Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Do You Actually Make Cakes?

Or, rather, do you actually want people to see your cakes? Yesterday's episode in cake hunting was somewhat frustrating:

My "job" for the day was to call Central Market and another baker (who shall remain nameless in my effort to not be sued) in Houston to see if I could set up a cake tasting. The help desk picked up the phone, but it just kept ringing in the bakery. No big deal, I was going to call the Austin store to see if we could do the tasting at their store anyway. I called up the Austin store and asked if I could talk to bakery, and they picked up the phone fairly quickly.

"Hi, do you make wedding cakes?"
"Yes, we do. Unless you want a tiered cake; we don't have the equipment to make tiered cakes."

Great, well that wouldn't do. Next on the list was the other baker, who I knew might be problematic, since the shop's website said that they only did weekend consultations/tastings with plenty of notice. Here's how that conversation went:

"Hello, I'd like to schedule an appointment for a tasting."
"Our next opening is February 19th."
"We're coming in from out of town, so we were hoping to get an appointment on the weekend, do you have anything on the 16th?"
"No, I don't have any appointments that day. We only do weekend (Friday and Saturday) appointments when there aren't deliveries that have to be made."
"OK, well how about March 15th, would that work."
"That day isn't open for appointments yet, because we don't know how many deliveries there will be."

Seriously. I don't know when I'm supposed to call for an appointment, but apparently yesterday was not the day to do so.

Later in the afternoon, I called the Houston Central Market back, and the person who picked up the phone was very helpful. She told me that all we needed to do for a tasting was come into the store and ask to talk to the cake decorator. Huzzah!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Too Much Time to Plan

This post is not meant to sound braggy, but I can see how it mght from the title. The title is not meant to imply that we are done with the planning and are just going to sit around watching TV for the five months until the big day. We don't have too many things to do really: cake, the men's attire, and the invitations are the big things left to go (plus a hundred some-odd little to-do's).

One of my best friends gave me some advice, which lately, I have really appreciated. She told me that once I had picked out my dress, I shouldn't pick up another bridal magazine, because it would only make me second guess myself. I didn't think that it would be that much of a problem. I feel like there is so much time until the wedding, and it's been months since I made some of these decisions, so the "vision" of the wedding is getting a little fuzzy around the edges. Which means that I have wondered if I can really trust the florist with the centerpieces or not (which I can). I just need to stop thinking about everything, which means that I want to get the rest of the decisions made, so I only have to worry about the little things.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Groom's Attire

Oh my. I must admit, when I was a little girl, I didn't really "play wedding" all that much, but when I did, I certainly didn't think that much about what the groom was going to wear.

My groom, however, is putting quite a lot of thought into it. We had multiple discussion on appropriate attire. The timing of the wedding is the chief cause of concern. The ceremony will take place at two in the afternoon, but the reception won't start until six in the evening, meaning that it will be dark during the reception. If the ceremony and reception were both during the day (as my fiance has informed me), the choice would be simple: a morning coat. If both took place after sunset, a tuxedo would be more in order.

I think I may have finally convinced him that while a tuxedo would not be the traditional choice of garment, that most people, especially those attending our wedding, would find a tuxedo acceptable. Apparently, I have only just started a series of long discussion, as we must now discuss the appropriate collar, vest or cummerbund, and what the groomsmen will be wearing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Despite what they tell you... Make haste with your decisions

We really must get cracking on getting the wedding cake order. I normally wouldn't be all that worried about it, but now we have entered a very bad period in the wedding planning phase, commonly known as the "Everyone You Know Knows Someone that Bakes Wedding Cakes."

As I have posted earlier (, my sister had talked to people about our cake visit, and several people recommended a co-worker to her.

Well, over the weekend one of my aunt's (an in-law) emailed me to say that her friend does wedding cakes, has done them for quite some time, and even has a website setup. The website has everything except for pictures of wedding cakes (????). How does that help convince anyone to use you as a baker? I would think that the main difference in a wedding cake is that the baker needs to be able to create something that is extra special for a couple's wedding day. Then, my aunt neglected to include the link to the website, which, I guess I don't need, since there aren't any pictures on it...

