Inspiring Couples Marrying in the Cotswolds

Venue Spotlight: The Grange, Hyde Barn

Hyde Barn is def in my top 3 favourite Cotswold Barn venues. Ideally situated between Stow-On-Wold and Bourton-OnThe-Water it has a really Cotswoldy feel to it and due to its good access and central location… More

The ultimate guide to Gemstone shapes: what’s best for you or your loved one?

There is such a wonderful variety of gemstone cuts available to the bride or groom to be, there really is no excuse for just sticking to the classic round brilliant cut solitaire if you do… More

Supplier Showcase: The Cheltenham Cakery

Today’s Supplier Spotlight is for Cakery Queen and multi award winning cake artist Sophie Liggat from The Cheltenham Cakery.

We caught up with Sophie to find out more about her love of sugar craft

Tell us about you

Hi my name is Sophie Liggat and I am the owner and caker at The Cheltenham Cakery. Originally creating anything in cake I started to specialise in Wedding and corporate Cakery along with cupcake bouquets and I’ve not looked back! I love the creativity that my job has and the ability to create realistic flowers out of sugar always gives me a real buzz of joy. There’s nothing better than watching my clients faces when they ask you ‘are they real?’ And you tell them they are made from sugar paste!

How long have you been in business?

I started The Cheltenham Cakery in October 2011, but I have been home baking my whole life and my recipes are hand me downs from generations before me, I’ve just given them a Modern ‘cakery’ twist

How and why did you start your business?

I began baking more when my now hubby started working nights and I was getting bored of an evening, and if I’m honest a little lonely. I’d baked one to many cupcakes one evening and had to take them into work with me…. people loved them and it wasn’t long before I was being asked to bake. The rest they say is history.

After a few years I decided to concentrate on specialising in Wedding and corporate Cakery.

For you what is the best part of running your business?

I pride myself on creating unique and delicious Cakery – Too often I have couples come to me after searching Pinterest with designs they like to copy – I adore helping them explore and find their creative sides and incorporate this into their cake.

The wedding cake experience from tasting to designing and the end result is just as important to me as the final finished product.

It’s also a great feeling when you get the professional shots of your cakes come through – I’m always like ‘I made that?!’

Additional information:

To ensure the highest standard of work I only take on one wedding order a week and as such do get booked up quickly – if your interested in a Cheltenham Cakery design drop me a line and let’s start talking cake 😃 🎂

Contact details to find out more:

Website: www.thecheltenhamcakery.co.uk

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thecheltenhamcakery

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thecheltenhamcakery

Twitter: www.twitter.com/thecheltcakery

Email: info@thecheltenhamcakery.co.uk

Tel: 07766346788

Here’s some more works of edible art:

Bridal Confidence – The elephant in the room

Weddings are a source of excitement and enjoy, admittedly there may be tense moments, families are a rich and diverse collection of people and on occasion may not blend together, but on the whole its against the grain to think that for some their wedding day just doesn’t conjure up quite the same thoughts of eternal elation.

The thought of posing in countless positions for photographs, to speaking in public about their undying love is enough to bring about a cold sweat and thoughts of eloping or in extreme conditions ‘calling it off’! Even the most confident bride can experience a wobble and may need alittle help to channel the beauty from within, because yes brides to be… you are all beautiful.

So whether you need a pep talk to get you going or to talk through how to stand or pose for the best pictures we have the experts on hand to help.

Two such ladies who understand the pressures of wedding planning and more importantly women are Susie Mackie and Dawn Swinley.

Susie Mackie is a wedding photographer who is passionate about photographing people. However Susie’s passionate goes deeper than just capturing your perfect day. Recognizing a need that some Brides needed a little boost she created My Sensuality  – a boudoir experience that she originally created for brides to be which revealed the beauty within, whilst giving brides an experience that they found liberating, confidence building, empowering and fun!  For some it has changed their lives forever, and for others they simply see themselves as others do – beautiful.

