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…

The Bride’s bouquet is said to be filled with good fortune.
Greg Randon Studio.

Bridal Blessing

The bride’s bouquet is thought to be filled with good fortune, so back in Queen Victoria’s day it was customary for the bride to remove flowers from her bouquet and present one to each of her bridesmaids.  This eventually evolved into tossing the bouquet itself.  Modern brides often have a special toss bouquet made just for the occasion.

Marriage Mob

The origin of the garter toss on the other hand, is light on romance and heavy on creepy.

In medieval times it was common for wedding guests to escort the newlyweds to the bedroom as the celebration was drawing to a

Ricky Songy Photography

close.  And like the bouquet, the bride’s clothing was also said to bring good luck, sometimes causing inebriated guests to tear at her gown.  The protective groom would often throw her garter into the unruly crowd as distraction and to prevent anyone from going after it themselves.  Thankfully, this custom has also evolved!

A special thank you to beautiful brides Lacey G. and Amanda B. for the use of their wonderful wedding photos in this post! ~ M. T.

Ricky Songy Photography

 

 

Wedding Superstitions and Traditions: The Veiled Bride

The bridal veil has come along way, in both style and significance.  This traditional accessory once actually served a purpose, or two, according to wedding historians.

Behind the Veil

Add the bridal veil to the long list of Roman creations.  Originally worn by the bride as protection from evil spirits that might be jealous of her joy and attempt to harm her, the veil was meant to render her unrecognizable by these grumpy ghosts.  Early Roman veils are sometimes described as cloths placed around the face, decorated with fire and flames.  Fortunately the bride-on-fire look did not last.

An even less romantic purpose for the veil worn over the face was allegedly to hide the bride’s beauty (or lack thereof) from her groom when the marriage was arranged, to prevent him from potentially fleeing.  The act of lifting the veil was the big reveal to the groom and his family.  And the moment was symbolic of him taking possession of the bride.  Over time the veil’s meaning evolved in some cultures into a sign of religious respect and even the bride’s virtue.

Veil Variety

To the sometimes stuffy Victorians, the veil was viewed as a status symbol.  Both quality and length were an indication of the bride’s place in society with royal brides having the longest veils.

The mid 20th century saw a trend towards smaller veils.  They were often simply ornamental and sometimes covered only the eyes, like the popular birdcage veil in the 1940′s.  Fast forward to the 1980′s, when bigger everything was better, and we find veil length often tied to the formality of the ceremony.  Cathedral length was common at the most formal affairs, for instance Princess Diana’s 24 foot long veil.

When considering your veil style (or if you should wear one at all…for the record, I vote yes, yes, yes!), embrace this delicate compliment’s fabled past, keep an open mind, and as always do what makes you feel most beautiful. ~ M.T.

 

 

 

 

Wedding Superstitions & Traditions: Wedding Day Weather

Steve Randon Studio.

Not a rainy Saturday goes by that I don’t think about it being someone’s wedding day.  The bride who wakes to drizzle or downpour will certainly hear over and over that rain is good luck, as she attempts to keep frizzy hair at bay and her dress out of puddles.

While worrying about this uncontrollable element of your big day is perfectly pointless, it’s the wise bride who is prepared with a back up plan.  But what’s with this good luck theory?  Is it simply a made up concoction courtesy of well meaning family and friends attempting to cheer up a rainy day bride?  While the origin of this superstition is not entirely clear, multiple cultures have something to say about wedding day weather.

Rain is said to be good luck as it washes away sadness and sorrow.  It is also said to increase fertility.  The Hindus wisely observed that “a wet knot is much more difficult to unravel.”  Americans tend to embrace the good luck theory as well, while the Irish are divided.  Some agree it is a blessing while others believe rain prior to a wedding foretells of a lifetime of tears.  Other folklore states that windy or cloudy skies predict a stormy marriage, but falling snow brings peacefulness and warmth.

Superstitions aside, many photographers appreciate shooting on a rainy, overcast day as lighting is often optimal, free of unflattering shadows created by harsh sunlight.  Colors appear brighter and more saturated when wet, enhancing the richness and look of both buildings and nature.  And wet pavement can cast beautiful reflections.  Use gray skies to your advantage to create unexpected shots that enhance your true bridal beauty.  If the forecast is looking bleak, discuss unique, rainy day image options with your photographer.

Embrace your wedding day weather no matter what.  If the forecast calls for rain, make a plan B and stick to it.  Rain or shine, make your own good luck!  ~ M.T.

 

Freeze Your Cake and Eat It Too

If you’d like to keep with popular tradition and freeze the top tier of your wedding cake, but fear freezer burn and a sketchy tasting cake 365 days from now, we’ve got you covered.  Here’s how to successfully store your big-day-dessert so you can enjoy it on your one year anniversary.

