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Spring/Summer 2011

And other lifetime celebrations.

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Inside Five Questions Wedding industry mainstay Donnie Brown of “Whose Wedding is it anyway� discusses the big day, page 5. Point, click, I do More couples sharing more with guests on the web, page 6. Simply stylish Bridal gown trends change but style reigns, page 8. With a twist Custom cocktails liven up receptions, page 9. I do Portaits of couples by local photographers, page 12. 3PRING3UMMER

And other lifetime celebrations.

Panic prevention How to weather last minute changes, page 16. What to get? Traditional and modern anniversary gift ideas, page 18. Sweet and simple As weddings go vintage, so do cakes, page 24.

On the cover: Nikki and Kelly revived an old farm to serve as the perfect place for their wedding and reception. Read more on page 13.

USPS 347-700 124 S. McDonald St. Published by Midland Publishing Company, LLC. Midland, Michigan 48640 Publisher Jenny L. Anderson Editor John H. Telfer II Marketing Director Kevin P. Prior Circulation Director Gary Wamsley


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Questions with

Donnie Brown

D o n n i e B r o w n is a wedding-industry mainstay. In 1994, he opened Dallas-based Five Star Floral Design and Events. Both Lone Star State brides and A-list celebrities took notice of Brown’s penchant for fabulous events, spurring the launch of Donnie Brown Weddings & Events. The pro began appearing on The Style Network program “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway” in 2003 and recently saw the release of his first book “Donnie Brown Weddings” (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2009). Here, the style pro shares his secrets for perfecting your hometown wedding Q: As a planner, do you notice something different when planning a wedding for a bride who is a native to an area versus a transplant? A:Brides come in all shapes, sizes and attitudes. Whether they are from here or there, personalities tend to mix regardless of their point of origin. It is always fun to bring the destination region into play. Often we will do a regionally themed rehearsal dinner as well as the welcome gift bags for the hotel-staying travelers. Obviously, the better you understand the area, the better chance you have of achieving the goal. Q: You, like many event planners, got your start in flowers. Do you have any tips to share with brides for finding inspiration for their wedding-day florals? A: They should do their homework. They should find the things they like and file them to show to their floral designer. As well, they should file the things they really don’t like so the designer will be able to use that information in the development of the plan. I personally love orchids – all kinds of orchids. Phaelanopsis is my personal favorite but there are many, many to choose from in a variety of colors. They are useful in many ways from the more

exotic to the ultra traditional designs. Q: Date. Venue. Guest List. In your book you say deciding the importance of each is different for everyone, which it is, but do you have a order you typically like to work when planning a wedding? A: It’s really different for everyone. A couple with their heart set on a venue cannot always get their first date option due to other bookings. They may need to seek out availability and then move on to the date setting. Others may want the date with less preference to the venue. Additionally, the couple who has to have a certain number of guests will need to take that into account when picking the venue due to space limitations – which can also impact the date selection. A lot of the stress of these initial decisions is what most couples find incredibly daunting. This is all before an initial budget can really be confirmed. And the list continues to go on and on.

with lovely outdoor areas to hold the entire wedding. Just a warning that these can often carry hefty price tags. Q: There’s a deluge of wedding information out there today – from magazines and books to TV shows and ideas brides will get from other weddings. To answer the question that is your show’s title – Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? – how do you suggest brides filter all the ideas out there and really pinpoint her own style and desires? A: They should take inspiration from the things they like and filter out the bad. Most couples know when they like something and certainly when they don’t. The planner should be able to make sense of the options and find a tasteful way of combining the couples’ desires into a cohesive plan. Additionally, they should carefully screen where they get their information. If they love the weddings on our show, as a rule, they should use that as a major tool to create their big day. Alternatively, if they read some magazines or watch other television that showcases things that they don’t generally care for, they should then take those out of the mix of options. Most importantly, they should make sure to hire a quality wedding planner. Often a planner can save the couple their fee just in better contract negotiations. It’s a no-brainer. –Timothy R. Schulte © CTW Feature

