“What if we had a cheese cake at our wedding, instead of a wedding cake?”
I asked my then-fiancé this a few months after we got engaged, when we were in the thick of wedding planning. “Not a New York–style cheesecake,” I hastily added, seeing his initial hesitation, “but rounds of cheese stacked to look like a traditional wedding cake.”
I expected it to be a hard sell, but he warmed to the idea right away, and so did our parents and friends. I started happily daydreaming about the perfect cheese wedding cake …and then realized I had to actually figure out how to pull this thing off. After some initial research I found premade cheese cakes for weddings available online (Cypress Grove has a lovely one), but I wanted to put our own creative spin on it. If you’d like to do the same, it’s a pretty simple project—just follow the tips below to make the process stress-free. And unlike cake, you don’t have to freeze anything to enjoy your wedding cheese on your first anniversary. Keep the cheese labels from your wedding “cake,” and you can always buy a fresh wheel to celebrate your marriage.
Tips and Tricks
- Think about more than just flavor pairing. Consider shape, color, and texture: A trio of bloomy-rind cheeses evokes a traditional white wedding cake; wine-soaked, ash-coated, and leaf-wrapped cheeses make bold, modern statements; a small wheel of chèvre decorated with pressed flowers (such as Harley Farms Monet) adds a nice touch of color.
- Get enough cheese. 1.5-2 ounces per person is ideal, but you can get away with less if you’re serving an additional dessert.
- Keep the cake to five layers or fewer if you want to avoid toppling.
- Choose accompaniments wisely. Crackers or bread is a must, but jam, nuts, olives, or pickles can also be fun ways to accent your cheese cake.
- Ask your local cheese shop for help. Their knowledge will come in handy when you are creating your list of requirements.
- Think about decorating your cake. Flowers and fresh herbs look just as nice on cheese as they do on frosting.
- Think about serving options. After the cake is disassembled, you can display whole cheeses individually, encouraging guests to cut their own slices, or someone can slice all the cheese in advance for quicker serving, as is done with most traditional wedding cakes.
- Delegate responsibility. Find someone you can trust to take care of setting up the cheese cake on the day of the wedding so you don’t have to worry about it.
Six months out:
- Start thinking about what cheeses you want. Ask your cheese shop for suggestions, organize some tastings, and start narrowing down your options.
Three months out:
- Choose the three to five cheeses that will make up your cake, and determine when you need to order them. (A special order from the cheesemaker or a local store may be necessary.)
Two months out:
- Start collecting your equipment, including cheese knives, a cake stand, platters for serving, bowls or baskets for accompaniments, and a cake topper. Take a look at what you have, then decide what you want to buy, how much you want to spend, and what you can borrow from friends and family.
One month out:
- Choose accompaniments—jams, pickles, or nuts that complement the cheeses, as well as crackers or breads for serving. (Some you can buy now, like jam, pickles, and crackers, and some you may want to buy closer to the date, such as baguettes or toasted nuts, which go stale quickly.)
- Organize a day-of cheese coordinator. Inform them how you’d like the cheese cake set up, and decide if you want this person to also bring the cheese, equipment, and accompaniments to the venue.
- Make a day-of time line. For our afternoon wedding it went something like this: Take the cheese out of the fridge at 12:30 p.m (while lunch was served); stack and decorate the cake and set out platters, utensils, and accompaniments at 2:30 p.m.; cut the cake at 3:00 p.m. (immediately following the cake cutting, the cheese was taken into the kitchen, disassembled, and sliced into bite-size pieces for guests to enjoy). Review your timeline with the day-of cheese coordinator so they know what you expect.
One week out:
- Double- and triple-check everything. Make sure you have all the things you need, or know when you’ll have them; that you have the schedule planned out; and that your cheese coordinator is on board.
- Cut, eat, and enjoy!
Photo Credits: Mary McHenry Photography