Wedding Cake Trends for 2020

Trends. They are everywhere and keeping up with them is  a big part of my job.

Over the years, and hundreds of weddings, I’ve noticed that trends in weddings change much slower than in other areas. This is because weddings are booked months, if not a year or more in advance. And so decisions about styles and colours etc are made now for a wedding in 9-12 months time. Which means those decisions are being made based on todays trends, so we see things staying around for much longer than you’d expect in the ‘real’ world.

White chocolate fan sculpted wedding cake
White chocolate sculpture wedding cake

Of course we still keep our eyes on all the trends and fashions coming out, because we know they are going to be coming along at some point, and they are vital in deciding on new designs.  The Pantone colour of the year is a good example of this. We may not see that colour in real weddings until the following year because of the time it takes for that colour trend to work its way along from being announced, to the actual wedding day.

duck egg blue wedding cake with white sugar flowers
Duck egg blue as a subtle alternative to the Pantone Classic Blue

People often ask me if there are trends in wedding cakes.

Yes, there are, just like everything else. And there are the occasional fad and slightly naff gimmick, but they are thankfully rare in the world of wedding cakes. I think this is, in part, because there are so many traditions surrounding weddings, and people don’t like to mess with traditions too much.

Saying that there are always going to be a changing of the guard, and new ideas becoming new traditions. This is as true with the cake as with everything. The days of a square fruit cake, stacked on those plastic pillars and covered in rock hard royal icing are long gone (thank goodness!!) Although fruit cakes are starting to come back. When I first started, some six years ago, I didn’t do any fruit cakes for weddings, only for Christmas cakes. In 2019 I’ve done a few fruit cakes as one of the tiers, and a few as the top tier to then be kept for a christening. This is a tradition going way back that I thought was long dead. It just goes to show that everything goes around and comes back again.

And then there are the traditions that come over from other countries. Take the ‘grooms cake’ that is an established part of weddings in many parts of America. This is now beginning to be seen over here. And outdoor style weddings that are a comparatively recent concept in the UK (mostly because of the weather I suspect)

The Trends

So what does 2020 hold in store for us in terms of weddings and wedding cake trends?

1/ Semi-naked cakes aren’t going anywhere. I have lots of these booked in for 2020. However I’ve noticed that the fashion for having fresh fruit on them has been replaced with fresh flowers. And even with sugar flowers.

semi naked wedding cake with fresh, edible flowers
Semi naked wedding cake with edible flowers

2/ Brighter colours. Although white and ivory will always be the predominant base colour for the wedding cake, I am doing more and more cakes with stunning colours. Usually these are colours already part of the wedding in some way. Maybe the bridesmaids dresses or the flowers. And these colours can be with either fondant or buttercream cakes. Black wedding cakes are also becoming a big thing (which I love!)

wedding cake with bright colours cake
A very personal wedding cake with bright colours.

3/ Watercolour cakes. Now I don’t mean actual watercolour paintings on cakes (although you can have paintings on cakes) But a soft, subtle blending and bleeding of colour that gives a beautiful, abstract effect. This is perfect if you want colour, but nothing too bold.

watercolour drip cake
watercolour drip effect

4/ Seasonal weddings. By this I mean using the season in which you’re getting married as the inspiration for your wedding. Using flowers that are British grown and in season, and serving seasonal food. Also adopting the colours of the season, spring greens or the burnt oranges of autumn. This will also help to make your wedding more sustainable.

burgundy and gold wedding cake
A winter wedding cake with seasonal bouquet

5/ Getting personal. This is more of an anti-trend, and is about throwing away the rule book and having what you and your partner want. Want a black wedding cake? Then have one! Want to serve beer and fish and chips? Then why not?

black wedding cake with fresh flowers
Have I mentioned I love black wedding cakes?

Round up.

These are my top five. Of course there are, and will be, many more trends and fashions that will come and go. And some that will stay around.

