A Handy Little Wedding Cake Guide

When you book a venue for your wedding in Bombay, it tends to be a parcel of most essential wedding requirements – the decorator, caterer, sound and light, wedding car, etc. As well as for the economically worried, this service by the venue providers is excellent for those who don’t want to spend much time fretting over the nitty-gritty. There are of course options for different budgets – usually ranging from platinum to silver packages.

The caterers who are included in this contract system also provide the bridal couple with the wedding cake, and it is usually complimentary. The cake you end up with is in direct relation to the catering package you select. If you aren’t pleased with what you see, you can always opt to buy (or make) your own wedding cake.

Sample these cakes – most of them taken from the wedding albums of East Indian couples I know.

Concept - Silel, Cake artist - Lindsey (~9820293430~)

Concept - mine (flowers from Crawford Market & topper by Shawn Lewis), Cake artist - Aunty Glenny, Vasai

Concept & artist - Trudy, Bombay (~+912226770649, +919833417776~)

Concept and cake artist - Aunty Glenny, Vasai

Concept & artist - Aunty Glenny, Vasai

Concept - Ashley & Aster, Cake artist - Aunty Glenny, Vasai

Aren’t they beautiful! Do send me pictures of your wedding cakes, I would love to put them up out here.

One of the limitations most cake bakers I know face when crafting a wedding cake in Bombay is the lack of decent food colouring. You get the standard red, blue, green and yellow and any daring colours can only be attempted via the mix-and-match method. Even then, the colour you end up with is a watered down shade of the one you need.

For instance, for my own wedding cake, I had an entirely different style of cake in mind and plum purple was my choice of colour for the layer of icing as it would have totally swinged our theme. I had to reverse the combination though and make do with (artificial) plum purple flowers that I plucked out of a bouquet I purchased at Crawford Market. Regardless, I was told people had a good time sticking them all in the cake while decorating it, so it turned out fun in the end *grin*

For my sister’s wedding we are better prepared and I am going to do my darndest to arm Aunty Glenny with bold food colouring like the ones I saw on Baking Pleasures.

If you would like to go the cupcake way (like the second cake from Project Wedding), there are many cupcake bakers cropping up in good old Bombay these days. A very hunger-inducing glance through some Brown Paper Bag archives led me to these lovely folks:

~ SOS Cupcakes – for whimsy cupcakes

~ Dolce – for Luxe cupcakes

~ Recipe Mobile – for cupcakes and cheesecakes

~ Cake it Away – for creative cupcakes

And then again, there are professional bakers who specialize in wedding cakes like:

~ Joyce Fernandes – +912226423613 / +912226436805 / +919820139370

~ Desireé Cake Studio – +912226454962 / +912226458998

~ Tart Cakes – they are not as dodgy as they sound (not unless you want them to) and they even make cupcakes

~ The Baking Tray

And if you happen to be a groom or bride who wants to go that extra mile for the aisle, try out something as novel as a cake baking class that allows you to take home the fruit of your labour. Reema Prasanna’s Bake You! not only provides you with an expert one-on-one baking session, but you also get to use her kitchen and equipment. For a couple that would like to make their wedding extra memorable (and have some time on their hands), I can’t think of a better way to do so than indulge in an activity like this!

So there you have it, my handy little guide to the best websites, spots and people to hit for a wedding cake in Mumbai and even in Vasai. Let me know if you know of any interesting ones. You could shoot me a mail at haellii at hotmail.co.uk or simply comment on this post.

Potlucky!

Folks say this has been the wettest start to summer in 10 years!

Potluck teas, lunches or dinners do happen in India, but they aren’t that common, surfacing only when the crowd is a lot and the hostess’ energy is running low. More importantly, not many hosts would think of ‘troubling’ their guests to bring lunch along. It’s an Indian thing.

Which is why I was absolutely charmed to attend one today, held at a lovely house south of Brisbane belonging to a friend of Melroy’s. We carried along the icky-sounding Chocky Spiders as our contribution to the lunch.

It was my very first proper Christmas lunch over here and the company was as charming and comforting as the setting. I must confess, I have been longing to peek inside a proper Australian home. If I knew I was stepping into one today beforehand, it would have taken away the lovely surprise.

While the house and the lunch proceedings were different from the gatherings we have back home, the warmth and stories and food held the same taste and feel of love.

 

If such was the start to our Christmas season out here in Australia, then I’m looking forward to many more warm gatherings like these! Whether away from family or with, a summer Christmas is a cheery Christmas, no?

In Need of a Wedding Gown?

The other day, I received a comment from Joyce – a bride-to-be in Mangalore. She ties the knot in a few months and is hunting high and low for Christian bridal gowns in Mangalore. If any of you people reading this are from Mangalore and know how to help her out, it would be highly appreciated.