Q: Do you have any best practices or suggestions for outdoor/public venues? A: Many high-quality resort hotels as well as country clubs have well-landscaped designated areas to achieve a lovely outdoor wedding ceremony. As well, the couple can get a permit from the parks and recreation department and hold the wedding in a park or on a beach. They cannot really eliminate the onlookers without expensive security, so some of their privacy may be lost at a location like this. Alternatively, they can look for re n t a b l e m a n sions or estates PAGE 5

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Point, Click, I do! Creating wedding websites BY CYNTHIA J. DRAKE for the Daily News

Before Hilary and Matt Gwisdala got married last August, they created a wedding website to keep guests informed about important event details. “The majority of our guests were coming from out of town and we wanted to make sure they had all the necessary information in hand about where to stay and what to do while they were in town,” said Hilary Gwisdala, a public relations professional. Hilary and Matt were married at Blessed Sacrament Church followed by a reception at the Holiday Inn in Midland. “We mailed out save-the-date cards early in 2010, and you really don’t get a lot of space on them. So we developed our website where we could put all the details and directed our guests to the site,” she said. Wedding experts at and its partner say this year’s annual survey found 64 percent of brides now have a website to share details with guests about ceremony and reception logistics, registry information and travel accommodations. Web companies exist that allow couples to host wedding sites for free while others charge a fee for access to fancier templates and tools. Hilary Gwisdala said she liked creating her wedding site through TheKnot. com because it was easy and free. “The site also allowed us to include fun information, like how Matt proposed, photos and information about our bridal party,” she said. It also featured a wedding countdown clock. And now that they’re married, the site informs visitors of their status as newlyweds for 151 days. Experts at recommend that couples launch their website at least six months before the wedding


Hilary and Matt Gwisdala’s wedding website allowed them to share stories with guests before the big day. date to give guests as much information said. “Just like you do on the wedding as early as possible. That allows enough day.” time to make travel arrangements. WedRoney offers three tips for setting up a dingWire also offers other online tools, wedding website: including a program that lets guests • Don’t assume your audience is only RSVP directly from the website. younger friends, and remember your Carley Roney, editor and founder of etiquette. “You want to keep things ‘, said her site and Wed- ding and older people friendly,’” Roney together host more said. “You don’t want to go on and on than 500,000 wedding websites for cou- forever. You don’t want to put things ples. like, ‘please ship our gifts to.’ Some of “It’s a simple, easy way of communica- the etiquette that is wrong for wedding tion,” Roney said. “It’s really like going to invitations is wrong for this too. To be the website for a restaurant or a concert making specific demands of your guests event. Everything is in one place.” isn’t appropriate.” That’s why more wedding website ad• Include your registry informadresses are appearing in fancy fonts on tion. According to and the bottom of printed invitations. survey, about “You’re going to want to give the same 61 percent of guests find out where a information you always needed to have couple is registered from their wedon an invitation: the name, location, time ding website — a figure that has grown of event,” Roney wsaid. But things like from 47 percent in 2008. “It really is dress code or babysitting services can be becoming the absolute de facto way saved for the website. that guests are going to find out where Some sites let couples upload music you’re registered,” Roney said. “It used or an audio track of their voices, video, to be that brides were worried it was animated graphics, or polls asking guests tacky, but it’s simply not tacky. It’s how what songs to play or which appetizers it’s done now.” to serve. • Get the word out. Don’t just create Couples who choose WeddingChan- and publish the website and assume to host their websites can choose everyone knows it exists. “Send the from templates by high-fashion designers information directly to your guests,” like Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier sometimes more than once, Roney said. and Vera Wang. “You can’t assume that something you “You still want to make the investment put on your website was acknowledged in it to make it uniquely you,” Roney by all.”


