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Wedding Food Series: Cake and Dessert Options, Part 2

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PC Pink Cake Box

Continuing the previous post on cakes and dessert options for your wedding, let's get right into icings to be considered.

Icings

There are many different types of icings to choose from, depending on what texture and look you want for your cake. Different icings vary in how they taste, pair with cakes, and dry on cake. Here are descriptions of the most common icings you will find on cakes. 

Buttercream

Made of real butter, eggs, and sugar, this icing is smooth and dries soft and shiny. Keep in mind that buttercream needs to be refrigerated, and easily melts, as its base is butter. It is not the ideal icing for an outdoor wedding where it will sit in the sun, but is instead a good choice for an indoor event where it will more likely be in an air-conditioned place where the integrity of its shape will be maintained. It is an incredibly versatile frosting choice, as its flavor is easily paired with nearly any cake, and can itself be flavored with choices like almond or mint. 

Fondant

Fondant icing is poured over a cake as a liquid to coat and dry on small cakes, or is rolled into a sheet, and molded around larger cakes like a dough. It tastes similar to marshmallows, and holds up well in heat, as it is very thick, and dries hard and smooth. Because it is thick, it can be shaped into decorative items like flowers, leaves, and other fun cake toppers.

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PC Gemma's Bigger Bolder Baking

Marzipan

Marzipan is very sweet-tasting paste made from ground almonds and vanilla, which can be used similarly to fondant. 

Modelling Chocolate

Modelling chocolate be can white,milk or dark chocolate. It can also be applied like fondant, but is prone to melting in sensitive environments just as buttercream is. 

Royal Icing

This icing is made of eggs, icing sugar, and lemon juice. It's very sweet and hardens very quickly, but is a great choice for decorating with because it keeps it shape, and has a pretty, glossy look, like glass or porcelain. 

Meringue

Meringue is light and airy, with a mildly sweet taste. It dries hard, and holds up well in heat as long as it has time to set. It has a very mild taste that complements most cake flavors. It is also a good choice for decorating with.

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PC Tiny Prints Blog

Decorative Icing

Icing  is not just frosted. It can be piped in hundreds of different shapes to create beautifully elaborate or elegantly simple patterns on your cake, similarly to the cake in the picture above!

Other Decorative Options

Flowers

If using flowers on your cake, go for flowers that match the ones in the bridal bouquet, and--if possible--in colors that match the wedding colors. Ask your confectioner about edible flower options. Inedible flowers can also be used so long as they have not been sprayed with pesticides and are removed before serving. Obviously, silk flowers are also an option. 

Ribbons

Ribbons are often used to call attention to the layers on a tiered cake. They can be made from silk or created from icing options such as fondant. 

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PC Lia Griffith

Toppers

Wedding cake toppers are best known as being a tiny replica of a bride and groom, but can also be 3D words sitting atop the cake, flowers, crystals, or nearly anything else!  Get creative! 

Other Cake Details To Be Aware Of

Signing the Contract

When you've decided on a confectioner and a cake option you like, it's time to sign the contract. Remember to read everything first before you sign it. Make sure what you're signing is what you agreed to when you talked to your confectioner! In the contract should be the following details... 

Pricing

The deposit and date the cake is to be paid for (often 50%), and when the remainder will be due should be laid out. Make sure this includes delivery fees and all rental costs (such as toppers, cake cutters, cake displays, etc).

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PC Pinterest

The Date the Cake will be Prepared

Sometimes cakes take multiple days to prepare! The start and end date of the cake's preparation should be included. 

Cake Transportation

It is usually the confectioner's job to transport the cake to the venue. Make sure the date of the reception, it's location address, and arrival time are listed. 

Ingredients

Make sure a list of cake ingredients is included, as well as a list of acceptable ingredient substitutions for ingredients that may become unavailable when the cake must be baked (I.E. seasonal fruits).

Description

A complete description of the cake, including the number of tiers and layers, flavors and fillings and icing, as well as its decor should be listed. Sometimes pictures can be included to ensure design accuracy. 

Saving The Top Cake

It is traditional for the bride and groom to freeze the top tier of their cake and eat it on their 1st wedding anniversary. If you are serving cupcakes but have a small cake for this purpose, it is customary to cut from that cake to feed each other a bite during the reception, but to then wrap the rest up for freezing. Ask your confectioner to help wrap it up to avoid freezer burn.

