DIY Wedding Cupcakes: Behind the Scenes

So, you want to see some behind the scenes
from the wedding?

Of course you do. Alrighty then. {Hey, I see 1,000 of you slinking quietly out the back door, that is OK. You can come back when this is over. I don’t blame you}. I was so overwhelmed by how to show you all the happenings and photos that I was almost paralyzed. What to show? Where and how to show it? Will you all be bored out of your minds? Will there be people un-subscribing right and left? Should I start a wedding blog (nah, I’m not worthy)?

But then I just decided to stop worrying and BREAK IT DOWN. And really, what better SWEET ESCAPE than to show you the CUPCAKES? And because we had a couple of sweet things about this wedding, how about two sweet escape posts in one weekend? Sure. Part Two will be Sweet Escape: The Candy Bar. Stay tuned.

When my daughter and I started wedding planning, we thought cupcakes would be the appropriate dessert choice for a youthful, fun beach town wedding. We weren’t super original with that idea, or the “candy bar” idea, but I can say they were both BIG HITS nonetheless. Thank you to all the wedding bloggers who shared ideas, we stole tons of them. Here are a few I enjoy, not only for wedding planning but for inspiration in other areas as well: Southern Weddings Magazine, A Classic Bride, Style Me Pretty.

So, in our quest for the perfect cupcakes, we visited the local cupcake bakeries and sampled all the options. {Shut up, I know I gained a few pounds in sampling}.

But at over $3.00 a piece for the standard cupcakes, we started to wonder “how much trouble could it possibly be to make our own cupcakes?” (note: only in my family would we contemplate such things).

Yeah. No trouble at all. Maybe no trouble for an ordinary day at home. But on an over 100 degree day, baking 200 cupcakes was a bit hot. But even more than the baking, the transporting of the cupcakes was the biggest issue.

We had to bake most of them at home in Portland, drive them to Gearhart to frost them and then transport them a little further down the coast to our beach house where the reception would be held. The logistics of a “destination wedding” made things interesting. Not to mention we had never used a pastry tool before.

Yes, she knows Red Bull is not healthy — she regrets this picture lol.

The upside of baking our own was:
1) the reasonable cost and
2) we could personalize them to the wedding colors and
3) my daughters & I now have great memories of frosting in our hair and flour on our faces.
And honestly, our cupcakes were tastier than any we had sampled. We ended up with three varieties.

The chocolate brownie cupcakes, topped with chocolate curls and mint green bark were SO TASTY. THE CHOCOLATE MINTY GOODNESS was to die for. We decided to make things easier and use a Ghiradelli brownie mix. Yeah, we used a brownie mix. Shoot me.

Have I disgraced the meaning of all things sacred & acceptable for weddings by not having a fancy schmancy bakery make these from scratch? Sigh. Probably.  But I’m a Blissfully Domestic Diva and that means I can do whatever I want, including using boxed mixes even for a wedding. So there. I don’t get all bent out of shape over those sorts of things. Am I crazy?

In addition to the brownie ones, there were white ones made from scratch with the pink frosting and white pearl candy top, as well as the white ones with the white frosting and the pink pearl candy top. The cupcake recipe was a white bakery cake recipe found online. My daughter had to learn how to use the frosting tube in order to make them. They may not have been perfect, but they sure turned out cute enough all together on trays at the wedding.

We made batches of the brownie cupcakes and frosted the white cupcakes at our friends’ beach house in Gearhart. She was generous to allow us use of her home for some of the wedding party’s accommodations. And we took full advantage of the kitchen the day before the wedding. Just in case you are wondering, here is what this house looks like from the outside.

While us girls were in the middle of making frosting and baking at the house, we heard a knock on the door. Hello, it was a real estate appraiser. Fancy that! He wanted to take PICTURES OF THE KITCHEN. It was so embarrassing, we really had a big mess, flour and junk everywhere — I am sure my friend is going to shoot me when she sees the appraiser’s pictures. Oops! Sorry. Probably cost her a few thousands dollars off the appraisal.