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Image courtesy White House | Black Market


here’s a new sense that less is more in the bridal gown world, both in terms of style and price. Fuss-free gowns, in columns, sheaths and cocktail styles, are getting their due as brides scale down their version of their dream dresses, maybe because they’re older brides or are tying the knot in a more casual environment. In step with the mood, some brides are slashing their fashion budgets in these not-so-flush times. As a result, a number of brides are embracing “non-bridal” styles, per se, made by the likes of contemporary designers, such as BCBG Max Azria and Sue Wong - not your typical goto bridal resources but ones that are creating “sexy, romantic and feminine” gowns that are “absolutely suitable for weddings,” according to Wong. The shift has prompted other designers and retailers into rolling out their own walletfriendly bridal options that are less showy and more sophisticated. In spring, White House |Black Market unveiled a strapless dress with a high-low hem for $499, and now it has added three more looks all for under $700. After hearing that its customers were buying its dresses for bridesmaid functions, The Limited debuted a two-dress collection online this summer for under $300, with plans to expand the line to seven looks by January 2011 (four styles currently are available). Higher-end designers joined the mix this summer when the likes of David Meister and Carmen Marc Volvo signed on with New York-based Designer Bride Inc. to license bridal gowns for $1,500 to $3,000 that are not over-the-top. “Brides want to tone it down,” says Jill Giordano, co-owner of San Francisco-based gr.dano, a contemporary line of architecturally inspired clothes. “They want their dress to match their style versus their age. You can still wear something that’s nontraditional and look spectacular.”ww Giordano recently outfitted a violinist for her wedding. The musician had picked out a gr.dano skirt made of crinkled nylon for a press tour and opted to wear it along with a custom-made knit blouse for her special day. The possibility of catering to more bridal customers is on Giordano’s radar, especially with her spring line that includes a white halter maxi dress in cotton poplin for under $400. “We’re definitely trying to hit the events market but keep it in line with what we do - clean, approachable, flattering styles,” Giordano says.

Continued on page 20

Simply Stylish


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9 25

Cheers! BY CYNTHIA J. DRAKE for the Daily News


Local wedding venues offer signature cocktails

n the quest to make their weddings and receptions more memorable and special, brides and grooms have left few stones unturned. And now, enter the cocktail. From martinis to match bridesmaids dresses to drinks that match the couple’s personality, signature bridal cocktails are becoming trendy in mid-Michigan. These drinks are often featured on a martini bar or as part of a reception cocktail hour. Michael Dunn, general manager of Great Hall Banquet and Convention Center, said he’s created various cocktail recipes for wedding receptions. One bride and groom wanted to recreate the martini they enjoyed on their first date. Another bride wanted to create a scene she saw in “Sex and the City” with martinis in all different colors. CONTINUED ON PAGE 10


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Creating custom cocktails CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9

“Mainly they’re drawn from past experiences, whether from traveling or something that they remember,” he said. Dunn said seasons are great for drawing inspiration – think peppermint and cranberries in December; red, white and blue liquors for a July wedding. And don’t forget garnishes, which can also personalize a drink, from chocolate swizzle sticks, orchids or sprigs of herbs. “There’s not much we can’t do,” he said, adding that signature martinis add about $3 to $4 per guest. And if signature drinks don’t pack enough punch, brides and grooms might want to consider adding some special effects to the presentation, such as the popular martini ice luge, in which bartenders pour martinis down a sculpted ice display into glasses for an entertaining (and well-chilled) drink. Or, as in the case of one wedding at the Midland Country Club, adding light-up ice cubes to the glasses of 80 specialty cocktails, dimming the lights, and having a procession of servers parade through the dining room with the glowing drinks on their trays. Midland Country Club Concierge Heidi McIvor said couples can add flair to the traditional champagne toast, as well. “If the couple’s colors coincided, you could add something like Grape Pucker to the champagne to give it a purple tone. Or add frozen grapes, both purple and green, and put them in the bottom of the champagne glasses,” she said.


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Above, Hailey (Silk) and Craig Story of Broomfield, Colo. at the Temple Theatre. Married Oct. 26, 2010, St. John’s Episcopal, Saginaw. Right, Christine (Hafer) and Enrico Dolcecore originally of Bay City at Dow Gardens. Married Aug. 14, 2010 at the gardens. Top left, Rachel (Yancer) and Andrew Crapo of Freeland at Saginaw Valley State University. Married Aug. 21, 2010 at SVSU. Top right, Melissa (Craig) and Paul Benchley III of Indian River at Dow Gardens. Married Oct. 9, 2010, St. Brigid of Kildare, Midland.


