The Cake Table Trial Run

If you’ve not read that our cake differs in theme from the wedding and all about my quest for Cake Toppers, then you don’t know that we’re doing a cake inspired by Disney’s HauntedMansion attraction.

It turns out our bakery had a standard design that worked perfectly for the theme, even though it reflects Disneyland’s New Orleans version rather than the one at WDW. However, this makes more sense as Nathan and I really love the real New Orleans.

One problem with the cake, though, is that it’s black and white. Literally. The only splash of color is the Haunted Mansion Ezra Hitchhiking Ghost Action Figure, who’s aqua.

It occurred to me that, especially since the cake isn’t part of the Journey to the Center of the Earth theme and needed to clearly stand out, it needed some “set dressing.”

I’m a big fan of Chef Mayhem’s If you’re a HauntedMansion fan and don’t know what that is, you need to head over there right now and check it out. One of the awesome features on his site is the ability to make a customized “Death Certificate.”

I’d already made one for each of us years ago, and had planned on framing them and hanging them in the house someplace. But time went by, and it never happened.

I thought now would be the perfect time to use them—I could put them in plastic sign holders (items I already own because of all my book signings) and set them on either side of the cake—except when I read some of the information I’d inserted, our deaths had to do with the launch of his television show Extreme Paranormal and my book Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole—Tales from Haunted Disney World. I thought it might be better to re-print them with date and cause of death relevant to the wedding, and print them on parchment cardstock. They not only came out great, they added a splash of color.

Initially, I had the idea of putting just a couple of black roses in front of the cake, so on July 25, I headed to Michael’s to see what I could find.

Fortunately, Halloween décor was already starting to hit the shelves (yes, I know, at the end of July?) This retailers-pushing-the-year-ahead business has always irritated me, especially when it’s summer and you need flip-flops and all you can find are boots. However, in this case, I was glad to see some Halloween items around.

Some black silk glittered-leaves attracted my attention—and so did a glittered raven, as a raven appears in every room in the Mansion. I seized those immediately.

Still, I felt the table needed more color – and the color it needed would have to be aqua, because the only other color so far was the aqua of the cake topper.

I spied some aqua Gerber Daisies and bought three (to represent the Mansion’s three Hitchhiking Ghosts).


Items from Michael’s.

I thought it might be a good idea to play with the design and see if my vision was going to work, but first—knowing that Anne-Marie would be putting the toppers on the cake—I wanted to open up the Cake Toppers, pose them, and Krazy Glue the small pieces (Ezra has a hat; the Bride has a candle and a bouquet of dead flowers) to the bodies so they didn’t get lost.

Before gluing, I went online to look at the poses of the actual figures.


Trying to match the topper Ezra to his pose in the Mansion.


The Bride: her action figure is based on the Bride’s first incarnation, so I modeled the pose of her body and hands on an older photo I found on


Ezra and the Bride, glued and ready to go.

I set the toppers in the center of the table, positioned the Death Certificates where I wanted them, then cut the leaves off their stalk and put a circle around the imaginary “cake.” Here’s my final idea: just try to imagine the cake in the center.



Most tablecloths for the cake table are the same color as the cloths used in the rest of the reception hall, but because our cake is black, white and aqua (and would seriously clash with the gold I chose as a base color on my final planning session up at Howe Caverns, which was happening a couple of weeks later in August), we’re going with a white tablecloth. This will further make it stand out.

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