Wedding Traditions & Superstitions: Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

Paul Wood Photography

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” This old, familiar rhyme suggests brides carry several tokens of good luck on their trip down the aisle.

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Viva Las Vegas!

I was lucky enough to spend last week in Vegas baby, a city that boasts nearly as many nicknames as New Orleans. Las Vegas has definitely earned the title of “Marriage Capital of the World” and although I wasn’t there for a wedding, this trip was all about weddings.

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Wedding Superstitions & Traditions: The Bouquet & Garter Toss

Greg Randon Studio.

While some may cringe when they hear the call for all the single folks to come to floor, others can’t wait to wrestle their gal pals for a fist full of fresh flowers or try to beat their bros to the garter.  But few give a second thought as to how these celebrated shenanigans that supposedly signify the next to wed, got their start…

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How Does Your Big Day Match Up Against the American Average?

Wedding season is in full swing here at Haydel’s!  Our friends at the knot recently released their Real Wedding Survey encompassing 13,000 U.S. brides who walked down the aisle in 2013.  Despite the trend toward more casual celebrations, wedding budgets continue to increase.  According to our local contacts at the knot, around 200 Louisiana weddings are represented in these numbers.

2013 Wedding Stats

  • Average Wedding Budget: $29,858 (excludes honeymoon)
  • Most Expensive Place to Get Married: Manhattan, $86,916 average spend (excludes honeymoon)
  • Least Expensive Place to Get Married: Idaho, $16,159 average spend (excludes honeymoon)
  • Average Spent on a Wedding Dress: $1,281
  • Average Marrying Age: Bride, 29; Groom, 31
  • Average Number of Guests: 138
  • Average Number of Bridesmaids: 4 to 5
  • Average Number of Groomsmen: 4 to 5
  • Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December
  • Average Length of Engagement: 14 months
  • Most Popular Month to Get Married: June and September
  • Popular Wedding Colors: Blue (35%), Purple (26%), Pink (25%), Metallics (25%)
  • Percentage of Destination Weddings: 24%

Wedding budgets have continued to rise since the economic downturn five years ago.  Carley Roney, co-founder of the knot, says much of modern couples expenses go to “creating a unique, personalized and once-in-a-lifetime experience for guests…”

Louisiana ranks 17th among the 25 most expensive places to get married (or where couple’s spend the most).

In our upcoming blog posts, we’ll break down some top wedding trends, like personalization and modernization, and share ideas on how you can include them in your big day!  Till then, happy planning y’all! – M.T.


Wedding Cake FAQ

We love these engraved forks found on The Faded Nest!

You’re getting married! There can be a considerable amount of stress when it comes to tying the knot, but the cake is one accessory that you can definitely have some fun with and it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) require too much of your time or attention. We sat down with one of our most seasoned wedding cake specialists here at Haydel’s, Tonya. She’s been working with NOLA brides at Haydel’s for nearly 10 years and is often requested for wedding cake consultations for her enthusiasm and vast wedding cake knowledge.  Although she now heads up our HR department, she still makes time for bridal consultations. Herself a bride-to-be, we popped open the bubbly and asked Tonya to share answers to some of our brides most frequently asked questions when it comes to the sweetest of plans for the big day.

How far in advance should I reserve my date?

Here at Haydel’s we typically recommend reserving your wedding date a few months in advance. However, some dates can book up quickly, depending on time of year and popularity, so it is always best to get your date secured as soon as possible.  our best bet is to put a call into the bakeries you’re interested in to find out if your date is available.

Do I need to make an appointment for a wedding cake consultation/tasting?

We offer wedding cake consultations Tuesday through Friday from 7:30am until 4:00pm as walk-ins only, no appointment necessary. We do take appointments on Saturdays however, so if a Saturday is most convenient for you, give us a call to set up a time. Don’t delay though, our Saturdays book up fast. Every bakery varies and most include this type of information on their websites.

Do I need to specifically request a tasting or is that automatically included in the consultation? 

We prepare wedding cake samples everyday and always have them on hand.Therefore brides are welcome to walk – in anytime before 4pm on weekdays (excluding Monday) and receive a sample tray. Even though we only do consultations on Saturdays by appointment we still try to carry a few extra samples so that if a bride happens to be in town and would simply like to pick up samples, we can usually accommodate her.

Lovely lace.

What should I bring to the appointment?

