Wikipedia has informed me that ‘A pièce montée (from French, literally “assembled piece” or “mounted piece,” plural pièces montées) is a kind of decorative cake centerpiece in an architectural or sculptural form used for formal banquets. They are associated with classical French chefs such as Carême. Carême had studied architecture and is credited with saying, referring to pièces montées, that architecture was the most noble of the arts and that pastry was the highest form of architecture.
The term pièce montée is an assemblage of cream puffs stuck together with caramel or spun sugar into a tall, usually conical shape. It is traditionally served at parties celebrating weddings and baptisms in France. Figurines representing the newlyweds are traditionally placed on top of the pièce montée at weddings.
The most well-known form of pièce montée is the “croquembouche” (literally “crunch in the mouth”), which is composed of choux pastry balls (profiteroles) piled into a cone and bound with threads of caramel.
Pièce montée can vary greatly in design, complexity, and ingredients, often featuring intricate sugar work, and edible decorations, and can even be savoury, composed of various types of pâté or cheese.
My wife and I were married in France, near Bordeaux, during a particularly hot month of August. Our caterer was amazing and incredibly professional. He actually refused to grant us a traditional pièce montée, due to the very high temperatures at the time. The pièce montée would have collapsed. Fair point. We were disappointed as a pièce montée is a wedding “must” but ended up with something equally beautiful and yummy.