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Lessons from the Cake Boss Buddy V.

Lessons from the Cake Boss Buddy V.

It was great meeting a modern-day culinary legend Buddy Valastro, most commonly known as The Cake Boss.  The Cake Boss, in some random case you don't know, is a hit reality TV series on TLC highlighting incredible edible art and cake engineering feats that makes millions of viewers each season (and customers of Carlo's Bakery) keep coming back for more. Meeting Buddy V. came with a great share of appreciation for the man behind the scenes.  Enjoy this fun piece with great insight from the Boss of All Cakes!

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Photo credit:  Get Wed for Less LLC

Never too successful to be able to relate.

Many "successes" lose touch with reality and become less helpful to those they are to serve once they reach a certain height.  I just listened to a clip in which 2016 Presidential Candidate Donald Trump said he had a "small loan" of $1 million from his father to start investing... in Manhattan!  Talk about out-of-touch!  (Here's the clip: http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/26/politics/donald-trump-small-loan-town-hall/)   

Sorry, Don, most of us can't relate.  I love that Buddy V. talked candidly about how he did the bridal shows, advertising in magazines and everything he could to make a name for himself.  Now, he's the Cake Boss and still super relevant to the hungry entrepreneur... maybe because he didn't start out with a small $1 million injection? 

Not everyone will be your biggest fan.

Buddy V. has millions of fans watching him and his crew on TV and following him on social media and online.  I loved hearing him say, "One of the most important things [to know is] you're not going to make everyone happy."  Gosh!  How many of us are recovering people pleasers or somehow pride ourselves on bending over backwards for, quite honestly, the undeserving host.  Well, it was a breath of fresh air to hear from one so well-loved, so "arrived," that this is a critical key to remember.  Be true to your brand, pros out there! 

Boss?  Always.  Savant?  Meh... Maybe Not.

Hitting on the realness and humility of The Boss, he commented, "Everybody always knows something more than we do."  "Everybody?" Yes, everybody.  Some of us are afraid to ask for help - been there!  We can't go it alone because as much as we try to be "know-it-alls," we don't know everything and trying to be the Jack/Jill of All Trades ends up hurting us and our businesses in the process.  He continued, "Surround yourself with A+ people.  It allows us to do a better job.  

I love the quote, "Everyone is superior in that I may learn from him."  There is always a lesson to glean.  Buddy V. reminded me once again during our session.

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Photo credit:  Get Wed for Less LLC.  Event:  Your Wedding Experience, Atlanta.

Until next time...

Happy planning!

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She's Got the Cake: An Interview on Wedding Cake Trends with Maria Velasco

She's Got the Cake: An Interview on Wedding Cake Trends with Maria Velasco

This week, I had opportunity to connect with Maria Velasco, the expert cake baker and designer and owner at Once Upon A Cake in Alpharetta, GA.  Satisfying sweet orders for decades, Maria has trained under the best in the industry and was a winning contestant in the North Georgia Cake Challenge. Maria speaks with us here about popular cake trends, the raging "naked cake," and how she got her start in baking.  

-- All photos are used courtesy of Once Upon A Cake.

GWFL:  How did you get started baking?

Maria:  Growing up, my mother never baked. I had a friend named Lisa, and I when I went over to her house, her grandmother was baking.  I found it so fascinating and just started baking!

GWFL:  Very cool.  Tell us, what are the most common trends in wedding cakes you're seeing these days? 

Maria:  Cupcake towers are very popular as well as rustic cakes like the "naked" wedding cake.  Burlap is big.  Brides are adding more color to their wedding cake.  One bride wanted yellow and grey on her cake.  Another wanted a purple cake.  When you add in color to the wedding cake, it adds that pop - it's phenomenal!  I just love that.

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GWFL:  What are the most common requests you get?