  • First, remove any adornments like sugar flowers or other ornaments and set aside.
  • Chill the cake.  This allows the icing to harden so the plastic wrap doesn’t stick to it.  Chill time will vary, just be sure the icing is firm.
  • Next, wrap the unadorned cake generously and snugly in multiple layers of of plastic wrap.  Be sure there are no gaps or air pockets that might lead to dreaded freezer burn.
  • Once the cake is solidly wrapped, place it in a sturdy container, like a box, which prevents dents from other misbehaving or carelessly placed frozen foods.
  • Be sure to mark your little frozen bundle of nostalgia appropriately so you don’t mistake it for last month’s lasagna and accidentally toss it.
  • When it’s time to celebrate your first year of wedded bliss, simply remove the box from the freezer 24 hours in advance, leaving all wrappings intact, and place it in the fridge.  An hour before serving, unwrap it and set it out at room temperature.

Hints:  Consider keeping your cake at a distance from other frozen leftovers so it doesn’t absorb any unwanted flavors.

Be mindful of cakes of with delicate ingredients, like creamy fillings, that may not freeze as well as heartier flavors like almond or carrot cake.

Some event planners will see to it that your top tier is wrapped properly and given to a trusted friend or relative until you can place it in your own freezer.  And of course you always have the option of revisiting your bridal bakery prior to your anniversary and having them recreate your top tier if you’d rather not be bothered at all.

 

Did you know…?  This modern tradition stems from an old custom when couples once preserved the top tier of their wedding cake to be used at their first child’s christening or baptism, which was assumed to take place within a year of the bride and groom’s nuptials.

Live it up y’all!  – M.T.

 

Meredith handles Brand Development, Social Media and Special Projects for Haydel’s.  Keep up with all things sweet and southern right here on “Haydelicious.” 

 

 

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.

 

All About Him: The Groom’s Cake

When I mentioned I was writing this blog about the origin of the groom’s cake, one of my co-workers said she always assumed it was a southern thing because we generally like to eat more than the rest of the country.  While our love affair with food is undeniable, the groom’s cake is actually of English decent, first appearing during the Victorian Era (1837-1901).  The tradition has since mostly faded away across the pond, but it’s still trendy here in the U.S., especially in the South, where we tend to have a deep appreciation for not just most things edible but also for customs of days gone by.

Like the earliest wedding cakes, groom’s cakes were originally made of fruit cake.  The modern version we know today only came about after the inception of processed flour and baking soda.  Fruit, liqueur and chocolate were common ingredients in the first groom’s cakes.  Chocolate still reigns as the most requested flavor, not only across the country, but here at Haydel’s too.

Today, we usually see the groom’s cake served alongside the wedding cake, as a compliment or additional alternative to the multi tiered showstopper, but that was not always the case.

A Mysterious Past

The groom’s cake has been linked to many a legend.  Rumor has it that there were once three separate cakes at the celebration…the wedding cake, a bride’s cake, and a groom’s cake (sounds like my kind of party!).  While the wedding cake was served to all the guests, the bride and groom’s cakes were specifically for members of the wedding party and served following the ceremony.

Some say the groom’s cake was once simply the top tier of the elaborate wedding cake, meant to be saved and enjoyed on the couple’s first anniversary.  This has since evolved into its own custom.

As a stand alone cake, we’ve heard it was common at one time to present individually wrapped slices in monogrammed boxes to each guest as a wedding favor as they left the party.

For modern couples who choose to embrace the groom’s cake tradition, the details of this masculine confection may serve as a surprise from the bride to her future husband, or they may be entirely of his choosing.  Either way, it is most often made to reflect his personal taste and even his favorite pastime or hobby.

Folklore

One superstition suggests that single ladies who placed a slice of the groom’s cake under their pillow would dream of their future husbands.  In similar lore, a ceremony in my own sorority advised that sleeping with a special piece of cake under your pillow would make your dreams true, but not specific to one’s future betrothed…although the two go hand and hand for many.

Serve It Up

Some say etiquette calls for the groom’s cake not to be served at the wedding at all.  However exceptions apparently can be made if wedding cake is the only dessert being served, with the groom’s cake following the serving of the wedding cake.  Alternatively, it has been suggested that individual slices can be boxed and given to the single women at the reception, certainly so they can place it under their pillow.

