Luxury Wedding Cakes – Elopement and Micro Weddings

What is an Elopement or Micro Wedding?

There’s no getting away from it. The days of the big, 200 plus guest weddings are on hold for now. But does this mean that getting married is on hold? I don’t believe so! In fact I think elopement and micro weddings are going to become the next big trend.

Ombre blue elopement cake
Small, but still full of class

There are many reasons why an elopement wedding is a good thing.

I know there’s a lot of disappointment at the moment with weddings having to be postponed. As a wedding supplier I’ve been at the sharp end of the fall out. It’s upsetting to have to move weddings when so many plans have already been made. And money already spent.

But there is hope. And it comes in the form of an elopement wedding, or micro weddings as they are starting to be called.

These days an elopement doesn’t mean the two of you running away is secret. These days it simply means a small wedding, maybe twenty people maximum. You and your nearest and dearest celebrating your special day with you, relaxed and happy.

Although we still don’t know when weddings will be allowed again, I think it’s safe to say that elopement style weddings will be the first to be given the green light. So it’s well worth considering. Why not have an elopement wedding now, and then a big party or a vowel renewal for your first anniversary, when everything is back to normal.

And there are other reason for an elopement or micro wedding that have nothing to do with ‘the virus.’

Firstly the financial aspect. Let’s face it, most of us have been impacted either with jobs or businesses. And there’s much uncertainty. Now I’m not going to dwell on that, but it is worth looking at switching to an elopement style wedding if budget is becoming a consideration.

Then there is all the family and relationship politics surrounding the guest list and seating plan. Been there, done that (we ended up in the pub). I think it was the part of the planning that took the longest! How many people are on that guest list that you’d rather weren’t? Or that you hardly know but feel obliged to invite? I think this is a given for most weddings.

Guest list nightmares

You feel you should invite work colleagues, your parents want you to invite some of their friends, and if they are on your Christmas card list then you feel they should be on your wedding guest list, even if it’s just the evening party. And before you know it you’ve got 150 plus people to feed and entertain! And some of those people feel obliged to come to your wedding even if they’d rather not.  How many weddings have you been to where you’ve hardly got to speak to the happy couple, and have been sat with total strangers? It can all get a bit awkward. You should be enjoying your wedding day, not going around introducing people to each other and hoping they will all get along.

the cake cutting is a special moment
Small weddings are so much more chilled

An elopement solves that at a stroke.

You can only have, say, 20 people at your wedding. This instantly means you can drop all those obligation invites. You only need to invite those you really want to share your day with, and who you know will want to be a part of that day. The guest list pressure is off! And you know that everyone will know each other well, and so will be relaxed. Plus you will be able to spend quality time with all your guests, and not feel you’ve got to be playing the host.

Another plus is that, with the smaller numbers, you’re more likely to be able to find a venue where you can all stay together.  Many hotels offer a discount for wedding guests, but won’t always have enough vacant rooms to accommodate them all, especially of you’re getting married in the height of summer.

A smaller party will mean more chance of getting rooms for everyone, so no driving or hassle with getting taxis late at night. And a smaller wedding is also perfect for some of the exclusive use venues.

white wedding cake with spring sugar flowers
Set up in a private rental house ready for the intimate party

Why not hire a large holiday home for you all to stay in for the whole weekend, or even the whole week? You can have the actual wedding at a licenced venue, church, chapel or registry office. Then back to your rented house for the party? Hire in private caterers who can do the whole weekend. Or go all out and hire a place that comes with staff and a chef. And then just chill. After the guests have gone you can have the rest of the week there as a mini honeymoon.

I’ve delivered wedding cakes to privately rented houses a few times, and there is always a lovely vibe about the place.

The Old Rectory at Pyworthy for a micro wedding
A stunning private rental in Devon for a micro wedding

Now I know I said I wasn’t going to dwell on finances

But another good thing about a smaller wedding is that you will have more to spend on lots of the extras. One of the biggest costs of any wedding is the reception, and the food/wine/service and entertainment for all those people, then even more people in the evening. This can mean compromises have to be made elsewhere. With a micro wedding there’s no need to choose between one thing or another. Because you’ll be, potentially, saving thousands on the reception, you can have that Vera Wang dress you’ve been dreaming of. Or you can have the most amazing honeymoon.

flower arch
Go OTT with the flowers!

