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Everything is coming together for a celebration as unique as you are, but that big, tiered, white frosted cake that is oh-so-traditional just doesn’t excite you. Consider some fun alternatives.


First question: Do you really love cake but just don’t like the size and shape of the traditional tiered one? Cupcakes might fill the bill. You can have more than one variety and frosting options include all manner of flavors, colors and artistry. Before you dismiss it as passé, visit the cases and sample the almost-too-pretty-to-eat options at Mia Bella Cupcakes.

If your answer to the first question is “no,” you really don’t love cake, believing it to be merely a platform for ice cream, then go straight to the ice cream. Arcata Scoop and Living the Dream Ice Cream will sell you their stuff by the gallon, so you can choose your favorite flavors (honey lavender? Mexican coffee?) and create a pick-your-own toppings sundae bar. Ice cream sodas or root beer floats add an old-time flair to a summer wedding, too.

Perhaps you’re a cookie person. Have a favorite that you could eat every day? Old Town Coffee and Chocolates will make cut-outs of the cookies of your choice, and also monogram them for you. French macaroons are a great option, too, if you want cookies color-coordinated with your wedding theme.

You aren’t going to get elegance with doughnuts but you can really let your whimsy shine. Presentation is key. You can stack them in tiers or hang colorfully frosted ones on a pegboard to form a heart or your initials. After the wedding, repurpose the pegboard for eco points.

Prefer pie? Slice of Humboldt Pie and Ferndale Pie Company both make custom pies for weddings. Slice of Humboldt Pie will make very large or petite pies with locally grown fruit and even flaky gluten-free crusts.

Looking for a continental flair? Sadly, croque-en-bouche, the small cream puffs stacked into a conical tower and held together with crunchy caramel doesn’t survive Humboldt’s damp climate long. However, Cafe Brio makes cream puffs and will turn out a bevy of pastries — éclairs, tarts — for a fancy dessert table.

If you both have the same favorite cheesecake, that could be your wedding cake. But if you simply can’t narrow your choice to one dessert, Ramone’s Bakery recently satisfied a couple’s wishes with a stacked cheesecake/torte/cake. And a formal affair would be only be that much more refined with the bakery’s individual crème brulees.

It’s your wedding — “let them eat cake” is not the only option.
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Susan Penn

Susan Penn

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