This bloom's reputation as nature's most definitive love symbol stems from the Greeks, who used the flower to represent the goddess Venus. White roses, specifically, have come to symbolize purity, unity, and true love -- as opposed to red roses' association with passion -- which has earned them the status of Ultimate Wedding Flower. Here, New York City cake guru Sylvia Weinstock blanketed three tiers of cake in handmade, edible sugar petals to gently echo the shape of a French croquembouche -- and create a temple to Cupid's favorite bloom.
In the ancient Celtic ritual of handfasting, a couple's hands were tied together with ribbon during the wedding. For these domed petits fours, our food editor Elizabeth Colling fashioned pulled sugar into delicate knots. Though the ribbons look deceptively soft stretched over white fondant, they're just as crisp as hard candy.
Long ago, the heart was thought to be the origin of all human emotions. Though modern science proves otherwise, the phrase "giving your heart" is still the best way to express that you'd sacrifice anything for the one you love. Jay Qualls of the Tennessee-based Maples Wedding Cakes printed our designs on paper, covered them in parchment, traced them with royal icing, then transferred them onto fondant.
Apples have been a symbol of love, fertility, and abundance since ancient Greek times, when the goddess Gaia gave her granddaughter a golden apple tree as a gift at her wedding to Zeus. Golden lady apples, painted with edible gold luster dust, are the focal point of this tower by Betsy Thorleifson of Nine Cakes in Brooklyn, New York. The vanilla-bean spiced apple cake -- filled with caramel buttercream -- is drizzled with luscious caramel.
In the old days, church bells were rung to let people in the area know that a wedding had taken place, as well as to wish the newlyweds good luck. Now they're simply sweet. Kate Sullivan of Lovin Sullivan Cakes in New York City strung graphic golden fondant bells -- brushed with edible gold luster dust -- from pale blue royal-icing ribbons.
Doves are one of the rare wild creatures that mate for life, but their connection to love runs deeper than their devotion alone. In Hindu tradition, for example, they represent the infinite capacity the spirit has for love. Ohio baker Wendy Kromer placed elegant white gum-paste birds at opposite ends of a cake encircled in lush cream ribbon (also gum paste). The scene -- two lovebirds have just finished stringing up ribbon in celebration of your romance -- feels straight from a fairy tale.
As a symbol, rings are stunningly simple yet monumental in their meaning. More than a promise cast in platinum or gold, they represent the eternity you and your husband will spend together: The band itself has no beginning and no end. Here, New York City baker Mark Joseph uses an abundance of precisely applied sugar-paste rings to create a stylish, mod-inspired pattern. A base of unexpected yellow makes the rings pop and completes the fresh, contemporary effect.