Krispy Kremes are icing on the cake at wedding

April 29, 2002|By Kevin Cowherd

THERE IT was in Time two weeks ago, a blurb in the Trend Alert section that, depending on your point of view, signals either the apocalypse or a new, more playful mood among newlyweds.

The blurb said that in cities like Baltimore and Atlanta, the traditional wedding cake is being replaced by tiers of - you may want to be sitting - Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

For this, you can thank - or blame - Matt and Sherri Rybczynski.

I wish you could meet Matt and Sherri, who live in White Marsh.

He's 31, she's 26. He's boy-band handsome, she has guys on the street walking into light poles. He's funny, she's bubbly. Together, they have more life in them than any 500 people you know.

So when it came time to plan their wedding reception last year, they began with the premise that both need laughter the way other people need oxygen. And they wanted to make their wedding memorable and unique.

Matt, after all, hadn't exactly proposed in the conventional way. Oh, he didn't hire a sky-writer or have Will You Marry Me, Sherri? flashed on the Jumbotron at Camden Yards or anything like that.

No, what he did was much, much better. He rented an entire movie theater.

He told Sherri they were going to watch a film he was working on - his day job involves casting, acting and video production. Only what Sherri ended up seeing was footage of their dating history, followed by a scene of Matt in a jewelry store buying an engagement ring.

At that point, sitting in the darkened theater, it occurred to Sherri that Matt was probably not buying the ring for someone else - not unless he wanted an elbow in the gut.

A guy makes like Cecil B. DeMille when he proposes, how do you say no?

So when Matt first suggested a wedding cake made from Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Sherri's first reaction was not, as you might think: "Over my dead body, sport."

Instead, the idea was intriguing. Both were huge Krispy Kreme fans. Hanging out at the Bel Air Road store on Saturday nights had been one of their dating rituals.

In fact, if they drove by the store and the trademark red light was lit - indicating fresh, hot doughnuts coming out - they found themselves drawn to the front counter like zombies in a George Romero movie.

"Matt was known as the Krispy Kreme Kid," laughed Sherri, who works for a title abstract company and is also a makeup artist, actress and dancer.

So Sherri gave the thumbs-up to the doughnut cake. Which immediately prompted others - her mom, for one - to inquire delicately: Are you out of your mind?!

After all, this would be a big, fancy wedding reception - 275 people at Sparrow's Point Country Club, with all the traditional Polish rituals.

But when Sherri's mom, Gloria Urbaniak, agreed, Matt swung into action. First stop was the Krispy Kreme on Bel Air Road. I want my wedding cake to be made from your doughnuts, he said. They looked at him as if his head had just exploded.

"They'd never heard of such a thing," he said.

Next he called Krispy Kreme corporate headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C. A company spokeswoman said she'd never heard of such a thing, either. But recognizing a big-time promotional opportunity, the company urged Matt to contact bakers in Baltimore for ideas on how to build a doughnut cake.

None of the bakers came up with anything he liked, though. No, if Matt wanted a Krispy Kreme doughnut cake, he would have to build one himself.

So he set out to do just that. At a local wedding supply store, he bought a six-tier cake frame. On the top tier would be two hand-made clay figurines, one in the likeness of the bride, the other of the groom. The bottom tier would contain cascading fresh flowers.

"We wanted it to look classy," Matt said.

"We didn't want it to be just a mound of donuts," said Sherri.

A week before the wedding, Krispy Kreme Fed-Exed hats, banners and balloons. And the night before his wedding, Matt drove out to the country club with 28 dozen glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts and painstakingly built his and Sherri`s dream cake.

The two showed me footage of their reception. Oh, it looked like a hoot! You haven't lived till you've seen a ballroom full of men in nice suits and women in smart cocktail dresses singing and dancing under gold chandeliers while wearing paper Krispy Kreme hats.

Matt and Sherri wore the hats, too, of course, Sherri`s perched jauntily above her veil.

"The neat part about it," Matt said, remembering that day with a smile, "is it really got people into it."

The "cake" itself looked beautiful, glistening under the lights like some giant, otherworldly jewel. When it came time for the actual cutting, the bride and groom took a doughnut, squirted Redi-Whip on it, cut it in half, and shmushed it in each other's faces.

"It was ours, it was original, it was fun," Matt said of their wonderful wedding day.

Pictures of Matt's and Sherri's excellent wedding now hang proudly in Krispy Kreme headquarters.

Krispy Kreme is now developing a marketing strategy that will allow couples to select from various wedding-cake designs, although the finished product will be made by local cake decorators.

A minor dispute also seems to have arisen. Matt and Sherri say a company spokesperson told them as recently as five weeks ago that they were the first couple to have a Krispy Kreme doughnut wedding cake. But a spokesperson Friday said two other couples were believed to have had similar cakes before the White Marsh couple.

Not that Matt and Sherri will lose any sleep over this.

"A year ago," Matt said, "our crazy idea was just that - OUR crazy idea. [Now] I find out we're a trend."

Last Sunday, they celebrated their first wedding anniversary. From the freezer they dug out a couple of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, which they'd saved from their wedding cake, and ate them contentedly.

Because when you help start a trend, you have to stay with it.

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