An update: Buttercup, a reader, has kindly contributed a website that should be of help to brides looking for a bridal gown tailor in Mangalore. Visit Concetta Bridals to view the beautiful gowns up there.

I have never been to Mangalore, and know less about how weddings proceed out there. When I think about the difficulty in finding the right accessory, fabric, decor, caterer, etc. over here in Vasai and even in Mumbai, I wonder what Christian brides and grooms who are looking for all these things and more go about it in other parts of India.

I wore a bespoke gown for my wedding

Sure, we have the internet these days for everything, but some of the best wedding vendors out there are unlisted in wedding directories and barely a small fraction have websites of their own. This is very sad, as it would be of tremendous help to Christian couples looking for quick, affordable and quality solutions to their wedding if all these wedding vendors were listed somewhere on the Indian interwebs.

Christian brides in India almost always go for a bespoke bridal gown. Not many prefer vintage or second-hand gowns as they are viewed as hand-me-downs. A pity, since lace and fabric back then were divine as were some of the styles.

If you would not mind a second-hand or vintage wedding gown, I would suggest you try a place like David & Company in Dhobi Talao at Marine Lines, Mumbai. I remember a dreamy concoction of flowing pink lace fading into white I once came across out there. I wowed to wear a gown like that for my own wedding but yes, I eventually went for a simple number.

If you don’t find what you are looking for there, you could always ask them to direct you to other retailers who stock second-hand gowns. Do take a quick stroll down Crawford Market before you try elsewhere and pay close attention to the shops that line the start of the lane. They stock ready-made gowns and if you are lucky, you may find a seamstress who will agree to stitch one for you in a short time.

From what I hear, Inspirations, the bridal and floral accessories boutique at Amboli in Andheri West is another place that has recently started stocking ready-made gowns. The quality maintained at Inspirations is fantastic and along with a gown, you will find yourself stocking up on button-hole flowers, tiaras, corsages and some exquisite wedding jewelry.

Silver Pages, a Christian wedding information directory dedicated to listings of wedding-related services is another brilliant resource you can consult. I am not sure about their website, but I have been told that you can obtain a copy at Snehalaya at Mahim West in Mumbai.

If a trip to Mumbai is impossible, I would suggest you ask any women’s group in your local parish for pointers on the best bridal gown tailor in your area. Never doubt the solid information to be found in a group of women I say!

Failing that, I list down some excellent dressmakers abroad that you can check out if there is no other solution but to order a wedding gown online. These are Indian pocket-friendly, and I know of a few brides who have been happy with their gowns:

David’s Bridal

Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses

Once Wed

Be wary of purchasing a wedding gown from websites that offer wholesale wedding gowns or discount gowns as returns/alterations/shipping etc. could turn out to be a painful process. Unless you know of anyone who has made use of the service, it would be inadvisable to get a wedding gown via them.

Cross Renovations

As you saw from the earlier post, the cross in our garden has been around since the 80’s. That was when the grandparents and my parents decided to separate from the main family unit (consisting of nearly 80 people living in a single house) and build their own house.

It was a big decision and from the basic look of the cross, you can deduce that not only were tiles popular as grotto decor, but they also didn’t detract much from the true purpose of a cross – a religious symbol.

A handful of our neighbours who constructed the crosses in their gardens back then, used similar basic materials. Even grottoes depicting scenes like the Miracle at Fátima, Mother Vailankanni, the Pietà, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, the Infant Jesus, etc. were sparse in design and aesthetic value. They were simple and functional.

The 90’s and noughties saw a surge of Gulf and cruise ship money and suddenly you began finding houses in Vasai that boasted an adherence to primarily Western influences like faux tiled roofs and lush lawns. Crosses and grottoes underwent a similar transformation.

Today, you will find a diversity of crosses and grottoes in Vasai – right from specially commissioned wooden crucifixes to minimalistic stainless steel or decorative cement-work crosses. Some are beautiful and elegant while some merely frivolous and mildly grotesque.

Whatever these new trends may mean, there is a definite need for breaking out of the old ways and ideas while not forgetting the age-old traditions. This may very well be the new Vasaikar.

Ruminations aside, the cross in our garden is due for a renovation and simply thinking about all the new-fangled cross designs that abound gardens in Vasai these days is enough to confuse the true need for a cross with the need to have a cross that is easy on the eye.

A cross, before anything else, is a symbol of torture and after that, a symbol of one of the greatest beliefs of Christianity – redemption from sin.

I feel people really need to think hard about these before constructing or fashioning a cross for the primary and only use as a medium of worship. Hopefully, our garden can sport a cross like this one.