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The Best Weddings Are Meaningful

best weddings in pa

I’m not very traditional when it comes to weddings. My favorite weddings to go to are those meaningful to the couple themselves. I love the ones that are unique. When the couple is having fun, I’m having fun. When the couple has their favorite wedding cake and pizza, it’s a blast. With music. Without music. Flowers. No flowers. Wedding coordinator. No wedding coordinator.

I’ve been to a wedding hosted in Carmel, California at an old mission that was absolutely gorgeous. From there, wedding participants headed to the reception in Pebble Beach, where there was an open bar. The place was packed. The food was divine. And the total price tag on this particular wedding was more than $150,000 — more than most people make in a year. And while it was lovely and fun, it wasn’t meaningful to the couple. Ahead of time, the bride confessed it was what her mom wanted. It was a nearly all-day affair. It was even tedious. Everyone was dressed to the nines. And because there was a flu going around, many people were sick … including the bride.

best weddings are meaningful

My own wedding was on the other end of that spectrum. My husband and I eloped in Las Vegas at a Star Trek theme warehouse … because everyone in Las Vegas does Elvis. My husband and I wanted to spend as little as possible while having fun. When we got back, we hosted a reception and exchanged vows in front of friends and our parents. A family friend re-married us. The buffet was three different types of pizza and a bar open for beer. My stepmom and mother-in-law brought other types of food, including a cake. In fact, the wedding cake was a big sheet cake with a picture of the Enterprise drawn on. (It was delicious!) The total price tag of that party and my Star Trek themed wedding was probably about $5,000 total. Hey, we got a deal on a hotel room and airline tickets! That was my favorite wedding. It was meaningful to us. We drank beer. We were alone to enjoy our marriage, but also partied with friends. We did something fun and silly. We also did something more meaningful with friends who had a good time.

Along the lines of our themed wedding, my cousin hosted a space-oriented wedding party. They encouraged guests to participate in the fun. My husband got a star suit for the occasion. I found a cute space dress for my daughter. I even located a stary skirt for the occasion. It was silly. There were puzzles that everyone had to solve. The couple had a wonderful time, probably for less than $5,000. And all their friends had fun, too. The newlyweds also had fun songs with my uncle, her dad, as the DJ. (He’s a professional DJ and professor in real life.)

So when thinking about weddings, here’s my advice:

Don’t worry about what others want, worry about what you want. Trust me, your guests will have fun. Doing something unique that’s special to you will ensure everyone has a good time.

Something will go wrong at your wedding. Take everything in stride. Again, the main point of this affair is for you to have fun. If it’s incredibly stressful planning it, maybe it’s time to rethink what you want.

Focus on wedding customization — a cake you love, a photographer you enjoy, a meal you think is awesome, music that is so you, etc.

Avoid going into debt thinking you want a wedding you’ll remember forever. That Carmel wedding, where the couple spent more than $100,000? That couple is now divorced. It’s your wedding. Trust me, it’ll be memorable whether you spend $5,000 or $500,000.

Consider a fun party favor that families can take home, such as an edible party favor. For my wedding, my husband and I made beer with our own personal label as a way to say thanks. A wedding we attended, we all got miniature skateboards. Making something personal for your friends is really all they expect.

Rely on friends, but if you pay them, ask them to meet specific standards before the wedding. My husband and I asked a friend, who’d just started up a DJ business, to play music. He loved techno music and played that …. All. Night. Long. My father-in-law and I headed to him, asking … no begging him to play something else. He didn’t. We still paid him the money we said we would because he was a friend.

You’ll miss a lot of fun moments. Even if you pay a photographer, don’t overlook photo booths and even asking friends to send pictures. You’ll see what you missed that night.

Ask friends and family to help you host the party, if you can. Meaning, people don’t always have to go to you when they need their gluten-free option, they’re still thirsty, they want to know where the bathroom is, etc.

