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    ~ LET THEM EAT CAKE

    ~ PETAL PERFECT

    ~ PRIVATE PARTY

     


    Photos courtesy of Claudia DeLatorre

    LET THEM EAT CAKE

    Claudia DeLatorre, owner of Cake Flour and a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, uses high-quality ingredients and offers allergy-friendly alternatives. She recently closed the bakery storefront to focus on cakes and other custom orders. Here, she dishes on wedding desserts.

    What’s the biggest cake you’ve ever made?

    “I think it was like six tiers. All of our cakes are four layers of cake, but it could be three tiers, it could be four tiers, it could be five tiers. We’re talking about a cake that may weigh 80 to 100 pounds. You have cake, you have filling, you have the buttercream — and we actually use real butter, which weighs a lot. There’s a huge taste difference because we are using real butter. When you go try things and there’s a funky film in your mouth after you’ve had whatever it is, that’s the shortening because it didn’t melt; whereas butter, it melts as you’re eating it. That’s why I always have a lot of older customers that are like, ‘Oh, this tastes just like what my mother or my grandmother (used to make).’ Yeah, because during their era they were using real butter all the time.”
     

    How and when should couples start the ordering process?

    “There are only so many Saturdays in the year, so I say the sooner the better.

    I had a bride call me last year — her aunt was supposed to make the cake but something happened and they called us three days before. We definitely try our best to accommodate the needs of everybody. If we can do it we’re more than happy to. You just never know.” 
     

    What has been popular?

    “Our bourbon caramel chocolate cake. We do the chocolate version or the vanilla version. I’ve had customers do the almond version. In terms of design, definitely textured exteriors, like the stucco style.” 
     

    What’s a trend you wish would go away?

    “I really hate cake pops — the plastic cylinder where it’s filled with cake. I feel like: What’s the point of it? I think the enjoyment of eating cake is taking your fork and going through all the layers so you get your buttercream, you get your cake, you get your filling, — you get all three flavors that come together. Versus the syringe thing where you’re pushing it up and only getting one flavor at a time.”
     

    Have you gotten requests for things other than cake?

    “We’ve done a lot of dessert bars. One wedding they did smaller cake and cupcakes. That’s always fun. I think that’s nice to add variety and get people to try different things. When I’m doing tastings, I never do a slice of cake. I always do everything separately, so we have cake options, the filling and the buttercreams. If I come out with a cake and it’s our bourbon caramel cake, I’ve already implanted that in their brain. Having them try different things, they’re getting creative. I like seeing that process better. I like seeing people being more engaged with it. They’ll mix and match and get so excited about it. I also think it’s nice for the guests to see what their cake expression is for that day.”
     

    Ever had any wedding-day disasters?

    “There always seems to be some type of fire. This is the only kitchen that we have. I’m also dealing with other cakes, birthday cakes, anniversary cakes. You never know if it’s going to be pouring out or whether the weather’s gonna say, ‘Oh, instead of it being 70 today it’s gonna be 90.’  In September we had weddings every weekend. One weekend it was cool and perfect for cake, but the following Saturday it was hot as hot can be and then you have to worry about the heat, the AC, making sure that it gets there. I’ll take a cloudy day.”

     


    Photos courtesy of Carolyn Minutillo

    PETAL PERFECT

    Carolyn Minutillo, owner of Lavender Hill Florals (359 Spring St., Jeffersonville, Ind.), is a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers and recently completed a European Master Certification program in Bruges, Belgium. Having designed floral arrangements and other decor elements for countless weddings both locally and nationally for more than 30 years, she shares her expertise on dream-day bouquets and more.

    When did you first become interested in flowers?

    “I lived down the street from a Greek church as a kid, Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago. When they would have a wedding, I would sit out there with my bike because I’d see the limos pull up. Of course, this was back in the ’70s, so every bride to me looked like Priscilla Presley and all the guys looked like Elvis because they all were Greek. Those doors would fly open and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, I want to get in that church one day.’ And I did. I wound up years later doing weddings there.”
     