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Nothing much going on in the way of wedding planning, since 1) we're in Buffalo this weekend and 2) I have classes with no end in sight (well, not no end, but definitely no break).

We did decide on the invitations, I found a fun oval-shaped invitation on The only thing I really have to do now is rearrange the colors of the paper and the different fonts, which surprisingly takes a long time. As far as the paper colors go, there are so many things to consider: what works best for the invitation, then what works for the RSVP card, then the reception card. Then I went to pick envelopes, and they only have neutral colors and red (is red now neutral? or the new black?).

As to fonts, there are about 60 different ones to choose from, and I can't even have an opinion on that many. The confusing part of the fonts is the spacing, and how to get the proper spacing between each of the lines (the spacing for each line refers to the space above the line).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Wedding Party Crap, I Mean Gifts

I was perusing one of the many (and we all know that I mean MANY) internet stores that offer wedding day "essentials." By wedding day essentials, they include the ring bearer pillow, flower petal baskets, guest books, favors, attendant gifts, and parent gifts. I was looking around the site to see what kind of attendant gifts the site had.

A few of the gifts were quite good: for example, a travel cosmetic bag. A travel cosmetic bag is quite practical and there is the opportunity to use the bag again. Flasks and "beverage" (read beer can" holders are also practical, but a little overdone. In terms of flasks, the leather just makes them bulkier, aside from the fact that people might be offended that you are promoting the practice of secret drinking.

The site also lists some awful gifts, of which most are photo gifts. As a bridesmaid myself, I can honestly say that I might hate some of these gifts. Not that I don't love the couple whose wedding party I'm in, but I just don't think I would ever use the photo gifts in public. For example, a messenger bag with a photo of the happy couple on the entire side of the bag is listed as an attendant bag, along with a jigsaw puzzle of a photo of the happy couple. Of the two, clearly the jigsaw puzzle is the least ego-driven gift; people can use that in the privacy of their own homes. The messenger bag employs a totally different psychology.

As a bride, I don't think that I would even want my bridesmaids to want to carry a bag with our picture on it. I understand that it shows that the gift is highly personal, but I think it's more meaningful to get a gift for your friends that they will be able to use again, and when they use it, they'll be able to remember the fun that they had at your wedding.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wedding Planning or School

It's official. I have officially decided that I would much rather deal with any and all crap that I may get from my mother about the wedding than put up with the crap at school. More to the point, I have realized that there are people who you will have to explain obvious things to everywhere, and that it is much more preferable to deal with wedding crap than school crap.

Reason 1: I will get to enjoy my wedding. True, I will also enjoy the benefits of my graduate education, but the wedding will be a much more "realized" enjoyment. The culmination of months of planning will be realized in 8 hours of emotional, frenzied enjoyment. There will also be a graduation ceremony, but the extra bucks don't all roll in at once.

Reason 2: I love my parents. Despite the fact that I may get frustrated with my parents (particularly my mom) while we are planning the wedding, we have a strong relationship, and no matter what happens, we'll always be there for each other. The same is not so for my classmates. Some of them are jerks, some are not, but are pains to work with, and I will not mind if I don't talk to some of them after graduation.

All in all, it sounds as if I will feel much more gratified if I drop out of school and just plan my wedding. Riiight.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Informal Cake Tasting

My fiance and I were at the Central Market yesterday, so I pulled a five-year old move and stood in front of the cake case and gave him my best pitiful expression.

Out of nowhere, he suggested that we get a slice of cake to taste it. Conveniently, the store sells cake by the slice. They only had three flavors out in the case, so we decided to get the white cake with buttercream icing. Sooooooooooooo good. Soooooooooooooo good.