Use a reception line where you thank people and then send them a note after your wedding. Instead of running around your party thanking people, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself more.

Play whatever music you want. I ran into a DJ once and asked, “Don’t you get tired of playing ‘YMCA’ and all the other classics?” He laughed politely and then said he never plays those songs at home. But, he confessed, he loves when people have a good time and even said he likes seeing the older relatives — the one who never get up and dance — throwing their hands up in the air in a big “Y.” What a great DJ!

There are so few times in life when you get to be number one. This is one of them! Relax. Embrace being the center of attention for less than one day. Sure, there will be a relative who’s appalled you chose black as one of your wedding colors or you want a special dress to show off your tattoo, but that relative isn’t getting married. You are! Your wedding coordinator, if you have one, should understand and support that. So should all of your wedding vendors — from your baker providing you a cake to your wedding coordinator making sure everything is running smoothly.

Wedding Dates to Avoid in 2019/2020

I love this!  Great info for people planning their weddings, or getting engaged over the holidays.

1. Weekends with a Monday holiday
While you may be able to score a discounted rate from the venue to have your wedding on a Sunday night, since most people have the Monday holiday off, you’ll find that flights and hotel costs skyrocket on these weekends. Keep this in mind when picking one of these, as some guests may have to decline coming because of the extra travel costs.

Memorial Day
Weekend of May 25-27, 2019
Weekend of May 23-25, 2020

Labor Day
Weekend of August 31 – September 2, 2019
Weekend of September 5-7, 2020

Columbus Day
Weekend of October 12-14, 2019
Weekend of October 10-12, 2020

2. Thanksgiving Weekend
This may seem like a great time to have a wedding, since a lot of people travel over Thanksgiving, but it can be a very tough time for a wedding. For one thing, prices for travel and hotels go up during Thanksgiving. The other reason is that people usually spend this holiday with their family members. So if you have a lot of guests who do not live locally, they may not be able to attend.

Thanksgiving (always a Thursday)
November 28, 2019
November 26, 2020

3. New Year’s Eve
A New Year’s Eve wedding may seem like a fun idea. What better way to celebrate the end of one New Year and the start of another than with a wedding? Beware of high prices at venues and from vendors if you plan to do this date.

New Year’s Eve
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Thursday, December 31, 2020

4. Religious holidays
Be sure to keep in mind the dates of religious holidays when picking a wedding date. Even if it’s not a holiday you observe, scheduling your wedding during Lent, Passover, or Ramadan, for example, may limit guests from coming due to cultural obligations.

5. Super Bowl Sunday
If you’re planning to do a Sunday wedding, cross Super Bowl Sunday off your list of options. And if you do decide to have it on that Sunday, be sure to have lots of TVs accessible for the die-hard fans.S

6. Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th is known as the day of bad luck. If you’re even a little bit superstitious, you may want to skip this date for your wedding or even rehearsal dinner.

Friday the 13th
September 13, 2019
December 13, 2019
March 13, 2020
November 13, 2020

Edible Wedding Favors – All the rage!

With edible favors, there will be nothing left behind because who doesn’t love delicious cookies?  Not to mention they are completely customizable!  From your favorite quote to your new monogram, it’s personal and delicious!

I love this trend of edible wedding favors.  I don’t know about you, but when I’ve gotten candles, or other inedible favors, I and many others leave them behind!  What a shame, all the time, effort and money you put into those!

Find Bella’s Dessert’s offering on our Confections and Cookies Menu:

Here’s a great article about Cookie Wedding Favors from Martha!

A Frightenly Cute Birthday Celebration

By Tami Matthews, Denver, CO resident and mom

My daughter Millie has a birthday right around Halloween. Although she loves Halloween, she’s 10 — so she’s less inclined to love spooky. Sweet bats, cute kitties, and friendly witches are more her speed. I mean, Hocus Pocus was scary for her.

