Cake decorating artists and related businesses are monitoring how to adjust their product lines and spaces not to maximize capacity, but to ensure safety with the emergence of COVID-compliance.

“An awareness of health and safety will likely have a lasting effect after COVID,” says wedding planner Annie Lee of Daughter of Design, with offices in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami, Fla. “Particularly, venues and caterers will need to take extra precautions like adding contactless faucets, sanitation stations, along with a hyper-vigilance when it comes to cleaning.” 

Allison Luckman, president of Allie's GF Goodies, offers the human touch in everything she does. Her products are always baked in small batches and never mass produced. Her happiest days are those when she and her team can accommodate patrons with lengthy lists of allergies. Even brides.

“Why shouldn’t the bride or groom have an exquisite cake just because they can’t have milk or gluten?” she asks.  That’s why a gorgeous gallery of event desserts is updated regularly on the bakery’s website. 

The Knot asked its experts for the various possibilities surrounding future weddings. All ideas are possibilities as each state differs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to issue new guidance as businesses reopen. What’s certain is the celebration and joy surrounding weddings will remain constant in months ahead. 

Here are six trends for wedding cakes, according to The Knot, to keep a close watch:

Inky-black wedding cakes

Black is the hottest new wedding color, and it's surprisingly perfect for every style or palette (everyone knows black goes with everything). A black wedding cake feels ultra-luxe and sophisticated—and a dusting of gold trim will infuse some glamour too. 

Wedding cakes are incorporating unique color palettes.

Alternative tiers

Non-cakes have been on Knot’s radar for a while, but they'll officially take over this year. This means alternative tiers crafted in everything from waffles and donuts to cheese wheels (perfect if you and your partner prefer savory over sweet). 

Understated textures

It's all in the details. To be more specific, you'll be seeing cakes with a focus on unique textures in the fondant or frosting—whether you want it to emulate concrete or another material like velvet. 

Structural designs

There's nothing wrong with a cake that, well, looks like a cake. But this year, plan to see more confections with architectural, structural designs that'll have your guests asking, "Your baker actually made this? How?"

Floating tiers

Impressive cakes that look like they're doing balancing acts will take the spotlight. Whether they're floating on flowers or 3-D shapes, a floating cake done right is nothing short of magical. 

Single level

A single-tier cake is the pinnacle of chic minimalism. Worried it won't be able to feed all of your guests? Don't be—you can have a sheet cake in the kitchen for extra slices. Also, a simple design doesn't mean the flavor has to be boring—use it as an opportunity to incorporate fun fillings. 

State of engagement

As wedding plans are put on pause for hundreds of thousands of couples during the global coronavirus pandemic, WeddingWire shares the state of engagement among those planning weddings this year and those with future dates in 2021. Offering a suite of digital tools via the WeddingWire app for planning whenever, wherever, WeddingWire continues to serve engaged couples during this challenging time.

Just like weddings have been postponed, couples are postponing engagements—for now. However, as states begin to reopen and social distancing restrictions are lifted, WeddingWire anticipates a surge in engagements and wedding planning. 

“What we’re learning from being in constant communication with our engaged couples and network of wedding professionals is that there is a strong desire to keep the planning momentum moving forward, as couples and their families plan highly anticipated celebrations of love, and vendors prepare for events to reignite across the country,” says Jeffra Trumpower, senior creative director at WeddingWire. “The wedding industry is a resilient one, and it’s no surprise to us that these professionals are doing whatever it takes to make planning possible—and easy—for couples during this challenging time.”

Now, more than ever—and with the launch of new features to the arsenal—WeddingWire can help couples get things done from home. These resources allow couples to plan productively however they think is best, from wherever they feel safest, and are oftentimes the first step in connecting virtually with the wedding professionals that will create their special day. WeddingWire’s newly launched tools include:

  • WeddingWire 360° Virtual Venue Tours
  • WeddingWire Rescheduler
  • WeddingWire Vendor Concierge

These new resources complement the already established suite of digital resources that have been helping couples and vendors plan together for years.

“Why shouldn’t the bride or groom have an exquisite cake just because they can’t have milk or gluten?” - Allison Luckman, Allie's GF Goodies

“The WeddingWire 360° Virtual Tours have allowed us to keep our business running smoothly, and helped engaged couples who are planning their wedding get a sense for our venue space without stepping foot outside their home during this global crisis,” says Todd Mozingo, owner of Chatham Station in Cary, N.C. “Couples can navigate our space at their own speed and convenience, and get a sense for our size, texture and layout, along with a general familiarity that two-dimensional pictures don’t always convey. Couples are confident in this technology; in fact, several couples who used our 360 Virtual Tour during the pandemic have booked our space for their weddings without seeing the space in person.”

As states begin lifting or loosening social distancing restrictions, many couples and vendors are still operating with health and safety in mind and prioritizing virtual meetings where possible. The standard wedding to-do list remains the same, but wedding pros have adapted their approach to fit today’s evolving regulations and recommendations from government bodies and health organizations. Innovative solutions from vendors are becoming more widespread as couples look to take control of their wedding planning at a time where staying home may feel like their safest option.

Moving dates

No longer is the traditional wedding weekend format in place. In fact, with a rise in weekday weddings and other changes in the sequence of events, the format of weddings will ultimately evolve, starting with the minimony and the sequel wedding, even down to the order of wedding-related events such as bachelorette party and showers. 

A minimony is a mini-ceremony which gives guests a preview of what’s to come when you throw your bigger, postponed ceremony and reception at a later date. New government guidelines suggest that “small weddings” will be allowed to take place after June 1, 2020, although they will likely be restricted to five or 10 guests.