Maria:  A lot of brides are liking more intricate piping work on their cakes, like the Lambeth Method, which is a really intricate one.  Simple scrolls are not enough anymore.  Some brides go crazy and want like a science fiction cake or even an upside-down cake.  Anything goes now.

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GWFL:  That's very true - people are becoming less and less traditional.  Emily Post used to be the turn-to for most brides; now they want to go against the grain.

Maria:  Exactly!

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GWFL:  Naked cakes... they seem to be all the rage right now.  Professional bakers have been making them for quite some time, but this year, they seem to be taking off.  Tell our readers, what are "naked cakes" exactly and why do you think brides are loving them?

Maria:  Naked Cake is a rustic kind of country cake that doesn't have any icing on the outside.  There is filling between the layers, usually three or four layers in the cake and usually filled with butter cream.  It is decorated with fruit or flowers.  Not only is it great because it has less sugar, but in rustic settings, like a barn or woodsy venues, which is especially popular here in Georgia, it goes perfectly.  It's great for a country wedding and beautiful when topped with fruit or flowers.

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GWFL:  Do you have any suggestions on how to keep naked cakes fresh?

Maria:  After you bake it, wrap it up and leave it wrapped overnight to keep it moist. The cake is fresh because you fill it and decorate it the day of the wedding. 

GWFL:  Tell us about Once Upon A Cake's Naked Wedding Cake Giveaway.  How did you come up with it?  Do you need to be based in a certain area to enter the giveaway?

Maria:  Yes, wedding has to be based in Georgia.  We can up with it because we say it was a popular trend.  The cake is rustic, it's charming, and we wanted to give one away.  The details are on the site.  The bride with the most romantic story wins the cake. (Visit http://www.onceuponacake.net/contact-us.html to enter for your chance to win, Georgia brides and grooms).

GWFL:  How fitting that you're giving the cake away to the most romantic or fairy tale style wedding with the name "Once Upon A Cake!"

Maria:  Yeah! We're romantics over here!

GWFL:  I could tell when I met you and your husband years ago.  You could tell he loved his Maria!

Maria:  (Laughing) Yes.

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-- Connect with Maria >> You can email, call or text Maria at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (770) 654-9757.

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The Ultimate Wedding Checklist & Timeline - Part V (4 Months)

4 MONTHS from Your Wedding Day

Note from the Editor:  It’s time for some more fun!!  In this entry, Jeff Brown of JaiLynn Events gives us the goods on the 4-month marker from your big day.  Discover his expert advice on cakes, rehearsal dinners, and the groom’s plus his men’s gear.

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Photo Credit: Lulu Custom Cake Boutique (Westchester County)

Choose and Order Your Cake!

  1. Taste, Taste Taste!

  2. Choose your icing wisely!  Fondants have come a long way, and many are quite tasty and pretty.  Traditional icings like butter cream are still classic and beautiful.  Nowadays, many great decorators can do the most smooth, clean designs using butter cream.

  3. If choosing cupcakes, think of how they will be displayed, who delivers them, the cost of delivery, who will set them up, and if carry-out boxes can be included for those who opt to take their cupcake home.

 

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Photo credit: Kristen Alexander Photography (Piedmont Room, Atlanta)

Plan the Rehearsal Dinner

  1. If budget is a concern, see if your venue offers a package meal.  You may consider a family-style restaurant for cost-effectiveness.

  2. Out of town guest should be invited but if finances are tight it’s not really considered rude to not invite them

  3. Consider a small limited menu  backyard barbeque hosted anywhere but where you will be staying if not at the hotel

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Photo Credit: Steve's Photo Session (Power Unit - AlLFA Design - Affordable Custom-Tailored Clothing)

Choosing Groom's & Groomsmen Attire

  1. Choosing from a large rental chain allows out-of-town groomsmen to get fitted in their hometown, and tuxes can be waiting upon arrival.

  2. When picking up, TRY ON EVERYTHING!  There's always a small size mix-up somewhere. Also, the tux is not usually in the store but close-by in a warehouse, so exchanges typically take a day.

