By Traci Downey
Owner Traci’s Sweet Surprises
Top Ten Questions When Choosing a Wedding Cake.
Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO BEFORE MY
Start thinking about what you want your cake to look like. “Brides don’t have to come with a picture of the cake they want, but the consultation is harder if they come in and don’t have any idea [of what they're looking for],” says Traci. She suggests thinking about shape (round, square, something more unique), colors, and the number of tiers -
- just enough to get a rough idea. Traci also encourages brides to use lots of adjectives when describing their wedding style. “If they’re talking about being ‘chic’ and ‘elegant,’ ‘whimsical’ or ‘over-the-top,’ it’s a great way of figuring out what their style really is,” she says.
Q: WHAT SHOULD I ASK THE CAKE BAKER
DURING THE CONSULTATION?
Since you’ve done your homework (refer to question #1), you’ll have plenty to talk about at your first consultation. If you haven’t seen the cake baker’s work from an online portfolio, ask to see one when you get there. You should also ask how far in advance the cake is made. “Decorations can be made months in advance, but I bake the day before,” says Traci. And, as with all of your vendors, after your first meeting you should feel like you can trust them with all the details of your wedding day. “You should feel the confidence the baker exudes, and that should help narrow your choices,” says Traci.
Q: HOW EARLY SHOULD I START LOOKING?
This all depends on two things: your priorities and your budget. If the food, especially the cake, is very important to you, then make sure you start your search early to give yourself plenty of time to choose. “But for most people, about four to six months in advance is great, booking early will save stress down the road” says Traci. If you are in an area with a large population, having your order in early will help to prevent loosing your choice in a baker.
If you’re going with a custom design, go about six months in advance to give the baker plenty of time to design and then revise that design based on your input. Bottom line:
If you’re paying for a custom cake, make sure you allot yourself enough time to get exactly what you’re looking for.
Q: WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A CAKE BAKER?
“If you have a specific style in mind, you should go to a cake baker who works with that style,” says Traci. For instance, if you want a unique topsy-turvy cake, you may not want to go to a cake baker who specializes in more traditional white wedding cakes and vice versa. A decorator may specialize in buttercream or fondant decorating, Traci recommends asking if the cake baker is versitible.
Q: DOES A CAKE BAKER DESIGN A CAKE FROM SCRATCH EVERY TIME?
Not necessarily. This is one of the differences between customizing (starting a design from scratch) and personalizing (slightly altering a preexisting design) your wedding cake. “As you’re looking through the cake baker’s portfolio, see if you can mix and match certain parts of different cakes,” says Traci. “Ask if you can change the color of the ribbon on one that’s in the portfolio as opposed to trying to reinvent the wheel.” I suggest to each of my brides to make the cake their own, it’s ok to almost copy a design, yet preferred for the cake to be a reflection of the bride.
Part of the cost of the cake has to do with how much labor goes into making it. So, if a cake baker has made that type of cake before and knows it won’t be too labor-intensive, you can still request a few minor changes and not break the bank. The wedding is about celebrating your love, I do not feel the cake should destroy their budget. I’m always willing to reconfigure, offer options for the cake to fit the budget, yet remain beautiful.
Q: DOES MY CAKE NEED TO MATCH MY WEDDING COLORS?
While it’s great to have a wedding color scheme, when it comes to your wedding cake, you may need to back off a bit. Asking for a cake with bright orange or blue frosting may not look that appetizing to your guests — even if the cake does taste great. Instead, Traci suggests you use only the cake decorations to incorporate your wedding colors.
“Use the colors as an accent, but keep the cake white or ivory,” Traci says. “Sometimes, you know, when you have to add food coloring, it does produce an off taste. And though food coloring is edible, if it’s added to your icing, it may not always come out
tasting the same.”
If you do want a color, Traci suggests you stick to a flavor that naturally produces that
color. For instance, using strawberries or raspberries to have a pink cake or a honeybfrosting for an ivory cake.
Q: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FONDANT AND BUTTERCREAM?
Fondant is a smooth cream confection that you often see on the outside of wedding cakes — and make no mistake: It can be a real treat to look at. Despite that, most people don’t actually enjoy the taste.
“Too many times I’ve seen people pick up the icing with a fork and throw away the fondant,” Traci says. Since fondant is usually more expensive than other icing,Traci suggests that budget-savvy brides can skip it entirely. Instead, use buttercream icing.
“With buttercream, you can get that same level of smoothness in the icing, but it’s a much richer, more flavorful taste,” she says. “Plus, you can change out the flavor and have everything from vanilla to fruit.”
Q: CAN I MAKE MY CAKE MYSELF?