Not only were we working on wedding cupcakes, but we were assembling breakfast for the next morning, and lunch for right before the wedding. Good thing there was a great big farm table for all of the food and care packages. I forgot to take a photo of the girls’ care packages. Super cute spring green Chinese take out boxes.

Once we got those pupcakes (as my niece called them) all pretty and frosted we suddenly realized we had to transport 200 of them perfectly INTACT (i.e. not STACKED) for another 1/2 hour ride to our beach house. Along with my girls’ 300 suitcases, a wedding dress, a karaoke machine and various other miscellaneous necessities crammed in my mini-van. It was a crazy day, but we managed to pull it off.

Was it worth it? I will have those memories forever. Yeah, it was worth it.

Check out THE WEDDING CANDY! The candy display was one of my favorite things we did to decorate!

Are you new here and want to read who this wedding was for? Welcome! Click here!
Want to see what our beach house (which we used for the reception) looked like just weeks before the wedding? Click here!

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Comments

  1. My hat off to you both – seriously that was some job you took on! But the cupcakes looked really good and it’s nice to have a personal touch to a wedding rather than just buying it all in. My god mother made my wedding cake and it meant so much more to my husband and I than a bakery one. Glad you had such a good time!

  2. Looks fantastic, well done to you all.

    I love the kitchen, oh I wish!!

  3. Of course it was worth every bit of it Melissa! I was all teary eyed just reading this and seeing the images. What an incredibly wonderful adventure! As I said in the candy comment…I can’t wait to see more!

  4. You haven’t lost me as a reader! I love weddings and all the details. As a mother of two daughters, I have been filing away ideas for years! I see you have the same sickness I do, it’s called “but I could do that myself and so much cheaper” disease! Oh, I’ve gotten myself into some messes with that one! But it looks like you will have some beautiful memories and everything turned out great. Thanks for sharing this special day, I look forward to more:>)

  5. Well done!!! You will have those memories and they look like fun ones ;)

  6. the Farmer's Wife says:

    You know what…..fancy storebought cupcakes would have come WITHOUT the memories. I’m very happy that you’re the kind of person that can relax and decide what’s important and what’s not. From scratch? Not important. Getting the job done with a minimum of stress? Important.

    I love the idea of packing lunches for everyone. So, so smart. My nephew fainted at the altar at his own wedding. Why? He hadn’t eaten all day!!!!

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  7. What wonderful memories, Melissa!

    You guys made it special with the lunches etc, and yet made it reasonable for everyday folk who don’t want to spend a fortune on a wedding, but want a wonderful way to celebrate a marriage!

    Can’t wait to see more!

  8. “How much trouble could it possibly be to …” always gets me into a big project! I know it makes Mr. Jones cringe to hear those words. ;-)

    What a brilliant idea to use the brownie mix! I’m going to have to try that.

    ~Heather

  9. Love it! I considered making my own wedding cake, despite limited cake experience, so you are not alone in that sort of wedding craziness. Fortunately, we have a caterer in the family and he took care of it. But I love your cupcakes, I think they’d be great for a shower too.

    Jennifer

  10. Oh! Everything looks so sweet! I love the cupcake idea, and if I had my wedding to do over again, that is what I would have done! Also, the cupcake making reminds me of me, my mom, her friend, and my sisters the day before my wedding – dipping strawberries in chocolate – ALL DAY!

  11. OOOOh, the mint and chocolate cupcakes. They look delish. You must publish the recipe.

  12. Way to go, Melissa! That is so cool that you worked together to make the cupcakes for the wedding! You will have those memories forever! They look wonderful too. And I know they were better than boughten!
    Can’t wait to see more pics of the wedding! I want all the details! Dresses, tuxes, flowers, everything!!!!
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Jill

  13. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! I hope my daughter elopes just the way I did. No, really, I hope that she does. LOL!

    I know that you created a lot of fun memories and I am certain that the wedding guests appreciated the delights both tasty and visual.

