Tasting Cake and Throwing Stones

I had another consultation with a bridal couple yesterday to plan their wedding cake. It's been a good month and I have booked four more wedding cakes.

One of the things I enjoy about making wedding cakes is the contact I have with people planning their weddings. I really like being one of the behind-the-scenes people at an event like a wedding. I carry a lot of responsibility which can cause me to occasionally wake up in the night with a panic attack (What day is it? Did I forget someone's wedding?) but I get a tremendous feeling of satisfaction when I can present a delicious cake that is the centerpiece of the wedding celebration.

The consultations are always interesting matters. I've had every kind of meeting including brides alone, brides with their mothers, brides with their betrothed and brides with their entire wedding parties. Yes, one time I had nine people at the cake tasting. The parents, the siblings and best man were all included and voiced their opinions about the cake. It was an Indian wedding and there was even talk of having a cake that looked like the Taj Mahal. As I recall they had three different kinds of cake and filled cupcakes and had me write up three different estimates for all three kinds of cake. In the end they decided not to have any wedding cake since it wasn't an Indian tradition anyway. All of that and no booking! The funny thing was, that summer Mr. Dirtywrench and I were strolling downtown and happened to walk by their wedding rehearsal dinner celebration on the sidewalk of a hotel restaraunt. The bride looked lovely in her traditional Indian dress and jewelry as she was attending to guests with concentrated devotion. I sighed wistfully as I had been looking forward to serving the cake at what I was sure was a very interesting wedding celebration.

Wedding consultations can be tricky things. Usually the bride and groom have never planned a wedding before and I have to help them find out what they want in a wedding cake. Sometimes the bride knows exactly what she wants and the groom spends the time nodding his head. Sometimes it's the other way around and the groom is the creative and assertive designer with so many ideas that they can't be narrowed down to one flavor and cake style. It is always interesting to see the dynamics of the couple and hear a bit about their story.

A couple of weddings have been canceled when the wedding planning became the demise of the marriage.

The latest consultation has given me cause to contemplate. This couple was from out of state and all of their guests will be coming from far away to attend a destination wedding at a fancy hotel. That is quite an investment in the first day of a marriage. Since the meeting I have been pondering the Bible passage that says, "Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." I am not a marriage counselor, just a baker, but I have been married for over twenty-eight years and have learned a bit about this house called marriage.

If our marriage is like a house, we want to spend our efforts building it up and making it strong. Words are powerful things and the tongue is a forcible instrument. With our words we can either add stones to build up our house or we can tear the stones out. We can fortify or we can weaken the structure. I know that an engaged couple is still discovering how to become a unit and learning how to work together, but when I spend time with a couple that I have only just met and they feel comfortable bickering in my presence, it gives me a bit of pause. Awkward? Apparently only for me. When it happens so freely, it seems that the habit is so ingrained that it isn't noticed any longer by the two participants.

Maybe I notice these things because I have a husband who is so patient and loyal. His words are always the kind that build up our house. Every night, regardless of what is on the dinner table, he ends the meal with "That was a very good supper." In twenty-eight years he has never cut me down with his words, or said something in a ridiculing, sarcastic way. When I hear someone else talk to their spouse with such words, I am taken aback. Do people talk that way? In front of strangers too?

What this observation and pondering really does is make me look at myself and realize how often I am guilty of tearing the stones out of my house. My words, even in private, need to be more careful, more fortifying. In a marriage, two become one. When we each build up the other with our words, we build up ourselves.