the wandering homebody

Let’s talk about cake
03/07/2011, 4:21 pm
Filed under: everyday life, food

As of today, Mark and I have been married for 177 days — not quite half a year, but close enough. Almost six months later, I still regularly wake up in the middle of the night panicking about the wedding, and then get to enjoy the feeling of pure relief washing over me when I realize that it’s behind us. This is a first world problem, I know, but I never especially wanted to be a bride. I never even thought that I would get married, especially not at the (relatively young) age of 26. Most days, I still feel 12 on the inside.

When we got engaged, we spent a good seven or eight months hemming and hawing over the wedding details. My family’s politics made things difficult. My social anxiety and total and complete fear of being the centre of attention made things difficult. My utter detestation of small, finicky details made things difficult. Are you seeing a pattern here? Mark is a patient man.

The thing is, I never really dreamed of a big white wedding. So many people I know seem to have gotten married for the wedding itself, not for a marriage. My ideal nuptials involved somewhere beautiful and stormy (I was rather partial to the idea of the Wickaninnish Inn), a green dress (not sure why I was so intent on this, as I hardly ever wear green and I don’t think the colour even flatters me that much), and — most importantly — just the two of us. Also, you know, someone to marry us.

Mark, on the other hand, cared about all the things I didn’t. He wanted his family there. He wanted us to commit to each other in front of people we cared about. He refused to look at my wedding dress until I walked down the aisle. I teased him a lot about us completely swapping gender role expectations, but sometimes I wasn’t teasing. Sometimes we were both really frustrated that we couldn’t see eye-to-eye on the first major decision we were making together. I think we argued more in the few months leading up to the wedding than we had in the almost three years we had been together before getting engaged. I just wanted it to be over.

Eventually, of course, we got our shit together. We made an initial guest list of 140 people, and then slashed it in half. We found the perfect venue, with a cocktail reception in a greenhouse, an amazing photographer, and readings that didn’t make us want to puke (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, I’m looking at you). We made wedding favours of rosemary salt using the giant rosemary bush in our backyard and pretty much based the look of the whole wedding around “silver dollar” seed pods. We decided that dried flower bouquets may be slightly morbid and reminiscent of death, but so be it. We used them anyway.

One thing that was of extreme importance for both Mark and I was that the wedding really feel like us. I haven’t been to that many weddings yet in my life, but I have been to at least one or two where I walked away feeling really puzzled at the lack of character in them. We both knew that if we were going to do this, we wanted our handprints all over it. Making the favours was part of this, as was theming the rehearsal dinner “moustaches and candy” just because we thought it was funny. We wanted humour everywhere, even on the programs.

I also made our wedding cakes. Sadly, I cannot take any of the credit for this. I was completely and utterly shameless in stealing this idea from Molly Wizenberg (aka Orangette). I know that I’m not the first to do so — just Google “winning hearts and minds cake” and marvel at the results — but, man. I totally copied her. As someone who grew up with a deeply ingrained fear of both cheating and plagiarism, this feels a little like both. I mean, I know that technically I was the human female who chopped and stirred and baked, but this recipe belongs to her and always will. I made 10 of these in less than a day; they cost a fraction of what a store-bought wedding cake would have (even with high-quality chocolate, though just regular butter), and they delivered about 100 times as much satisfaction. I love this cake. Everyone loves this cake. If you don’t love this cake, I probably don’t love you. Or perhaps I love you, but you’re allergic to chocolate and are therefore unable to try it, which doesn’t count.

I made the cakes about three weeks in advance, froze them in pizza boxes (an idea also stolen from Molly), and gave them to the caterers the day before the wedding. We brought our own cake stand from home and I somehow convinced Mark to let me top the main cake with styrofoam owls which I found at Michael’s and which I thought were utterly hilarious (brown! white! just like us!). Everything came together like it was supposed to, and though I almost puked in my best friend’s car before arriving at the venue, once I got there, I somehow snapped out of it. My uncle Alex beamed as he walked me down the aisle, and I didn’t see anyone but Mark, which was exactly what everyone said would happen. Mark’s brother Paul did such a wonderful job of conducting the ceremony and my beautiful, funny friend Michelle read from a children’s book that I love. The cap sleeve button on my dress snapped off while we were kissing, almost causing a minor wardrobe malfunction, but I didn’t care. My sweet bridesmaids shoved a glass of wine into my hand immediately after the ceremony. My friend Jesse, who I’ve known since I was three years old, came  all the way from Toronto, and I saw him for the first time since 2006. I missed my dad, but that was okay. We ate cake, danced to The Book of Love, and we were married.

(All photos taken by our incredible photographer, Heather Armstrong, who is not dooce but has the same name as her.)

Our wedding cake, also called the “Winning Hearts and Minds” cake, can be found here. You should make it right now.


1 Comment so far
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Photos are beautiful. I especially love the bouquets and owls on the cake.

Comment by abbyrex2323

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