Susie says:

My style is timeless, emotional, and genuine; I capture your natural sensuality revealed through your eyes and body language, talking you through your poses and enabling you to feel truly liberated. To me, people are unique “living art” – the texture and tone, character and curve – and I celebrate this through my imagery.

My mission is to give you the confidence to feel good about all of you – from the inside out! If a very brief encounter with Penny and me at a My Sensuality shoot can empower you to feel good about yourself and love your images, then we have achieved what we set out to do!

Dawn Swinly is a nutrition and wellness coach , her business Mode-De-Vie provides a variety of solution’s to today’s modern women’s issues and her aim is to help you enjoy all that life can offer without you being burdened with unattractive and unnecessary body fat or health issues that drain your energy, ruin your looks and diminish your self-confidence.

Dawn says:

‘Many people don’t understand the power of nutrition and its impact on their mind, body and spirit. Or they think to be healthy, you have to live on rabbit food or starve yourself or not enjoy any treats. No Faddy Diets or Finger Pointing Here. What you will get is someone who is a qualified Nutritionist who understands what you need to feel amazing and it’s not starving yourself, being scolded or trying to sell you the next “Magic Bullet” to being slim.

So what have these two fabulous ladies who understand women been up to? and more importantly how can they help you!

They bring you – Complete Bridal Confidence

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The ultimate in boosting your Bridal confidence by dedicated experts in a relaxed, warm environment with of course complementary fizz. Helping you to look and feel fabulous both inside and out and allow the best possible version of you shine.

Susie and Dawn will be introducing their amazing new concept CBC – Complete Bridal Confidence on 8th May 2017 at The Greenway Hotel and Spa, Cheltenham.

There support network includes a private Facebook group called Brides United, you can join it HERE. This is a place of sanctuary where you can ask questions, find out information and discuss your wedding with other contributors.

Be sure to join them and enjoy a glass of fizz, soak up invaluable information, ask our experts for advice, and enjoy our short but enlightening presentation when we will outline the concept of CBC – and share a super special offer for the first 5 brides to book a CBC package!

By the time you leave, we are confident that you will be happy in the knowledge that we are all there to hold your hand during your wedding planning, and will help make your dream wedding a reality, because as the L’Oreal adverts say ‘you’re worth it’.

Get your tickets for the launch event here:   Complete Bridal Confidence Tickets

It promises to be a fun, informative and enlightening experience, why not book tickets for mother of the bride and your maids too?

Happy planning

Sophie xx

Supplier Spotlight: Mini Morsels

Today’s spotlight is for catering and party food queen Ali Brinsford of Mini Morsels. We caught up with Ali to find out more about her catering style and how. she can transform any event, big or small with mini morsels of deliciousness.
Whether your looking to have an intimate private dining experience or fancy a few platters to go with those glasses of champers for your Bridal Breakfast as you get ready, Ali can help.
Tell us about you 

Hi my names Ali Brinsford and I chief chef at Mini Morsels. I love creating individual and tailored menus whether it be a private afternoon tea, bridal breakfast or a supper club. I specialise in catering for those special occasions without the hassle.

How long have you been in business?

1 year

How and why did you start your business?

To work around my children and to enjoy my passion for food! I love to cater for people and I get a lot of enjoyment from making people happy with good food.

For you what is the best part of running your business?

The work / life balance it gives me and the ability to get creative with food and making people happy with the delicious creations  I serve

Contact details to find out more:
Here’s some foodie pics that will have you drooling!

Happy planning

Sophie

xx

Brides of 2018: How to get the Markel Sparkle for your makeup

Okay, so her natural beauty aside – we can all agree that Meghan nailed the peachy, glowing ‘effortless’ makeup look. She looked incredible, but most importantly, she looked like herself. Fresh with freckles, soft and light and oozing timeless elegance.