    How has the business changed since you first started working?

    “There’s so much more floral available now. You can go to the grocery. You can go to Whole Foods. You have a lot of DIY brides. You have a lot of people that have taken a class at a farmers’ market and, all of a sudden, they’re a florist. It’s like, well, there’s a little bit more to it than that.”
     

    What’s your creative process like? 

    “Before we meet with the bride, we have them fill out a questionnaire: What are your details? What are your colors? Do you have a Pinterest board? What does the dress look like? If they mention places that they like to eat, what’s the vibe of that restaurant? I try to really listen deeper than just what they’re saying. Then hopefully what they’re requesting is going to be complementary to what I envision. A lot of girls are like, ‘I know what I like but I don’t even know how to tell you what I want.’ The blessing of Pinterest is it really shows people the potential of what a really good professional florist can do for them. It gives them a good idea of what we’re capable of. The bad part of it is: You may get your heart set on this look and it’s like, yeah, but that’s not your season or you have no idea what the cost is. That’s where you need to be working with a good professional florist that really knows how to source product, what will work, what’s a great substitute and how to get the vision without maybe the detail being so specific. Another thing is understanding different cultural aspects in people’s weddings, whether it’s a Hindu wedding or a Greek Orthodox wedding or a Christian wedding or a Wiccan wedding or a gay wedding. Everybody’s got something different that’s important to them, but there might also be some rules that have to be followed.”
     

    If a couple is on a budget, what things do you recommend they prioritize?

    “What’s your overall goal for the space? Do you need something for your ceremony location or is your priority the reception? Some girls will say, ‘I don’t want to focus as much on the ceremony because we’re spending more time at the reception.’ Other girls are like, ‘The ceremony is really important to me, so I want to make sure it’s beautiful.’ Maybe we’ll double the girls’ bouquets as centerpieces on the tables and go heavy candles. It’s really their call on that.

    “Instead of these big, beautiful peonies, let’s go for a garden rose. At a glance people will think it’s a peony, but actually you saved a little bit of money. We also decorate a lot of pergolas, a lot of arches, and you don’t necessarily have to have full-blown fresh flowers on all that. We did one at Yew Dell Gardens where everything was fresh except the arch. We knew it was going to be incredibly hot, so we did a base with silk permanent botanicals and then we added fresh (flowers) to it right before we knew they were ready to start the photos. Everything held up and it was amazing. You wouldn’t know what was fresh and what was silk.”
     

    What looks and flowers have been popular?

    “This past year it seems like everybody’s been doing blush and burgundy. Now a lot of girls are going toward a lot of unusual greenery bouquets with floral as the accent. We’ve done everything from simple to massive, blown-out weddings. Floral chandeliers — whatever they want.”

     


    Photos courtesy of Maggie Heely, by Claire & Barrett
     

    PRIVATE PARTY

    You’ve just gotten engaged and already your head is spinning with financial and social demands. For a fraction of the cost, you can have the entire day — venue, photographer, cake, flowers, officiant, hotel accommodations and dinner reservation — and you can do it without that headache of a guest list. Maggie Heely, owner of the wedding-coordination service Weekend Wedding Warrior, talks with us about her new curated elopement packages (that start at $2,400) and the growing trend among couples to get low-key hitched.

    How did you come up with this service?

    “A couple came to me and were like, ‘We still want a beautiful wedding, but we don’t want all the clutter that comes with all the people.’ Then I had another one come up last January and this client was in New York, where there are a lot of specifics around getting your marriage license. If you’re divorced, you have to have your divorce decree. You have to have your social security card or your birth certificate, and in other states like Kentucky — and most people think of Nevada and Vegas — you don’t have to have those things. The fiancé was stationed overseas and all of his important documents were overseas. They said, ‘Do you have some sort of package or is there some hotel where we pay X number of dollars and we get our photographer and we get our cake, kind of like Vegas?’ I looked around a little bit, but there wasn’t anything like that. That’s when it really kind of struck me that we do need something like this. Elopements and tiny weddings are becoming more and more popular. So that’s when I started talking to other vendors so that we could make a customized, comprehensive package for people so that they’re still able to have an amazing wedding, just quickly and smaller.”
     