    You did great work, gals!

  14. Yummmmmmmmmm, they look to die for!

    And yes, you made memories. Oooodles of memories. And you can’t buy those, in a fancy bakery!

    But you also were sooooo brave. :-)

    Miss Mari-Nanci
    Smilnsigh
    Photos-City-Mine

  15. That looks like fun. I especially love the white frosted ones. They’re beautiful. Very special memories and in a beautiful place. Your friends home looks very cute. I’m curious if you used Ghiradelli double chocolate brownies? They’re the absolute best! I’m looking forward to more pictures!
    Blessing,
    Karen B.

  16. What precious, “sweet” memories for a lifetime. God bless you with a clear mind forever this side of heaven.

  17. I just love your blog. The wedding posts have been FABULOUS! Thankyou for sharing them. What great memories – and the cupcakes, I’m impressed! I loved the idea of the gift bags in lunch bags – may I steal that idea? ;)

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  18. Love the cupcakes and that you did them yourselves!

    I made my own cake…and transported it (put together) to the church…it settled/tilted/fell….I had engineers,(groomsmen), putting my cake back together on the spot… hours before the ceremony.

    Memories….

    But my cake tasted GREAT! Everyone said so…lol!

    Becky K.

  19. I love what you accomplished in the cupcake factory. Something very personalized and another special memory in the process. Sounds like you had exactly the kind of wedding you were both hoping for! Congrats1
    LIsa & Alfie

  20. What an awesome and frugal idea instead of cake! I just wanted to bite into those chocolate ones..lol…chocolate and mint…yummy!!! The white ones with the simple pink pearl were adorable. You guys are amazing!

    Thanks for sharing the photos and memories :)

  21. Wow, thanks so much for the blog love Melissa! Everything looks so yummy and amazing!! How exciting!

  22. Oh Melissa! Promise me we’ll organise my daughters’ weddings together!

  23. Ok…Please???

  24. Oh I love the story of the cupcakes and how you managed to spin so many plates in the air at once and pull off a fabulous, memorable day! Looking forward to seeing photos of the happy couple and the happy mother-of-the bride! xo

  25. mmh! yummie! i am so hungry right now!!! ;-)

  26. How yummy! Who cares if they came from a box…sometimes those are the best!! I’m drooling over the kitchen!

    THanks for sharing. I would do it for the memories too!

  27. You’re inspiring me as I read and look! When it’s my turn to get married, I think you guys should pop on over and whip up my cupcakes! ;) It looks wonderful, and i’m sure the guests will remember the cakes for a long time. Well done!

  28. Fabulous! What a wonderful effort. Everything looks great and you two look like you worked soooo hard.

    Fun post and fantastic photos.

  29. Everything turned out beautifully! I can’t imagine making 200 cupcakes and I’m known as the cupcake queen in our family, LOL! I love the candy bar and the little framed sign. I hope that your daughter & her new husband have a wonderful life together.

    Take Care
    Michelle

  30. I am loving that you took on Project Cupcake!! I think that’s amazing, and as you said the memories (and the taste!) will be better than anything store bought. I love the house…it is so super cute (again, I’m amazed at how Cape Cod the area is) and I appreciate the Red Bull…since I’m doing a project for them right now. :-)

  31. I love hearing all the wedding stories and seeing the pics!!

    Thanks for linking up the cupcake post – perfect chocolatey goodness! Those cupcakes turned out so beautiful! They are making me drool! And 200? You are amazing.

    Great job and great memories! Too funny about the appraiser – the timing!

  32. Oh!!! I am loving every detail! I adore what you did with the candy bar … it’s perfect! I will have to link over to you … too fab not to share! (and thank you for mentioning me! you’re too sweet!) … hope you share more — I can’t imagine how beautiful the ceremony must have been! So happy for your family and congratulations to your daughter and new son-in-law! ;o)

  33. Melissa you are a legend! So are your daughters. I am so impressed by your superb efforts. The cupcakes looked scrummy!! Totally professional. I’ve never heard of a family going to THAT much trouble for a wedding. What memories…Bravo!

