The Origins of Topper.

A couple of months ago, Chris and I took our nasty, stale, extraordinarily aged wedding cake topper on our anniversary trip. Our thirteenth anniversary trip.

Topper Chases the Sunset

Topper got to enjoy every aspect of Asheville, The Grove Park Inn, Sunset Chasing, Chocolate Shop Visiting, and we even took him to The Biltmore Estate.

Topper Visits Biltmore

I’m waiting for them to contact me to tell me that he was the first wedding cake topper to visit their fine estate, but in the meantime, let’s assume as much.

(For the record, this isn’t the most ridiculous thing Chris and I have ever done together. It was probably making this meat bouquet. Or lying our way to the top of a skyscraper still under construction.)

(The key to a happy marriage is being absolutely ridiculous together as often as possible.)

The unsheathing of Topper made me think back. More than thirteen years…to when I planned my wedding.

First of all it must be said that getting married at nineteen years old certainly cut down on a lot of the perfectionism that I would have now. Which is totally a reason to get married young.

Also, I thank God daily that I got married in a pre-Pinterest world.

Okay maybe not daily. But I totally should.

Because back then? All we had were wedding magazines – and at most, three different publications. These are the very books from which all of my wedding ideas emerged.

IMG_7657

They were monstrous at the time, but my head would have exploded if someone had tried to explain what brides would have to sift through in the future.

One of these books contains my wedding dress, carefully tabbed with a 90’s pastel blue post-it note.

Wedding Dress Ad

(I did not, however, wear those Mickey Mouse gloves with my dress.)

I literally picked my dress from that picture in that magazine – and then had to drive two hours to actually see it in person. I picked my cake design from a picture in another magazine, one that I unfortunately couldn’t locate in yesterday’s basement excavation.

But the cake.

Let’s talk about that cake.

My budget was tight, as was my timeline, so my choices were quite limited. Also, I wanted a cutting-edge cake design that had to be decorated in fondant, which was totally a fresh invention back then, thereby limiting my choices even more. I interviewed a couple of the more affordable cake bakers in town, and had settled on one fairly well-known baker.

We’d gone to her shop, tasted her cake, she assured me that she could make the modern, geometric, whimsical cake from my magazine clipping, and she gave me until Friday to let her know my answer.

I was pretty sure when we left the store that she was our cake baker, but I had one more tasting. I called back the next day from my Power-tel Flip Phone (it even had a screen to show the numbers you were dialing) to tell the Cake Mistress that yes indeed I would like to procure her services.

“I can’t do it. I gave your spot to someone else.”

“Wait. What? You said I had until Friday to let you know. It’s…Wednesday!”

“Someone else wanted it. I gave it to them. Good luck getting your cake.”

She was rude, did not apologize for her clear lack of integrity, and hung up on me.

I panicked.

I was at work when the tragic call happened. I hunted down my boss, burst into tears, and told her I needed to take the rest of the day off to handle wedding crises.

(Because that’s what engagement is, people. Endless Wedding Crises.)

(Also? Misery. ENGAGEMENT IS MISERY.)

I ran to my car, pulled out my travel Yellow Pages and began calling every other bakery in town.

Cake Calendar

(In my basement digging, I also found the above 2001 calendar. I can’t believe I put off deciding on my cake until only 40 days before my wedding. Clearly I’m to blame for this catastrophic cake hunt.)

I found a baker that would take me, then drove over to discuss the details. They refused to use fondant, but assured me they could make my cake just as well with regular icing.

That evening, one of the original horrible baker’s employees called me after he left her shop.

In a furtive whisper, as if she had bugged his phone, he offered to make my cake for me on the sly.

“I heard what she did to you. I’m so sorry. She’s awful. It’ll take some maneuvering on my part to make sure she doesn’t find out what I’m doing, but I don’t want you to be without a cake.”

I told him that I appreciated him putting his life at risk for me, but had already made other cake arrangements, and they had assured me they could make the cake I wanted.

But they were wrong.

I hated both my wedding cakes – they were so sweet that the first bite gave me a headache (hence why Topper survived), and they looked nothing like my cherished magazine picture. The color was beyond muted – just last month as we were discussing Topper, Chris said, “Wait. Our wedding cake was green and white?? There’s no way there was any green. It was white!!”

Wedding Picture with Topper

(And he was nearly right. But believe it or not, that cake is supposedly two-tone.)

