Of the hundreds of wedding cakes we saw this year, these exceptional designs impressed us with their bright colors, unexpected shapes, and whimsical details.

Wedding cakes inspired by different seasons (say, fondant maple leaves for fall or sugar cherry blossoms for spring) are always a smart idea, but this winter-themed cake simply blew us away. A houndstooth pattern was stenciled onto fondant-covered tiers to evoke the coziness and warmth of this quintessential wool fabric; it also features a hand-cut fondant ornament and (edible!) non-pareil pom-poms. Cake by Erica O'Brien Cake Design

Photo: Ashleigh Taylor Photography