The cake tasted amazing. It was light and soft, but very dense, just like I like it. The icing was buttercream perfection. Thin enough to not be a solid chunk of icing on the cake, but thick enough to not be called runny. The favor of the icing was vanilla, but I think there was a touch of citrus to give it an edge. Enough salivating for now.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Cake, The Cake

Shortly after we went to the horrible bakery that almost served us moldy cake, my sister went to dinner with my parents and said she had several ideas on where else to get a cake. I'm not sure why she didn't tell em about them sooner, but at least I know now.

Her first thought was that there is a woman at her office who makes wedding cakes. She's done many out of the office, and most recently, for a daughter of one of the partners. Since this dinner, my sister asked her how much a cake like the one I want would cost, and she said it would be about half of what moldy bakery would charge. She offered to set up a tasting the next time we were in town. The only problem I would see is with our reception site, which has already proven to be a bit "difficult." I would hate to send in my vendor list only to have the wonderful ladies at the reception site tell me that we couldn't use the woman as a baker two months before the wedding.

The other idea was to use Central Market as a baker, which is a high end grocery store that makes delicious prepared food and desserts. I talked to a friend of ours and she said that they have delicious cakes, and weren't that expensive. I'm somewhat relieved, because I had dismissed using a grocery store as a baker, because I really dislike the sugary icing that most grocery stores put on their cakes. The decorations that most grocery stores showcase are pretty basic or, at least, not very "stylish," like a basket weave, which just wouldn't go with the overall tone of the wedding.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bridesmaid Talk

So my brilliant plan did not pan out quite as I had planned. We bought the bridesmaid dresses over the weekend, through the Ann Taylor Final Sale, while we were at my parents' house. Unfortunately, one of my bridesmaids emailed me on Monday and told me that she needed a size other than the one she told me. Drat. Luckily, I was able to order the right size, so we only have to figure out how to deal with the remaining dress. Overall, not a huge deal.

In other news, the wedding I am a bridesmaid in is quickly approaching. I got a phone call the other day and the bride called to say that one of the other bridesmaids had asked her about accessories. She was thinking silver or black shoes, but she called to tell me the specific style number of a pair at the department store. I didn't think people did that anymore. I was surprised when one of my bridesmaids sent me styles of shoes, and I told her that I hadn't thought about it yet, but that I would probably pick a color and maybe a style.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Moldy Cake?

Adding to yesterday's post...

After we got back home from the cake tasting, my brother asked me if I had heard the conversation in the back of the shop when "Monica" went to retrieve the cake samples.


He told me that the two people in the shop had been arguing about the cake samples in the fridge. The two of them were huddled by the refridgerator, sorting through the cake samples.

"Oh, no we can't take this one out, it's been in here too long, it needs to be thrown out."

Which explains why we were only allowed to taste three flavors of cake, and maybe why those cakes weren't the best thing that we've ever tasted. The part that really aggravates me is that "Monica" told us that the flavors we tasted were the "standard" ones and if we wanted other flavors we would have to order samples at our own cost.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Wedding Planning Weekend?

What a frustrating weekend. We were supposed to go to Houston to meet with our Deacon for the "last" pre-Canaa session before the real last one over the summer to go over the logistics of the ceremony. We arrived at the church a few minutes early and checked in with the receptionist.

"Are you here to meet with the deacon?"
"Oh, well, he's not coming in today, because he has a cold. I called the rest of his meetings, but I couldn't find your number. He'll call you next week to reschedule."

Darn it. I mean, it was annoying, but you can't get mad at a deacon, can you, especially when he's sick?

Our next appointment of the day was the cake tasting. We went to the bakery of the day, which I had scoped out online because it had a storefront near the house (which my mother had deemed important). My fiance had expressed that he was doubtful, only five flavors of cake were featured at the tasting, but I thought that would be plenty.

When we arrived at the shop, we waited for a few minutes until someone came out (she never introduced herself until she wrote her name on the prospective contract at the end) who turned out to be Monica. My fiance and I had already talked about the design for the cake, so we blew through that portion of the meeting - on to the actual tasting.