The Groom’s Cake, although you could at least see the detailing and appreciate the off-center layer placement, skated the line dangerously between two shades of turd brown.
Groom's Cake

And I know that poo and chocolate both have claims on the color brown, but some shades are closer to one than the other.

But at least I had cakes.

Many years later, I was searching the internet for something on my iPhone as Chris drove down the road.

(SO much easier than that travel Yellow Pages.)

And I began that convulsive laughing that makes you choke on hiccups.

Because I ran across current-day internet reviews of the original baker – the one that did me wrong.

After I regained my composure, I shared over a dozen of them with Chris, in the form of a dramatic reading.

Here are just a few of the jewels describing her fantastic personality…

 

NEVER AGAIN

I used to love this bakery, but the last two cakes I bought from them were very dry. When I complained, you would have thought I committed a crime.

NEVER NEVER AGAIN

When the cakes were delivered it was terrible, the wedding cake had part of the icing separating and the grooms cake was not at all what I ordered, so I called X immediately because the delivery driver said you will have to call X. It took me over three weeks of going by the store calling and emailing before she finally responded and her response was as follows, and I hope you are sitting down. We can’t guarantee the delivery of our cakes as if it is too hot the cakes may melt and if it is too cold they may have problems. When I told her what all was wrong with the cakes she said well you ate it didn’t you. What was I supposed to do keep the cakes for 3 weeks before she finally called back.

Stay Away!

X has hands-down got to be one of the worst businesses in the area. X herself is mean and ornery, and her staff is just as bad. They shout at each other across the store, things like “I have to go teetee!” Right in front of customers! If your order is wrong, and it often is, then they do not take responsibility for it. All of their cakes look like they were made in 1993. Unless you want a wedding cake that is distinctly redneck, stay away from this place and go to real bakery that is staffed with professionals!

If only I’d had full access to the internet’s glory back then.

Except without Pinterest. Obviously.

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. 1
    Sarah R in WI says:

    I totally had that picture of your wedding dress cut out too! I still love it! I started planning our wedding before we were even engaged (ha!) but it was no longer available when we got married.

    We were engaged in 2004, well before Pinterest. Sometimes I think I would have enjoyed having Pinterest around for ideas, but I’m sure I would have turned psychotic trying to make everything perfect, just like the Pinterest pictures.

    Here’s our funny topper story: I LOVED our cake and we carefully saved our topper. We were married on a Friday, then wanted the weekend to relax and visit with family members who were in town, and then leave for our honeymoon in Aruba on Monday. We got to the airport on Monday, and the flight was cancelled, and we weren’t able to start our honeymoon until the next day. I was so depressed, I came home and ate our topper! For our one year anniversary, my husband found my wedding planning binder and figured out the exact cake I ordered, and ordered it from the bakery. It was really sweet. Unfortunately, now the bakery is out of business!

  2. 2
    Stephanie says:

    My mom hired a little old lady who is a wedding-cake-baking legend to do my cake, and it was delicious. Unfortunately the topper did not age well, so we only took a couple of bites. It was the mid-1990s, so it was just your standard wedding cake with flowers on top, but I was so grateful to have it turn out like I wanted.

    Re: engagement is misery–you could not be more right. We were only engaged for three months before the wedding and I am so glad. Any longer than that, and I would have lost my mind.

  3. 3
    Ellie Wofford says:

    We had a lady from my parents church make our wedding cake. I was a very laid-back bride & just told her I wanted “white with some snowflakes” & let her interpret that as she wanted. It actually turned out amazing! And it was YUMMY! The one thing I did on my wedding day was make sure I had the cake because I heard all kinds of stories about people not getting to eat theirs. lol

    However, our topper had a very different ending. We actually stayed at a hotel the first night that was near my parents home (no- they didn’t know that). My mom called my cell & said “You left the cake topper so I put it in the freezer. Do you want to come get it sometime?” (My parents lived about 8 hours from where I was living at the time.) We called them back (yes, on our honeymoon) & said “There is no way we are eating that cake on our 1 year anniversary because, well, ewww year=old cake so just grab a couple forks & you & dad enjoy it!” So they did. And they may have taken pictures & sent it to us. :)

  4. 4
    Melissa says:

    I actually loved my wedding cake. :-) I went into planning my wedding with pretty low expectations, which is weird. I wanted it to be nice, of course, but I didn’t necessarily have my heart set on anything. I always figured the type of wedding I’d have would depend on too many things for me to decide what I wanted way in advance. We used a friend from church who made wedding cakes out of her own kitchen and was WAY cheaper than any bakery. She did a great job! I would have had a chocolate cake through-and-through but my husband is not a big chocolate fan so we chose lemon cake with raspberry filling. Yummmmm….