Other Dessert Options

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PC Pinterest

Cupcakes

If you would prefer not to serve a wedding cake, you can choose cupcakes instead! A cupcake tree is a popular option, similar-looking to the picture above. 

Dessert Tables

If your not a cake fanatic, don't worry! Serving cake at your wedding isn't the only option at all. Pies are also good choices, as are chocolate fountains or s'mores. You can serve a candy bar or a build-your-own-sundae bar. Or, if you don't want to focus on anything specific, you can serve a dessert table filled with a variety of cookies, chocolates, cakes, pies, mouses, squares, the list goes on. Get creative!

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PC Luxury Wedding

As you can see, while the variety of cake options is huge, the dessert sky is the limit! Forget about tradition, if that's your only reason for choosing cake. Choose the dessert you like the best! What is most important for your wedding dessert is that you're happy with it. Choose the dessert that best suits who you and your fiance are! Your guests will be sure to love it.

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Wedding Food Series: Cake and Dessert Options, Part 1

What comes to mind when choosing the ideal cake for your wedding may be things like the style, the size, and the flavor; but there are some other crucial parts that may slip your mind when you think about your cake.  For example, how the cake reflects the theme of your wedding, or how appropriate the size of your cake may be when considering your guest count. Let's begin to cover some of these aspects to ensure that you'll choose the perfect cake for your wedding.

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PC Style Me Pretty

Portion Costs

Portion cost: How much one portion of cake will be per person. One slice may be anywhere between $4-10, which, multiplied by your entire guest count, can add up quickly!  

Cake size is another big factor to consider, because over- or underestimating how big of a cake you need can really mess up your budget--or cause guests to go without cake!

Cake Type

There are several types of cake to choose from:

- Tiered Cakes (which are stacked cake layers resting on wooden or plastic dowels sticking into the cake for support.)

- Small cakes (often a personal cake for the bride and groom to cut from and then take home, while the guests are served something else.)

- Cupcakes (individual cakes for each guest, often served in very creative flavors.) 

-Styrofoam Cakes (Styrofoam shapes covered in frosting on display which are taken away after the initial cake cutting and replaced by cake slices from Sheet Cake cut up in the kitchen, which are then distributed to guests.)

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PC Cake Central

Bakery Location vs. Reception Location

 The location of where you get your cake can play a big role in how much you are going to spend on it, along with how easily the cake will transport to the venue. If your venue is in San Francisco, remember that bakeries in high-end cities can charge high-end prices. Ordering from a bakery nearby but not in San Francisco may improve costs. 

A few other things that need to be considered when choosing your cake:

Transportation of The Cake

It is a good idea to keep in mind that a long or difficult transportation of your cake to the venue and be costly as well. For example, if your reception is in the mountains and there are no local bakeries nearby, you may have to pay some hefty transportation costs to get your cake to the wedding from whatever bakery you order from.

Hot Weather

Always make sure that your cake matches the environment it will be in, taking into consideration the sensitivity of the ingredients in the cake. It wouldn't be wise to have an ice cream cake if your wedding is outside in 90 degree weather.  And don't forget about frosting! Butter cream can be very sensitive and melty in the heat, just as a pad of butter tends to melt at room temperatures in your kitchen in the summer. You DON'T want a sad, droopy wedding cake! In situations where the cake is outside for a lengthy period of time in heat, consider choosing fondant as your frosting, which tends to hold up better.

Flavors

There are lots of different flavor options to choose from when it comes to cakes (bakers are so innovative these days!), especially when you're forced to choose a cake flavor, the filling, and a frosting as well! Remember that you can choose multiple flavors if you have multiple cake layers, or if you're offering cupcakes! Choosing flavor combinations makes attending a cake tasting before signing any contracts especially important.

Cake Tasting

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PC Kalmar Kakes

The average cost for a tasting can be around $25-50, which is because the baker must be compensated for the time it takes to prepare the cakes you're tasting, and for the supplies it costs him. In the event that you taste the cake and end up choosing a different baker, this baker has not lost time or money that he was not compensated for. 

Please don't forgo the tasting and sign a contract before knowing what you're going to end up with on your wedding day! Cakes are costly! Choose wisely.