But you don’t need to be a Hollywood star with an A List complexion and a royal glam squad to achieve the same look. I’ll show you how it’s done with some top tips and insider secrets.

Skin

Right, I may have fibbed, but just a little. Your complexion is really important, and while makeup is key when it comes to transforming you from Cinderella to Princess, if you want to sparkle like Markel then your wedding day look has to begin way before the big day.

Stick religiously to your cleanse, tone and moisturise routine and down the Evian like a Love Island newbie. Dull it may be, but you’ll thank your lucky stars when you look back on your photos in years to come and your complexion is positively luminous.

However, if you’re like me, and all the scrubbing and H2o in the world won’t do the trick, you can get a little more help with these beauties –

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Cream

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer- Radiance 

Tropic- Elixir Oil

Eyebrows

We all want them – subtle but strong, framing without dominating and with an arch as perfect as St George’s Chapels itself. She would have had a thread or a wax before the wedding day as Meghan’s brows were perfect, and looked even more defined than her usual look without being severe.

The products I love for creating a beautiful brow are Anastasia Beverley Hills, Brow Wizz, and Benefit, Brow Zings.

Blush

According to Elle magazine, the Duchess of Sussex favours Honest Beauty Creme Blush in Truly Exciting. It’s an American brand, and unsurprisingly, it’s currently out of stock on their site. Honestly!

Eyes 

Usually a fan of dark makeup around the eyes, the bride opted for a pared back look with a curled lash. And I often tell my brides, if you’re not usually an eye makeup kinda girl, then keep it natural on your wedding day.  You want to look and feel like you, but on a really, really goodday.

Forget the Maid of Honour, mascara will be your best friend on your wedding day. It has to be long-lasting and really open up your eyes.  And if it’s waterproof, even better. We bet even Meghan had a little tear after a few glasses of Champers! We like these –

Benefit- They’re Real

Bobbi Brown- Smokey Eye Mascara

Maybelline- Great Lash Big Mascara

Lips

It’s thought that Meghan j’adores her Dior Lip Glow in Coral. Dior is one of the brands I use at Makeup by Natasha Louise.

But it’s no good plonking it on you on the morning of the wedding and hoping for the best. Your wedding makeup artist must offer you a makeup trial, so you feel totally confident in your look. Meghan’s look may have looked effortless but believe me – it was no accident. Insist that your makeup artist listens to you and hears what you want to achieve.

As a professional, I always share my advice and opinion, but whether you’re a wannabe Meghan Markle or a closet Marilyn Manson, it’s your wedding day and you’re in charge.

Natasha Louise x

About Natasha

Natasha is a make up artist extraordinaire and the face, lady, behind Natasha Louise.

Natasha has grown her business to include a handpicked team of artists who are just what you need on your wedding day or special event to ensure your are looking your absolute best.

Be sure to follow Natasha on her social media channels:

www.facebook.com/makeupnatashalouise

www.instagram.com/makeupbynatashalouise

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Supplier Spotlight: Bellapeach Creative

Today’s Supplier Spotlight is for bespoke stationer Annabelle Gallagher. Annabelle specialises in creating contemporary stationary for any occasion but loves to design quirky styles for weddings.
We caught up with Annabelle to find out more about her stationary.
Tell us about you
Hi my name is Annabelle Gallagher and i own bespoke stationary business Bellapeach Creative.

I design and create beautiful stationery and handmade gifts for any event – from weddings and birthdays, to anniversaries and religious celebrations.

How long have you been in business?

1 year

How and why did you start your business?

Since planning my own wedding five years ago I have been creating wedding stationery for  friends and family on the side while working in range of marketing roles. In April 2017 when I went on maternity leave I decided to set up Bellapeach and pursue my dream of running my own wedding stationery business while looking after my little girl.

For you what is the best part of running your business?

Making peoples dreams turn into reality by creating bespoke designs for their weddings.