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something old, something new


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Barn gets wedding facelift BY CYNTHIA J. DRAKE


he barn was a hundred years old and a little rough around the edges, with rusty farm equipment lurking in the shadows. To Nikki Rau, it was the perfect place to get married to her husband Kelly. The Beal City farm had been in Kelly’s father’s family for generations. “It was my great-great grandparents’ house,” he said. “My dad has very fond memories of playing in the barn when the hay was stacked. And I remember the poppies up there. I can clearly remember going up there and playing, eating fresh cheese and just visiting the neighbors.” When Nikki and Kelly, who have known each other since high school, started discussing their wedding plans last year, Nikki’s eye immediately fell upon the barn – a symbol of strength and resilience. “His mom and dad thought I was crazy,” Nikki said with a laugh. She pressed on and eventually convinced her future husband and in-laws. But first, it would need a little work. Contined on page 26

Photos by Miranda Parker Photography ,


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Last-minute change of place?

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jennifer Cassista expected that her 18-month journey to the altar would include a few stumbles. A mixed-up order, perhaps. An incorrect size. A meltdown or two. She didn’t count on having to book a new venue less than three months before her May nuptials because her first choice closed down. Of all the troubles that can arise during wedding planning, having the location fall through at the last minute is perhaps the most trying. Couples tend to decide early where to tie the knot, and every other detail is linked to that. When a seemingly perfect spot unexpectedly evaporates before the big day, it sets off a domino effect. Real-life stories of desperate brides abound on Internet message boards and vendor blogs. With many world economies weakened in the last few years, it’s not uncommon for restaurants or event spaces to go out of business, leaving couples in the lurch. Pre-wedding hurdles usually can be fixed in time, said Tampa, Fla., wedding planner Lauren Grove, who keeps the “Every Last Detail” blog. For couples who find themselves venue-less before the big day, the priority should be fighting to get the deposit back. Those who can’t need to rethink their budget when searching for a plan B venue, Grove said. Luck and resourcefulness saved the day for Cassista and her fiance, Tom Bryan. They had thought they had found their dream ceremony site when they booked a resort lodge not far from where they lived in Ontario, Canada, in March 2009. During a walk-through, the wedding coordinator gushed about an upcoming renovation to erect a new vow-exchange site down by some rapids, com-

plete with a lush garden and pew-style seating. Though the couple had to use their imagination, they trusted the resort to deliver. Things became suspicious when no one returned Bryan’s calls or e-mails when he asked for updates on the project. This past spring, he received a call from a resort front desk receptionist saying the place had gone bankrupt. Cassista and Bryan started dialing other venues on their short list. All were booked on their wedding date, May 29. “We were in desperation mode,”’ Bryan said. Bryan’s father, who sells computer touchscreens to restaurants, suggested Golden Beach Resort on the south shore of Rice Lake, east of Toronto. Cassista and Bryan weren’t impressed by the space’s website, but in desperation decided to check it out in person. Not only were the grounds better than the first place, but the dance floor was larger. An added bonus was that it was available the day they wanted, and was cheaper than the previous resort too. With the new venue locked in, the couple spent the next several weeks redoing invitations and notifying other vendors. Looking back, Cassista said, she was willing to change the wedding date if they didn’t find a backup in time. “You just need to relax and roll with the punches,” she said. “Be levelheaded and try to figure it out.” Self-described foodies Sarina Chhay and Brian Harnett worked their connections to turn a pre-wedding neardisaster in their favor. The couple were set on holding their reception at Great Bay restaurant, a seafood restaurant close to Fenway Park in Boston. But the economy had other plans. After six years in business, the restaurant was


