Preserving Your Top Tier

We asked Tracy Kohler, owner and head pastry chef at Farina Bakery, for her tips on preserving the top layer of your wedding cake for your one-year anniversary. Here’s what she recommends:

1. Be sure to chill your cake before you begin to wrap it.

You want to make sure to preserve your icing by allowing it to harden before prepping it for storage. Buttercream is a very soft icing; put it in the fridge or freezer for an hour until the icing hardens, then wrap it up.

2. Remove any decorations

If there are any added elements to your cake such as sugar work or chocolate work, be sure to remove them (you want the plastic wrap to be tight and decorations will allow airflow in). To preserve things like sugar flowers, keep them in a box at room temperature away from any heat sources.

3. Wrap it up!

Once you have a firm frosting, wrap that pretty little cake up in double plastic wrap, avoiding any air bubbles. Do not use tinfoil (it will make your cake taste like aluminum!). Tip: be sure to include a box of baking soda in your freezer, this will remove any smells from the freezer that you do not want to transfer into your cake!

4. Defrost and enjoy!

The night before your anniversary, move the cake from the freezer to the fridge to allow it to thaw. Keep it wrapped at this point. On your anniversary, remove the wrapping and allow it to come to room temperature 3-4 hours prior to serving, then it’s ready to enjoy!

And to make it extra special, serve with a cake stand (love this one!) and a classic cake cutter. Put this on top for a sweet touch!

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blu


There’s an old English rhyme that goes “Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Sixpence in your Shoe” – these little tokens are said to be good luck for your wedding day. Here are a few ideas of what I’ve seen brides take with them down the aisle (and photos of my own something borrowed and blue!).


Something old represents continuity. Some ideas:

  • Family jewelry, like your mom’s pearl earrings, a locket, or your grandmother’s rosary (could be wrapped around your bouquet)
  • A vintage car to leave the church as a married couple
  • If you have a winter wedding, a family fur or stole is a great option (I got married in December in Minnesota and wore my grandmother’s fur to the ceremony!)


Something new symbolizes optimism for your new life ahead. Some ideas:

  • A new name. If you’re taking your fiancée’s name, you can have your new monogram sewn into your dress (Stitch Above the Rest will monogram your new married monogram into the inside of your dress… in blue if you like!)
  • Something new for the night before the wedding

Something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness. Some ideas:

  • Your dad’s handkerchief, in case you get teary
  • A veil – your mom’s wedding dress from the ‘80s may not be the look you’re going for, but veils often have a timeless look
  • A clutch for essentials (I borrowed a dear friend’s white YSL clutch for my own wedding. For her wedding, she carried a Mrs. clutch and had it personalized to include her new last name!)
  • Consider something from your soon-to-be mother-in-law – is there something special the women in your fiancée’s family have that you could use? (Kate Middleton borrowed a tiara from Queen Elizabeth on her wedding day)

Something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity. Some sweet ideas:

  • The classic (and my pick!) is blue shoes (I like these, these and these) – you can also add blue bows to a favorite pair of heels
  • Blue wellies would be great for a farm wedding, winter wedding or rainy day!

A sixpence in your shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity and is traditionally gifted by the father of the bride (though this one remains largely a British custom and is often skipped in American weddings!).

5 Reasons Why Every Couple Should do Engagement Photos


We asked Gina Zeidler, wedding photographer extraordinaire, for her take on engagement photo shoots. Here’s what she said:

“I am crazy passionate and head over heels in love with engagement sessions. During my consults, I really express to my clients how much value is stored up in their engagement session and why I think they are a must for all of my couples. Why?

1. It’s essential that you get used to being behind your wedding photographer’s camera before your big day.

For most bride and grooms, the last photographer they were encountered with was their graduation photographer or possibly your last family shot at the old time studio. Most of the time grooms- to be dread engagement sessions, because they remember feeling completely awkward back in high school in front of the camera. I want to break that mold at the engagement session. I want my couples to know we are going to have fun. You are going to laugh at me. You are going to laugh at each other. We will get to know each other more and you’ll see how I do what I do. I want each of my clients to not worry one tiny bit about how pictures are going to go, how they should stand or what they should do with their hands. I have got you covered! I want them to see me on their wedding day as an old friend coming to make them do that “weird laugh and walk thing” or the” act like it’s cold outside and hug up on each other” thing. I want my flow and direction to feel like old hat. Easy Peasy.

2. It’s a free date night.

Here you are all looking pretty and having to hold hands, smooch and stare into each other’s eyes. How often to you actually rub noses or squeeze your someone? Soak each other in! We are all so busy these days, alone time with the ones we love is priceless I also encourage my couples to go somewhere after our session even if it’s just for coffee and enjoy themselves.

