*Disclaimer* In case you couldn't tell, this is a wedding centric post. If you are not interested, please move along and I will see you next time. <3
We had a pretty successful mad planning weekend in Maine. And New Hampshire. Then back in Maine and back to New Hampshire and...well...you get the point.
Our first order of business was a cake consultation in Maine. We met with Jenna at Paints and Pans and sampled some of her cake flavors. I don't want to spoil anything, but it went pretty well. Her cakes were delicious, her pricing reasonable. She just doesn't offer one little thing that I am looking for. And while I don't mind going to another source for that, I might prefer to get everything from the same place. She is the current front runner but only because I haven't tasted another one yet (and I'm still waiting on the quote).
In case you are a bride or groom that stumbled here, a few key questions/tips:
Be open to try new flavors. Baking is an art and I personally love trying new flavor combos. Sure you can play it safe, but why not find out what their signature flavor is? What is the baker's favorite flavor?
Cakes are generally priced by the slice and can range from $2 a slice to $20 (or more) depending on the location, baker, and design details. Usually, simpler is more affordable.
Having said that, plan for less cake than guests - unless you want a lot of leftovers. I'm not suggesting you cut the number by half or anything but if your headcount is 150 you can easily drop it to 125 for cake. Maybe even less if you are also doing a Groom's cake. Because some guests will leave before cake, some just won't have any at all (weirdos), or some might opt for the Groom's cake instead. I have thrown away literally thousands of dollars worth of uneaten cake over the years...even I can only take home so much.
Your wedding cake does not necessarily have to be the same flavor in all tiers. If you have multiple tiers, use this opportunity to have more than one flavor. Just remember, if you plan to save the cake top for your anniversary, you might want to save your favorite flavor for that one. Also make sure your baker knows you intend to save the top - so it isn't included in your servings.
Ask your baker what is included - can they supply a cake stand? Is delivery extra? (please for the love of Christmas have your cake delivered instead of picking it up to save a few bucks. That way if something happens in transport, THEY can fix it. And that's too big a responsibility to put on friends or family.) Can/will they supply a box to save the top?
It's good to have inspiration photos to have a starting point but trust your baker to create a design for you. And share all of your wedding inspiration too - not just cake. They may come up with something you hadn't thought of based on your colors or location.
There are ways to save money on cake. Have a smaller version of your dream cake for ceremonial cutting purposes and then serve everyone from the same flavor sheet cake hidden in the kitchen.
Maybe it's a smaller wedding (thanks COVID) but you've dreamed of a giant 4 tiered cake...ask for faux layers. You'll get the majesty of the grand cake you want but at a fraction of the cost.
Also don't feel obligated to have a cake at all if you don't want one. It's your wedding - do what you want to do. Have a dessert table with all your favorite things. Do cupcakes or cakeballs instead. How about cookies? You are only limited by your imagination.
And budget. You'll probably be limited by your budget.
For this trip we decided to stay in a motel in a nearby city - because let's face it...Airbnb rentals are expensive in Maine. Also this area is HEAVY on the motels vs hotels. I found an affordable (less than $200 a night) place for us to stay. It was maybe 30 minutes from our wedding location. Lovely property with some nice amenities.
The big point of this trip was to find our rental source. Since we are getting married at a private residence, nothing is supplied. We need a tent, chairs, tables, linens, dishware...basically everything. I was very concerned about the cost of this part. Unfortunately we did not find one single source for all of our needs but we feel good about the ones we found. In the process of booking those now.
Tips for rentals? I'm not 100% sure I'm the right person to ask. I relied heavily on the professionals we spoke to but I also thought about my experiences. If it helps, walk thru your day and think about everything you need (especially if you are starting from scratch, like me).
Even if you have a registry. Even if you specifically ask for no gifts, someone always brings one. Or cards. Lots of cards. I think there are just people that feel wrong showing up at a wedding empty handed. For that reason, make sure you have a designated gift table. Especially if you don't think you need one. Decorate it with some pictures of you, your guestbook, a memorial candle for loved ones unable to attend. But make sure you leave room on it, just in case. Worse case scenario is no one brings a gift but you have personalized the space a little more.
I also did a trial make up run. There are just some things you can't book by reputation alone and I need to know how the makeup sits on my face. Can she do make up on older skin? I have issues and it's my skin. But she did great keeping my look pretty natural and I'll be booking her soon.
Tips and questions for make up artists?
If you know you have any skin quirks, let them know. Don't try to make her figure it out. For me, it's that makeup tends to go orange on my skin.
If you have oily skin, make sure you tell her. It's important to know the composition of your skin.
Make sure the make up artist is using photo ready products. Most are but I never assume anything. If it isn't photo ready, your skin will look ghastly under a flash and your photographer will have to spend a lot of time correcting that later.
If you have a specific look you want to mimic, bring photos. But I'm going to suggest that unless you are used to wearing a lot of makeup with contours and highlights, don't do it on your wedding day. I think it's fine to go with a bold eye or lip, but remember - your intended fell in love with you. And that's the face they want to gaze lovingly at all night.
Seriously. Choose a look more similar to your day to day look, but kick it up a notch.
I do strongly suggest eyelash extensions but definitely don't wait until your wedding to try them for the first time. I love longer, fuller lashes because I was cursed with barely any. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much of a difference it makes. Bonus? You'll look good on your honeymoon even without make up on.
But Suzanne, if I'm doing the same ol' same ol' why should I pay someone else to do it? Because, makeupping for an important event can be stressful. Because you don't know if your make up is photo ready or how to make it last for 12 hours without sliding off your face. Because you didn't do eyelash extensions because false lashes are cheaper but you don't usually wear them and had NO IDEA how hard they could be to put on. Just do it. You can thank me later.
So that's that - we can mark rentals, make up, and maybe cake off our to do list. Not bad for a quick weekend.
Did you learn anything here? Is there something I didn't cover? Let me know if you have questions, I really do want to help.