A little throwback story as an example for your amusement: When I worked at Olive Garden (known as the OG to those in my waitstaff crew), the Spanish speaking staff thought my name was Kake, not Kate. Somehow, the moniker stuck and I still freak out when I hear Rihanna singing my namesake song: "Kake, Kake, Kake!".
And it rings true. "Hi everyone. My name is Kake and I heart desserts". No dessert is too big or too small or too chocolatey to catch my eye... although my eye has been laying off them so my stomach can fit in my wedding dress.
Thus, you can imagine how important cake is to me given my propensity for desserty-nicknames and deliciousness. However, my boo and I decided against the traditional wedding cake. Our general experience has been that they are pretty yet yucky. In our opinion, layers of decorative fondant belong in a window display, and not on an edible item. But what about... sighhh... cupcakes?
As cupcakes were the trend in Chicago a lil' while back, there are still multitudes of cupcake meccas bolstering the city's sweet teeth. So how did we narrow down our options? Weeeell, here's a few things I learned about taking the cake without breaking the bank! This can apply to your pie, candy or doughnut choices too... mmmmm doughnuts. Ok enough drooling.
1. Eye Spy
You will probably (hopefully) have a ton of options: some of which are wedding vendors only, some of which are bakers who are just damn good at weddings. Google and Yelp can be your front line of defense to get some ideas about the quality of what is being peddled. Wedding Wire, The Knot and other specialized sites can give you some cues too.
2. Reconnaissance Mission
Once I identified a list of tasty contenders, I headed out to give them a shot at the title for best wedding cupcake. Stopping in to bakeries allowed me to further pare down my choices without committing to a possibly pricey tasting session, and who can really complain about trying cupcakes for the sake of "research"? I always grabbed one for my fiancé as well, as we have vastly different tastes. He got a yay or nay on each attempt.
3. Tasting Time!
This is where I needed to get schooled. Tasting costs and structure vary with each vendor. Some charge between 20-30 bucks to taste. Some are free. Some allow you to bring up to 4 people. Some only allow the couple. Our best tasting was free, with the caveat that we would have paid $30 if we were a no show. Who would do that!?
4. Seal the Deal (with someone who makes you feel special)
Once you make your decision, you will need to decide on the numbers and flavors of what you want, drop a deposit and sign that contract.
Our big winner is Molly's Cupcakes, a cute spot with swings at the counter and a rep for sugar skillz!! The staff at Molly's treated us like VIPs during our tasting and we got to devour 2 filled cupcakes and 5 regular cupcakes with a crazy amount of frosting choices. We chose 4 different flavored mini cupcakes with a combo of frostings. We compromised a little as well to get that "cut the cake" moment and picked a baby 9" cake to smash in each other's faces.
So what's your flavor? Cake, pie, cookies, gelato, sweet tarts? The marshmallow-cloud-filled sky is the limit with today's modern weddings!
Kate Swem is a recently married lady living in Chicago. Her husband, Raja, is her blogging coach, fellow Netflixia sufferer (The Strain is now in rotation) and adventure twin. Tune in to hear about her wedding reflections and advice! You can follow her on Twitter, or read more on her and her best friend’s blog, Chi Organic Girls.