    I also LOVE the candy bar concept. I’ll be filing that idea for the future.

    Anna :)

  34. The cakes look bee-yut-iful.

    A tip I have found for transporting iced cupcakes is to freeze them and then transport them in a cooler. Buttercream frosting freezes rock hard and is much easier to transport that way, so long as they stay cold. On the pther hand, I have never transported so many at the same time.

    Kate

  35. Wow! These are amazing. You are so brave…I got married two months ago and though we did just about everything ourselves, the cake/dessert part of the reception scared us! There was no way I was going to touch it! Congratulations on a job beautifully done!

  36. My daughter chose a destination wedding, too. Only, we didn’t have a handy friend nearby. We had to do everything in our motel rooms. And we were forced by finances to do most of everything for ourselves. Since I’m a cake decorator, of COURSE I had to do the cake. Now THAT was interesting. I know how challenging this was for you. You done good!!!!

    Your take on the candy bar is the best I’ve seen. Sooooo pretty!

    Show us more…flowers…dresses…favors…

  37. You are amazing, Melissa. I am impressed and don’t know how you pulled all of it off, but you did and it looked great! I hope you can get a little rest now!

  38. Wow, oh my gosh, those cup cakes look just to die for!

    Thank you for sharing these precious moments…

    Mademoiselle M.

  39. Julia Dellar says:

    ooh beautiful Melissa! More pictures PLEASE!!! every detail looks amazing and I do hope you share more. Congratulations to your wonderful family.
    love julia

  40. I do hope you took some time off, how wonderful you are, your a great Mom and loved the brownie cupcakes and I think it was fine that you used a mix, no one there would know and you made them look wonderful and we all need to save some time. You did a great job and so well put together, gee lunches and all.

  41. Oh, my!!! Those chocolate mint cupcakes look absolutely amazing!!! I am enjoying your site! Thanks for visiting mine! Patti

  42. I can’t believe you undertook all that right before the wedding! Impressive! Looks like you had fun and that’s the important part. It makes the memories you’ll never forget.

  43. Yeah, we realized it was not for the faint of heart! :-)

  44. Sweet Cottage Dreams says:

    I LOVE ittttttt!!! I feel as if I was there – knee, or let’s say elbow, deep in frosting and flour!! What GREAT fun and such wonderful memories!!! Your daughters will remember this forever! Oh, are there any minty cupcakes left? I am kinda hungry right about now…..they’d be great with an icey cold glass of milk for an evening snackie!

    Love you oodles and noodles,
    Becky

  45. You and the girls did a fabulous job while creating some fun memories
    Alison

  46. Catherine says:

    That looks like so much fun! The cupcakes are so sweet!
    Hugs,
    Cathie

  47. You and your girls did a great job with the cupcakes, and nevermind that you used a mix. I would have. I probably will when the day comes for my own DD. My sister’s DS got married in May and we frosted 300 mini cupcakes the morning of the service. She had to bring them from five hours away, so they were made a few days before and frozen. Worked great.

  48. Melissa,

    Great job on the cupcakes and is it my imagination or does your daughter, the Bride, look just like you!?! Your friends’ house is amazing; I love the kitchen, but OMG the lavender out front is simply to die for!!

    Janet

  49. I bet those will be wonderful memories to treasure! The cupcakes sound delicious, although it does sound like an awful lot of work. I’m feeling so terrible that I haven’t been by here enough and wasn’t able to wish you luck with the wedding. I truly hope it was all fabulous and only a little bit bitter sweet.

  50. I have to admit this looks like a lot of fun. Those kinds of memories are priceless, too! Good for you guys making your own cupcakes. I love it!

  51. Oh this was a great post! I loved seeing all the pictures. It also brought back a great “Pupcake” memory of my own said by my now 19 year old daughter when she was little. :)

  52. I look forward to *more* wedding photos of a lovely and intimate and love-filled event. :o)

  53. When my sister was getting married, I had the brillant idea of hand-addressing 300 invitations using calligraphy. They were beautiful but I do remember uncontrollable (slightly hysterical) laughing at 3 in the morning as we were doing them.

