Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fondant Dreams, Sheet Cake Budget

Oh, you guys! OK, I know that pretty much every time I book a vendor I come on here and gush about how they're the greatest vendor in the world, but you know what? Maybe that just means I've hired the greatest vendors in the world. I'm OK with it.

Speaking of amaaaazing wedding vendors, we hired our cake baker! This was actually a fairly trying part of the wedding planning process. Even though our fairly go-with-the-flow style of wedding planning has generally worked out so far, when it came to the cake, we hit somewhat of a breaking point.

Now, I like cake. Desserts and I are very close. But, like flowers, my wedding cake was never one of my wedding priorities. And yet, also like flowers, when the time came to start making decisions, the thought of having an eyesore of a wedding cake absolutely killed me. I may have cried in the car after a bakery consultation. Twice.

Because I think if there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that weddings are expensive. Like, really expensive. Unless you simply elope, even a small wedding is going to cost you a pretty penny. And it doesn't help one bit that I happen to be planning my wedding in one of the most expensive areas of the country. So here's how it all went down.

First, I made the mistake of falling in love with a cake design. This is good and bad. It's good because it means I know what I want and I can go into the bakery with a clear direction and request. It's bad because if I can't afford the thing I love, everything else seems vastly inferior by comparison.

This is my dream wedding cake (a phrase I honestly never thought I would say):

I'd say "yum," but that word kind of gives me the creeps. Don't ask.

But seriously, is that not the prettiest little thing you've ever seen? It's elegant, rustic, fashionable, and still fun. Basically our wedding theme made out of sugar.

I envisioned pairing it with a sweet little cake topper, like this:

Totally adorable, right? We'd get the groom a little seafoam tie, the bride would have a flower in her hair like I will…totally perfect.

Then we actually went to the bakeries.

Our venue has a "cake included" policy, but it requires you to order your cake from one of two recommended bakeries. Otherwise, you get a modest credit to go somewhere else. I did some research, and I wasn't impressed with what I read online about the two recommended places. So we got more recs from friends and planned to visit two highly recommended bakeries.

What follows is what I like to call the heartbreak of my wedding. The first bakery quoted us at about twice what we wanted to pay, and this was actually a reasonable fee for our area. (And yes, I realize that means we probably should have been expecting it, but I still had high hopes that we could find a bargain.) Then the second bakery quoted us for more than TWICE what the original bakery had wanted to charge. Cue second panic attack. Over a cake. When did I become this girl?

After the fiancé had calmed me down, we just agreed that we would go with one of our venue's recommended bakeries and take what we could get. Farewell, perfect wedding cake.

Then the next day, I drank really strong coffee for breakfast. And got this super-charged idea to look on Craigslist for a cake baker. Because aren't I always reading stories about brides who found some on-the-side wedding vendor who is just starting up their business and turns out to be amazing?

And that's how I found Elizabeth.

I probably love Elizabeth way more than I should love someone I've never met, but she is SO sweet and helpful, and I have a hunch she's going to be great in person too. She's a stay-at-home/certified pastry chef who started an occasion cake business out of her home when she was pregnant with twins. Her company, Todaro's Exquisite Cakes, not only has amazing prices (she was also frustrated with the cost of typical wedding vendors when planning her own nuptials, and she vowed to be different), but the level of service is extremely personalized. I mean, we're going to her house on Monday to do our tasting. She does all her own sugar work, which both of the other bakeries were going to have to send out for (which, ahem, is part of why their costs were so much higher). She even had a cake featured in the 2010 winter issue of The Knot!

I could not be more excited to see how our cake turns out. We're adjusting the colors slightly (seafoam instead of lime green and gold instead of black), but otherwise it should be pretty similar to what you see above.

Interested in hiring Elizabeth? You can reach her through email at or by phone at (718) 209-1425 or (646) 238-7830. Or, check out her fan page on Facebook.


  1. i love everything about this cake justine! the roping, the doilies, the flowers - wow! it's going to be awesome.

  2. OH MY GOODNESS!! First of all, that is such a great deal! Secondly, I looked through her website, and one of her pictures is the cupcake picture that I have for our inspiration picture! CRAZY!

  3. I feel the same way about hiring AMAZING vendors. I've been very blessed and fortunate to have found great ones that are reasonable. I love reading your latest adventures on your road to marriage. :) Glad to hear a happy ending to this story!

  4. Thanks, Paloma! I'm SO excited about it!