Romona, wedding planner Ruby Terry and a couple of friends stand outside The Ritz-Carlton's ballroom, in front of a table displaying two four-tier sample wedding cakes covered in white fondant by Phyllis Lester Designs of Solon. The first is a whimsical confection crowned by a white pastillage tiara, each tier decorated in a different style: lace fondant swags on the first, corset-style lacings on the second, piped royal-icing Cornelli lace on the third, pearly fondant beads on the top. Romona quickly selects the second cake, which is finished with piped-embroidered roses and lilies of the valley, fondant free-form roses and swags, and a sprinkling of gold luster dust.
"I can't see anything beating that one," she tells Terry. "It's so elegant and dramatic."
The cake flavors and fillings are selected during a May 5 tasting at the hotel. (The cakes on the table, we're disappointed to learn, are only fondant-covered Styrofoam forms.) The bride-to-be, co-anchor Tim White and Terry sample vanilla-chiffon cake with lemon and raspberry Italian-meringue buttercream fillings, yellow cake with buttercream filling, yellow cake with chocolate-ganache filling, and white and yellow cakes with raspberry-preserve filling. Romona opts for a yellow cake, two tiers layered with buttercream filling and two tiers with both chocolate-ganache and raspberry-preserve fillings.
"Rodney and I don't like cake," she says, "but I loved Phyllis' cake."
At the 7 p.m. reception in the Ritz ballroom, guests will sip glasses of wine served by butlers and sample passed hors d'oeuvres such as chicken tempura with Thai chili sauce, California sushi rolls, jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce and beef Wellington with cognac sauce. The dinner menu consists of a salad of young field greens, crumbled Stilton cheese and balsamic vinaigrette, lobster tail paired with grilled filet mignon napped with port-wine sauce, garlic whipped potatoes, a spring vegetable medley and rolls with butter. In addition to the wedding cake, guests will also be tempted by "a symphony of desserts" — an individual New York cheesecake, chocolate five-spice cake and banana-and-passionfruit tartlet — on a plate "painted" with a cassis-coulis heart.
"I wanted to try and come up with what I thought most of my guests would like," Romona says of the menu.