Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
To view more expert advice on a different topic, please select one from the list below.
Q. My hubby-to-be and I would love to wow our guests with a flavoursome wedding cake. Which interesting flavour combinations do you think work well and will keep our guests talking about the big-day cake long after the wedding?
A. Lynne Hassani says: Think about what flavours make you really joyful, or even nostalgic. If Jammie Dodgers are your favourite sweet treat why not recreate it with a buttery vanilla cake with sweet sticky raspberry filling? My chocolate orange sponge is always a hit at tasting sessions – perfect for chocoholics in need of a twist! Dark chocolate sponge with hazelnut filling or caramel mocha cake are sure to tempt your guests and energise them for the dancefloor.
Floral flavours are wonderful for summer weddings, or for creating the illusion of summer if it's dreary! Rose water, orange blossom, elderflower, lavender or even Earl Grey tea all make for delicate sponges that smell irresistible.
Boozy cakes can divide opinion but there are options here – champagne sponge with strawberry filling can add some subtle sophistication, or for the braver guests you could offer sponge with rum soaked raisins and honey buttercream filling or an Amaretto and coffee sponge.
Even in 2020 some people still say a wedding cake should be a fruit cake… you can play with this though – how about a nutty carrot cake or a warming ginger and currant loaf style cake? The beauty of a multi-tier cake is you can have a range of flavours – go with what you love and your guests will be very happy.
Lynne Hassani , Lynne Hassani Wedding Cakes
Q. I'm being pressured into opting for a home-made cake, but I'm worried it won't be good enough! How do I persuade my other half that a professional cake maker is good value?
A. Victoria Carr says: When you pay for a professional cake maker, you are also paying for expertise, experience and knowledge. Although making your own wedding cake would be a beautiful touch and make the cake a lot more personal, the stress on the week of your wedding isn't worth it. Think of the late nights, and what if something went wrong – you wouldn't have time to rectify it.
Why not think of doing something in the middle? Have a dessert table at your wedding. Employ a cake maker to make your central cake – but this doesn't have to be big and extravagant. Then ask a few close friends or family to make desserts to add to the table like banoffee pie, trifle, pavlova and add your own dessert to the table – your favourite and something you have practiced. That way, you are making a dessert for your wedding and you are still getting the professional centrepiece for the photos and traditions.
That's exactly what this cake was for. Victoria's Sponges made the central cake, which the bride and groom cut at the pivotal point, but there was a whole dessert table filled with treats made by the couple's family and close friends.
Q. We love cake and have loads of ideas for our big-day bake. How should we go about looking for a cake maker, and how far in advance do we need to plan things?
A. Victoria Carr says: The best way to start looking for a cake maker is online. Cake makers will post their best work on social media or on their websites to showcase the best of the best! Use hashtags like #weddingcake or #[insertlocation]cakes to find someone local to you or your venue, and then drop them a message.
I get bookings between two months and two years in advance. It can vary, and as long as I have availability, I can turn around beautiful wedding cakes in a few weeks. To be safe, though, it's best to start looking at planning your wedding cake six to nine months in advance.
The most important thing to remember about your wedding cake is that you are always right. The cake needs to be perfect for your day, so always bring any ideas and themes with you to your consultation. At Victoria's Sponges, we offer free wedding consultations with a selection of cupcakes to take away with you and try in your own time before you make any commitments.
Q. We want to wow our friends and family with our wedding cake – could you give us the lowdown on the latest trends?
A. Victoria Carr says: It's not always about following the trends. Your perfect wedding cake is right for you and the style of your wedding. We're seeing more naked cakes these days, especially with the rustic trend taking the wedding scene by storm. These designs can create a real centrepiece, especially when decorated with an elegant topper and gorgeous flowers that match the bouquets. If you choose a naked or semi-naked creation, it can form the basis for a showstopper, with added decoration for pure elegance that will get people talking.
It's not just about cakes. You can add eye-catching macaron towers – a great talking point that allows you and your guests the opportunity to grab one (or three) on your way to the dancefloor (and something you'll be remembered for).
Q. How can we make sure our cake is OK if there's a sudden heat wave?
A. Victoria Forward says: If you have booked an experienced cake decorator, they should know certain tips which can help keep buttercream slightly more stable and purchase good-quality ingredients than can handle the heat and humidity.
Having lived in Australia, I can tell you that making wedding cakes in heat and humidity is no mean feat. A cake with a ganache and fondant coating is more hardy than a naked cake, which has no protection against drying out or melting buttercream in the hot weather. This method was developed in hotter countries for just this reason.
I faced this problem last June, and the picture you see is the resulting cake. I was quick to reassure my bride and groom that I was keeping the cake stable, and this meant, among other things, covering it at 11pm the night before when the heat was finally abating and the white chocolate ganache wouldn't melt. It is definitely worth an extra check on the day to ensure the cake can be placed in a cool part of the room or marquee, away from sunlight. Also, consider cake setup time – it may help if this can be left 'til the last minute.
Victoria Forward , Victoria Sponge