It’s much easier to get personal with a micro wedding too. Why not use some of that spare budget to hire some quirky props, go OTT with the flowers, or hire a live band? The space will be smaller as well, and so easier to customise and personalise.

Okay, Claire, but what about the cake?

Well I have to talk about the cake!

White sea themed elopement wedding cake
You can still have a tired cake at a micro wedding

Over the years I’ve done many elopement cakes as there are several venues here in Cornwall and the South West who specialise in them. And they have always been completely different, and a true representation of the couple. From very simple semi naked cakes with fresh flowers, to a cake with a cow theme. I think people allow their personalities to come to the fore much more at small, intimate weddings. There’s no one there to impress, just those who already know all your quirks. And you’ll already know theirs, so no sudden ‘oh by the way I’m vegan’ surprises at the last minute.

Two tier, peach elopement wedding cake
And the cake can still be a feature

Desert tables work well for small weddings too. As do grazing tables where people can just go and get what they want, when they want it. No long line at the buffet, or harassed waiting staff trying to get everyone seated and served.

Yes a smaller wedding means a smaller cake. And so a lower spend. In theory I should be against this, and encouraging you all to wait until you can have those 200 plus guests and that £1K wedding cake.

semi naked, elopement cake with fresh flowers
Semi naked with fresh flowers

But I’m a realist. Weddings like that aren’t going to be happening anytime soon. Small cakes can be just as special. And you can still have that huge, six tier creation you’ve dreamed of if you want to, just have five of the tiers as dummies.

The wedding industry, as with everything else, is going to be changed by this. And we are going to have to adapt to the ‘new normal.’ This is going to mean smaller weddings for a while. And I, for one, am okay with that.

To get in touch about your elopement or micro wedding cake click HERE

Floral arch by Twigs Flowers 

Elopement wedding venue I love delivering to is Lower Barns

Great exclusive use venue with accommodation at Ash Barton Estate   

And also The Old Rectory 

Luxury Wedding Cakes – How to get the most from your consultation

One of the fun parts of planning your wedding are the consultations.

These are the meetings you have with your chosen suppliers to talk through all your ideas. And, in my case, taste cake samples to choose your cake flavours, yummy!
Most wedding suppliers will offer some form of consultation. Either face to face, skype or phone calls. Meeting your suppliers at wedding fairs and shows is great, but you often don’t have very much time. And it can be busy and loud, with lots of other people also wanting to chat to them. So booking a one to one meeting is a good idea.

Clovelly studio
My Clovelly Studio

Now there may be a charge for one to one consultations. I had to bring in a charge after I was getting taken advantage of too many times, which was sad. The way I do it is that I charge £50 for a personal consultation at Clovelly, or The Wedding Gallery, with three flavours of cake to try, but that is offset against the cost of the cake if a booking is made. So, in fact, the consultation won’t cost you anymore if you’re booking. And if you have already booked then it’s already included.

So how do you get the most from your consultation?

images of the wedding gallery
The Wedding Gallery

Allow enough time.

I don’t put a time limit on my consultations, but they are usually up to an hour. Allow at least an hour so that you don’t feel you have to rush through things to get to another appointment. If you have to meet with several suppliers in the one day, then see if it’s possible for them to come to you at a café or even your wedding venue. I have done this a few times for out of area clients.

Take your mood boards etc with you.

These are really helpful to give us an idea of the overall feel and style of the wedding, not just the wedding cake. And if you have Pinterest boards then maybe invite your suppliers to join them, then we can see live updates as your ideas change. The chances are that you have already been chatting to us about the type of cake you have in mind, but seeing the inspiration pics makes sure we are on the same page. Same with colour swatches you might want us to match with, if you can bring those and let us keep them, that will ensure we get the colour match just right.

sea blue wedding cake
The colours on this cake matched the bunting behind it

Have a think about the things you want to ask.

