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Dove Topper

A pair of white doves adorns a traditional wedding cake.

Photography: Jonathon Lovekin

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2002


Doves are a powerful symbol: To the Chinese they embody faithfulness and longevity; to the ancient Romans, they represented Venus, the goddess of love. Our millinery doves perch on a beaded birdbath; they are framed by an arbor of cotton lily-of-the-valley and silk maidenhair fern, motifs repeated in the royal icing on the cake.


  • Small Styrofoam birdbath

  • Foam glue

  • Scrap of cardboard for spreading the glue

  • Two hanks of white seed beads

  • 6 stems of cotton lily-of-the-valley

  • 2 branches of silk maidenhair fern

  • Hot-glue gun

  • Hank of alabaster-colored seed beads

  • 2 millinery doves


  1. Working from base, spread the foam glue in a 1-inch band all the way around the Styrofoam birdbath. Attach the strands of white beads by spiraling them around the birdbath. Continue adding the glue and coiling the beads up the sides and onto the top until you have a 1/4-inch-wide band on top.

  2. Arrange the lily-of-the-valley and fern branches into two half-arches; insert their stems into the center of the Styrofoam birdbath and secure them, using the hot-glue gun.

  3. Glue on the strands of alabaster beads to fill in the top of the birdbath, spiraling toward the center.

  4. Hot-glue doves in place.

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