A lot of brides come to me and say that they want to do "something different" with their cake, then end up choosing a cake that really isn't so different. I have said this many times before, but I think that people have a picture in their heads of what a wedding cake "should" be, and it's very difficult to get away from that. You may come into a design meeting with every intention of doing something unusual and non-traditional, but by the time it's over you're planning on having a white cake with flowers on it.
Or you do plan something non-traditional, then your mother gets involved, and suddenly you're back to a white cake with flowers on it.
I did a wedding today that involved some traditional elements in terms of how the cakes looked (yes, I said "cakes"), but the setup was different from the norm. Christina and Nick had come to me with the idea of doing some type of individual wedding cakes instead of one large one, and they eventually decided to incorporate the cakes into the centerpieces of each table at their reception.
Each table had a small cake sitting on a custom-made (by the bride and groom) piece of plexiglass that covered a square vase with water and flowers in it. The cakes were all different flavors so that guests would get up and mingle when it was time to cut them, and each table had a small chalkboard with the cake flavor written on it. The seating charts were based on the cake flavors, so guests were assigned to their tables based on the cakes. The head table had a two-tiered cutting cake, and the other tables each had a one-tiered square for guests to share.
In addition to the cakes, I made cookies for each guest to take home for a wedding favor. They were fleur-de-lis shaped, with the couple's monogram piped in white on a cream background. Edible favors are always more popular than other types of trinkets, in my opinion. I'd rather receive a cookie (or something in a nice chocolate) than something I have to take home and store.
The final piece of this non-traditional cake presentation was a groom's cake in the shape of Fenway Park. Nick grew up in the Boston area, so is a big Red Sox fan. They wanted a Fenway cake to showcase that, and the groom's cake ended up being the only cake that had it's own official cake table. (I admitted to Nick that I forgot to put Pesky's pole on the cake, which my husband had instructed me to do, but he said that it was fine without it.)
Overall, the cake setup was a lot of fun, made for interesting centerpieces, and was definitely something different.