For those where the minimony comes in, according to the Hitched website, it’s completely up to couples whether they choose to make it a legal ceremony with a vicar or registrar, or they proceed with a celebrant. Later in the year or next year, couples may schedule a sequel wedding: a follow-up wedding with all the people and celebrations originally planned.

With the changing dietary restrictions of a portion of the population, wedding foods are reflecting that. Plant-based or vegetarian options have become increasingly important, as well as gluten-free items.

Customized foods are also becoming popular at wedding receptions. Creative menus with a variety of customizable offerings allow every guest to enjoy the culinary experience. Pizza with choose-your-own-toppings can be a unique addition to the menu, as can things such as the aforementioned grilled cheese station or a dessert station with customizable elements.

“We love how thoughtful and purposeful today’s couples are in planning their wedding celebrations. Along with their designers and planners, couples continue to think creatively and deliberately as they plan a wedding that thoughtfully reflects their unique love story,” says Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief of The Knot.

Hotel realities

As Americans begin to travel, the hotel industry is coming together to ensure all guests and staff can remain safe and comfortable. Long before COVID-19, hotels were dedicated to cleaning at the highest standards. The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) has launched Safe Stay, an enhanced standard of health and safety protocols, to prepare America’s hotels to safely welcome back guests and employees as the economy reopens. Safe Stay was developed with the input of the CDC and under the guidance of an advisory council comprised of industry leaders representing all segments of the hotel industry. 

“Safe Stay is an industry-wide commitment to our top priority – the health and safety of guests and employees. As we welcome back the traveling public, hotels will be cleaner than ever before,” says Chip Rogers, president and chief executive officer of AHLA. “Hotels have always had rigorous cleaning protocols and standards, but we’re stepping up even more so that employees and guests can feel more confident about the entire hotel experience.”  

Non-cakes, such as donuts, officially take over this year.

Hotel occupancy dropped to just 24.5% among open hotels nationwide in April, the lowest occupancy for any month on record in the U.S. Since then, hotel occupancy has continued to tick up slowly, reaching 43.9 percent nationwide on June 20, but still far below the 74.5 percent occupancy at this time last year. 

Safe Stay represents the top priority for the industry, the health and safety of guests and employees. To help hotels train their associates to safely welcome back guests, AHLA released the COVID-19 Precautions for Hotels, an online course developed in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) which highlights industry guidelines endorsed by all major hotel brands to show staff how to provide guests with the highest level of cleanliness and safety.

Reopening strategies

New and established venues are planning for weddings in a post-COVID world. Butler’s Pantry, a leading caterer in St. Louis, Mo., for more than 50 years, is re-opening two of its historic venues: Palladium Saint Louis and The Coronado. Safety remains the number one priority; both Palladium Saint Louis and The Coronado open their doors with stringent procedures in place for all staff, clients and guests, to ensure premium events with health and safety at the forefront.

Palladium Saint Louis is a state-of-the-art facility, hosting weddings, galas, and iconic events such as St. Louis’ Major League Soccer announcement and DADA Ball & Bash covered by Vogue. As the venue enters phase one of its reopening process, it will operate at 25% capacity, leaving room for 175 guests to enjoy events safely and responsibly.

The Coronado once hosted such important figures as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh and Harry S. Truman. Today, it’s one of the region’s most historic venues. During phase one of its reopening process, The Coronado will operate at 25% capacity, leaving room for 225 guests while maintaining physical distancing. 

“There is nothing more important to us than the safety of all who walk through our doors, whether they are staff, vendors, clients, guests, etc., we are ready to welcome them back to our venues,” says Richard Nix Jr., president of Butler’s Pantry. “The plans we have put in place have been approved by the city and were crafted with CDC and public health professional guidelines in mind. We are prepared to accommodate all requests.”

One of the most anticipated openings of the year, Bugsy & Meyer's Steakhouse at Flamingo Las Vegas is now open. The $10 million destination steakhouse embraces the resort's nearly 75-year history, while presenting it in an elevated, modern way.

The restaurant's name is a nod to Flamingo Las Vegas founders, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel and business partner Meyer Lansky, who famously created the first resort-style hotel on the Strip back in 1946 and forever changed Las Vegas. 

On the evening of Thursday, July 2, Lansky's grandson, Meyer Lansky II, stopped in to experience the all-new steakhouse. He noted that one of the last things Siegel said to his grandfather was, "don't give up on Las Vegas," and that is evident with the opening of Bugsy & Meyer's.

From menu, design, and atmosphere, Bugsy & Meyer's takes notes from the past and adds fresh and elevated twists. Guests are transported from the moment they arrive, as they enter through the bakery façade, and pass the kitchen and dry aged meat cooler, giving the illusion of discreetly entering through the back as many did decades ago. From there, there are six unique experiences for guests in the space—the patio and lounge, the centerpiece bar, private dining in one of three private dining rooms perfect for groups, the raw bar, the ornate dining room and the hidden speakeasy—The Count Room.

Far removed from the typical steakhouse mold, the showstopping design from Studio K Creative out of Chicago and renowned designer Jonathan Adler, pairs lighter natural tones, with vibrant colors, art deco inspiration, and intricate details. Bugsy & Meyer's partnered with SHE HIT PAUSE art consultants out of New York City to create a specialty curated art collection with exotic wildlife as the heroes, including a custom beaded flamingo piece created by Adler that took nearly 100 hours to make.

Dessert is no slouch with staples like The Big Apple, made with a white chocolate yuzu mousse, caramelized apples, soft caramel, and hazelnut café crumble.

Bugsy & Meyer's follows Caesars Entertainment's previously announced enhanced health and safety protocols, which build on existing plans and practices. Caesars management is focused on the well-being of team members, guests and the community, and is working to create an environment with enhanced standards of sanitization and physical distancing practices.