If there are any images of cakes the bride may be interested in, it is always best to have them available so that our sales specialist can assist them more accurately with design, pricing, etc. We have an entire wedding cake album for them to view when they come in, if they do not have a specific idea in mind just yet.  Be sure to check out our wedding cake gallery on our website for some ideas too. Color swatches from bridesmaids dresses or other samples are helpful as well.

Texture is trendy!

What’s trendy in wedding cakes?

There are so many unique designs out there, it’s always hard to say exactly what’s trendy. Textured trims and lace patterns have been very popular, which is interesting considering one is very simple and the other is ornate.

Have you given any thought to your own wedding cake yet?

I have given plenty of thought to my own wedding cake. Working with brides and wedding cakes all day, it is hard not to!  I have decided to go with a simple, textured design. Perhaps I’m just going with the trend right now or maybe I have seen so much that I decided to keep it simple. I have a few ideas to add my own touch, but I’m keeping those a secret!

No matter your wedding style, have fun when it comes to designing your cake. Don’t be afraid to let your personality show! Most importantly, enjoy the planning process and find vendors that make your life easier…(of course a glass of champagne can also do the trick!).  Happy planning y’all! – M.T.


Piece of Cake: Season 1. And Only.

“Piece of Cake” :30 Promo

Call it dumb luck, coincidence, or maybe a little hustle, but for some reason, I live on the cusp of meaningless greatness, knocking on the door of insignificant notoriety.  Something big (at least in my little world) always seems to be within my grasp.  Out of the ordinary opportunity finds me.  So as I sat across from Ryan Haydel discussing the possibility of working for him, I wasn’t too surprised when he said, “About the time you would be starting, we’ll begin production on our new reality show.”  What luck!  I was at just the right place at the right moment, this time for a chance at local stardom and maybe, just maybe something more.

:30 Promo “Piece of Cake” Episode 7: Cake Battle

Pitched as a behind the scenes look at daily life in a third generation New Orleans family bakery business, much of the filming for the premier season of “Piece of Cake” took place during the summer of 2011. (Click on most of the photos in this post for a peak at various episodes).

:30 Episode 3: 610 Stompers

Now every family business has its colorful characters, but in our case, New Orleans itself quickly took the lead role.  The Big Easy consistently provides our staff with all sorts of unique real life challenges.  Navigating the pothole laden, bumpy delivery routes through the Quarter without a skilled driver at the wheel can take down an entire tier of a masterfully created wedding cake faster than you can say red beans and rice.  Without the proper precautions, our world famous humidity can cause icing and other sugary adornments to slip off a cake as quickly as a snoball melts in August.  Even the Superdome, home to our beloved Saints, was the center of our “World’s Largest King Cake” project in Episode 1, resulting in two Guinness World Records that still stand today.  Off season shenanigans provided plenty of delicious content to fill eight episodes. Oh, but the magic we could have made if we would have been shooting during carnival time.  We may have had to bump up to an hour long show to accommodate all the drama and Mardi Gras mayhem!

Episode 1: World’s Largest King Cake

My handful of brief appearances (Ryan claims they were saving me for season 2) almost always happened on accident when I inadvertently wandered into a scene and then froze on the spot.  Typical.  I’m at my best in front of a teleprompter.  Or behind a keyboard.

The show aired on our local Fox affiliate and was a hit with the ratings to match.  Each day at Haydel’s HQ started with anticipation of a possible national TV deal accompanied by lengthy conversation about how life would surely change.  And believe me, we were close.  More than once.  But it wasn’t meant to be.

:30 Promo Episode 7

Piece of Cake’s” pulse is faint, living on via DVD.  I had some good laughs relieving our 15 minutes watching a few episodes again.  And I’ll always have Episode 7, when I was not only credited with the Cake Battle idea, but even got my name onscreen, misspelled, but onscreen nonetheless.  Savor the moment y’all! – M.T.


In Defense of Fruitcake

You either love it or hate it.  Maybe you’ve never really given it a fair shake and deemed it unsavory based on hearsay alone.  Or perhaps you’ve actually tired it but due to preconceived notions or peer pressure, you had your mind made up that no matter how it actually tasted, you simply were not going to like it.

Legend has it that the earliest versions of fruitcake were placed on ancient Egyptian tombs for use in the afterlife, but it didn’t become common until Roman times.  And a few may argue that some of today’s fruitcakes taste as if they’ve been around since then, but perhaps if you’re not sold on it, you should consider giving fruitcake a second look.  Times have changed and so have your options.