    I have a nephew, when he was younger, who called them pupcakes too. I still smile at the memories.

  54. “how much trouble could it possibly be to make our own cupcakes?” (note: only in my family would we contemplate such things).

    NOT SO! My sister is getting married in Ohio in June of this year. I offered to make her cupcakes as my gift to her. Mind you, I live in CA. I’ve got to plan when to get to her place, go buy all the ingredients and supplies and make these cupcakes in a tiny kitchen with an oven I’m not used to. I’m nervous but excited. Your blog has been an inspiration. I know we are going to have lots of fun memories after this wedding. (BTW, my mom and I did most of the cooking for my wedding. I fondly remember a ham slipping off the plate and splatting on the floor. No, we did not serve it. My mom made my wedding cheesecakes.) Thanks for sharing your story.

  55. Those are fantastic. Awesome for doing it all at home!

  56. I’ve been planning to make my own cupcakes for my wedding this October and I’m so glad to finally see someone else that’s done it! My biggest worry has been transporting them, but I’ve looked and asked around, and I think I’m going to be using one of those bins for storing clothes under a bed, and I’ll be careful not to frost too close to the edges. And maybe a no-slide mat to keep them from slipping around. But that’s undecided.

    I’ll be making mine from scratch.. vegan vanilla. I’m not vegan, but I just really like the recipe. Someone suggested making the cupcakes ahead of time, freezing them, then thawing and frosting. But I don’t have a chest freezer so I don’t know where I’d freeze over 70 cupcakes. So I’m just planning to take the day before the wedding off, and getting started EARLY.. I figure it shouldn’t take TOO long to make 6 dozen. Hopefully.. haha.

    Thanks for making me feel a little less crazy for doing it myself! :)

  57. I’m about to pull this off for my own wedding, glad to know it can be done!

  58. Melissa, you did a beautiful job!! Well done. :)

    I love the whole idea of a “simple” wedding for so many reasons – the lower cost, the memories made, the ability to customize things, etc.

  59. All I can say is Wow! For our wedding we order a cake. For our renewal ceremony we had dinner at Landry’s Seafood House. And our cake was purchased.
    I didn’t have family, friends or relatives to help me in either case. But I truly enjoyed reading how much you and your daughters had.

    Ronas inspiring blog post..Wordless Wednesday – May 20, 2009

  60. Goodness how brave! I don’t think I could have coped with the stress of producing all those myself!

  61. Can you post the recipe for the brownie cupcakes you used? They sound delicious!

  62. I will be doing this for my wedding in just 3 weeks!!! Just a quick question how did you store them the night before, when did you take them out and were they still fresh?? Also if you had those recipes that would be awesome they look amazing!!! :D

Trackbacks

  1. […] Sweet Escape: Wedding Cupcakes Behind the Scenes – Not only were we working on wedding cupcakes, but we were assembling breakfast for the next morning, and lunch for right before the wedding. Good thing there was a great big farm table for all of the food and care packages. … […]

  2. […] were so grateful for the use of that house, we ended up frosting 200 cupcakes in their kitchen the morning of the rehearsal. We made such a mess! Eek. It took us a few hours to clean up after […]

  3. […] to Tiffany’s, many of you might remember a year ago when I shared my own now semi-famous cupcake story, you know, the one where my daughters and I baked WEDDING cupcakes all by ourselves? For my […]

  4. […] You might remember, if you have been with me for awhile, that my daughters and I baked the cupcakes for my oldest daughter’s wedding. Yes, go ahead and chuckle, it was kind of a crazy idea given that we are not very skilled with baking and it wasn’t exactly the simplest idea the day before a wedding. They weren’t the most beautiful cupcakes ever, but they were one of the most memorable parts of the wedding for us. You can find the behind the scenes story of them on this cupcake post. […]

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