    But that doesn’t mean OTHER people had low expectations. I never want to plan a wedding again. People get crazy when it comes to weddings.

  5. 5
    becky m says:

    Hilarious. Internet revenge is awesome! I hope the guy from the shop that called you on the sly was able to open up his own place!

    My cake was provided by the venue we chose. No stress, yummie cake!

  6. 6
    Rachel says:

    Wow, that’s some serious cake-tasrophy! Haha :) I don’t even remember what our wedding cake tasted like, but I do remember only eating a few bites of our topper on our 1st anniversary. It was pretty dry and crumbly. We just got our cake from a grocery store which sounds about as glamorous as you can get, but it turned out beautifully and I loved it so I guess it worked out just fine. :)

  7. 7
    Katie H says:

    We went to the courthouse on a Friday afternoon, no cake, no dress, NO RELATIVES! Best wedding ever!

  8. 8
    Christy says:

    I correctly guessed who the cake lady was! We looked at them also for our wedding but ended up going with someone else. Our groom’s cake was chocolate with an Alabama ‘A’ on it.

  9. 9
    Carrie says:

    Our issue was our reception. I could have cared less about the reception but my husband wanted a decent place. We had to pay for the tasting of the food and they had some sort of auction in the hallway. Walking in was like going to an Asian tourist shop. This did not appear until 2 weeks prior to our reception. They also were not returning phone calls. Then during the reception it was our photographer that helped us the most. She actually found a knife to help us cut the cake. No one could be found! Then they started setting up for a breakfast function 30 min prior to when our time ended.
    I wanted to use our church event room but no alcohol was allowed and my husband would not hear about that. He then only drank 1 drain that night.

  10. 10
    Angela in Arizona says:

    What I would have given for Pinterest to plan my wedding. Trying to find a modest wedding dress was like trying to find a fish in the desert! (LOVE your dress, by the way!) I too, was really disappointed in my cake! I wanted simple… but it was so simple it looked like we forgot to decorate it! Just three plain white circles. Oh well! Still had the best time ever!

  11. 11
    Jessamy says:

    I just recently got engaged, and I’m already hitting pinterest critical mass. We haven’t even set a date yet. I am so doomed.

  12. 12
    Lindsay D. says:

    Dang. My grandmother made wedding cakes for people my entire childhood. So of course she made mine. I didn’t realize how blessed I was.
    It was delicious and pretty.
    My color scheme for the wedding, well that was a different story. It was supposed to Navy Blue and Pale Pink. (We were married in December) With pale pink poinsettias.
    When they were delivered the day of the wedding, they were HOT pink. But what can you do? Nothing. I got over it, and we had a wonderful day.
    We are just as married and happy, Hot Pink or Pale Pink

  13. 13

    Savage’s baked our wedding cakes, and they were delicious … but if I were doing it over again I might choose Olexa’s. Just because Olexa’s are BEYOND. But we got married in 1995. Olexa wasn’t even born then, probably.

  14. 14
    Melanie says:

    I feel your pain! I hated mine too! The traditional cake was done by a local baker (who went out of business like 2 seconds after my wedding). I had to carry it out to my car in the rain the night before my wedding. It was not moist at all and it just made me sad. We kept our topper but tragically lost him during a power outage thanks to Hurricane Ivan.

    I’m a wedding photographer now so I get to hear about all of the craziness of planning a 2014 wedding. I wouldn’t trade with them for anything!

    • 14.1

      That IS sad! You should get a cake do-over.

      And no. I can’t even imagine wedding photography in a Pinterest-era. How many pins do they send to you so that you are prepared with all of the kooky poses they will want on their wedding day?

      • Melanie says:

        Oh yes! I get an email full of Pinterest pins or I hear “well on Pinterest, I saw…” at our meetings. I have to remind them that when they only plan for 20 minutes of post-ceremony photos, we can’t do 231 Pinterest poses.

        Thankfully in my short time I haven’t had a Pinterest-Bridezilla!

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