All right Julia Child, step away from the kitchen. In the days leading up to your wedding, chances are the last thing you’ll want to do is be baking a cake — even if your wedding is less than 50 people. Good cake bakers will make their cakes the day before your wedding (and sometimes even the day of!) to guarantee you get the freshest one possible. And our guess is you won’t want to leave the rehearsal dinner early to go home and bake.
Plus, even if you’ve made stellar birthday cakes in the past, this one is a little different. “I could put together a cake in four or five hours, but it would probably take [an average bride] most of the day,” says Traci.
Q: HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY ON MY WEDDING CAKE?
One of the main ways that brides can save on their cake and still get a pro-looking product is by choosing to personalize rather than customize the cake (as mentioned in question #5). Ask your cake baker if there are any predesigned cakes available.
If you or a family member truly wants to make the cake, Traci also has a few suggestions for that. “You can buy professional sugar flowers and add them to your cake,” she says. Some cake shops sell sugar flowers separately with the idea that brides going the DIY route can add them for a professional touch. You can also use them to cover imperfections or to simply incorporate more color into the cake.
Q: DO I HAVE TO CUT THE CAKE?
Technically no; it’s your wedding, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. However, cutting the cake gives your guests a chance to “ooh” and “ahh” over the unique design that you worked out. If you decide against a cake cutting, make sure you
have your caterer or baker set aside a few slices for you and the groom so you can enjoy the cake later. “I do not recommended saving the top tier for your first anniversary,” Traci says, “ask the baker to include a free 4″ round cake for your anniversary within the cost of your cake. I offer this service to each of my brides, a fresh cake is much better than a year old squishy mess.”
If you decide to cut the cake, traditionally it’s cut towards the end of the evening, but you can also choose to do it right after the dinner so that you can dance the night away without any interruptions.
By Eileen Majors
Plumas County is just one of those places that offers majestic backdrops on every corner. The small towns welcome you.
At the eastern end of Plumas County, the Portola and Graeagle area welcome visitors with shops, dining and golf, lots of golf! Portola’s Western Pacific Railroad Museum welcomes visitors from near and far. In downtown Graeagle all the store fronts and businesses are painted red and wind along beautiful Highway 89 through town. Surrounded by the splendor of the Sierras, it’s hard to go wrong in this neck of the woods.
The Great Getaway to Downtown Quincy
If you are looking for a date night, downtown Quincy has a lot to offer. Quaint cafes, fine dining, cozy lodging and entertainment opportunities make for a great reason to spend the night.
There is plenty to do in this area and the local chamber has a host of brochures to send you on a hike, bike ride or other adventure.
The town of Quincy is lined with quaint shops and dining opportunities. For breakfast you might want to try Morning Thunder. It is right next to Moon’s (my absolute favorite for dinner downtown.) If an authentic Mexican dinner sounds good head to the top of the hill on Highway 70 to Mi Casita. Mario and his family welcome you for authentic cusine and some really great burgers too!
At Pangea Cafe and Pub you will often find local musicians jamming up front. Two theaters, Quincy Town Hall Theater and West End Theater also offer performances. There are a few spots downtown if you are looking for a little more night life. The Plumas County Arts Council keeps a full calendar of events at PlumasArts.org. Visit theater websites at quincytownhall.com and
A Few More Destinations to Write Home About!
- Northeastern CA
Weddings & Getaways
Whether you are looking for a totally remote location, in the middle of nowhere or a plush resort with all the ammenities, we hope you will check out our staff’s favorites in NorCal for a romanic getaway or wedding spot.
In Plumas County, our list of favorites included a bit of golf, a bit of lake, a bit of Mother Nature and a bit of the fancy. Take a ride through the area to check them out for yourself or visit their websites for more information.
Plumas Pines Resort 3000 Almanor Dr. West Lake Almanor – Canyon Dam, CA 95923 530-259-4343 • PlumasPinesResort.com
Enjoy the convenience of motel rooms, cabins and and RV park onsite. A marina with rentals and riding stables are part of the fun. Campgrounds are also nearby and paved trails wind along the beautiful shores of Almanor. For weddings, a beautiful lawn alongside the lake has hosted many a ceremony. Two large decks, a restarant and full bar complete the setting.
Twenty Mile House – 700 Old Cromberg Road Cromberg, Ca 96103 530-836-0375 • TwentyMileHouse.com
If a beautiful courtyard, riverfront ceremony spot and amazing mountain backdrops sound appealing, this is the place.
Known for their outstanding wedding facilities, the Twenty Mile House is a private 200-acre riverfront property that was once a stagecoach stop. It is secluded with lush forest, beautiful gardens and creeks.
