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Few moments are as sentimental as cutting your wedding cake and sharing that first sweet bite as husband and wife, so of course you’ll want a show-stopping confection worthy of the occasion. Though beautiful wedding cakes come in all different styles, there are certain elements—from shape to color to detailing—that take a cake from simply pretty to elegant and romantic. “A lot of my most romantic designs are lace-inspired,” says cake designer Samantha Kestin of Sweet Samantha in Springfield. She often uses appliqués of sugar lace or fabric lace for an elegant look. When it comes to color, ivory, white and soft pink are most associated with romance, says Kestin. To give any hue a dreamy feel, she adds a tiny touch of cocoa to the fondant, buttercream or any other edible colored material she’s using. “It gives a more vintage look, similar to adding an Instagram filter to a photo,” she explains. Of course, pastels or ivory aren’t the only options for romantic cakes. “I like to take the personality of the bride into account,” says Kestin, “Maybe a bride wants a cake that is romantic but also a bit funky. In that case, I might give it a little edge by using metallic somewhere or by adding a pop of color.” Large flowers are on trend right now and many brides are opting for either one oversize bloom or a bevy of blossoms cascading down the cake. Depending on your taste and budget, you could go with handmade sugar flowers—which are pricier because they require a lot of artistry—or fresh flowers. Another pretty technique is to pipe buttercream layer by layer to create a sweet ruffled look. When it comes to cake shape, Kestin, who has showcased her baking and decorating skills on popular Food Network shows Cake Wars and Sweet Genius, says round reads most romantic. “There’s a softness to round cakes that more angular cakes don’t have,” she says. Another way to up the romance factor is to go for multiple stacked tiers. If you have a small guest list but want that big, dream cake, Kestin suggests talking to your cake designer about using a faux tier or two. Guests won’t know that every layer isn’t edible, and you can keep one of the beautifully decorated faux layers as a memento of your special day.