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Don’t panic! shuttered at the end of May 2009, three months before their wedding. They scurried to find a replacement, calling more than 20 places and visiting half a dozen, with zero luck. Harnett had an idea. As a last resort, he reached out to the restaurant’s events manager, who promised to check with the other sister restaurants to see if they could host their wedding. Fortunately, Radius, known for modern French cuisine, was available. The couple went with it since it was where they shared their first fine dining experience. In September, they celebrated their one-year anniversary there too, the chaos all but a memory. Both Cassista and Bryan, and Chhay and Harnett managed to get their money returned. Christina and Christoph Schumacher had a laundry list

of things go wrong before they said their “I dos” in June 2008. Many couples worry about the weather not cooperating, but for the Schumachers Mother Nature unleashed a flood a week before their wedding, triggering a state of emergency. The state park where they planned to have their wedding was shut down because of lack of water, and it was unclear whether it would reopen in time. With no backup plan, the couple contacted several politicians and explained the situation. In the end, they were able to use a log cabin at the park for their ceremony, but the guest lodgings were off-limits. After saving the venue, they scrambled to find motel rooms for out-of-town guests. It rained on and off the day of the wedding, but the Schumachers managed to have their first dance and cake-cutting outside.


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What to get? Stuck on anniversary gift ideas? Here are traditional and modern suggestions for certain milestones. Year




















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Simply stylish


From page 8

White House | Black Market got a plug for its new wedding dress collection in the September 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, which highlights its elegant strapless Victoria bridal gown in ecru tulle and satin with a floor-sweeping mermaid skirt. The collection also features a mix of accessories, such as satin slingback heels and a clutch. Along with three bridal gowns priced at $298 (and one at $398), The Limitedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wedding collection offers two bridesmaid dresses under $100, plus accessories, such as teardrop earrings and bobby pin sets. Its strapless ruffled wedding gown in crinkle chiffon generated positive reviews online, many from second-time brides and those having casual weddings. Based on the feedback, The Limited is planning to test the dresses in stores in the next year, says Marci Milito, director of public relations for The Limited. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Even though brides donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to spend a huge portion of their budgets on their dress, they still want that shopping experience and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking to make it fun and posh for her,â&#x20AC;? Milito says.

Los Angeles-based David Meister, whose eveningwear has graced celebrities such as Emmanuelle Chriqui and Diane Lane, is injecting glamour in his bridal gowns hitting about 20 stores in November, including Neiman Marcus, Couture Bridal in Bal Harbour, Fla. and Bridal Images in Rockville, Md., according to Erin Haggerty, senior manager of public relations

for Kellwood Company, parent company of David Meister. A tulle ballgown with a tiered skirt and a one-shoulder silk wool Mikado gown are a couple highlights from the 12-style collection, which hit the bridal market in October. Meister â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gowns, along with those of his contemporaries at Designer Bride, are targeting a â&#x20AC;&#x153;new bride,â&#x20AC;? says Sol Baratech, marketing manager for Designer Bride. â&#x20AC;&#x153;More independent and more mature, she now pays for her gown,â&#x20AC;? Baratech says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She is also more sophisticated and fashion savvy. Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bride wants a designer gown, which is more fashion-forward compared to the princess-like dresses worn by brides years ago.â&#x20AC;? Full-service bridal boutiques have noticed an uptick in interest from brides seeking gowns with down-to-earth styles and prices. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s growing interest in that price point,â&#x20AC;? says Allyson Marshall, manager of Bridal Boutique in Baton Rouge, La., which carries lines such as Maggie Sottero, Casablanca and Mori Lee. â&#x20AC;&#x153;About 60 percent of our business is devoted





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21 to that category compared to 40 percent a couple of years ago.â&#x20AC;? Boutique owners caution, however, that the dress a bride chooses should mirror the vibe of the wedding. â&#x20AC;&#x153;About 10 percent of the wedding budget should be devoted to the wedding gown, so if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re having a swanky, $50,000 affair and your gown doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t measure up, you may not look right,â&#x20AC;? says Bobbie Lopez, owner of All Brides Beautiful in Hudson, Ohio. (c) CTW Features

Opposite page, a nylon/silk beaded strapless dress with appliquĂŠ swirl and ruched bodice from Sue Wong. Above, a cotton poplin halter maxi-dress from gr.dano. Left, a silk empire waist dress with crinkle chiffon ruffles and ivory satin sash from The Limited. Right, a Victoria ecro tulle and satin gown with mermaid skirt from White House | Black Market.


