Blue Mountains Gazette

Brides of the Blue MountainsAdvertising Feature

These ideas take the cakeAdvertising Feature

TASTY CHOICE: Love donuts? Not a problem. Why not incorporate them into your wedding cake design? Photo: Shutterstock

People will often tell you that your wedding is all about your special day, the bride walking up the aisle, saying "I do", heartfelt speeches and celebrating with family and friends, but don't believe them.

The best part of your wedding is getting to taste test delicious cakes before your ceremony even happens.

No matter what your budget or theme is, your wedding cake is the perfect chance to top your night off in style.

Like decorations, dresses and locations, wedding cakes are heading away from traditional styles and being designed to suit the unique personalities of the bride and groom, so now is the time to be original.

It's odd how as soon as the word wedding is mentioned, prices of cakes seem to increase. The average price of a wedding cake in Australia sits at $533, however it is still possible to save money on a wedding cake without sacrificing things you want.

You can order a plainly decorated cake and add the extras such as ribbons and toppers yourself, you can pick it up and eliminate delivery costs, choose a cheaper cake alternative like a "sheet cake" or even use your cake as the dessert option for your reception and save money on catering.

In fact, cakes no longer have to be cakes and there are a wide range of alternatives that you can choose from that will satisfy everyone's taste-buds.

Cupcakes a great way to make sure everyone get's their fill of baked goods, while brownies and doughnuts also do the trick.

If you are lucky enough to have a traditional ice cream shop, the an ice cream cake cake can be the perfect option, especially if you have a sweet tooth.

If you are looking for a more savoury snack, then cheese wheel stacks with crackers are increasing in popularity, along with pancake or sushi towers. Some savoury options also make vegetarian or gluten free options more readily accessible.

Your wedding cake says as much about your weddings style as your decorations and outfits do, so why not have something that is unique and shows who you are?

The choices are endless, so jump in and get creative. Current trends seem to be an "all or nothing" approach with native floral arrangements full of interesting shapes and colours just as popular as naked cakes with minimal additions.

If you are stuck for ideas about style then an easy way to make a cake your own is to simply use a cake topper. You can have a family silhouette or personal mementos, or try a fun outlook by incorporating your favourite interests.

A blooming lovely range of optionsAdvertising Feature

MIX IT UP: Combining native and traditional flowers creates a beautiful bouquet. Photo: Shutterstock

When it comes to weddings, flowers are vital, yet not many people realise just how many flowers or floral arrangements are needed.

It is not just the bride's bouquet but the bridesmaids as well, decorations at the church, table decorations at the reception, even as part of hair styles.

When choosing your flowers it is important to think about colour, style, shape but also how they will flow and create a theme throughout your wedding day.

Roses have long been the traditional favourite because they symbolise eternal love, however, as wedding ceremonies evolve, a new generation of brides are embracing alternatives.

The current trend is for wild and loose bouquets with big proteas such as banksias, grevilleas and waratahs, gum leaves, and a mixture of natives or roses. A pastel palette works well with most dresses and suits, and the gorgeous aroma from the natives will make your room feel calm and fresh.

When choosing your flowers it is also important to think about how you are going to style them. Will they be sitting on something, will they be hanging or a mixture of both? The same goes for bouquets which can quickly become awkward or heavy to carry, and you can also use the smaller flowers elsewhere on gift tables, men's boutonnieres or even in bridesmaids hairstyles.

Of course a local florist will have some great tips and ideas that can help you out. If you have the chance, pick out some of your favourite flowers or show them examples of the dresses you have chosen and they will be able to help you create a floral theme to make your wedding day look spectacular.

FINE DINING: Flowers can make statement centrepieces for your tables. Photo: Shutterstock

Day deserves special placeAdvertising Feature

MAGIC HAPPENS: When it comes to choosing a venue for your wedding day there are many things to consider. Picture: Shutterstock

When it comes to your wedding one of the biggest decisions, and costs, is where to host your wedding reception.

There are a myriad of things to consider when choosing the venue and a wide range of options available that can suit your styles and personalities, not to mention your budget.

While guests always say a wedding is about the happy couple, quite often the happy couple spend a lot of time looking after guests. It's why choosing a venue that is "guest friendly" is so important.

If your guests are coming a long way, make sure there is plenty of accommodation available at the venue or nearby. It's also handy if you know the area to include a list of recommendations with your invitations.

If the venue isn't close to accommodation then think about putting on a courtesy bus to get your guests easily to and from your reception.

Finally, size counts. You can't put 100 guests in a 60-seat room, so make sure you confirm your guest list and how many people your venue can comfortably hold.

The odds are if you have found a great venue for your reception, other couples have also found it. Many of the top venues book out months in advance so it is important to be organised and plan ahead. Inspect a number of locations because if you are set on your date, then you may need to have a second or even third choice ready for your reception.

Review your booking agreement and ask any questions before you sign on the dotted line, making sure you are across any details such as rental hours, payment plans, decorations, other inclusions and cancellation policies. You also need to make sure you stick to your budget.

Couples are increasingly having their receptions outdoors. Whether is it on a beach, in a quiet country paddock or in a gorgeous national park, the scenery and surrounds can make for a beautiful setting and some spectacular photos.

They can also be a great option for those who really want to put their own spin on proceedings, have limited budgets or want a reception that is less formal.

But remember that Mother Nature always plays a part, so be sure to have a Plan B in place for those inclement weather emergencies.