The Lodge at Whitehawk 985 Whitehawk Dr. Clio, CA 96106 •
If a gorgeous golf resort buried deep in the Sierras sounds good, Whitehawk Ranch is about an hour from Reno. They offer indoor seating for up to 70 people and a picturesque place on the lawn to serve larger parties. For guests staying, the private cabins offer amazing views.
Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch – 2116 Greenhorn Ranch Rd Quincy, CA 95971
(800) 334-6939 • GreenhornRanch.com
Enjoy an authentic ranch wedding at this authentic dude ranch nestled in the pines just outside Quncy, CA. Enjoy beautiful lawns, rugged rides, bonfires, dancing and more. Weddings by the water offer amazing photo opporunities.
Chalet View Lodge – Hwy. 70 between Quincy and Portola (530) 832-5528
This unforgettable wedding venue features outdor fireplaces, views, patio, full bar an 49 guest rooms. It is nestled in the Sierras next to miles of designated wilderness trails. For a quick getaway or fabulous wedding, Chalet view Lodge welcomes you.
By Eileen Majors
Choosing the right wedding gift (or any type of gift for that matter) can sometimes be a daunting task. We invite you to step out of the box and consider a choice from a gift shop in your community.
We spent some time roaming around Chester, CA to show you gifts that appeal to couples that love the outdoors, the home and the kitchen.
Picnic Baskets are fun to give and fun to pack with something cool for the happy couple. We found this fun picnic basket at Lassen Wisteria in Chester. This adorable, insulated picnic basket comes with ceramic plates, wine glasses and utensils.
Buck & Doe Oil Painting – This is just one of many hand painted, unique items offered at Morning Star Log Furniture in Chester. They have a nice selection of gift items made in USA. A hand crafted piece of log furniture like a rocking chair, also makes a perfect gift for indoors or the porch.
Wooden Bear Carving – We found assorted chain saw carvings at Canyon Dam Store near Lake Almanor that would compliment a room or, like this bear, stand guard at the porch.
Decorative Plate – We found this wine-theme plate at Lassen Gifts in Chester. Beautiful hand blown wine glasses compliment this gift, and they, like many small stores, offer beautiful gift wrap too. There are so many choices in beautiful gifts and glassware. Find something that speaks to you about the couple you are buying for.
Bidwell House – Chester CA
An intimate setting it is for a perfect wedding with beautiful gardens and views for miles; this bed & breakfast inn is both charming and accommodating. They have both indoor and outdoor sites for the ceremony. Indoors, charming antiques and a cozy fireplace set the scene. Outdoors, gorgeous
meadow views stand behind the beautiful flowers and greenery that surround this grand white structure which stands at the far edge of Chester on the edge of the meadow, surrounded by birds and wildlife.
Their website has a list of sample menu items that sound fabulous and a variety of wedding packages starting at just $495 for just the
two of you, to large garden parties with up to 200 guests. A wedding consultant is also available to help plan the big day.
You can take a trip to Chester to check it out for yourself. What a great girls night that would make to come and stay and have a look around the beautiful Lake Almanor area before you make plans.
Lake Almanor is a short walk away from this amazing and quaint wedding destination, where every attention to detail is arranged for you. Online, you can view several wedding packages with varied pricing and a wide list of menu options available from their creative chefs. The Bidwell House offers lovely accommodations, beautiful gardens and from what I have definitely heard over and over, fabulous fare!
By Eileen Majors
Catering is one of the largest costs for many couples today. Remember that options are endless for this part of the wedding. The Bridal Association of America reports that the average catering bill for a wedding with 150 guests, lands just under $12,250, which equates to about $82 per person. I have seen it done for about one tenth of that cost, but it will take a host of volunteers who know what they are doing to pull it off. I got lucky at my wedding as one of the best cooks in the whole family, my brother-in-law Chuck, jumped to the occasion of offering his services. With about the same number of guests, he barbecued and sliced 12 tri tips, made 5 gallons of baked beans, fresh green salad and the most popular dish of the day was definitely large round trays with his garden-fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and mozzarella slices layered among a blend of oil and vinegar with Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese. Loaves of fresh baked bread lined the tables along with dishes of whipped butter, all for under $900.
A TOUCH OF THE UNEXPECTED
Today’s brides are trying new things all the time. It seems the more unique a wedding is, the more fun it will be for the bride and groom to put on. Traditions are kept indeed, in most cases, but a bit of the unexpected always make for a good time. One unexpected turn I saw at a wedding in our family was at the cutting of the cake. Everyone knew it was time for the bride and groom to smash a bit of cake in each other’s face. Nobody knew, however, that this bride and groom had made a secret pact not to do it. Instead they each hurled and unexpected piece of cake into the faces of the best man and made of honor, who were part of the cake cutting ceremony.
