June 2013

Wedding Section: Wedding Cake Trends are Changing for Local Brides

Author: Edward Thomas


^Courtesy of Kim’s Creations
^Courtesy of Brown Sugar

Wedding consultants and cake designers know that each bride is unique, and so is their preference for a wedding cake, including what they want it to look like and taste like. And the trends are shifting. No longer are brides confined to traditional three-layer, white cakes with flowers—and those bride and groom toppers disappeared several years ago.

“We have come a long way since wedding cakes made their debut about 150 years ago with Queen Victoria’s daughters,” said Signe Gardo, a renowned local cake designer, and owner of Signe’s Heaven Bound Bakery-Café on Hilton Head Island. The bakery, which has been recognized for several years as among the best in the Southeast by The Knot in its “Best of Weddings” annual guide, is a popular stopping point for both brides and their wedding planners.

Gardo created more than 200 custom wedding cakes over the past year, and says most brides today have very specific ideas of what they want their cake to look like. “They bring in pictures torn from bridal magazines or ones they have saved onto their Pinterest site on their iPad or smartphone.”

Ashley Rhodes, owner of Ashley Rhodes Event Design, agrees. “We are into the age of Pinterest with these millennial brides (born in the 1980s and early 1990s) who show up with very specific thoughts about the details of their cake as well as most other things. “There was a time when the mother of the bride made lots of the suggestions about how the cake should look. But, I don’t see that much anymore,” Rhodes said. “Today’s brides often have a theme for their wedding, and all the elements are coordinated with that theme.”

^Courtesy of Signe’s Bakery :Today’s wedding cakes are also taking a spin on the color wheel. Manning and Rhodes agree. Lavender, rum pink, blush and shades of butterscotch and peach are some that are requested. Metallic cakes, with gold and bronze fondant ribbons contrasted against a soft eggshell or snow white background make a striking appearance.

A recent cake created by Signe’s Bakery at a very large Spring Island wedding “had an exterior of meringue that was toasted with a blow torch to provide a rustic look which blended perfectly with the wedding’s rustic theme,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes received a recent request for a “naked cake” from a bride who is having her wedding this fall. Several national wedding bloggers have called naked cakes the hottest trend to hit wedding cakes since the cupcake rage. If you want to see examples, just check out Google. Essentially they are sponge cakes that remain un-iced or may have cream cheese icing or fruit between the layers and are then sprinkled with icing sugar and finally decorated with fresh fruit or flowers.

Lisa Manning, a wedding planner for more than 18 years, and owner of Southern Weddings, explained that over the past couple of years, there has been a rise in brides wanting the cake designer to mimic the design of the lace on their wedding gowns onto the cake. “Brides are also leaning more toward sugar flowers for their cakes rather than fresh flowers,” she said.

Manning points out sugar flowers can often be more expensive than regular flowers, and Gardo noted it is because “every petal needs to be hand crafted, which takes more time than one might think.”

Today’s wedding cakes are also taking a spin on the color wheel. Manning and Rhodes agree. Lavender, rum pink, blush and shades of butterscotch and peach are some that are requested. Metallic cakes, with gold and bronze fondant ribbons contrasted against a soft eggshell or snow white background make a striking appearance.

On Hilton Head Island, all agree that ocean-themed cakes remain popular with brides who live inland and want to reflect their ocean destination wedding experience. Seashell cakes frosted in ice blue or white, with the shells made from white chocolate and hand-painted various hues are the most popular.

Groom’s cakes, generally served at the rehearsal dinner, are also a Southern tradition. They typically follow the theme of the groom’s favorite activity (often taking the shape of a game fish or sports car or golf bag) or sports team. Signe, who has made countless tiger paws, bulldog and gamecock insignias in recent years recently made a cake replicating the Superdome in New Orleans, with the “fleur de lis” on the top of the dome and real lights rimming it.

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