    Does it end up costing less than a normal wedding because the vendors aren’t doing as much and therefore their services don’t cost as much or is it because couples are just eliminating so many guests that they have to host?

    “Honestly, it’s both. First off, elopements can happen on Tuesdays, which makes a vendor able to drop their price considerably because most vendors are holding out all those Saturday dates and these are really more like bonuses for a vendor. Their time is significantly less — a two-hour elopement is different than a 10-hour wedding day. Also because you aren’t hosting 100 people for dinner, you’re saving a significant amount. For $2,400 you can have a legit beautiful elopement.”
     

    What’s the difference between an elopement and a pop-up wedding?

    “I know a pop-up wedding is a surprise. You invite everyone over for an engagement party or invite everyone over for a backyard barbecue and then you get married in front of everyone but you’re not telling them in advance. Elopements can either mean it’s a secret — that tends to be the most classic definition — but I think people are finding more and more that it’s less about the secret part and more about the intimacy. Just the couple or maybe one or two other people is kind of a modern-day definition.”
     


    Photos courtesy of Maggie Heely, by Chocolate Box Photography

    What are the venue options in your packages?

    “We have four different options, but we can always customize more. We wanted to break it up into different aesthetics. For people who want more of a Kentucky Bluegrass feel, we have a partnership with Hermitage Farm (in Goshen). They can have Hermitage for the day or spend the night just the two of them. Hermitage has five bedrooms, so depending on if there’s more people involved we can (accommodate) that. If you’re looking for more of an artsy vibe, we have a partnership with the Speed Museum, and also with 21c. The Speed has that beautiful atrium with all the glass. We have the ability to set up an elopement there really quickly and in the middle of museum hours so people could be looking at art and you could be something that they’re looking at as well. If you’re looking for something more private, 21c’s penthouse or the gallery (are options). For the contemporary vibe, the Embassy Suites downtown has this really cool base right in the middle of the hotel where they have almost a faux grass and a gazebo and it’s inside but it’s got a huge skylight. The wedding we had last January, they really had wished they could get married outside but it was so cold, so that was a perfect middle ground where it felt like they were outside. Then for someone who’s looking for a historic, classic vibe, the Seelbach has a few different spaces and options for honeymoon suites. We don’t have this fully in the works yet, but in the spring we’ll be talking with Bernheim Forest for a more natural, outdoor vibe for couples who want that.”
     

    And you have add-on options?

    “The couple who got married last January, they got their license in the morning, we got her a dress that morning, they got married at 1 or 2 in the afternoon and what do you do before dinner time? They took some pictures with the photographer, they went on a bourbon tour and had a beautiful dinner afterwards at Brendon’s Catch 23 downtown in a private dining room. If people want hair and makeup done, if there’s a certain song that’s important to them — we had a couple, the acoustic guitarist played their song and they had like a first dance in the middle of their ceremony, which was ridiculously beautiful and so sweet. As they are packages, we want there to be those custom elements so that people feel that it’s their day instead of a blanket day for many people.

    “The biggest thing that keeps coming to my mind is that it’s all about fit for the couple. If a couple is starting the planning process — I hear this a lot — they start to get really overwhelmed with the family-and-friend demands of people saying you have to do this or invite so-and-so, and they start to feel like their wedding isn’t representing them as a couple. I just want people to know that there is another option and it doesn’t have to be a shotgun. Yes, a lot of people contact us a month out or less, but you can certainly plan your elopement for many months out. It’s really about what makes sense for the couple.”

    This originally appeared in the 2018 Spring/Summer issue of Louisville BRIDE. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Cover Photo: Pexels.com

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