Many components of today’s wedding celebration are deeply rooted in traditions of the past. Although very few people actually know and care why we do the things we do at a wedding, everyone would notice if the newlywed couple did not serve or cut the cake!
The tradition of serving cake at a wedding goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Couple would cut a sesame seed cake together to symbolize fertility and happiness. In Roman tradition, instead of eating the cake, the groom would break it over the bride’s head. The crumbs would be collected by the guests as good luck charms.
This evolved into guests bringing their own cakes to the reception, setting an early precedence of a popularity contest (the more cakes, the more popular the bride). During Middle Ages, guests brought sticky buns to the reception and would pile them up in front of the couple. If they were able to kiss over the top they would be blessed with a happy and fertile marriage. Wedding cake tradition was brought to the Americas by way of the Pilgrims and their fruitcakes (they stayed edible much longer). This slowly evolved into the white, tiered cake that we see at the many receptions of nowadays.
Unfortunately, wedding cakes don’t hold as much weight as they used to (pun intended). After big amounts being spent on venues and vendors, wedding cakes are too often an after thought. Many venues actually include the wedding cake in their packaged price, but more often than not those cakes leave a lot to desire in a matter of taste and design.
So, if you are getting married at a venue that offers a wedding cake as a part of your package make sure you go to a tasting and try it out. If the cake is not what you hoped for, a lot of venues will offer a credit ($1-$2 per person) that you can use toward an artisan cake baked and design by a wedding baker of your choice.
And here the sky is the limit, from traditional white tired cakes to a kooky-shaped leaning cakes that evoke the theme of your wedding. After all, aside your first dance, cutting the cake is the only tradition that brings you to the forefront of your guests attention as a husband and wife.
When choosing a cake design and size, keep in mind the reception space. A tiny cake will look sad and lost in a large, high vaulted space. A seven tiered cake will overwhelm almost any bride and space.
If you and your husband-to-be have very different likes when it comes to the wedding cake, you can always opt to have different layers done in different cake types and fillings. But also keep in mind your guests preferences and don’t use any ingredients that can possibly cause allergic reaction. Nothing puts a damper on your party like a 911 call.
Other option utilized by some of my brides, especially ones with an outdoor reception is a cupcake tower. They are easy to serve, look charming and most of the time cost a fraction of a cake. And you can always choose to have a small cake for cutting to keep with the tradition.
In my next blog, let’s continue with sweet endings to your wedding reception. Parting snack of milk and cookies, Mister Softee icecream truck, etc. … In the meantime – happy wedding planning!