Contact details for more info
  • websitehttp://www.bellapeach.co.uk/
  • emailannabellegallagher@hotmail.co.uk
  • contact number07900695661
  • facebook@bellapeachcreative
  • instagram@bellapeachcreative
Additional info you’d like to share:

All designs are created with the individual couple in mind. I start each project with a consultation session, this can be either over the phone or via email to find out exactly what you are looking for.  I then take our agreed detailed brief and turn it into reality. Before printing you will be involved in the review process to ensure you are happy with the design.

More pics to swoon over:

Happy planning

Sophiexx

Are you ‘Getting Married’ or ‘Having a Wedding’?

Contentious Post Alert……… the cost of Weddings is always a tricky subject and if you believe the multiple media articles that have been written on the subject, mention the W word and its curtains. But have we created a false impression?

According to glossy mag Brides Magazine the average cost of a UK wedding is £30,000 (September, 2017) up from £20,500 in 2015 (You and Your Wedding)

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Having experience from both sides of the fence, as a Bride planning a DIY wedding and a Wedding Supplier I can appreciate and understand the misguided frustrations that sometimes surround the cost of products and services associated with this special day. I mean we can’t all afford 200K on a Givenchy haute couture bridal gown now can we?!

So with the costs rising were do you start?

Spoiler alert: The thing is – your wedding is as expensive as you choose it to be.

I know you’ve probably heard all this before and guessing your eye rolling right about now. This post isn’t going to tell you have to DIY like a pro or how to barter for wedding services but hopefully will help you put into perspective what is important for you to gain from your wedding day (vows aside) so that you can prioritize your finances.

We all want the same thing, a beautiful day surrounded by those we love and who love us, celebrated in a way that reflects the personality of the couple tying the knot.  So the obvious aside: The dress, beautiful pictures, stunning florals, wow factor cake. Why are you getting married? And more importantly:

Are you getting married? OR having a wedding?

Wow now that’s a game changer!

By breaking it down: getting married, its actually pretty straightforward –  the saying of vows and becoming legally bound to one another. A necessity if  you want to get married and have that all important piece of paper.

Having a wedding, is all the extras that are associated with getting married, the dress, stunning venue, gorgeous florals, wow factor cake etc.

So rather than why are weddings so expensive? Think of it as how much do I want to spend on celebrating getting married……….. after all you are choosing to cater for an all expenses paid party for a number of guests albeit with a ton of things that you wouldn’t normally do if you were organising a birthday party.

Lists will be your friend

Try and list everything that you think you’d need at your wedding or perhaps you’ve seen at other weddings – then go through and prioritize (i used a traffic light colour system: green – definite must have, orange – would like to have if budget allows and red – definite don’t want/not going to have) Try and be as thorough and detailed as possible ie catering to table confetti! Try our version here

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With your list of whats important to you be mindful when chatting with suppliers about your requirements –  understand the VALUE, SERVICE and EXPERIENCE that is each supplier is offering along with the service/product cost. As with most things and party planning – there will be things that you will want which you will find non-negotiable, and there will be other things that will hold little value to you and your celebration….. this is absolutely fine and many suppliers understand this.

But please do not expect suppliers to undervalue their product because it holds a lower value for yourself. Would you haggle with the sales assistant at Chanel or Christian Dior?

Want something but can’t quite make the budget work?

Remember whilst your wedding day will always be a special day its the journey and experience of getting to that moment – think outside the box if you need to- are you creative or perhaps you have creative friends and family that may be willing to lend a hand.

With DIY being hugely popular and ‘on trend’ right now check out local courses or you tube to find ways to ‘do it yourself’ everything from flowers to cakes, favours to stationary are covered. Why not check out our workshops page for what on and the nest bit your learning a new skill.

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So as a final thought: Creating memories to last a lifetime…… What price do you put on this and more importantly what memories do you want to cherish the most and do you really need all the ‘extras’ to have these memories.

