else had caught my eye. I tried on the dress at the Monique Lhuillier boutique in Manhattan (where I was living at the time for my job) and fell in love with it. The $6,000 price tag was a bit too steep for me, but I ended up finding it off the rack somewhere else. It was meant to be!

I wanted the flower arrangements to be whimsical, low-key, and natural, so I chose to go with a lot of greenery accented by some white flowers. My favorite part was the garlands of greenery that draped some of the wooden farm tables.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we wrote our own vows. My favorite line from mine was about Dan being my hero and the best man I know. My favorite from his was when he said I added so much value to his life, more than he thought was possible.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My 13-year-old little sister and Dan’s 10-year-old niece did the readings at our ceremony. My sister read a sweet excerpt from Winnie the Pooh and his niece read the “What is Real?” excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit. They were absolutely wonderful! I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place after the Velveteen Rabbit reading.

We tried to make our wedding reflect us as much as possible, so we thought outside of tradition in a lot of instances. Those are the details that made the day truly special. To name a few, our officiant was my long-time best friend, our dog was the ring bearer, every table was named after something that meant something special to us and the people sitting there, I sang a song with the band (“A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri) for my new husband, and most of the food served at the wedding had some significance to us or a family member.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted to get married somewhere with a lot of land, where our dog could attend, and where our closest friends and family could stay the weekend. The Foxhall checked all of the boxes. When we first drove onto the Foxhall property, our jaws dropped at how beautiful it was. We both knew this was the place.

Neither Dan nor I really like cake, so we opted to forgo the tradition and do something that was a little more “us” (which we did with a lot of things in our wedding). Instead of cake, we had an ice cream cart catered by a local, small-batch ice cream store, Queen of Cream. Our flavors were so yummy and perfect for our fall wedding: Bourbon Butter Whiskey Pecan and Salted Caramel. Since Dan’s favorite dessert is ice cream and brownies, Queen of Cream was nice enough to serve their delicious ice cream with warm brownies! The fun part was smashing the ice cream into each other’s faces toward the end of the night.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met the good old-fashioned way: at a bar, during my first year of law school in Atlanta. Dan broke the ice by talking about “Pierson v. Post,” an old Supreme Court case about hunting. Needless to say, that was enough to make me swoon!
Tell us all about the proposal! After a few years of dating (and exactly three years after we said “I love you” for the first time), we were spending a quiet morning at the lake on our boat, throwing the ball to our beloved yellow lab, Sam. Dan asked me to start video taping Sam fetching the ball, which I thought was no big deal at the time. It turns out that Dan hid the ring inside one of the tennis balls! When Sam retrieved the ball from the lake, Dan took it out and got down on one knee. After freaking out a little bit about how he thew the ring into the lake, I, of course, said yes. He said he really wanted to incorporate Sam into the proposal because he trusted Sam as much as he trusted our relationship. I’ve got to hand it to him for tricking me into videotaping my own engagement!
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 106
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Dan surprised me by having a very strong opinion on the matter–he wanted to see me for the first time as I was walking down the aisle. It was so romantic, that, of course, we opted to not do a first look. It made the pictures during cocktail hour a bit more rushed than they may have been otherwise, but seeing the look on his face when I walked down the aisle made it all worth it!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I chose to walk down the aisle to “What a Wonderful World” played by the acoustic country band, Capo3. It’s one of my all time favorites. After we were married, Dan and I walked/danced up the aisle to “Marry You” by Bruno Mars to signify that the party was about to get started! Our first dance was to “I Don’t Dance” by Lee Brice. The lyrics to that song almost perfectly reflect our relationship, and it was fun to do some twirls during the lyric “spinning you round and round in circles.”
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our officiant asked us to write love letters to one another, which she stored away in a box with a nice bottle of wine. She said it was for us to open whenever things got tough in our marriage. It was such a wonderful exercise to really think about why we love each other, why we were choosing to get married, and to remember that not all days will be the “happiest days of our life,” but rather, we will have to work through some bumps in the future.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We had a budget of about $30,000, but I didn’t want to sacrifice much. I DIYed what I could (invitations, paper goods, escort card display, boutonnieres), found deals on extras like our photo booth, and was lucky enough to find some newly established (but super talented) vendors with reasonable prices. One of the biggest places we saved was by providing our own alcohol for the reception. Also, I absolutely loved wedding planning, so I saved by not hiring a full-service wedding planner–we just had someone help coordinate the day-of.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Dan and I are now expecting our first child, so we are both very excited about building a family!

Photographer: Sowing Clover Photography | Videographer: Anchor Heart Films | Planner and Florist: Something Tulle | Venue: Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club | Dessert Baker: Queen of Cream Ice Cream | Caterer: Simply Catering | Rentals: Unlimited Party & Event Rentals | Band: Capo3 Band | DJ: Sloan Lee DJ | Paper Products: Letterpress by Czar Press | Bride’s Gown: “Scarlet” by Monique Lhuillier | Bride’s Jewelry: Rent the Runway | Hair and Makeup: Vigilante Cosmetics | Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew | Menswear: Tom James Custom | Photo Booth: Robot Booth

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dana reply

    love the flowers in their hair and an ice cream bar sounds so fun!

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It goes without saying that good ole Southern food makes our hearts and stomachs happy. We love these ten sweets that our 2012 couples served to end the meal right.

Sweet buttercream frosting with blush blooms and a wooden topper: cake by Frosted Art, photo by Landon Jacob from Casey + Wojtek’s wedding.

Krispy Kreme donuts: photo by The Schultzes from Izzy + Lane’s wedding.

A gorgeous sugar flower creation by Bake Me a Cake: photo by Vitalic Photo from Gabrielle + Paul’s wedding.

A magnolia wedding cake in white by Ashley Bakery: photo by Jared Lister from Kinsey + Coley’s wedding.

A white rosette wedding cake draped in tulle. Cake by Favorite Cakes, photo by Megan W from Dianna + Garjae’s wedding.

We’re calling these two navy + pink with stripes wedding cakes a tie. On the left, cake by Frosted Art, photo by Brett Heidebrecht from Lauren + Justin’s wedding, and on the right, cake by Ridgewells Catering, photo by Timmester Photography from Lisa + Nick’s wedding.

A tower of mini pecan pies: photo by Caroline Joy from Audrey + Jordan’s wedding.

On the left, a gorgeous lace cake by Jim Smeal (photo by Tim Will from Elizabeth + Alex’s wedding), and on the right, a wedding cheesecake (with school spirit!) by Highland Bakery (photo by The Reason from Malloree + Jordan’s wedding).

A magnolia cake in peach by Couture Cakes: photo by Justin DeMutiis from Blair + Brian’s wedding.

Landon Jacob, Caroline Joy and Justin DeMutiis are members of our fab Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
3 Comments
  1. avatar Sharon @ Red Poppy | Pink Peony reply

    The rosette cake draped in tulle is so pretty and so bridal!

  2. avatar Dee Shore reply

    Is it weird that I want to lick my monitor? Delicious post, in more ways than one lol In love with the mini Pecan Pie strand.

  3. avatar Favorite Cakes @ Taylor'd Events reply

    […] 100 Layer Cake 2. Southern Weddings 3. SMP 4. Sugarplum Cake Shop 5. Amazing Wedding […]

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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!

  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 [email protected] 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!

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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