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Sweet & Simple BY BEV BENNETT CTW Features


THE CAKETIONARY If you’ve dedicated your sweet tooth to sticky toffee pudding, pain perdu or other trendy desserts, you may not be acquainted with the cake revival. You could ask your mother to reminisce – or you could just check the following “caketionary” for the delicious details.

eddings are going vintage, andcakes are fo llo w ing s uit.

We’re seeing a trend towards softer colors and even more muted hues like sage, lavender, and mauve, some burgandy, pearls,” said Carrie Fisher of the Gourmet Cupcake Shoppe, 6859 Eastman Ave, Midland. “Vintage details that evoke nostalgia and antiquity. “I’m even seeing this trend in wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses when our clients go over their color palette for the wedding with us.” When prospective brides discuss their wedding cake wishes with Maggie Estavillo, they describe what their mothers served at their own celebrations. “They even bring in pictures of their mothers’ wedding cakes and ask us to replicate them,” says Estavillo, chef/owner of the Nostalgia Bakery and Catering Co. in Sacramento, Calif. Welcome to the wedding-cake renaissance. The creations that were popular a generation ago, including red velvet, carrot, 7UP and German chocolate, are showing up on contemporary wedding cake tables. These cakes, which are both familiar and affordable, are as appealing now as they were when marriage was just a spark in your parents’ eyes. It goes beyond looks. This trend extends to the flavor of the cake. Brides come in saying they remember growing up eating their grandmother’s red velvet cake or that carrot cake was always a tradition in the family, Fisher said. However, it’s not simply familiarity that puts old-style

Tuxedo Cake This cake is a butter-based chocolate cake, coated with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate glaze for the black and white tuxedo effect. Devil’s Food Cake This dark chocolate cake may be made with cocoa or melted unsweetened dark chocolate. Devil’s food cake calls for chocolate frosting.


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25 cakes on the wedding menu. It’s flavor, too. If you’ve been to enough weddings where cakes’ tilting layers trumped their taste, you know how important a delicious cake is to your guests. Just ask your mother. Her cake was to-die-for!

“I’m absolutely getting more orders for cakes than I did five years ago. For a wedding coming up the bride wants a variety of flavors,” says Rather, who is supplying 10 cakes, 2 of each flavor for that nuptial. Rather ’s repertoire includes such mouthwatering creations as spice maple cake with caramel sauce, raspberry white chocolate with macadamia nuts and tuxedo cake. Hummingbird cake also appeals to her clientele. “I like to take my grandmother’s cake and update it,” says Rather, co-author with Alison Oresman of “Pastry Queen Parties” (Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, 2009).

Comfort Cake

Comfort foods have been a presence in wedding menus for a couple of years, says Joyce Scardina Becker, director at Events of Distinction, a San Francisco event planning company. So it’s no surprise that the return to satisfying dishes also is influencing wedding cakes, making old-fashioned desserts popular once again. You don’t want to dumbfound your guests, and by serving such long-treasured and acceptable flavors as devil’s food, you can assure everyone that they’re not eating anything mysterious. “Some clients want to please everyone’s palates. They’re coming back to basics,” says Estavillo, who runs her catering company with her sister Mary, the wedding cake baker. The home-style cake also says you’re stepping down from extravagance and returning to a simpler style, which is another trend, according to Kate Cavotti, an associate professor at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Estavillo also is witnessing the return to more modest cakes. What she calls retro cakes have little in common with what she was selling two years ago. “People were saying they’re foodies. They wanted food they saw on the Food Network,” Estavillo says. But that’s changed.“Even though the economy is picking up, brides want a bang for the buck,” she says. The new sensibility doesn’t mean you have to bake your own wedding cake - you’ve got enough on your plate - especially when you can buy it.

Champagne Cake/7UP Cake A light white cake that uses either beverage in the batter. Champagne cake is often tinted pink. Red Velvet Cake Cocoa-based chocolate cake with red food coloring in the batter. If you’re planning a green/natural wedding, this isn’t the cake for you, advises

Classic Flavor

The Gourmet Cupcake Shoppe provided photos of these cakes,.At left, this three-tier cake features layers of leur de sel, strawberry rhubarb and chocolate raspberry truffles with burgundy scrollwork.Above, this lemon drop cake features subtle details. “You can have someone else produce the cake, but it seems more home-style if you have nostalgic flavors,” Cavotti says.