I’ll admit that although I come from fruitcake-digging parents, I did not inherit their affection for this dense and fruity holiday treat.  So when the boss insisted I try our new fruitcake formulas (“Eat this or you’re fired.”), I was apprehensive but compliant.  And more than pleasantly surprised.

Our Haydel’s recipe has always been a big seller around the holidays, but we think the variety and taste our new recipes offer is simply terrific and appeals to traditionalists and fruitcake virgins alike.  Pineapple with Macadamia Nuts, Creole Apricot…I mean, really?!  Truly sinful y’all!  This is not fruitcake from the days of yore, I can assure you.

Perhaps you just need to find the right fruitcake for you.  The holidays are a time for second chances, so consider giving a modern version of this often misunderstood Christmas classic another try.  You might be pleasantly surprised too!  Joyeux Noel!  – M.T.

Send Us Your Favorite Fall Pie Recipe

Fall means football, tailgating, and cooler weather (eventually, right?).  And if you’re a foodie, it also calls for a change in menu.  Personally, it is hands down my favorite time of year.  I absolutely love fall baking and for all of you out there who do as well, we’ve cooked up a little contest just for you.

The Haydel’s historical recipe book is still in use at the bakery everyday.

We want your favorite fall pie recipe!  Once all submissions are received, the Haydel’s will choose their top 5 and make them.  The winner will be determined via taste test and voted on by a panel of expert judges (in other words, folks that know delicious…I am a self appointed judge and I promise, you can trust me!).  When submitting your recipe, be sure to think fall.

“Autumn comes slowly in New Orleans. The grass remains a stubborn green, but the heat gives way to a gentle warmth.”- A Love Song For Bobby Long

In addition to a $150 Haydel’s gfit card, the winning pie recipe will also be featured in an upcoming post here on Haydelicious.  We’re accepting entries now through September 15th, 2013.  The winning entry will be announced the first week of October.  You may email your recipe to or mail it to Fall Pie Contest, Haydel’s Bakery, 4037 Jefferson Highway, Jefferson, LA 70121.  Please include your name, address, daytime telephone number and any interesting history or side notes about the recipe.

Get to submitting y’all and happy fall! – M.T.

Icing: Anyway You Like It!

There’s one in every celebrating crowd.  As the cake is about to be cut, they lay claim to the piece with the most icing via proclamation.  I am that person.  End piece please!  If said cake includes edible garnishes, kindly pass them my way.  The price of over consumption may come with a little tummy ache, but it’s worth it to this frosting loving fool.

Icing as we know it didn’t begin to emerge until sometime in the 17th century.  And even then it was often only used to decorate elaborate display pieces for feasts of the wealthy.  It wasn’t until the French began serving dessert as an entirely separate course (what took them so long??) that decorated cakes started to appear regularly.  My obsession, er rather, affection for icing has led me to study the three most popular variations here at Haydel’s.   


Arguably the most common, buttercream in its simplest form, is made by creaming butter with powdered sugar, and can be used as icing and filling.  Buttercream made with shortening and a higher sugar content tends to withstand warmer temperatures better than that made solely with butter.  It is the least expensive icing option and easiest to manipulate for decorators.  I tend to lose my mind around buttecream.  It’s hands down my favorite when it comes to taste.

Rolled Fondant

Rolled fondant is dough-like in nature.  Often the most visually appealing, it produces a smooth satin finish and can be molded into nearly any shape.  Rolled fondant can make for some showstopping creations.  Although some may not agree that it’s as palatable as buttercream or the poured variety, it sure is sexy.  Rolled fondant can be a bit pricier than other options depending on the intricacy of the design.

Poured Fondant

Sweet and creamy, poured fondant is often simply born out of sugar, corn syrup and water.  A multi-talented medium, poured fondant is used on multiple bakery items.  Petit fours, sugar cookies, king cakes, and cinnamon roles are bathed in it.  The look of poured fondant on cake is elegant and delicate.  It reminds me of days gone by…romantic, vintage.  Of course it can also be the most temperamental.  If not heated to the ideal temperature, poured fondant will be too thick to pour.  If heated too high, it becomes too thin and will run off the cake.  Treat it just right and a stunning and delicious reward awaits!

Tell us which one is your favorite.  Not sure?  Maybe it’s time for a taste test.  And might I also suggest that you keep the wise words of author Ernestine Ulmer in mind, “Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first.”  Live it up y’all!  – M.T.

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