3. Use it as a trial run.

This mention is more for my brides than the beaus. This is a great time to try out your make up or do a test run with your hair before the wedding. Here you can try a couple things and see what looks best in photos. It truly helps to meet with your stylists and to get comfortable with them too.You could also test out attire or shoes to see what feels best.

4. You are creating your own art.

I know this might sound ridiculously cheesy, but if you put your heart and your authenticity into your engagement session you are creating art that represents you as a couple. I love nothing more than collaborating with couples and coming up with concepts that come from their everyday. Whether it be wrestling, hiking mountains, your puppy. These images are timeless because they define you.

5. Because they are just stinkin fun.

Everyone has a unique story and my favorite thing to do is listen to you both and come up with something that resonates with your real life and your hearts. We are always having a good time, because you are typically doing things that you love with the one that you love. Win. Win. I promise.”


For more of Gina’s work or to reach out regarding her photography services email her at or follow her on Instagram @ginazeidler!

What does a wedding planner actually do on wedding day?

Months of planning go into a wedding, but the day itself can feel like it flies by.


I’m sure your fiancé has asked, “why do we even need a wedding planner?”


Here’s a recent run-down of the 24 hours from the night before to late the night after of what my team is actually doing (of course, this is just one wedding, your timeline will be customized to your wedding day details!):


The night before…


I run the ceremony rehearsal, making sure everyone knows their cues and how to enter and exit.


The day of…


7am – I check in with the bride to make sure hair and make-up have arrived and she’s feeling great – it’s wedding day!


7:30am – I make sure that brunch is on the way! Coffee and bagels, mimosas and fresh fruit, whatever you and your bridesmaids need to start the day right. I also drop off a steamer and an intern to steam all the bridesmaid dresses.


8am – I head to the venue. The tent is arriving, dance floor is being set up and tables and chairs are arriving. I make sure everything is set up correctly and start making calls if anything doesn’t arrive as expected.

9am – The décor company arrives to set up chandeliers and draping. The photography team and videographer arrives and I walk them through the property to make sure they know the layout and can pick out ideal spots for photos.


10am – At this particular wedding the couple’s cocktail hour includes lawn games, so I set up bag toss, ladder ball, and horseshoes.


10:30am – I head to the church to set up the aisle runner.


11am – Lunch is being sent up to the bridal suite, I make sure it’s set and fully vegan, per the bride’s request.


11:30am – First look is coming up, so I go check in with the bride and make sure she’s getting her dress on. I carry a crochet hook in my emergency kit because dresses with real buttons are almost impossible to button & unbutton by hand (your groom will probably want to invest in one for later as well!)


11:45pm – I also check in with the groom to make sure he knows where to be when. If one of the groomsmen has something awry (too small pants, vest that’s not the right color, tie with a stain on it…) I’ll send an intern out to grab a replacement.


12pm – The couple does their first look! I grab a tissue for the groom’s tears.


2:15pm – Catering arrives and tables begin to be set up. DJ arrives and sets up two set ups (one in the tent which goes until 10pm, one for late-night dancing, which will take place inside)


2:30pm – I check in with harp player to make sure she’s ready to play the ceremony prelude. The bridal party arrives at the church and I tuck the bride and groom away in separate rooms.


3pm – Ceremony begins! I send the bridal party down the aisle, making sure people process evenly. I hold onto any tiny members of the bridal party (flower girls always want to run down the aisle early!).


4:00pm – Ceremony ends – I bustle the bride so no one steps on her dress during the cocktail hour!


4:10pm – The bridal party is heading out on a boat for brief private cocktail hour – I send an intern on the boat to keep track of them and make sure they’re back in time to greet guests!


5:00pm – My team organizes the receiving line.


6:10pm – Guests are seated, I cue the father of bride for his welcome and priest for his blessing.


6:15pm – Buffet opens. As guests sit back down, I cue the first speeches.


7:52pm – Sunset. I have the newlyweds pop out with the photographer to grab a few photos during golden hour.


8:30pm – Bouquet toss!


10pm – Pizza is delivered for the late night snack. I communicate with the DJ throughout the night so they know when to make an announcement like this. During downtime, I pack your gifts, and any miscellaneous décor that’s no longer needed. I deliver the gifts the next morning.


12pm – Send the couple off! At the end of the night I pack the linens and stack all the chairs to get them ready for pick up first thing.


You want your bridesmaids to take you to your after party, not doing tear down at midnight! My job is to make sure you have nothing to worry about and your guests actually get to be guests.