Baking It Old-School

You’ll find these cakes at bakeries around the country. Some may even skip the traditional tiered wedding cake-structure to get the homey flavors you want. Rebecca Rather supplies cakes to some of the best weddings in Texas, although she no longer does traditional wedding cakes. “People really love my cakes, so they order that for their weddings,” says Rather, owner of the Rather Sweet Bakery & Café in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Joyce Scardina Becker of Events of Distinction, the San Francisco-based event planning company. German Chocolate Cake Made with milk chocolate, butter and eggs and finished with a dense coconut, pecan and butter frosting, this may be the richest-tasting option.

Red velvet, vanilla, chocolate and marble cakes along with champagne cake or its non-alcoholic variation, the 7UP cake, are in heavy demand at Nostalgia. Like Rather in Texas, Estavillo’s cakes are prized for their flavor. “When we do fondant cakes people scrape off the icing. People don’t like all that sweetness. They want a great-tasting cake,” says Estavillo. No matter what the frosting consistency, today’s cake is white. “I keep getting requests for really white cakes with really big flowers and tons of leaves - with a touch of green for the leaves,” says Estavillo, who associates the look with wedding cakes from the ’60s or ’70s. But if you think that cake will look as plain as cauliflower on a white plate, don’t worry. Classic cakes can assume new styles, too. For example, for a large wedding ask for a multilayer cake with a different flavor for each tier. For a small wedding, Estavillo recommends a six-inch cake surrounded by cupcakes. Fisher said all the vintage details and flavors can be done in cupcakes.

Carrot Cake Moist, spicy and dense using shredded carrots and nuts. Carrot cake slathered with cream cheese frosting is an excellent choice when you’ve got three generations to please. Hummingbird Cake Imagine cream-cheese-frosted carrot cake but with pineapple and bananas instead of the vegetable. PAGE 25

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Continued from page 15

nikki & kelly SEPTEMBER 25, 2010 | RESTORED BARN, BEAL CITY • PHOTOS BY MIRANDA PARKER PHOTOGRAPHY Crooked floors were torn out and replaced with plywood planks. The building was rewired, with lighting and a sound system. The exterior received a fresh coat of paint, siding and a good power washing. A landscape designer was called in. “It was a weekend after weekend type of activity,” Kelly said. And when it was all done, the old farm had new life. “When you take away the cobwebs and all the old barn junk, they really are beautiful structures,” he said. The wedding date was set for Sept. 25. The ceremony would be held downstairs in the barn’s milk parlor, while the main level would provide the backdrop for a reception for 160 people. The couple rented a chandelier to hang on the main level, providing an elegant note to the rustic surroundings, along with indirect lighting to “show off the cool bones of the structure,” Kelly said. Nikki who looking at bridal magazines “like a little kid looking at comics,” according to her husband, had lots of ideas to capitalize on the setting and add a personal touch. A hay wagon was transformed into an appetizer table. An old window was repurposed as a display for the bar menu, an old metal feeder was turned into a planter. Nikki found a grapevine growing on the side of the barn and wove it into the archway overhead where the ceremony took place, with freshpicked wildflowers tucked inside. The guests went home with homemade jam as wedding favors. “We were repurposing old things and making them pretty,” Nikki said. The contrast of old and new was especially meaningful for the new couple, who were establishing themselves as the latest generation of couples who had gone before them. A sign saying, “Nikki & Kelly Rau, established Sept. 25, 2010” hung inside

the barn. “Both of our parents are still married and it’s really neat to see that,” Nikki said. And as for the naysayers, the barn won them over in the end. “Some of my friends that came up from the Detroit area knew we were going to do this barn-themed wedding, but I don’t think anyone was a believer in it,” Nikki said. After witnessing the transformation, one couple started planning their wedding in the Rau family barn on the spot. Nikki wasn’t surprised. “People thought we were crazy,” she said. “I think if you have a vision in your head for what you want, I don’t think you should be distracted or discouraged. Do what you want, follow through with your vision.”


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Bridal Magazine - Spring/Summer  

Bridal Magazine - Spring/Summer