What’s also challenging about my kiddo’s birthday is that she — like so many these days — has a big class. And yet, she still wants to celebrate her birthday at school. (Hey, who can blame her?!)

Halloween cookies for a birthday celebration in Denver, CO

Luckily, I saw someone posting beautiful cookies. I mean lovely. Really gorgeous. Creative. Delicious-looking. Fun. Thinking I couldn’t afford those cookies, I put off asking her if she 1) could make cookies for me and 2) send them to Denver. 

When I did, Lauren of Bella’s Desserts was so gracious and kind. Not only did she gleefully accept, she sent me ideas. I didn’t just have an experienced baker, ready to make birthday goodies; I had a partner in my daughter’s birthday celebration. In fact, I think she was more involved than my husband, Millie’s dad!

The price was reasonable, especially to be shipped, which amazed me. In fact, overall, it was less expensive to use Bella’s Desserts than buy cookies at a bakery near me.    

Halloween cookies for a school in Denver, CO

More than that, the cookies were better looking than any bakery could create in Denver. They were lovely. Smiling chubby ghosts, kitties with witch hats, friendly bats, and more were included. Lauren sent exactly when she said she would, and she included more cookies than I requested to make sure my husband and I had a chance to eat them. Not a single one was broken either!  

Bellas Desserts make birthday celebrations special and even magical

My mother-in-law and I took them to school to hand out at recess. (Teachers have gotten smarter, thinking the kids can get their wiggles out and have a little sugar.) More than Millie’s class lined up. Teachers gushed and looked longingly at them. Millie’s classmates even tried coming back for more!

Bella’s Desserts didn’t just deliver beautiful, delicious cookies; Lauren delivered a special, custom-made birthday celebration.  


2018 Wedding Cake (or not) Trends!

First, and foremost, the 2018 color of the year is:

I know, seems crazy, but look at a couple of these gorgeous cakes!


By Crummb                                                  By May Bakes Cakes

Marble is totally in this year, as well as lots of texture and watercolored cakes are still a rage this year.


This is now the 4th year, but it has grown up!  Gone is burlap and sunflowers, this year, it’s about the textures!  From concrete, to wood grain, and everything in between!


By Jasmine Rae Cakes                               By Cupadee Cakes                         By Jasmine Rae Cakes           

Drip Cakes:


By Suga Blossom Cake       By Paisley Cakes                  By Don’t Tell Charles       

I love this trend!  From simple white on white, to caramel to gold, you dress up rustic, add to naked, it’s just fun!  It’s also trendy to add edible embellishments, such as meringues, macarons, and candy!

Marble Cakes:


Marbled fondant can be gorgeous, and it can encompass your wedding colors as well.  Ad a pop of silver or gold and you’ve got a hit!



By Shannon Bond                 By Ron Ben-Israel          

Think dreams, think color, think anything goes, that’s whimsy, and it’s trending!  This is where you can stand apart from all the weddings, like your personality!


Multiple Cakes, cupcakes and Dessert Tables:


Everybody gets what they want with this trend!  From cupcakes, mini desserts, chocolate covered oreos, pretzels, and everything in between, this trend is strong, and I hope never goes out of style!

Happy planning!

2017 Sweet Flavor Trends Are Here!

Better late than never I always say!

2017 is a fun year for sweet flavor profiles.  There seems to be 3 major categories, so let’s get to it!

Nostalgia (this one’s my fave!):

From root beer, to milk and cookies, I love this trend!  Us Gen X and baby boomers, will remember these flavors from our childhood, and they’re back stronger than ever!  

Root beer floats, remember those? How about a vanilla cake with root beer infused frosting!

Malted milkshakes:  How about a chocolate cake with malted chocolate buttercream with crushed malted milk balls!

Marshmallow:  Homemade marshmallow s’more tarts or pies, marshmallow filled chocolate cupcakes, marshmallow frosting!

