Special/Signature Issues » Bridal Style

Toppers That Take the Cake

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Couples can check with their cake designer for topper ideas or branch out on their own by contacting vendors who specialize in one-of-a-kind keepsake ornaments. Many couples find their perfect topper on the Web or by visiting a local craft or kitchenware store.

Still others keep it closer to home by choosing to use an antique topper, such as vintage bride and groom figurines that have been passed down for generations, or a family heirloom like a cherished picture frame or photograph. Some couples look to nature for inspiration, choosing figures of doves, swans and other romantic creatures to adorn their cake. Fresh flowers are also popular, as are their delicate butter cream counterparts.

Another trend that is growing in popularity are polymer clay replicas of the bride and groom that are created from their photograph. Many of these come with a special case so that once the wedding is over; the topper can be fashionably displayed at home or safely stored away for future use. Other alternative materials used to create some of today's gorgeous cake toppers include blown glass, delicate paper, lace, ribbon, beads, sculpted maple sugar or marzipan, and carved sugar blocks. In addition, personal items like jewelry or small trinkets of sentimental value can be used, as can more fanciful objects such as miniature replicas of a romantic trip (think the Eiffel Tower or a favorite cityscape) or revered symbols of love such as hearts, wedding bells, or rings.

Couples can check with their cake designer for topper ideas or branch out on their own by contacting vendors who specialize in one-of-a-kind keepsake ornaments. Many couples find their perfect topper on the Web or by visiting a local craft or kitchenware store.

Still others keep it closer to home by choosing to use an antique topper, such as vintage bride and groom figurines that have been passed down for generations, or a family heirloom like a cherished picture frame or photograph. Some couples look to nature for inspiration, choosing figures of doves, swans and other romantic creatures to adorn their cake. Fresh flowers are also popular, as are their delicate butter cream counterparts.

Another trend that is growing in popularity are polymer clay replicas of the bride and groom that are created from their photograph. Many of these come with a special case so that once the wedding is over; the topper can be fashionably displayed at home or safely stored away for future use. Other alternative materials used to create some of today's gorgeous cake toppers include blown glass, delicate paper, lace, ribbon, beads, sculpted maple sugar or marzipan, and carved sugar blocks. In addition, personal items like jewelry or small trinkets of sentimental value can be used, as can more fanciful objects such as miniature replicas of a romantic trip (think the Eiffel Tower or a favorite cityscape) or revered symbols of love such as hearts, wedding bells, or rings.



A Topper Timeline

Toppers may come and toppers may go, but without them a wedding cake just isn't the same. The following is a list of favorites that have graced wedding cakes over the years:

Pre-1920s - Intricately crafted bride and groom figures, some of which include full-size horseshoes for good luck or wedding bells above the couple's heads, made at bakeries out of dried flour paste

1920s - Unusual pipe-cleaner figures

1930s - Hummel and Bessie Pease-stylized dolls with round, cherubic faces; whimsical bisque and celluloid Kewpie dolls; streamlined and sleek Depression-era figures such as a bride in a slinky, bias-cut gown and the groom holding a top hat

1940s - War-era toppers featuring brides with grooms in military uniforms; plastic brides and grooms become the topper of choice by the end of the decade

1950s - Elaborate creations going beyond the bride and groom to include bridesmaids, ushers, a flower girl, ring bearer and minister; placed on various levels of the cake; some brides feature lace-net dresses; others sit on intricate lace-like sugar bases

1960s - early 1970s - Long-haired plastic groom toppers; flowers, plastic doves; an increase in individualized toppers

Late 1970s to present - Specialty companies introduce a wide range of choices, such as crosses, seashells and hummingbirds; variety of delicately blown glass and polymer clay figures; fresh flowers a la carte or combined with toppers

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