My advice: be sure to secure the capturing of these memories for eternity

Happy Wedding Planning

Sophie

xx

Supplier Spotlight: MakeUp by Natasha Louise

Our Supplier Spotlight today is for Natasha Davies, the businesswoman and make up artist extraordinaire behind Natasha Louise. Natasha and her handpicked team of artists are just want you need on your wedding day or special event to ensure your are looking your absolute best.
We caught up with Natasha to find out more about her, her business and of course the make up!
Tell us about you
Hi my name is Natasha Davies and i am chief make up artist and owner at Makeup by Natasha Louise.
My business ethos is to ensure our brides/ clients look the very best version of themselves whatever the occasion, i have now expanded the business and developed a team of professional make-up artists, and we make it our responsibility to put our clients mind at ease, leaving them free to treasure every moment of their special day.
How long have you been in business?

4 years, including a relocation from Herefordshire to glorious Gloucestershire.

How and why did you start your business?

Since suffering with teenage skin, I had to become the master of cover up and quickly loved how makeup made me look and feel. I started formal training 10 years ago and soon after I got asked to help out with friends and family weddings. I then realised how much I LOVED being part of a someones special day. My hobby quickly turned into a business, and after a move to the Cotswolds the decision was made to pursue Makeup by Natasha Louise full time. With a handful of stylists in my team we’re now able to accommodate bookings across the three counties.

For you what is the best part of running your business?

I love the flexibility that self employment brings. I can do a job I love and spend quality time with my children without the ‘mum guilt’

Contact details to find out more:
Additional info you’d like to share:

Your wedding day is one of the most wonderful days of your life, which is why you should look the very best version of you.

You can expect your trial to last between 2-4 hours. This gives you plenty of scope to try as many looks as you need to until you are 100% happy with your bridal makeup. The trial can take place at your home, or if you’d prefer your makeup artists home. 

Some more pics to swoon over:

Happy planning
Sophie
xx

Thoroughly Modern Meghan…..

After weeks of hype its all over and now we discuss and debate the details of the wedding of the year, one of which being Meghan’s choice of wedding dress.

Firstly from us here at a Cotswold Wedding we wish the newly titled Duke & Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a wonderful start to the next chapter in there lives.

With not a scrap of lace, tulle or sparkle in sight Meghan’s choice of dress was the epitome of minimalist style, reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour and that most famous of style icons Audrey Hepburn.

As expected the wedding trend will follow suit, as it did after the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge’s marriage and you can expect to see, simple, classic lines with tailoring as key over the next months/years. But the truth is, British brides are already choosing gowns with a simpler, more classical, elegant approach you only need to see current collections of Suzanne Neville & Sassi Holford for examples.

The chosen designer for the wedding dress, as always has been a closely guarded secret, although London designer Ralph & Russo had been hotly tipped to be the creative team behind it.  The honor was bestowed to Clare Keller, second woman only to head up a major fashion house that is Givenchy.

Given that Givenchy also dressed Audrey Hepburn for her wedding day, i cant help but feel the fashion house was first choice in creating a modern yet stylishly timeless wedding dress that clearly fits within Meghan’s fashion styling ethos – functional, classic, well tailored pieces without additional ‘accessories’ (lace, beads, detailing) in sight.

The piazza to her wedding gown ensemble was Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau. The tiara was specifically made for Queen Mary in 1932 to accommodate, in the centre, the detachable brooch which was given as a present for her own wedding in 1893 by the County of Lincoln

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With many comparisons already being made between Meghan’s dress and that of Kate’s and Diana’s – was it too plain? Should it of been bigger? I can only say this – you wedding dress should be reflective of you as a person. Meghan’s was quite frankly perfect….. for her.

Here’s a shot of these two gorgeous ladies on their respective days- both dresses and simply stunning and both reflect ‘them’ as individuals perfectly. Kate as a future Queen and Meghan as a charitable patron with a clear ethos on style.

Happy planning!

