Tales of the Travelling Cakes – Part One

This past year, I have fallen head over heels in love with styled shoots. Meeting and collaborating with other vendors in the wedding industry is so amazing. The magic that happens when we all come together, bringing our best, and stretching the normal trends just a bit, is spectacular. This was certainly the case on my most recent shoot with Raelene Schulmeister Photography!

I first met Raelene when we worked together on this shoot. She is one of the most hilarious and down the earth people I’ve met. I loved working with her that day, so when Raelene had asked me how I felt about travelling for another shoot, I said YES! She said she wanted to go someplace warm with nice light, so I naturally asked if we were going to Italy! That unfortunately was a little out of our budget, so we decided Palm Springs would be perfect. All I could think about was the sun, and the cacti, and drinks by the pool. I didn’t think about the logistics of actually flying wedding cakes on an airplane until later. I wasn’t too stressed about it, I kind of figured if the cakes didn’t make it to Palm Springs, I was going to have a strange vacation with a woman I had only met once…but we would be in the desert with a pool…so what’s the worst that could happen!

I reached out to the AMAZING Lizzo Marek of Artisan Cakes for advice on travelling with cakes. She has flown award winning showpieces across the ocean, so if anyone knew how I could fly a cake to Palm Springs…it was her. She told me how to package the cakes so they would arrive *hopefully* in one piece.

Both of the cakes I flew down were display cakes, which means they were not real cake inside. I decorated styrofoam rounds the exact same way I would a real cake, but without having to worry about spoilage or waste. Most of the cakes I’ve done for photoshoots are done using Styrofoam tiers!

So once the cakes were decorated, I prepped the boxes. I cut handles into the sides of the box to make carrying them through the airport a bit easier. The cakes were screwed to a cake drum (a ½” thick board), and glued to the bottom of the box. I also glued Styrofoam squares inside the box just on top of the drum so the cake really couldn’t move or lift off the box. Or so I had hoped! I taped the boxes shut with the openings on the side so the cakes could just slide out rather than having to be lifted. I knew that the security guys at the airport would want to look at the cakes, and I needed to make it as easy as possible for them to do so!

Raelene and I flew down with West Jet, who were so incredible! I phoned them multiple times in the weeks before we left to discuss the logistics of flying the cakes, and how going through security would work. See, I was going to have to gate check the cakes, which means I would carry them through the airport myself until we got to the gate, and then someone would store them in the underbelly of the plane with the rest of the checked baggage. I couldn’t check them with our bags, because heaven only knows what would happen to them on the jostling conveyor belt trip they would take. I also couldn’t carry them on the airplane, as they were too large to place in the overhead bins. So gate checking was the only option.

Just as you would expect carrying boxes with ‘WEDDING CAKE! FRAGILE!’ written all over them through the airport, Raelene and I were congratulated on our big day quite a few times! It was more fun to not correct everyone, we fully embraced our photoshoot turned destination wedding!

I’m sure a few of the airport employees thought I was a little bit crazy, as I guarded these two cardboard boxes with my life, cradling them as we made our way through the airport to make sure they were protected. Well that all went RIGHT out the window as the airplane took off.

I had zero control over my boxes now. Every bump and drop and bit of turbulence made my stomach drop at the thought of my poor cake boxes bouncing around underneath us. Thank goodness for the beverage cart! My tea calmed me right down. Well maybe it was the whiskey. Either way, 3 hours later we landed in Palm Springs! And when we got off of the airplane, it was only a few minutes until someone was carrying my cakes over to me.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved to see 2 cardboard boxes! But not just any boxes…my perfectly unmarked, unscratched, just as I had left them boxes. My cakes survived the trip. We had arrived!

This is a longer story than I had expected. So, I’ll be back to tell you about the rest of our trip. Up next I want to tell you about working with the incredible Michelle Garibay at the Avalon Hotel, to meeting two of my new favourite people Randy and Ashley Durham and touring Joshua Tree in our candy apple red convertible! I can’t wait to share some photos of our trip together, they are crazy incredible. Raelene and I had such a fantastic time together, we have another trip planned already!

Part Two…coming soon!

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