The lush green rolling hills east of Oxford, Mississippi – the literary inspiration of William Falkner, John Grisham and others was the backdrop for Bess and Peter Kruger’s wedding celebration.
A stately, classically designed plantation style mansion was the setting for both the marriage ceremony and the following reception. It’s sixteen foot ceilings, crown molding and sparking chandeliers were inspiration for Bess’s wedding cake.
Height, reflection and color scheme were my primary design elements that directed my vision for Bess’ cake. It needed to be tall so it would be the focal point for the spacious room in which it was to be presented. Bess was using shades of citrus-y yellow with silver accents for her color palette and with an evening reception I immediately felt the cake needed some shimmery reflective details but wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to work that aspect into the overall design.
As Bess’ wedding plans unfolded and several site visits later -to check out the size of the room and lighting conditions- the final vision for her cake emerged. We agreed on using alternating round and hexagonal shaped tiers as the basic architectural structure of her cake. The traditional round shape was updated by using the hexagonal. The two shapes also added more visual complexity to the overall design.
A silky ivory colored buttercream icing was chosen as the cake covering with fresh flowers in the same colors as the bridesmaid’s bouquets to finish the top and edges of the cake. I suggested using sugar pearl accents on the flat sides of the hexagon tiers and glittery silver sugar leaves at the base of each tier. Randomly placing a few whimsical peals on fine floral wire amongst the flowers added some movement as well as a subtle playful note reflecting the bride and groom’s demeanor.
As the evening skies turned lavender and the candlelight cast a warm glow inside the plantation’s rooms the wedding guests enjoyed the double vanilla cake layered with raspberry preserves and lemoncello buttercream.
For Bess’s bridesmaids luncheon we decided have lot’s of fun. Two tiered funfetti miniature wedding cakes on mini white porcelain cake stands were the place markers for each bridesmaid. Three pastel colored pearls topped each tiered cake. Pearls are de riguer for every Southern bride whether traditional or contemporary.
Early Summer in the Deep South
At our first meeting, I was impressed by Emily’s authentic sense of self. We were scheduled to meet at a local coffee shop.. Emily arrived in her running shorts and shoes looking completely at ease with her self and ready to discuss her upcoming wedding plans.
Our conversation initially focused on Emily’s dress then moved on to the flowers she wanted to use, the time of day her wedding celebration was going to be held, the quality of light at the time of day and what foods would be served at the reception.
Emily loved the scent of lavender and hoped to use it in some way at the reception.Through out our conversation, Emily’s sense of natural ease continued to emerge making the design process easy and spontaneous.
Fresh lavender became the primary design ingredient outside and inside. The cake would be circled with fresh lavender wreaths at the base of each tier. My pantry had a jar of Tuscan lavender honey that was begging for a place in one of my cakes.
My next step was to get into my kitchen and bake. A few layers of my double vanilla butter cake and a batch of Meyer lemon curd, I started working on a new version of lavender honey scented buttercream. After layering the trio of flavors and textures, I delivered the tasting cake to Emily and Tyler. They loved it.
On the day of the wedding, I began weaving the fresh lavender into wreaths and wrapping them around the tiers of the cake. As I worked the lavender scent began to fill my studio. The aroma was ethereal and intoxicating. I loved the idea of incorporating all of the senses to enjoy this cake.
After the cake was set up at the reception, the room began to fill with scent of Lavender extending a welcoming invitation to Emily and Tyler’s guests.
One late august afternoon, a year before the day she was to say her wedding vows, Molly, her wedding planner Krista Bloome, and I sat down for a cup of coffee and a chat about her vision for her dream cake.
Over the next few months we had several conversations resulting in shifts and revisions of her cake design until we hit on "Boho Chic" as a theme for Molly's cake.
From that point we were all in agreement about what direction I my design process was moving in. There were several dressmaker details that I wanted to play with and Molly was confident that my intuition would be the right inspiration for her cake.
As soon as Kaitlyn showed me photographs of her wedding dress, I knew I wanted to use it as the basis for the preliminary cake sketches. The 400 guests was also a determining factor for the scale of her cake as well as the size of the main ballroom in which the reception was to be held.
The bride’s dress, the grand scale of the room and number of guests indicated that Kaitlyn’s cake had to be formal and large scale. The eight ivory fondant covered round stacked tiers would be a focal point for the ballroom.
A series of meetings and continued sketching helped finalize Kaitlyn’s cake design. An all over embossed lace-y pattern that I accented with a lighter shade of ivory over piping and delicate sugar pearls was the background for the intricate sugar beading and scroll work I used at the base of the top and bottom tiers. The wide top and bottom banding was borrowed from the heavy beading on dress’s belt.
The ruffles on shoulder of each tier are a continuation of the movement created by the lace-y pattern on the sides of the cake. A bouquet of sugar roses, leaves and stephanotis created an organic topper and repetition of movement of the intricate lace details.
All the elements– the texture, curvy lines and monochromatic color palette combined to create a harmonious elegant statement.
Fresh berries set the tone for this rustic farm to table wedding- blackberries with passion fruit curd, strawberries with white chocolate crème, and blueberries with lemon curd. Of course dark chocolate scented with Earl Gray tea topped with minced candied ginger was a yummy contrast to the berries and rounded out the dessert buffet table.
The wedding cake was a combination of layers of double vanilla butter cake, fresh raspberry preserves and Gran Marnier buttercream. Taking a cue from the farm fresh vegetables and natural landscape, the cake was finished with a rough layer of buttercream and decorated with the same fresh berries that we used in the tarts, fresh herbs and flowers.
Living in Portland, Oregon inspired the couple’s choices for the relaxed atmosphere with a focus on flavors, textures, and colorful combinations of fresh ingredients.