WHEN KIDS ARE PART OF THE CELEBRATION
Often you will see the couple’s child or children taking part in the ceremony. Other times a darling niece or nephew will take the stage. If they are under the age of 7 there is a good chance they will have a hard time standing still for a long ceremony and they may go shy on you at the last minute. Try a cute chair or standing by an uncle but be prepared for the chance they may exit the stage to go sit with Mom. Let the best man hold the ring and if the child is to be part of the ring ceremony, the best man can hand the ring over to the little one at just the last moment.
SEATING, PLACE CARDS AND WEDDING FAVORS
Maybe not everyone will know each other at your wedding. Some likely will. Put some time and thought into your seating arrangements to make the most of the party. If some of your guests won’t know anyone, put them in a fun group you think they will like.
When kids are on the guest list, consider some special wedding favors for the children. Pick up some toy cars and princess crowns to set next to their place cards. For older kids, candy in a keepsake tin is always appropriate. Also, kids love to help, so if you will need help passing out the wedding favors or any other small tasks, consider enlisting the children’s help. It will make them feel like a special part of your day.
Wedding favors can be expensive or simple. I have seen gorgeous glass wine stoppers given to every guest in a fancy white box, wrapped in tissue. I also have seen birdseed passed out in simple net fabric with a bow make a big splash when guests were invited to shower the bride and groom on their way into the reception hall. Candies are always nice, but do be sure if you wrap up chocolates, that they are not placed where they will eventually be sitting in the sun!
CHOOSING THE VENUE
I absolutely loved my wedding and the beautiful Dorado Inn on Almanor’s east shore, where we chose to take our vows. My only advice would be to consider your guest list before choosing your venue. I located the resort where I wanted to have my ceremony and reception. I was told I could have about 120 people, which sounded just fine. After adding up the 53 members of my family who were coming and the people I work with every day, I realized I better get permission for more. As it turned out, the resort sold during my plans and the new owners were more than accommodating with extra guests. I sent out a few late invites; we all had a ball and I wouldn’t change a thing, but I think planning your guest list is a good place to start.
By Melissa Wynn
Weddings come in all shapes and sizes and nowhere showcases that truth better than Reno, the wedding capitol of our neighborhood. Whether you are planning a black tie, gala event or a simple affair your guests expect to eat, drink and be merry. So, who will do the cooking? Many brides and grooms believe they only need a caterer if they are planning a traditional sit down meal for hundreds. However, this is not the case. Most caterers happily handle any style or size wedding or other event, we were told by the ladies at Cheese Board Catering Company who cater throughout the Reno/Tahoe area. Creative catering is the name of the game for Catering Coordinator Krista Phillips. As she explained to me, during our very tasty lunch at the Cheese Board’s Bistro, hiring a caterer can range from simple hors d’oeuvres dropped off at your venue, to a full wait and bar staff with an elaborate meal. Maybe a summer picnic fits your outdoor theme, the possibilities are as endless as a bride’s imagination according to Phillips, who added, “It’s your wedding, get some help and do it your way!”
The Reno/Tahoe area is abundant with gorgeous wedding venues and a few of Cheese Board owner Debbie Branby”s favorites. Debbie’s picks include the historic Chism House, across from the Truckee River, sporting a pond, fountains and lush grounds to backdrop those everlasting photos. Perhaps you would prefer to say your ” I Do’s” in a beautiful gazebo amid flowing fields of lavender at Reno’s lovely Lavender Ridge. Thunderbird Lodge, Lake Tahoe’s Castle In The Sky, is also on Debbie’s list of favorites, who told us the mansion and gardens are truly stunning. Choosing a venue is an important step. It’s all about you and your unique style.
Whether your tastes run to white-tie and tails or white shirt and blue jeans, only the best caterers will take the time to listen to your needs, create menus and motifs that move you, and implement them to perfection with their culinary talents. Debbie and Krista both welcome the opportunity to showcase their expertise in helping couples prepare for their unique wedding day and they encourage brides and grooms to interview caterers, do some tasting and start planning well in advance.
Your special day should be worry free so let the pros handle the details. Menus, wine and cocktails, tables and chairs, decor, floral and music can all be delegated to capable professionals. How easy is that? Plan early so you can thoroughly enjoy your big day!
Cheese Board Catering Co. • 247 California St. Reno, NV • 775-323-3115 • http://cheeseboardcatering.com/
By A R Mallett
Wedding photographs are a precious memory of a wonderful day. Here are a few tips on looking your best.
