A cake worth its weight in love…

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In September 2017 I was in Florida when hurricane Irma hit.  We had made the choice to leave but then got word that we would not be able to get gas and that highway travel was at a stand still.  We were at Walt Disney World and decided to stay in place and ride out the storm.  By the time the storm hit us it was a Category 3 and was very scary.  Watching the glass windows bend in and hearing the animals go silent as the storm came like a freight train.  There was damage around the resort, but nothing like what we saw on TV from those who were south of us and were hit when the storm was still a Category 5.

So when Engaged Asheville got a request from LLG Events to help do a wedding for a couple who had their world destroyed during Irma, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  Marty Bruckner and Lauren Saia lost everything in the world and this was our chance to give them back some beauty.  STJ Photography had already made the couple go viral with their engagement photos and we all knew that this wedding would be special.

I was given some guidance in the design boards but the cake design was left up to me.  The designs were full of water colors, but it reminded me of the storm.  The way that everything comes together and a small piece may look frantic but what comes out of it is pure beauty.

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I was very nervous, I want all cakes to be perfect, but this one had some added pressure. Then 2 days before we were told the wedding maybe featured on Good Morning America Online.  None of us volunteered for this knowing that, and I think we would of done it no matter what, but that added some extra fun and pressure.

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All told the wedding was pro bono, and vendors donated $135,000 in services.  It was an honor and a privilege to get to give something back to this couple that gave of themselves so much!

Below is the list of world class vendors that all made this day so perfect. Click on the icon for a link to the article.

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Event planning, coordination and design: LLG Events – @llgevents
Photography: Anne Bequette, STJ Creative Photography – @stjcreativephotography
Floral design: David Kimmel Design – @davidkimmeldesign
Rehearsal dinner: Engaged Asheville – @engagedasheville
Ceremony venue: The Ridge – @theridgeavl
Reception venue & catering: The Venue – @thevenueavl
Rehearsal dinner catering: The Venue – @thevenueavl
Wedding dress: Martina Liana Bridal – @martinalianabridal
Videography: Cassandra Isbell – @cassandraisbellphoto
Second photographer: Joel Conner from Shadow & Light Photography – @shadowandlightstl
Rehearsal dinner DJ: Meseret, Phantom Pantone – @phantompantone
Ceremony guitarist: Collective Music Solutions – @collectivemusicsolutions
Reception DJ: Erica Berg, Collective Music Solutions – @collectivemusicsolutions
Hair: Je’Taime, Sugar & Spice Salon – @sugarandspicesalon
Makeup: La Belle Visage – @labellevisagenj
Accommodations: AC Hotel – @achotelasheville
Engaged Asheville community: @engagedasheville
Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn – @poppyhandcraftedpopcorn
Blossoms at Biltmore Park – @blossomsatbiltmorepark
Calligraphy: Joy Unscripted – @joyunscripted
Rehearsal dinner drinks: Wicked Weed – @wickedweedbrewing
Farewell brunch venue: Highland Brewing Company – @highlandbrewing
Transporation: Young Transporation – @youngtransportationandtours

What is right for your wedding? Things to consider.

What can be more vexing then trying to figure out the perfect cake for your wedding day?  Flavors, designs, cakes, cupcakes….. it is a lot to consider.  While you may already have an idea about what you are looking for, here are some things to consider when making decisions.

Design:  This is a big one and will really set the tone for your other decisions.  While Pinterest is an amazing tool for ideas, remember that design came from a specific baker, so replicating it can be hard and makes the cake not unique to you.  It also doesn’t give you an idea on what that cake cost.  A good rule of thumb is the more elaborate the cake, the more it will cost.  That doesn’t mean you sacrifice your dream cake to save money, but be open to suggestions from your baker.  Narrow down the elements that you really like and the ones you can live without.  Keep in mind the number of servings you will need.  You want to estimate at least 90% of your guest count will eat cake. Your baker can guide you on how to achieve your wish list and not break the bank.

Budget:  This can make a big difference in what you order, so be prepared to discuss it.  Fitting a 6 tier wedding cake into a $200 budget is just impossible.  Setting a realistic budget is so important for you and the baker.  It allows the baker to make the best cake possible but also stick to your price range.  Remember this is your wedding, don’t go into the consult like you are at a car dealer store setting the price low and working your way up.  Find the limit you are comfortable with and be honest about it.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the cost and ways to save as well.  Again, trust your baker.

Flavors:  The first rule I tell any bride… This is your day!!  Everyone else is your guest.  While you want to please your guests, you also want to make your day unique to you.  While you may love unique flavors, you may want to off set that with a simpler flavor that can be more universal.  Don’t be afraid of using different flavors on your cake.  Your baker can give you sage advise on unique and pleasing flavor combinations.

Cupcakes:  The wonderful world of cupcakes, a small package with big taste.  They are so small and delicious it certainly wont hurt to have more then 1 right?  That is what most guests will think, especially if you have different flavor cupcakes.  Be aware that if you have 100 guests and you order 100 cupcakes in 2 flavors, you will run out.  You can never have too many cupcakes and having left overs is just a nice addition to the honeymoon.  Over order cupcakes!

Cutting and Serving:  Cutting and serving a wedding cake is not easy!  It is simply not the same as ordering a sheet cake and cutting out nice squares.  If you are having the wedding catered, ask the caterer if he or she will be cutting and serving the cake.  Be prepared when most say no.  Instructions can be found online or provided by your baker.  Then give them to a close friend to memorize before the big day.  You can ask the baker if he or she will cut and serve, however keep in mind there is a charge for the time spent.  Staying to cut a cake is one less event that could be done.

Always remember that it is not impossible to get what you want, but be prepared to make concessions on things that matter less, so you can get the things that matter most.  Bakers want to make your day special and will work very hard to do so.