Sophie xx

All images via The Guardian + The BBC and Copyright Reuters, PA

Supplier Spotlight: The Homemade Wedding Company

Today’s supplier spotlight is for passionate DIY weddiner, and homemade wedding expert  Jess Watson of The Homemade Wedding Company. I love the passion that Jess has in helping couples create beautiful homemade items themselves for their weddings to add a personal touch.

I caught up with Jess to find out more about her and The Homemade Wedding Company:

Tell us about you:

Hi my name is Jess Watson and i own The Homemade Wedding Company.

What does your business offer?

My aim is to work with couples to help them create the day they’ve always dreamed of whilst staying within their wedding budget. I offer DIY wedding workshops which show couples how to create their own beautiful wedding flowers, favours and decorations at home.

I also offer help with generating ideas and inspiration. How to use their wedding budget effectively and efficiently and provide advice on where to source the best value for money materials.

How long have you been in business?

The website has been running since 2016, the services and workshop side of things will be officially launched summer 2018.

How and why did you start your business?

Whilst planning my own wedding in 2016 I struggled to find enough DIY wedding inspiration and information. I was really keen to take on a lot of the wedding prep myself as I knew I’d enjoy it – which I did- and also thought I could save myself a bit of money along the way.

After the wedding I started the blog with the aim of providing inspiration and information for other brides like me who wanted to make and create elements of their wedding themselves but perhaps weren’t sure where to start. It was only after my daughter was born in 2017 that I realised I could turn it into a business and actually share my passion for wedding DIY and money saving with people through workshops and one-to-one sessions.

For you what is the best part of running your business?

Speaking to couples about their wedding plans is always pretty special for me but I love being creative and that’s what really makes me happy day to day.

Contact details to find out more:

Additional info you’d like to share:

My first DIY wedding flowers workshops will be taking place on Sat 30th June 2018 and Sat 28th July 2018 at Twyning Park, Tewkesbury. Places will be limited but if you’re interested in booking, please get in touch. Find out more here

 

What you can expect from The Homemade Wedding Company:

 

Happy planning!

 

Sophie

xx

Wedding Cakes and Fresh Flowers – 5 Top Tips

Fresh flowers are still a hugely popular choice for some couples to decorate their cake,  Sarah Osbourne of Simplicity Cakes by Sarah runs through the pros and cons of having fresh flowers on your wedding cake and 5 top tips to consider.

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It’s just a couple of weeks now until the next Royal wedding between HRH Prince Henry of Wales and Ms Meghan Markle and as they have already announced that their cake will feature fresh flowers, it’s a safe bet that this ever-popular trend will stick around for a while longer, much to both the delight and frustration of cake designers.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some spectacular designs which can be created safely with fresh flowers (I had a stunning arrangement for my own wedding cake), but it seems that no matter how much designers shout about food safety, the power of Pinterest always wins and we’re asked to replicate designs which are fundamentally unsafe.  That said, flowers have been decorating cakes since cake began so I’m hoping to set the record straight with some info, warning and general safety essentials to help the B2B.  If you really want to use fresh flowers, do it safely!!

So to begin…why are fresh flowers (potentially) bad?

Decorations inevitably come in contact with the edible part of the cake, especially if the cake is buttercream-covered.  Many venues also routinely decorate the ‘cut’ cake with the leftover flowers to make it look pretty… thus, they are in direct contact with what you eat….now think of this…