Meal Pairing

Lost when it comes to deciding what flavors to choose? Look no further than your dinner menu! Just as restaurants that serve multiple course meals pair specific entrees with desserts, you can do the same to ensure that your meal flavors compliment each other well. If you are serving such a robust flavor as steak, pairing it with a rich red velvet or chocolate cake makes sense. Similarly, if you're serving fish, or something on the lighter side, going with the wonders of airy and delicate angel food cake, or a cake with a fruity base, may be just the thing.

Allergies

Try and take into account the people at your wedding who may deal with allergies. It's always polite to let people know if there are any major ingredients that are known for being allergens in their cake (try choco-peanut butter bliss cake). Avoiding common-allergy flavors, offering multiple flavors or gluten- and dairy-free options, or simply placing a small placard next to the cake to communicate the allergen to those interested is always appreciated.

Getting the Opinion of the Baker

Always be willing to have an open mind when you're discussing the cake with the baker; he knows what flavors go well together, and may suggest combinations you wouldn't have thought about! 

Take Into Account How Perishable Your Cake May Be

Understanding the technical side of cake-decorating when ordering a more delicate cake will ensure that it will not perish before it's served to guests. For instance, if your cake is filled with fresh fruit, and the outside of the cake requires your baker a full day of decorating, by the time it is served to guests, it may be unsuitable to eat. If you want a very delicate design on the outside of the cake, you will need a sturdy cake with filling that does not require refrigeration. If it's very important to you that you have a fruit-based filling, you will simply need to sacrifice having an intricate outer design.

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16 Eerily Beautiful Ideas for Your Halloween Wedding

Are you as in love with the idea of having a Halloween wedding as much as I am? You've stopped by the right place. There are thousands upon thousands of ideas out there on how to decorate for a perfectly spooky affair, I know, but I wanted to compile a few of my favorites here. Care to take a peek?

1) Bobbing For Apples

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Pc Pinterest

Bobbing for apples has always been a game associated with fall and Halloween. Why not incorporate it into your wedding to dress up a bare corner? The blacker the water, the better. Cut out the tops of the apples and stick some battery-operated candles in there to make them glow!

2) Trick or Treat Bar 

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PC Pinterest

A sweet bar with a little Halloween spin, this table decked with candy is sure to be a (trick or) treat!

3) Forest Tree Centerpieces

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PC Pinterest

Nothing like the idea of a dark, dangerous woods to freak your guests out just enough to keep them intrigued. This is a great option for weddings wanting only the suggestion of a darker Halloween theme.

4) Bat Chandelier

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PC Pinterest

The phrase "Til Death Do Us Part" is a huge trend for Halloween weddings! (Maybe don't overdo it?) This picture, however, is tasteful with its simple nod to its origin--and come on, check out those painted wine bottles. Yes please? Yes PLEASE!

5) Red as a Theme Color

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PC Pinterest

Want to get a little gory with your wedding decor? Red will go a LONG way. Just look at this picture. What do you see? Blood stained napkins. That's what you see.

6) Skeleton Hand Napkin-Rings

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PC Pinterest

Need a hand with your napkins? Here is your literal answer.

7) Coffin Ring Box

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PC Etsy, Tellable Design

Nothing says "Til Death Do Us Part" like a ring carried around in a coffin. 

8) Dark Bouquets

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PC Pinterest

Remember that bit about the blood? It applies here.

9) Skull Wedding Cake

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PC Weddingomania

If I'm honest, this cake is much more cute than it is frightening. It definitely suggests class, but with a whimsical edge. Your guests are sure to adore it in all of it's spook-tacular glory.

10) Black, White and Red Wedding Cake

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PC Cake Geek Magazine

With Halloween weddings, it's important not to overdo it. Not everything has to be terrifying! A beautiful wedding cake with some darker colors is a good way to keep things balanced while cohesive.

11) A Non-White Wedding Dress

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PC Pinterest

Just a word--a Halloween wedding DOESN'T mean your dress must also be Halloween themed. At the end of the day, it's still a wedding, and you don't want to forfeit that wedding gown experience if you feel the alternative is too costume-y. You do you, boo. (See what I did there?)

...That being said--THIS. DRESS. 

