While you can probably guess at what a towel cake is (a cake made out of towels, right?), you're not alone if that's all you know about the bridal shower tradition. That's why we consulted Azar Jazestani, the founder of Principal Planner Events, for a rundown of the party trend. Jazestani's a pro at throwing wedding-related celebrations, and she knows all about the gift, activity, and décor idea. Here, she offers instructions for building one, plus other tips for including towel cakes in your pre-wedding party. She even styled these lovely examples.
What's a bridal shower towel cake?
Essentially, it's "a gift of beautifully stacked towels made to look like a tiered cake," Jazestani shares. Traditionally, it's assembled using bath towels, which nods to the word "shower." Some choose to use kitchen towels instead—that's perfectly fine, too. Towel cakes have become popular because they're both pretty and practical. According to Jazestani, couples "can never have enough towels at home!"
How do you make one?
Follow Jazestani's bridal shower towel cake tutorial. "You start by purchasing some beautiful towels, some pins, and a little ribbon," she says. "We recommend getting six bath towels, six hand towels, and six washcloths," so the bride walks away with a full set. That way, you can also create more than one faux confection to really impress.
"Once you have all your supplies, you fold your towels lengthwise and simply roll each size into a cylinder shape, adding another towel to the shape as you go. Each towel size, once rolled into one another, gives you your tiers," Jazestani explains. "To hold your cylinder together, pin the back of the towels in place so they don't unravel. Then, stack your tiers and add some ribbon to the base of each." For a smaller, supplemental décor piece, display one roll all on its own.
Jazestani also likes adding bows or faux flowers as decorations. Additionally, she recommends choosing a towel pattern that truly resembles the look of a real cake. (Finding materials is easy—she picked hers up at Marshalls and Michaels.) Of course, the specifics of your design are up to you. "There are no rules here, just have fun and get creative!"
Who gives a bridal shower towel cake?
"A towel cake can be gifted by anyone," Jazestani says, "but works best if done by the host or as a joint effort with other guests." If you buy the towel set—even if it doubles as another party element, like décor—"there's no need to feel as though another gift should be expected along with it," she shares. That being said, groups who collaborate may want to gift something extra. Try decorating the cake with other useful items, like spa supplies (the busy bride needs pampering) or utensils if the present's made from dish towels.
Can it become a bridal shower activity?
It sure can! "Purchase inexpensive white towels, a ton of colorful ribbon, some pre-made bows, and faux flowers," says Jazestani. "Ask guests to create the perfect 'wedding cake' for the happy couple. The bride can then decide, from all the fun creations, which one she would pick for her big day." "To keep costs down, group guests into 'cake designer' teams," she adds. "It's always more fun when teamwork is involved!"
How else can you incorporate one?
Jazestani suggests using the towel cake as a gift table centerpiece: "When the first guest arrives, your gift table will already look beautiful." You can also use it as a creative display for favors. She suggests arranging "scented soaps, monogrammed hand towels, or bubble bath around the centerpiece cake. Who doesn't love a theme?"
As with any other décor item, try matching the towel cake's color palette to the rest of your event's color scheme. If yours looks anything like the damask examples shown here, it'll be all over your guests' Instagram feeds in no time.