  • A lot of fresh flowers are toxic (i.e. poisonous). Sometimes it’s only parts of the flower (the stamen, sap, petals), but, either way, it’s bad.  Would you put poison on your cake??  No?  So toxic fresh flowers shouldn’t go there either.  Symptoms can range from nausea and vomiting, to itching/blistering where contact has been made with the skin (or worse) if ingested.  Most people will now say, ‘well, I’ve never heard of anyone dying from fresh flowers on a cake’, well, neither have I (although I have heard of hospital admissions). But why risk it?  While I’m no botanist, some of the most common toxic flowers include:
    • Lillies
    • Delphinium
    • Lilly-of-the-valley
    • Poinsettia
    • Hydrangea
    • Tulips
    • Gypsophelia is disputed and contentious amongst cake designers but I personally have read enough to put it in the ‘toxic’ category.
    • Sadly, many of these are very popular wedding flowers.  For more information, have a look the Royal Horticultural Society… https://www.rhs.org.uk/Advice/Profile?PID=524
  • Most (I stress most, not all) fresh flowers these days are mass produced – they are treated with pesticides and fungicides to make them last and look good. Even ‘organic’ flowers get treated.  These treatments both permeate the flower and sit on the surface, meaning the treatment touches the edible cake.  Again, if you fancy spraying your dinner plate with ‘rose shield’, go ahead [joke – do NOT spray your plate with rose shield!!]…otherwise, be aware that commercial chemicals designed for horticulture are not designed for human consumption.
  • Have you ever looked in a florist’s bucket? Or in the stagnant water in the tubs of supermarket flower sections?  Well, this is what your flowers (which will be inserted in your wedding cake) have been sat in.    That is all I think needs to be said here.  This picture is actually pretty good compared to many I’ve seen but there were still a few dead leaves, bit of plastic and weird residue in the water…

 

  • We all know that flowers provide vital habitats for wildlife, but many insects live IN our flowers, especially in the tightly nestled petals of some of our favourite bouquet blooms. If you don’t want any surprise visitors emerging when you cut your cake, make other plans!

But…I saw this design on Pinterest and it’s sooooo perfect!!

Just because you saw it on Pinterest, doesn’t mean you can have it for your REAL wedding cake…not if you want to eat it anyway.  Cakes used for styled shoots are not designed to be eaten so who cares if toxic flower goo permeates the sponge?  This also applies to supermarket magazines advertising ‘DIY’ wedding cakes and cake TV shows.  I regularly see premium supermarket brands’ magazines showing ‘styling suggestions’ of fresh hydrangea or calla lilies – some of the most toxic plants out there.  Just because a brand you trust implies it’s OK, does not mean that it is.

But I really want to use flowers…

Ok, so, if reading all the above isn’t putting you off, there are basic precautions that you MUST follow.  And by ‘must’, I mean that if you are serving a food product, you must ensure by law that it is safe.  Read on for 5 basic rules and tips…

1 – NO TOXIC FLOWER MUST COME INTO CONTACT WITH EDIBLE CAKE.  EVER.

End of.  Use non-toxic species or, if a toxic breed is absolutely ‘necessary’, use artificial tiers for that arrangement and make up the servings with kitchen cakes.  This is even more of a concern if you are going with a ‘naked’ cake or a coating which is sticky and likely to adhere to the properties of what it is near to (think pollen falling off a stamen).

2 – USE ORGANIC FLOWERS DESIGNED FOR THE FOOD INDUSTRY

I’ve found most florists are not able to trace the provenance of their flowers or their growing conditions.  This is not the fault of the florist (they are not training to be food handlers after all) who buy from wholesalers for the mass market.  Their flowers are not designed to be eaten.  There are a couple of companies which provide edible flowers such as Maddocks Farm.  This is really where you should be looking.

3 – CLEAN YOUR FLOWERS

If you can’t do ‘2’ above, always wash any flowers which are coming into contact with the cake carefully but thoroughly and check for ‘hidden protein’ (i.e. insects & bugs).

4 – PREPARE ARRANGEMENTS

There is two things you are trying to prevent when you prepare stems for insertion into a cake:

  • Leaking goo from the stem itself penetrating the sponge (eeeuw)
  • Toxic/dirty/general nastiness coming into contact with the edible sponge/cake covering

To the best of my knowledge, the only ‘fully approved’ mechanism for safely inserting flowers is to tape them together using floral tape and then insert the arrangement into a posy pick.