Milk & Cookies:  Cookies and cream cake, filling and frosting!  Biscoff cookie butter frosting and filling!


With a delicate hand floral notes can be a welcome, unexpected surprise in sweets!

Lavender, rose, orange blossom, and hibiscus.  All completely different from each other yet so unexpectedly delicious when paired with the correct delicate platforms.  A lovely edition for spring and summer!


Spice has been a popular trend for a few years now.  Warm, unexpected notes to surprise your palate.

Ginger, cardamom (my fave), pink peppercorn and cinnamon are just a few warm, delicious spices perfect for any season!


Bella’s Desserts offers all of these delicious and trends paired deliciously to surprise and titillate your palate!

DIY Weddings magazine, Nature Theme Wedding Cakes article

Nature Theme Wedding Cake & Cupcakes




Look at this beauty from Bella’s Dessert. Lauren tell us that this cake topper is a duplicate of the brides wedding invitation.  An up and coming trend is to use an element or a color from your invites and then incorporate them into the design of your wedding cake and cupcakes.  This is also popular for bridal shower cakes.  See more of Bella’s Desserts here.

Bella’s Desserts named by Expertise in the “Top 19 Wedding Cake Bakers in Philadelphia”

Why These Wedding Cake Bakers?

Our goal is to connect people with the best local experts. We scored wedding cake bakers on more than 25 variables across five categories, and analysed the results to give you a hand-picked list of the best wedding cake bakers in Philadelphia, PA.

Reviewed: 369

Curated: 229

Top Picks: 19

Our Selection Criteria:

  • 1. Reputation

    A history of delighted customers and outstanding service.

  • 2. Credibility

    Building customer confidence with licensing, accreditations, and awards.

  • 3. Experience

    Masters of their craft, based on years of practical experience and education.

  • 4. Availability

    Consistently approachable and responsive, so customers never feel ignored.

  • 5. Professionalism

    Providing service with honesty, reliability, and respect. Interview

“No one should go without a delicious cake on their special day!” Bella’s Desserts is owned and operated by Lauren Cortesi, whose dessert creations have received local and national acclaim. Located about 45 minutes west of Philadelphia, Lauren started Bella’s Desserts in 2002, growing the business by word of mouth. After the launch of Bella’s Desserts website in 2005, Bella’s Desserts has grown nationally, with orders coming in from across the U.S.

Lauren began her culinary arts journey in the 90’s. She created restaurant desserts and shortly thereafter, at the Painted Table in Seattle, she learned the fundamentals of pastry arts. Over the years, Lauren received special instructions at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, and also from world renowned cake designers Colette Peters, Bronwen Webber and Toba Garrett, as well as the sugar paste flower expert Kim Morrison and sugar artist Lori Ann Blethen of Wildflowers.

Looking for cutting edge desserts? Bella’s has that and more: using everything from fondant, gum paste and chocolate work in their creations. Lauren has brought edible art to the area, and has committed to learning the latest trends to keep up with ever changing demand. Here creations are incredible!  See some pictures here.

Lauren enjoys generously donating cakes to charities, positive causes and schools.  She’s donated cakes to Relay For Life, CancerCare Cupcakes for a Cause, local and private school, and many more.


Article from ATC:

Bella’s Desserts

Color is an undeniably important part of crafting a holiday dessert spread that pops. With the help of Bella’s Desserts in Glenmoore, PA, a bakery known for their fantastic custom cakes and flavor-packed mini desserts, you’ll have no trouble creating a baked good display that’s something truly special.

Bella’s Desserts petite mini desserts are a fun way to indulge and try an array of confections without going overboard. Mix and match a dozen of their tantalizing two-bite treats such as mini fruit tarts, cheesecake lollipops, or chocolate-covered Oreos decorated to match your holiday theme.

Get in touch with Bella’s Desserts by calling 484-467-1538 or by emailing

Contact Us Now Through Phone 484-467-1538 or email