  3. If due back the day after the wedding, designate one person to collect them, inventory each suit bag, and return them all at once.  With this designee's help, any cash deposits can be collected and returned at this time as well.

 

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Photo Credit: Style Me Pretty

Mail invitations!

Note from the Editor:  While it is an acceptable practice for invitations to be mailed 2 months before the wedding, I’d recommend getting them out sooner.  Yes, you may have already sent off the save-the-dates, but earlier notice of details is always best for out-of-town guests.   Make sure to include directionals, registry specs, and any other pertinent info!

Until next time... Happy planning!

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Top 5 Links for Wedding Day Kinks

Photo credit: Outlish.com

Photo credit: Outlish Magazine

I agree - NOT  a good look! I think her aggravation came from unaccounted wedding day woes! It's my mission today to help you avoid looking anywhere in the vicinity of this on your special day. 

We recently polled our friends on our Facebook page and asked what they'd guess to be a bride's biggest wedding day fear. Interestingly, the biggest fear most brides share is not fitting into their dress! While this hiccup doesn't have an instantaneous solution (turnaround time is needed for proper alterations), I can provide you a wealth of helpful tricks to solve other wedding day mishaps in a jiffy!

Here's a round-up of our Top 5 Links for Wedding Day Kinks!

1) Wedding Dress Stains: How To Treat Emergency Wedding Dress Stains by Mary Marlowe Leverette, Laundry Superheroine

Yes, laundry experts exist! *smile*  Remember your mom's good ol' Help from Heloise books?

2) Pesky Pimples: 27 Quick and Crunchy Home Remedies for Pimples by Leslie Martin, Editor & Beauty Savant

3) Unexpected Guests: How to Deal with Wedding Crashers by Stephanie Emma Pfeffer, Writer & Editor

This is where the help of a skilled wedding planner or coordinator comes in handy! They are enlisted to do the dirty work and aren't afraid to be the "bad cop."

4) But You Promised!: When a Vendor is a No-Show by Nina Callaway, Event Planner

One of the scariest wedding day mishaps! I can relate.  The wedding party driver decided to flake the morning of a wedding I was coordinating. All was set, confirmed, signed, sealed, and, well, almost delivered. While all eventually worked out, it can still be a major stress-inducer. Here are some additional helpful tips for other missing vendor snafus not mentioned in Nina's article:

- Wedding Cake 911: Have your wedding or venue coordinator or an über reliable friend/family member attending the wedding save the day by running to the closest bakery to buy cupcakes, a small cutting cake, and a cake tier to display at the reception. 

- DJ 911: Grab an iPod, iPhone, or Droid (that's preloaded with reception and ceremony music) and dock it to speakers at your venue. Have a friend man it behind a table to remain inconspicuous!

- Limo/Transportation 911: You can book last-minute town car rentals (not a limo, but still a sweet ride for the bride and groom plus) through almost any rental agency. On weekends, airport-based car rental centers usually run around-the-clock. You can ask your planner or another über reliable to pick it up. If renting last-minute doesn't fit the bill and timing just won't work, check with a friend/family member who has a fitting vehicle to rescue you!  While the favor will be done out of kindness of heart, give 'em a nice tip anyway!

5) The Catch-All: The Ultimate Wedding Day Emergency Kit by Becca & Megan of Social Graces, Event Planners

Let's remember: The best defense is a good offense. The best cure is an ounce of prevention.  Before anything has the chance to go down, have your plan of action already prepared.  After all, the only thing we can expect is the unexpected itself! Surround yourself with problem-solvers who can help alleviate stress, try your best to remain calm, and carry on.

Until next time...

Happy Planning!

Photo credit: Weddings Illustrated

Do you have any other great tips and tricks on wedding day mishaps?  Have you encounter any of these hiccups at a wedding and want to give feedback?  Inquiring brides want to know! 

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