Some blogs will be predicting exact colours and flower types for 2020. I’m not going to go that far. Mainly because I don’t think a wedding is necessarily the best place to adhere to such things. I think there are going to be some definite shifts in weddings though, such as seasonal and more sustainable weddings. And also there’s a big shift towards UK destination weddings. I have found that more and more people from outside the South West are choosing to get married down here. This is something I will be discussing more in my next post, so watch this space!!

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Change one thing, make a difference.

Today I’m not going to be talking about cakes as such, but your wedding as a whole. And especially things you can do at your wedding to make it more sustainable. Now I’m not talking about a full on eco wedding. Although they can certainly be done, and there are many wonderful suppliers who can help you with that.
I’ve wanted to blog about this since I attended the Cornwall Wed Meet Up at Pentillie Castle a couple of weeks ago (stunning wedding venue by the way, if you’re still looking). One of the speakers was from the Cornish homeless charity St Petrocs, which may not seem an obvious speaker for a wedding industry networking event. But the lovely Laura was really inspiring! And she mentioned lots of small things that can be done that can make a big difference. And it got me thinking.

lets end street homelessness in cornwall

One of the first things she talked about was what happens to things after the wedding. And it made me realise that this was something I’d never really thought about. Of course we are all aware of waste and reducing it, so most of us would make sure any plastics are recyclable etc. But Laura pointed out other things you could do.
So this is the topic today.
What happens to things that are leftover after the wedding? All those flowers for a start. The table centres, the pew ends, the floral arches etc. These flowers are still perfectly okay and have several days left of giving joy. Laura suggested these left over flowers could be given to a local nursing home, hospital or hospice. Okay they aren’t ‘useful’ but they will bring a smile and brighten up the lives of others for a brief time. What a lovely thing. Having a balloon arch or installation? Why not give them to a local nursery or primary school for the children to play with and enjoy for a few days? And did you know you can now get balloons that are made from compostable materials?
You know those flip flops that many couple provide for their guests for dancing, and when the fancy shoes get uncomfortable? Why not donate them after the wedding, to St Petrocs or another homeless charity, or to a local street pastor group. They would be very welcome. The same with blankets you might provide if the wedding is outside.
Having wedding favours? Then why not think about giving a small donation to a charity for each guest instead? The ‘favour’ could then be a card telling your guests what you’ve done. Or you could donate to somewhere like the Woodland Trust for each table to plant a tree. If you want your guests to have something physical to take home, then maybe a packet of wild flower seeds.
Gift lists can be tricky when the chances are you’ve already lived together and have a toaster. We really struggled to think of things for our wedding gift list, and that was almost twenty years ago! So, again, why not ask for donations to a few chosen charities?
As far as sustainability goes there are a few things you can do that won’t mean compromising your dream wedding.
For example, did you know that the fondant I use for my cakes give a donation to the charity ‘Mary’s Meals’ for every box sold? So just by ordering your wedding cake from me, you’re supporting a charity and helping to provide meals to children in under developed countries. And it’s also one of the best fondants out there, so you’re getting the best too.
Stationery can be made with hand made paper from recycled materials. And it can be impregnated with wild flower seeds too. Have a talk with you stationer about recycled paper.
With the catering you can talk to them about using local produce, there are lots of caterers who only use local produce from regional suppliers. Also talk to them about what will happen with the leftover food, after all, you’ve paid for it. So why not think about food banks or soup kitchens who might be able to use it. Of course I’m not talking about what people leave on their plates, but anything that hasn’t been touched or opened (obviously not alcohol) At the meeting Laura talked about one couple who had an untouched tier of their wedding cake that they gave to one of St Petrocs shelters.
I talked before about wedding favours. Why not give each guest a metal straw for them to keep and reuse forever? They come in cute cases and a range of finishes. Or a reusable water bottle, also useful on the day if it’s a hot day.
Are you guests staying in hotels for your wedding? The little bottles of toiletries that hotels provide are very useful for homeless charities. I now collect them whenever I’m in a hotel, and when I get a shoe box full, I’ll be passing them on to St Petrocs.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. When you start thinking about it, you’ll be amazed at the ideas you’ll come up with.