We Say…

Don’t fear the cake police.  I doubt they’ll pay you a visit on your big day.  If they do, they may be disguised as unwanted, misguided opinions, which I highly suggest you disregard.  The groom’s cake is a chance for you or your other half to have fun and be creative with the flavor and the design if you wish.  Keep it classy of course, but no matter what, remember it’s your day together, so make your own rules.  You may even start a new tradition. Check out our gallery of groom’s cakes here: http://www.haydelbakery.com/groom  – 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 H.  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 at least a 3 to 4 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.  Your 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 right now?

There are so many unique designs out there, it’s always hard to say exactly what the trend is.  Textured trims and lace patterns have been very popular, which is quite 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 make your life easier).  Happy planning y’all! – 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.   

Buttercream

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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Destination Desserts

Perhaps it’s not your first trip down the aisle.  Maybe your family and friends are scattered across the globe, or you and your groom simply want to say your I Do’s in an exciting locale…regardless of the reason, destination weddings are hot!  In fact, with its mild climate and enchanting atmosphere the Big Easy is a popular place for visitors to take the plunge. Here at Haydel’s, we produce upwards of 15+ destination wedding cakes alone per week during our peak season.

Since destination weddings typically have significantly fewer guests than a hometown ceremony, brides often choose smaller versions of traditional or themed wedding cakes…sometimes with a twist. For small celebrations, we’ve created personal mini cakes for each individual guest. We also offer wedding cakes for the most intimate of ceremonies that serve just two. Couples traveling to exchange vows may opt out of a cake all together and instead serve guests themed cupcakes or even daintily decorated petit fours, a southern favorite.

Selecting flavors that are popular or appropriate for the particular region where your nuptials are taking place is always a hit. Home sweet home may be landlocked, but if you’re getting hitched seaside, consider coconut, lemon, pineapple or other tropical flavors and fillings.  We fill lots or orders for red velvet, and even tiered King Cake wedding cakes, the traditional carnival season treat. But our most popular wedding cake flavor with all of our Haydel’s brides is our famous Almond Wedding Cake.  With a hint of almond enveloped in rich vanilla and butter, it’s a distinct and delicious taste that you’ll not soon forget.

When you’re planning your destination wedding, don’t be afraid to think outside of the traditional dessert box.  Get creative.  Go ahead, make bold choices.  Have fun and embrace the local flavor!  And if you’re still deciding on where to tie the knot, we’d love to have you!

- M.T.

 

Cake Pulls: A Southern Tradition

 

Ahh, the South.  With its grand tradition and fanfare, this Louisiana native thinks there is simply no finer or more magical place.  We cherish and celebrate long-held customs, many of which have either fallen by the wayside elsewhere or simply never existed…the blessing of a hand written thank you note, use of the classic monogram anywhere we can put it, a gentleman holding the door for a lady (especially the car door *sigh*), and of course, our customary greeting, a kiss on the cheek.  If you’re not a Southerner, bless your heart, you may have never heard of cake pulls, but here in New Orleans, they’re as traditional and beloved as red beans and rice on Monday night.

The history of cake pulls can be traced back to Victorian times.  Originally called “ribbon pulling,” a bride would place tiny charms of fortune in the wedding cake for her single friends.  Still popular with modern southern brides, sterling silver charms are placed inside the cake and attached to ribbons or bracelets.  Members of the wedding party are invited to pull a charm from the cake before it’s cut.

Sometimes, the bride will request that a member of the wedding party receive a specific charm. In this case, the special charm is denoted with a different knot or a slightly different ribbon than the others. The bearer keeps the charm and often the bride will give a charm bracelet as a gift to her bridesmaids on which the charm can be displayed.

Charms are not baked into the cake, but rather added after baking.  They are hidden between the layers or underneath the cake for easy removal.  Each charm has a different meaning.  Here are some of our favorites, many traditional and others unique to New Orleans:

High Chair – Next to have a baby
Rocking Chair – Long life ahead
Chili Pepper – Red hot romance
Telephone – Good news is coming
Cinderella’s Carriage – Happily ever after
Clover/Shamrock/Horseshoe – Good luck
Money Bag – Financial security
Wishing Well – Wish will be granted
Guardian Angel – Someone special is looking after you
Captain’s Wheel – Confidence
Flower – A blossoming relationship
Tiger – Wisdom
Button – Old maid or bachelorette
Ring – Next to marry
Bells – Soon to be wed
Heart – Your love is a true love
Hot Sauce Bottle – Sizzling love
Fleur De Lis – New beginning or rebirth
Oyster with Pearl – Wealth and prosperity
Lamp Post – Bright future
Street Car – Good news is coming with travel
Water Meter – Strength and stability
Mardi Gras Bead Dog© – Young at heart

No matter where it is you call home, embrace your local tradition by including it (or even some of ours) in your festivities and laissez les bons temps rouler!

Happy wedding season y’all!