There are some wax-based products out there which claim to do the job – I’m personally not convinced after my own experiences where the wax flaked off when the stems bent as I was inserting the flowers into the cake.  I can see it working for really stiff-stemmed flowers and those which have already been taped and wired but, for anything else, I’d go for the ‘old school’ method.

A more modern technique which, I have used myself on a few occasions is to wrap the flowers individually in tape, then cover that in CAREFULLY folded tinfoil and squeeze.  Fill the end of a straw with a blob on fondant and insert the prepared stem into the (open) end of the straw.  The tape and foil double-ensures no drippage.  The foil must not be damaged/split or it will be useless.  The straw provides the food-safe barrier and the fondant blob prevents contact between the taped flowers and the cake at the end (that said, even if that fails, foil is food-safe anyway).  Either way, you’ve taken every precaution and the odds of contamination are negligible.

Unless the flowers are ‘food safe’, you should also try to add a protective barrier or paper, foil or film between the flowers and the edible components.  Greaseproof paper works well for ivory cakes, cellophane for white/colored designs.

No matter what happens, NEVER (I’m making hand gesticulations here while writing this), repeat NEVER simply snip off a flower head and stick it in a cake.  I’ve seen it done several times on TV shows and (proper edible flowers notwithstanding), it is wrong, disgusting and illegal in the UK because it breaches food hygiene regulations.  TV shows are for watching, not necessarily for actual eating.

5 – RESERVOIRS ONLY GO UNDER THE CAKE

A lot of delicate and really luscious arrangements need water to keep them looking their best – that means a reservoir.  Reservoirs must never be placed above edible cake in case they drip onto the tiers below.  Not only is there an obvious hygiene issue, but water will cause serious damage to any fondant-covered or royal iced design (it won’t look too good mixed buttercream or ganache either).

OK, so I’m feeling deflated at this point…where can I use fresh flowers??

FLOWER PEDESTALS!!!!  These can add such an unbelievable ‘wow’ factor to your cake with the total flexibility of having whatever you want because they are below the edible components.  Nothing to drip, nothing to fall.  If you want flowers on the rest of the design, heed the above guidance or, even better, have your designer make sugar versions (which are technically edible).  Have you considered artificial flowers which can be thoroughly cleaned and prepped in advance?  We’ve created several flower pedestals in the past – take a look at our wedding cake gallery for some ideas!

ARTIFICIAL TIERS… If you want a fresh flower topper, use an artificial top tier.  While you still must be aware of items falling onto the edible tiers below, you are at reducing direct contact.  Trim flower stamen or anything which could fall.

PROPERLY PREPARED, EDIBLE FLOWERS…There are companies which specialise in these types of flowers which can look incredible.  Just be prepared to be creative with your designs 🙂

So, that’s all I can say about fresh flowers on wedding cakes.  My aim is to provide a ‘best practice’ approach for fellow designers and, especially, the brave bride who is contemplating recreating a look herself.  This is a subject of contention amongst cake designers, all of whom will have their own policies so don’t be surprised if your designer requires you sign additional disclaimers if you want fresh flowers on your wedding cake.

For now, I’m off for a cuppa and to wonder what Meghan and Harry will choose for their design!

If anyone has any questions, feel free to drop me a message on Facebook, or send me an email 🙂

Lots of love – S xx

 

About Sarah:

Today’s blog post is courtsey of Sarah Osbourne of Simplicity Cakes by Sarah.

Simplicity Cakes by Sarah specialises in luxury wedding cake designs. Based in Swindon, we regular deliver throughout Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and beyond. We use the finest quality ingredients to create commissions which taste as spectacular as they look and our end-to-end service makes ordering your bespoke wedding cake stress-free and enjoyable.

Website: http://www.simplicitycakes.co.uk

Email: sarah@simplicitycakes.co.uk

Phone: 07796 224 591

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