This may sound obvious, but how many times have you been in any kind of meeting and only remembered to ask half the things you wanted to? I know I’m guilty of doing this! And we will have a checklist of the information we need to gather from you. Usually this is just confirming things we will already have discussed via email or over the phone, but it’d good to double check these things. So if there is anything you want to ask about, the jot that down. And remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question.

Make notes.

Again this might sound obvious, but often people don’t do it. I had a phone call once from a lady asking if I was the coconut and lime cake lady? She had seen me at a wedding fair and loved the coconut and lime cake, but hadn’t noted down which cake maker had made it. So a few weeks later when she was ready to start booking the cake, she couldn’t remember who I was, just the cake. Luckily I was the first cake maker from that fair that she called, or that might have got embarrassing!

What we will need to know from you.

The consultation is mostly about you, your needs and how we can help. But there will be a few things we need to know from you too. Most of these we will likely already have discussed, but we will confirm everything at the consultation. So I will check the time of the wedding, so that I know what time will be best for me to deliver. Is there a contact at the venue who I will need to find when I arrive? Or if you’re using a wedding planner or coordinator then it will be useful to have their details. If you are having fresh flowers on the cake, then who is your florist? Then I can liaise directly with them and save you a job. I’ll also confirm any dietary requirements, you may not have had confirmation of these when we first started talking. I’ll check the numbers the cake is for to make sure the cake ordered is still going to be the right size. And that you still want the same flavours and colour scheme.

Design.

The consultation is a great time to start designing your wedding cake. Although I can do sketches and email them through to you, it’s always good to sit down and design it together. So bring with you anything you’d like including in the design. I once had some lace from the brides dress and replicated that pattern. And a few times I have hand cut a stencil to match the design on the wedding stationary. I am often asked to colour match a swatch of the bridesmaids dress or a ribbon trim. These things always help make the cake really personal.

gluten and dairy free wedding cake
The stencil for this wedding cake was hand cut to match the stationary

Top tips for getting the most from your consultation:

1/ Allow at least an hour for a one to one consultation. You’re paying for it, so use all the time available to you.
2/ Make notes and ask questions. There is no such thing as a silly question. So ask us whatever it is that is worrying you, or that you want to clarify.
3/ Bring notes. Bring with you a list of all the things you want to ask, and anything you want to discuss.
4/ Pinterest and mood boards. Bring with you anything you have that will help with the design process. Either a physical mood board or scrap book, or links to Pinterest or Instagram.
5/ Have fun! This is one of the best parts of the wedding planning process. So don’t stress. Relax and enjoy discussing your wedding cake and tasting the samples. We won’t put you under any pressure to make any decisions there and then.

And if you have a consultation booked with me, then I look forward to seeing you soon!

If you want to get in touch about your wedding cake, click HERE

Luxury Wedding Cakes….. Devon. Cornwall. London

You would think that winter would mean that things go quiet for a wedding cake maker. But no such luck!! It’s only the second week of December and it has already been a whirlwind! And yet not a single wedding took place, so why so busy?
Well when we aren’t making wedding cakes, we are networking with fellow wedding professionals and talking about wedding cakes! And also meeting other suppliers in other parts of the wedding industry, which is fascinating. And getting to know others in the industry gives us a useful ‘little black book’ of contacts to call upon.

Mayfair rooms The Connaught
The Mayfair Room at The Connaught

As you probably already know from other posts, I’m a professional member of The National Association of Wedding Professionals (NAWP). And I’m also a member of The Wedding Gallery in London. This means I’m also on the radar of BrideLux, who run amazingly beautiful wedding shows. And they also hold industry networking events in some of the most exclusive venues in London. And last week I was invited to ‘Christmas at the Connaught’ for their Christmas party.

The Connaught Christmas tree
Beautiful Christmas tree at The Connaught

I adore London at Christmas, and so it wasn’t a hard decision to say yes! And it didn’t disappoint. I’m always impressed with the Christmas lights in London, it really is quite magical. I wish I could take better photos to do it justice! But I’m a cake designer, not a photographer.