12) Colored Smoke Bombs

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PC Pinterest

From your engagement pictures to your reception photo booth, incorporating your wedding colors (especially if they're Halloween-related) into some smoke bomb fun is a great way to add some eerie mystery to the occasion.

13) Pumpkin Drink Bowl

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PC Pinterest

These are great for the drink table or even as table centerpieces. Get creative! Pumpkins are cheap and simple decorations that can go a really long way.

14) Spiderweb Invitations

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PC Pinterest

Don't keep the Halloween fun limited to just October. Send out those bone-shivering invites any time of the year! Your guests will love it.

15) Skull and Poison Themed Centerpieces

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PC Pinterest

Get fun and edgy with those centerpieces. Your guests will be staring at them all throughout the meal, so keep the festive mood going!

16) Halloween-Themed Tableware

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PC Pinterest

Yeah, yeah, I know what I said about how trendy and unoriginal the phrase is, but come on. It's gonna get incorporated in there somehow! If your guests are being served a sit down meal, they won't notice this detail until their plates are empty!

Have a Halloween Wedding idea to share? I'd love to hear it in the comments below!

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Three Things to Remember When Wedding Planning Gets Tough

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PC pinterest.com

The wedding industry is one not just of weddings, but of (very loud) opinions. Certainly the abundance of strong opinions is not a quality isolated only to the wedding industry, but it is one that I, and presumably others too, were surprised to find when first poking our heads through the industry's door. It would appear that--pretty often--the romantic, carefree feelings associated with wedding bells are not as present as the tricky guest-list etiquette, pressure to follow new wedding trends, and family's eager vendor suggestions seem to be. Wedding planning easily becomes expensive, overwhelming, and even conflicted very quickly... I get it. But hey--it doesn't have to be that way!

This post is written in with deep empathy, and with the hope that the following three suggestions will empower and encourage those who feel cornered by wedding planning complications.

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PC prezi.com

1) Expect and embrace that there will be conflict.

Be ready for it. Everyone has an opinion, and there will be so many of them that are so diverse that even the most people-pleasing bride will have to choose between some. That's okay--let me repeat myself on this one--conflict is normal, and should not surprise you. Not everyone's tastes or experiences match yours, nor should they; and while you now know that after reading this, keep in mind that not everyone consciously registers that wedding ideals differ. Furthermore, remember that many people consciously have no idea what kind of pressure or expectations their opinions may put on those around them. Do give people the benefit of the doubt here.

Here's how you deal with it: don't let it pressure you. Take it in stride. Definitely don't try to appease others wishes by letting them design your wedding for you; be gracious, but be firm. Be willing to say when necessary, "That's a really lovely idea! Actually, my fiance[e] and I were thinking we'd do [different idea] instead. Here, let me show you a picture!" 

At the same time, keep in mind that these are relationships that will exist post-wedding, so it's not worth it to permanently cut ties over something as temporary as cupcake flavors or reception playlists. Should a relational issue come up that is not solvable with a bit of insistence, consider compromising for the sake of the relationship. Sometimes you'll have opportunities to meet halfway. For instance, let's say your cousin is allergic to chocolate, but your fiance[e]'s favorite cake flavor is chocolate. So serve chocolate cake in most of your cake layers, but have one layer in a flavor you know your cousin prefers. This compromise is a great way to show how much you appreciate your cousin and want him to enjoy the wedding as much as you do. 

Compromise is key, but you can't bend every time your new mother-in-law insists upon having something her way, because this relational pattern is bound to continue post-wedding. And post-wedding, the issues being insisted upon will likely be more important, and you may have an even greater difference of opinions on them. (For instance, parenting.) All things considered, perhaps establishing during wedding planning the kind of steadfastness you will need later on will improve your relationships for the long-haul. Handling delicate issues with this in mind will also put disagreements over things like cupcake flavors in perspective. 

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PC goodhousekeeping.co.uk

2) Forget about following trends.

Do you like the recent wedding trends? If so, go ahead and do them all! But if you don't, then please, please don't have a trendy wedding if it isn't you. This wedding you're planning should be the ultimate expression of who you and your special somebody are. Just because naked cakes like the one pictured above have been trending for the last couple of years doesn't mean you too must have one. Get the cake you want. This cake is for you, not Pinterest. Having a trendy wedding can get expensive fast, especially if your decor becomes competitive with magazine pictures--or the wedding your sister had last summer. Be mindful about why you make your wedding decisions and ask yourself the following questions:

1) "For whom/why am I making this decision?"

