50 Fabulous Reception Ideas


Make it a dream day! We invited top wedding planners to share their biggest, brightest ideas for your flowers, cake, decor and more.


wedding cake
Photo courtesy of A White Cake

31. Consider choosing a cake that reflects your interests as a couple. If you love to schuss, the cake might look like a ski slope. If you like camping, ask your baker for a topper that looks like a tent.

32. Don't choose a cake by appearance alone — it should taste as great as it looks. Most bakers have a signature flavor they do really well, so be sure to ask about it. Whatever flavor you choose, make sure you sample the cake before you buy it.

33. If you can't decide among several cake flavors, ask your baker to use all of them. You could have one tier made of chocolate, another of vanilla, and yet another of carrot cake.

34. Planning a wedding in the sun? What works for you might be disastrous for your cake: Buttercream frosting, for example, will melt in the heat because it contains a lot of butter. If your reception is to be held outdoors, request a less delicate frosting, such as rolled fondant, which is a creamy sugar paste.

35. Often, brides and grooms choose to order a wedding cake from a boutique bakery even though one is included in their catering package. Don't waste your freebie — ask your caterer to bake up a "groom's cake" (a confection that reflects his style or an interest, like one shaped like a football) instead.

36. It's a nice touch to serve your cake with a sauce or scoop of ice cream. This way, guests won't be presented with just a lonely slice on a plate.

37. The traditional bride-and-groom cake topper is fine — but not very interesting. Consider asking your baker to top your confection with a bouquet of flowers, a bow, or even a carousel or shooting stars made out of sugar.

Budget Smarts

38. Decorative flowers made of gumpaste will seriously jack up the price of your cake. Ask your baker to use fresh flowers, or buds made of royal icing, instead. They're much cheaper.

39. Buttercream frosting costs significantly less than rolled fondant. Opt for the former — unless, of course, your wedding is to be held outside, in the sun, where buttercream might melt.

40. Pull a bait-and-switch: Order a small, beautifully decorated cake for the cutting ceremony, then serve the majority of guests from inexpensive sheet cakes kept in the kitchen.

—Colette Peters, owner, Colette's Cakes, New York City