The Art of Upselling a Moment

Ideas for safely decorating wedding cakes and cake tables in keeping with today’s trends and modern consumers’ tastes

By Molly Lucille

Wedding trends in the flower industry are always evolving, and a delightful revolution is taking place in cakes. As we move into an era of opulent weddings—in which couples are valuing experiences and curated moments over all else—the art of food is increasingly important. Within those experiences, the tradition of cutting the cake is being elevated by couples and photographers alike.

Having an understanding of how florists can jump into this trend is crucial to selling wedding florals at their very best and not missing a moment to upsell clients. The industry standard for years has been to supply simple blooms to be inserted onto, or, more often, into, the cake. This concept is lovely, but it is often overlooked and undercharged, and it has the potential of exposing people to dangerous chemicals and pesticides.

Enter the “cake meadow.” Ashley Fox, owner of Ashley Fox Designs in Woodbury, Minn., recognized the opportunity to hop on this trend by creating absolutely stunning installations around the cake—a trend we’re seeing popping up all over the wedding industry.

floral and image by ashleyfoxdesigns

cake meadow
Ashley Fox Designs

“Over the years, when I looked through wedding photo galleries, many times, my favorite moment of the couple was at the cake table, and I wanted to bring flowers into those moments,” Fox shares. “I began to add a large ‘flower garden’ surrounding a simple frosted cake. I always look forward to making a memory for the clients and creating a ‘wow’ moment for guests. Layers of flowers create movement, and local seasonal fruit and foliage set cakes apart from event to event.”

Ashley Fox Designs

This is a lovely opportunity to collaborate with the bakers themselves, ensuring that the flowers and other elements you include in your designs are in harmony with the cakes’ flavors. Scent and taste are closely linked, so keeping in mind how fragrances and flavors intermingle is a powerful way to create multisensory experiences in these big moments. Perhaps you could include raspberry foliage and berries around a dark chocolate cake, citrus blossoms around a lemon cake, or even herbs such as lavender or mint around an herbaceous confection. If multiple desserts are presented on a cake table, perhaps consider how flowers can elevate the collection to uplift each individual flavor. A quick chat with the baker is all you need to ensure that a cake table is designed with curated intention.

Beyond flowers around the cake itself, there are great moments to reuse entire installations, such as repurposing a ceremony arch as a backdrop to, or over, a cake table. “To max out a client’s budget and the floral impact on the wedding, design ceremony florals that can pull double duty—once during the ceremony and then again during the reception,” suggests Kate Campbell, founder of Kate Campbell Floral in Bel Air, Md. “In the image in this article, we repurposed the ceremony flowers for the reception by placing the cake table underneath the arch and adding the aisle pieces around the base and on the cake table. Often, my clients are willing to spend a bit more on their ceremony flowers when they know they will also double as a reception focal point.”

Cake & flowers- Kate Campbell, julie hove andersen photography
Kate Campbell, Julie Hove Andersen Photography

This approach ensures that you are making the most of your client’ investments. However, Campbell advises that there are several things to consider before selling the concept of repurposing ceremony flowers, to ensure that the transition flows smoothly.

• Make sure you charge for the increased labor cost of repurposing/flipping the ceremony flowers.

• Arrangements can be moved during a cocktail hour, but there is often not enough time to redesign them before a reception starts.

• If your clients take photos in front of the ceremony arrangements after the ceremony, there may not be enough time to move the arrangements to the reception. Partner with the wedding planner, coordinator and/or photographer to make sure there is enough time for the transition to happen.

While these larger moments are exciting and on trend, some couples will prefer simpler accents. If a client still wants flowers inserted into the cake, it is a good idea to stick to locally and organically grown edible flowers. This may not always be possible, so if you need to insert flowers that are not organically grown, simply insert a toothpick into the base of each bloom, and insert the toothpick into the cake. It’s also a good idea to rinse the flowers and allowing them to dry before adding them to a cake, to wash away any residue or debris from the petals. It is also worth noting that fake cakes are still common in weddings, so knowing if it’s frosting, fondant or polystyrene foam before inserting the flowers is important to know. All these details are crucial, and that’s why it’s important to request the baker’s contact information or, at the very least, the dessert details before planning any of these florals.

There are endless opportunities within weddings for flowers and floral décor, but attaching your designs to moments within a reception can be one of the most powerful tools in your tool kit. Elevating important moments such as the cake cutting is a no-brainer and can be an effective way to grow your weddings to a level that meets the trends of today’s events—events that are focused on experiences, both culinary and aesthetic. An, it goes without saying, these concepts can be achieved with budgets big and small.

The collaboration of florists and bakers is one we should all explore, to grow these curated moments within our industry. Let them eat cake!

20 Edible Flowers (and 13 to Avoid)


Carnation, Pink (Dianthus)

• Cornflower, Bachelor’s button (Centaurea)


Forget-me-not (Myosotis)


Fuchsia (lady’s eardrops)

Gardenia (Cape jasmine)

• Geranium, esp. scented (Pelargonium)

Gladiolus (sword lily)

Hibiscus (mallow, rose mallow)

Hollyhock (Alcea)

• Honeysuckle (Lonicera)

• Lilac (Syringa)


• Nasturtium (Tropaeolum)

• Pansy, Violet (Viola)

Peony (Paeonia)

• Rose (Rosa)

Sunflower (Helianthus)

Poisonous/Toxic Flowers to Avoid

• Bluebell (Endymion)


• Daffodil (Narcissus)



• Foxglove (Digitalis)


• Larkspur (Consolida)

• Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria)

• Oleander (Nerium)

Poppy (Papaver)



For a list of more than 100 flowers and plants that have edible parts, along with their “flavors” and usage suggestions, visit

Source: Thompson & Morgan