Monica went back to the back room and brought back three kinds of cake with what looked like two different kinds of pink toothpaste. We were told that these were the standard flavors and if we wanted to taste the other flavors, we could order and pay for small sample cakes. Excuse me?

Anyway, we tasted the cakes and the toothpastes, which we found out were raspberry and strawberry fillings. To be honest, the cakes weren't OK, but when we found out the prices (in comparison to some others that I had seen), they weren't that good. The chocolate cake was pretty dry, too. We left with the prospective contract in hand, but definitely did not put down a deposit. Yet another fruitless meeting for the weekend.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Bridesmaids Dress Coup

I win! At least, I won the battle of the bridesmaid dresses, in that I finally found a dress that everyone seemed to like, and at a PRICE that everyone liked. Ann Taylor is in the middle of the "Final Sale" of last season's Celebrations dresses, which happen to be the perfect color for my wedding, and the dresses were on sale for $55, normally $188.

Unfortunately, since they were on sale, I was terrified that they would sell out of the sizes we needed, so I sent out emails to the girls asking for measurements/sizes whatever. They really stepped up and even went to stores to try them on so they would be sure they would fit.

The next day my mom offered to go to the store while one of my sisters tried on the dresses, so they picked up the dresses for most of the bridesmaids, and then I ordered the remaining one online. Yay!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Bridesmaid Dresses. . . Again

Yesterday I woke up with the goal of checking out the color of a particular bridesmaid dress my sisters had found on the holiday vacation - I'm not a complete couch potato, I'm a graduate student and classes haven't started yet.

I popped into Belle Saison, one of my favorite places, since I found my gown there, to see if I could at least see the swatch for the dress. Kim was busy, so while I waited, I looked through the racks to see if I could find the dress. I did. It was one of the dresses we had ruled out at the store because I couldn't tell if the color was right. When Kim was done with her other customer, I asked if I could see the "apple taffeta" swatch. She had it, but since it's the size of two postage stamps, it's hard to tell what it would look like on an entire dress. Luckily Kim said she had another green that was pretty similar. The only name I could give the color would be chartreuse, which is not close to the clover I'd like the girls to wear, it just looked too "neon-ey." We held the swatch up to the dress and the two were a pretty close match. Boo.

My next stop was a women's apparel store, because I had seen that they had a line of bridesmaids dresses from last season on sale. I thought I would stop by to check the green color and also make sure that the satin wasn't too clingy, I know none of the bridesmaids want to wear something that shows every little ripple (even if there's just one). I walked into the store, and no one said a word to me; it was like I wasn't even there. The color of the green would have worked for the wedding, but the store didn't have the style I had seen online. The stores must have already received the new lines, in which the dresses run $188, which isn't too bad, but the other dresses we had seen at Belle Saison cost less. I'm not looking to make the girls pay umpteen billion dollars for a dress they'll only wear once.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Redirecting Flirting Aggression

We recently returned froma family vacation, of which the primary activity was golf. My married sister and I both play, but our younger sister does not.

The last day of the trip, the youngest rode along on the cart while the rest of us played. All of the women were in one group, while the guys were in another, which made it extra easy to torment my youngest sister.

The first guy we tried to foist her off on was the starter. Before the first tee, our dad decided he would use a motorized bag carrier. He started pressing buttons before the starter could even give him directions, and crashed in the carrier into a cactus. My sister and I noticed that the starter was really cute and tried to get our little sis to stay behind, "because it was too cold to ride this early.

Later in the round, we caught up to the group in front of us momentarily, and one of the players waved at us. He happened to be really cute (but who knows how many years older than our college-aged sister). My married sister and I proceeded to contrive ways to get our younger sister to jump ahead to the other group.

How will my married sis and I vent our flirting frustrations once the little one gets into a serious relationship? Good thing we have a lot of cousins.