Mary Poppins fire cloth
Mary Poppins

It wasn’t all about business and networking though. We fitted in a show and some shopping as well. Of course! Oh and I NEED those flying teacups in the Clovelly studio!!! Watch this space……. Marry Poppins was amazing too, I can recommend going if you haven’t already.

flying teacups
Flying teacups at Fortnum and Mason

Back to the wedding industry related stuff though. BrideLux pride themselves on only working with ‘the best in the industry’, and so it’s always an honour to be included in that list of invitees. And the invites themselves are beautiful and always go on the studio wall.
The weather was kind too, and so the cab ride to The Connaught became the start of the evening. Passing all the other hotels and building lit up for Christmas. There’s something about a black cab ride around London after dark that will never get old. And then arriving to be greeted by a delightful doorman (that job must get very cold!) got the evening off to the perfect start.

Connaught christmas decs
Beautiful Christmas decs at The Connaught

I’ve never been to The Connaught. Been past, but never inside for some reason. I wasn’t disappointed. The party was in the Mayfair room downstairs in the basements and was decorated to perfection in the evenings theme of ‘Icy Elegance.’ There was even an ice cream bar and an ice sculpture, beautiful. It was work, honestly! Although it’s downstairs, it is still a great space for a wedding, especially if you wanted live music, as you won’t be disturbing the rest of the hotel.
As always there was a great turn out of people, some regulars, and some new faces. It’s always so good to meet new people, as well as to catch up with people who I’m pleased to now call friends. One person I got to chat too this time was Rosalind Miller of Rosalind Miller Cakes. Now Rosalind is wedding cake royalty, so it was a thrill for me to get to chat to her. And she is really lovely 😊

Sadly I couldn’t stay until the end, as I needed to be up the next morning for a meeting with The Wedding Gallery. I do try to fit as much as I can into each trip! So the next morning I headed to 1 Marylebone to meet with Monica. I can’t say too much about this meeting, as details are still to be confirmed, but it should mean I’ll be seeing more of my London base.

The wedding gallery christmas tree
The Wedding Gallery at Christmas

I was home a whole three days before heading back up to Paddington! They must be starting to get used to my face there by now (well in Starbucks anyway.) I was heading back to The Wedding Gallery for yet more meetings! This time it was with two lovely couples who were unable to get down to Clovelly to meet and discuss their cake. This was my main reason for asking to become a member of The Wedding Gallery (you can’t just join, you’re invited or ask and are approved) so that I could meet with the many London based couples I work with. Devon and Cornwall really has become the ‘go to’ destination in the UK to get married.

The Wedding Gallery
The Club at The Wedding Gallery

They always look after you so well there, nothing is too much trouble. And you can stay and get everything else for your wedding while you are there, you can even book your honeymoon. I would recommend having a good look around while you’re there.
Was I tired by the time I got home? I won’t lie, I was exhausted. But it was all worth it. And I’ll be doing it all over again in the New Year.

Why have a wedding cake?

Why have a wedding cake?
This is something that you might have asked yourself. And, sadly, it is one reason the cake seems to be last on some peoples list when it comes to planning their wedding.
But think about all the weddings you have ever been to. I’m betting they all had a cake, and I’m betting you took photos of the happy couple cutting the cake. Because that’s one of the highlights of the day. And the cutting of the cake has been a tradition going way back into history.

traditional cake cutting

It was Queen Victoria and Prince Albert that gave us the wedding cake as we know it today. But having a cake or sweet treats of some type has always been a part of a wedding, especially as sugar was a precious commodity, and giving something sweet to your guests was a sign of status.
Of course sugar can now be bought by everyone. So the cake has become less of a ‘look how much sugar I can afford’ and more about showing your personality.
The wedding cake still holds a lot of tradition though. Cake is still a treat, and an indulgence. And sharing the wedding cake with you guests is a symbol of how important those people are to you. The cake cutting is also the first thing you do as a couple after the marriage. Your first act as a married couple is to cut and share the cake with your loved ones. Even if you don’t think you like cake, your guests probably will.

everyone loves cake!

