The Cuban white sponge cake with vanilla custard and meringue is no longer the only option. Rodriguez remembers the "caja china" with the roasted pig, the rice and beans, the yucca and the fried plantains in her quinces.
Today's quinceanera has a rainbow of options: Astoria red velvet cake, key lime or strawberry torte, chocolate coconut fudge, pistachio marble, white chocolate, French silk butter cream, dulce de leche, guava and rum cake.
Yvette Rodriguez, co-owner of Vicky Bakery, which has a dozen locations in South Florida, said the trend right now is to do cakes with the Tiffany & Co. theme. The brand is known for its diamond jewelry and its iconic aqua blue boxes with white ribbons.
"The girls do a lot of themes and it depends on their personal style," Rodriguez said. "We also have a lot of Hollywood themes and like to use fondant because it creates an elegant surface."
The price of a cake serving ranges from $1.75 to $10 per slice. They can be elaborate sculptures with up to six tiers or mini cup cake towers ranging from $1 to $2.60 a piece. French macaroon towers with 150 pieces are about $400.
(EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM)
At the Ritz Carlton, one of the most luxurious catering services in Miami, the cost for food and beverage ranges from $75 to $125 per plate for teens and $140 to $200 for adults. Monica Ciffoni, director of catering at the Coconut Grove location said the food for teenage parties is simple and desserts are usually the focus of attention.
"We always try to do chocolate dessert _ hazelnut chocolate crunch tart, mango souffle, tropical fruits, passion fruit cheese cake, and then also the cookies and the macaroons," Ciffoni said. "The macaroons are a huge trend right now."
(END OPTIONAL TRIM)
Two seamstresses in a windowless workshop delicately handled fabric in the back of Jorka Atelier on Southwest Eighth Street near Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana. A hand-washed ruby red dress with flamenco dancer ruffles on the skirt and a silver sequin corset hung from the ceiling to air dry.
There was barely any room to walk. Dozens of romantic ball gowns in shimmering organza, matte satin, taffeta and metallic glittered tulle lined up on hangers. Some had faux pearls, small roses and lace. Others had embellished fluff, appliques and embroidery.
"We have been turning teenagers into princesses for about 40 years," Ortencia Jordan said in Spanish. "Girls used to dress primarily in white. It was in the 1980s when they started to use color and now there are no limits. I have had girls wear black and red, canary yellow, silver and even apple green."
At Jorka Atelier, a girl can rent a used dress for $60 to $80 or buy a custom-made dress for $350 to $600.
Prices at other South Florida boutiques are steeper.
(EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM)
At Alegria's Brides in Coral Gables, the quince dresses could go for as high as $2,000. Ann Marie Griffin, who owns Ann Marie's in Homestead, said this is because for many the quinceanera dress is as important as the wedding dress.
"It's a personal expression of a young lady's taste and style," Griffin said. "For some of the quince cruises, the girls wear white, but we also do prints, pinks, blues, lavenders and yellow. There is a lot of variety and attention to detail."
(END OPTIONAL TRIM)
Swarovski crystals sometimes make it unto the dress and the crowns. And the choices are limitless when it comes to accessories. The tiara _ a princess crown _ has to be shiny. Also, every princess needs jewels. A MIKIMOTO pearl necklace at $3,500 and its matching $4,520 Akoya pearl bracelet are some of the examples.
"We have a pearl necklace that my great-grandmother inherited. My daughter is getting it next year," Amanda Garcia said. "When my mother gave it to me, it was a symbol of the trust that comes with age and maturity. It was about her being able to trust me with adult things. It was about responsibility."
To be able to afford the $15,000 expense, Chouza started planning about two years in advance. It is easy to run into trouble. The music can cost between $650 to $10,000; the transportation between $100 to $300 hourly; and the make-up and hair between $50 to $300. Then there are the manicures and pedicures, the photography and the video.
For the Calcedo family, dealing with the finances wasn't so easy. Jose Calcedo said that when his wife wanted to go into her 401-K, he put up a stop sign.
"Having a 'princesita' is expensive," Calcedo said. "Teaching them to be frugal is important, too. You can't go overboard. It doesn't send the right message. We don't need any more debt. We know the wedding is next."
(c)2013 The Miami Herald
Visit The Miami Herald at www.miamiherald.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Most Popular Stories
- Twitter Names Woman to Board
- NSA Tracks 5 Billion Cellphone Records a Day
- Nelson Mandela Dies After Momentous Life
- W.H. Corrects Itself on Unclegate
- Nelson Mandela Dead at 95
- Fast-Food Workers Want $15 an Hour
- Pope Francis Says He'll Fight Child Sex Abuse
- Yemen Attack Kills 52
- Roybal-Allard Tours Gordon Brush Plant
- Aspen Contracting Adding 300 Jobs