2) "Is that what is best, or is there a cheaper/easier/better/different way to do it?"

3) "Does it match my and my fiance's personal tastes?"

4) "Will I look back and wish I had made a different decision?"

Move forward based on those answers, keeping potential conflict in consideration, and knowing that the more bells and whistles you throw in based on what's trending, the more expensive things will become. 

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PC brides.com

3) Remember your guests.

I used to feel strongly that wedding decisions ought to be made based solely on the tastes of the marrying couple--that is until I started to read Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette. Early on in the book it expresses the opinion that the wedding reception is a celebration of the happy couple's marriage as well as their valued relationships with all of the guests. This idea struck me as very balancing, since I see a lot of complaints online about how couples have poorly hosted their guests, who--on some occasions--have traveled, booked hotel rooms, and taken time off of work to make it to the wedding. It seems appropriate to thank them for their investment in the couple. 

Before I go on, I want to clarify what I'm NOT saying: 

1) "Weddings are all about the guests."

2) "The bride and groom have to spend a lot of money on their guests."

We clear? So here's what I AM saying:

A reception is a great opportunity for the bride and groom to thank their guests for their involvement in their lives by hosting a reception designed in part to pamper their guests.

Try not to think of the wedding in terms of money. Or heads in a banquet hall. Try to think of it in terms of an party with your dearest friends and family--even when price tags tempt you to think otherwise. You absolutely don't have to choose the most expensive food options or fancy dance-floor lights in order to communicate your sincerity, either.

When creating your budget, it's important to figure out what you and your fiance[e]'s priorities are. You each can list out your top five priorities, and then each come up with two ways through which you can treat your guests in a way that says "thank you" for their support and involvement in your lives. From there, compare lists and see where your priorities match. Try to consolidate both lists to one smaller one listing 5-6 of your top priorities, and do the same with your guest thank you list. The things on those lists are your big ticket items, and the things you choose to treat your guests with are where you can focus your attention without spending every penny you have. 

For instance, instead of spending money on food, an expensive cake and dessert table, alcohol, a DJ, entertainment, and a massive dance floor setup, choosing to treat your guests mainly to a great dinner and a generous consumption bar will make for happy, comfortable guests. They won't mind a smaller cake and dance-floor as long as their bellies are well taken care of. HINT: drinks make for a cheerful crowd that will happily dance anywhere. 

 

Obviously, there are other tough issues that come up with wedding planning that these three points don't cover. But these three suggestions do have the potential to minimize stress and drama during the planning process. By being ready to handle conflict, being focused on designing the wedding you want--regardless of what the magazines say,--and keeping your guests' happiness in mind, you'll be well on your way to planning a wedding that has something in it for everyone. 

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Point Reyes Styled Shoot

For months I've been prepping this styled shoot, and feel that in the three hours it took to photograph, everything fell into place--and then was over. I guess I'm one to get sentimental over huge projects like this, because already I'm looking at the pictures wishing I could do it over again. 

I started working on this about two months ago, and while my vendors contributed immensely to the project, many of the props used were things I hunted for, purchased, or made from scratch myself. For this reason, I am doubly sentimental, thinking back on how I purchased the dress and completely re-designed it, made the square dummy cakes on the cake table, spent hours shopping for rings, mirrors, and other props, and meticulously planned different shots I wanted taken. All of these things are not part of my regular job-description as a planner, but when no one is actually getting married who can take care of these things...no one else is going to get them done! I ended up incredibly happy with the photos and very proud of myself and everyone involved for the hard work that was poured into this.

Without further ado, here are my favorite photos from the shoot!

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Vendors Involved

Photography: Caleb Rippetoe, www.thesedecisivemoments.com

Flowers: Andrelina Siveira, www.fremontflowershoppe.com

Cupcakes: Emmie Luong, www.uhadmeatcake.com

Chalkboards: Rebecca Charlton, www.chalkwhimsy.com

Photo shoot coordinator, wedding gown designer, (square) cake designer: MaKenna Stevens, www.perfectlyplannedmoments.com

Models: Julia Nichols and Joseph Weibe

Location, Point Reyes, California

 

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Troubleshoot That Event!