I have had a few couples who have admitted that they were thinking of not having a cake, but that they were very glad they did. One bride said ‘I wasn’t going to bother with a cake, they seem such a waste of money’ (maybe not the best thing to say when talking to a professional cake maker) However, after the wedding I got an email from her saying how amazing the cake was, and how glad she was that she had changed her mind.
Try to imagine a wedding without a wedding cake.

the cake cutting is a special moment

In my last post I talked about designing the cake to reflect your personality, and to help tie the whole wedding together. And this is one of the jobs of the wedding cake. It can be a focal point and a talking point, don’t hide it in a dark corner! It is said that the cake is one of the most photographed elements of a wedding, which is as it should be (I would say that wouldn’t I?)
But making a statement is one of the reasons for having a cake. The days of the ‘cookie cutter’ or ‘copy/paste’ wedding are on the way out. And I have to say I think this is a good thing. You may hear a lot about ‘your day your way’ and while this is a bit of a naff phrase, it’s also words to bear in mind when planning your wedding. It IS your day, chances are you’re paying for it yourselves, and so you should have it YOUR way. And the wedding cake can be a great way to do that.

a truly personal wedding cake

So why should you have a wedding cake?
1/ It’s cake!! And everyone loves cake.
2/ Cutting the cake is an age-old tradition at weddings. And it’s one I hope stays for many ages to come.
3/ The cake is one of the most photographed elements of a wedding. Especially the cake cutting.
4/ It’s symbolic. Cutting the cake and sharing it with your loved ones as your first act as a married couple, is a perfect way to start married life.
5/ It’s a fantastic way to express yourselves. Bring drama, colour and a WOW to the wedding via the cake.

How to start your wedding cake journey.

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If you’re reading this then you are planning your wedding,it’s exciting! And it’s also a little stressful. It’s okay to admit that.

So let’s ease some of that stress ?At least when it comes to the cake.

Here at Sweet Temptations we make luxury wedding cake, butwe do more than that. We are also here to take the stress out of every aspect of your wedding cake. Starting with the first contact with your cake maker.

That first contact should be as soon as possible after you’ve set the date and chosen your venue. Please, please ignore the advice out there in wedding land that says there’s no rush to book the cake!! Good cake designers get booked up!

When you contact your cake maker (and it doesn’t have to be us, we won’t be offended) there are a few things it would be a good idea to have to hand. There will be some questions we will need to ask you so that we can give you the best service. And this will go for all cake designers.

The first thing we will ask is the date and venue of the wedding. We need to know this before anything else so we can check our availability and the logistics of getting your cake safely delivered. How frustrating is it to be chatting away to a supplier only to find out that they are already booked for your date? And we hate having to say no.

The next thing we will need to know is the rough size of cake you want. Now don’t panic! You don’t need to know exactly how many tiers and the size of each tier, that’s our job ? But, if you’ve booked your venue then you’ll have an idea on the size of the wedding. And that’s all we need. Is your wedding for 50 or 500? And we will do the maths and work out the size of cake you require. Size matters (ahem) and will make a difference to the cost. A cake for 500 will cost a lot more than a cake for 50.

Now the fun bit. Well one of the fun bits! How do you want the cake to look? Again, don’t panic. We design your cake for you. All we need at this first stage is ideas. A theme or style of cake so that we have an idea of the amount of time and work involved in creating it for you. Have you been pinning like mad? Pop us the link. Just like size, style matters when putting a quote together for you. A naked cake will have a different cost to something fondant covered and dripping in sugar flowers. We can do both, you just need to let us know.

So here is your wedding cake enquiry check list;

  1. Date. The starting point. Make sure your chosen cake designer has availability for your date.
  2. Venue. The logistics have to be taken into account. Your cake designer needs to know how far they are taking the cake and how long that will take them.
  3. Size.  An idea on the number of guests your cake needs to serve will help us work out the size of cake needed, and the cost.
  4. Style. The exact design details can be worked out later. At this stage an idea on the type of cake you want is enough.

And there you go! Everything you need to know to get the all rolling.

Just remember the golden rule. Book early!