Don’t use products containing SPF (sun protection factor) as they can cause white flashback in pictures. There are some cosmetic lines available with non-reflective SPF.
Primer ensures smooth coverage. Experiment with foundation to find one that gives you a flawless complexion and matches your natural color perfectly. Use a little matte blusher so you don’t look pale in the pictures.
Use eye shadow primer to prevent creasing. Eye makeup should be soft, subtle and matte, enhancing, not overpowering, your natural beauty. Don’t be heavy-handed with eyeliner, which can make the eyes look smaller. Waterproof or “tube” mascara won’t run when you cry.
A colorless lip liner applied outside the edge of the lip will prevent lipstick feathering. If you use a regular lip liner, match it to your lipstick so there is no obvious line. A lip stain will stay in place for hours. A soft lip color will make lips look lush. Don’t overdo the gloss, it may shine unnaturally in photographs.
Practice your look before the big day, so you can apply your makeup flawlessly. Look at YouTube videos for lessons, and bridal magazines or websites for different looks. This gives you time to find out if you react to any of the products you use, and you can see how long-wearing they are. Check the result by taking a photograph.
Apply your makeup before you put on your dress. Last minute efforts to remove spilled mascara or lipstick from your dress could ruin your day and your photographs. Have a small makeup touch-up kit handy on the day, including makeup remover wipes.
Relax and enjoy your big day!
Source: Make Up Artist Anneka Fane
20 February 2013
Photos Provided By:
By ~ Angele Thibodeau
Planning a wedding can be a daunting task. Location is everything, there are so many requirements to finding the perfect place. If it is an outdoor location you want it to be accessible for all members of the family. Nearby facilities are a must, and it needs to be an enchanting place that can mirror the beauty of the love you are vowing to one another. Truckee has many beautiful locations that can make a marriage unforgettable.
A Donner Lake beach wedding has all of these attributes. The atmosphere under the towering pines by the turquoise water is very peaceful. The children run around playing in the grass, an Eagle swoops down to catch a fish from the water and sometimes you can even hear a distant train whistle. Donner Lake is captivating. There are plenty of surrounding Inns and Hotels to accommodate whatever number of guests you may have. Truckee Donner Lodge, Lost Trail Lodge, Truckee Hotel and Donner Lake Village resort, just to name a few. Truckee also offers weddings on mountain tops or down by the Truckee River. Sugar Bowl, perched on top of Donner Summit, offers beautiful wedding locations with distant views. A convenience of having your wedding at Sugar Bowl is that you can reserve the entire resort for a private wedding. Just in Sugar Bowl alone, you have valleys, meadows, mountain tops, forests, gondola rides and always a breathtaking sunset. The town of Truckee itself provides quality restaurants, music, hair salons and fantastic gift shops for anything else you may need. The rich, colorful history and variety of events makes for plenty of fun activities to keep all of your guests entertained. The charm of Truckee combined with the grand magnificence of the Sierra Nevadas sets the stage for a wedding to be remembered through a future of wedded bliss.
Sugar Bowl (530) 426-6769 www.sugarbowl.com/wedding
Lost Trail Lodge (530) 320-9268 www.losttraillodge.com
Truckee Hotel (530) 659-6921 www.truckeehotel.com
Donner Lake Village Resort (800) 979-0402
by Eileen Majors
We had a great time putting together this collection of great wedding spots in the mountains of NorCal. It is amazing just how many wedding hideaways exist in the beautiful mountains of Northern CA. Amid lakes and streams aplenty, brides and grooms can have their choice of several venues, all waiting to fulfill their wedding fantasies. From wedding planners and carriage ride providers to the rental companies and caterers, you will find exceptional customer service from fun people who would greatly enjoy the opportunity to create your ideal event.
It is a fun adventure, planning a wedding. It is also sometimes stressful. Whether you choose a large event, or want a smaller, more intimate affair, you will find many options by contacting the local chambers of commerce.
I was married a year ago September on the shore of Lake Almanor at the beautiful Dorado Inn to Brian Worth. Family and friends joined us for a lakeside ceremony as osprey and eagles witnessed the celebration from afar. That is what it felt like for me as the sun majestically set in blazing orange on that beautiful Almanor day. There are many beautiful lakes in our region, gorgeous golf courses, mountain streams and an assortment of businesses ready to help you plan your big event. If you are planning a wedding, we welcome you to the Mountains of Northern CA!
We hope you will stop by our booth and say hello on March 20th. We will be at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center for the Premier Bride Showcase.
*** Click on photo and article to enlarge and zoom in on text.