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PC Huffington Post

Story-time! A client was telling me this week about how things at her wedding years ago got a little too heated for her taste. Her father-in-law was taking photos, and was one of those really traditional character who wear dress shirts with gathered sleeve cuffs and a whole lot of buttons (a lot like the outfits poor Ron Weasley was haunted with by his overzealous mother at Christmas time)... As he took pictures, he got a little too close to a nearby candle, and in one puff, his sleeve was...toast. Just as he began to scream that he was on fire, the bride, without thinking, put the fire out by snuffing the burning cuff with her bare hands, only to sustain some very painful burns. For the rest of the night, her hands took turns being dunked into ice water. 

Not necessarily the most enjoyable wedding, but certainly a laughable story to tell the kids years later. As unusual as a fire fiasco at a wedding may be, general mishaps are not. In fact, I like to say that problems are an event's most-likely unwelcome guests, since they show up where they are least-expected, and definitely least needed. Catching one's ancient sleeves on fire might not be preventable with anything other than the wearer's own caution, but many other common mishaps are. So without further ado, here are the top fivw most-likely event mishaps, and how you can prevent them. 

#1: The cake falling

Prevention Tips

Have the bakery deliver the cake; they know how to transport it better than anybody.

- When signing your contract with your baker, make sure there's an agreement that if the cake falls upon delivery at the fault of the bakery, there is a satisfactory percentage of the price refunded.

- When the cake arrives, make sure the cake stays at room temperature or colder, according to the baker's recommendations. Some frostings can hold up better than others, but the frosting is the glue holding that cake together! Help it out!

- Don't let anyone touch the cake til it's time to cut it, and for goodness sake, be careful! Don't be the bride in the picture above.

- In anticipation of a cake disaster, have your planner scout out local bakeries ahead of time who's cupcakes can be purchased to replace the original within an hour of a mishap.

#2: Rain!

Prevention Tips

- If there's ANY significant chance of rain, get a tent, or get an indoor venue. It's not worth the risk of soaking wet guests and a ruined, possibly muddy dress.

- Find out what the venue's policy on rain is, and inquire about umbrellas. If they don't offer umbrellas, and if you don't have a tent, and won't consider one, PLEASE invest in renting umbrellas for your guests. They will be very grateful.

#3: Surprise Guests

Prevention Tips 

- Make sure you're clear about whether guests can bring their significant others as +1's.

- Delegate the job of following up with guests who have yet to RSVP to whoever will get the job done. Make every effort to contact silent invitees to ensure an accurate turnout at your wedding.

- Pay for a couple extra plates of food and have some extra seats at tables set, just in case. If nothing else, don't pack your tables too close, and have a few extra chairs available to fit into tables as necessary.

#4: A Tardy/No-Show Vendor 

Prevention Tips

- Find vendors--or hire a reliable planner who will find vendors for you--who are reliable and have good reviews.

- Have your planner create a schedule that allows buffer time. For example, if the catering needs to arrive to begin setting up by 4pm, tell them to arrive by 3:30pm instead. Better to give everyone extra time to set up than to have too little.

- So what happens if a vendor doesn't show up at all? If you've purchased wedding insurance, sometimes the cost of finding a last minute replacement is covered. Look into what your insurance offers coverage on.

- No matter what, have your planner create backup plans for every scenario. Catering doesn't show up? Your planner should have created Plan B, where a pre-decided restaurant can deliver emergency food, be it pizza or Chicken a la Carte. It can be done; it just takes a savvy planner. 

#5: Not Fitting into Your Dress

Prevention Tips

- First of all, DO NOT buy a dress in a size that does not fit you. It will cause you undue stress trying to fit into it as your wedding day draws nearer, and runs the risk of a new emergency dress being needed.

- If you want to lose weight for your wedding, buy/rent a dress in your current size, and as you get closer to your wedding day, if you've lost weight, get the dress altered to fit you. Dresses can be taken in, but there is very little that can be done to take a dress out to make it bigger. 

 

These are only some of the many things that can happen at a wedding. I imagine that almost anything you can think up has happened at some wedding in history. What are some wedding disasters that you've encountered, and how were they fixed? Were they preventable? Comment down below! 

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