Having a delicious, sweet wedding cake at the reception is a tradition that dates back to Roman and Medieval times. Though the look and style of the wedding cake has changed throughout the years, many of the traditions associated with the cake have not. Here are six wedding cake traditions you might not know about.
Cutting the Cake
The purpose of the newlywed couple cutting the cake together isn’t just to get a good photo. It’s actually a tradition that has evolved over time to become the first activity done as a couple after marriage. Before a single wedding cake was common, the bride would have her own cake at the wedding, which she would cut alone to symbolise the impending loss of her virginity.
Saving the Top Tier
Most couples save the top tier of their wedding cake to eat at the Christening of their firstborn child. This tradition makes sense, since in the past, the first Christening was often held within a year of the wedding. Today, some couples have a special small cake made as the top tier that is easily preserved and saved for the Christening. A properly wrapped cake can easily last for a year in the freezer provided it has no whipped cream layers or delicate fresh fruit fillings.
Bride and Groom Feeding Each Other Cake
After the couple cuts the first piece of cake, it’s tradition for them to feed it to each other. This can be romantic and sweet, symbolising their commitment to each other, or it can be messy and exciting with cake being smashed into their partner’s faces.
Charms in the Cake
While hiding charms in the cake has become something rare and usually done at bridal showers [a recent import from our American cousins], it is a tradition that originated with wedding cakes. Charms were baked into the cake and each charm had a special meaning attached. The guest that chose the piece of cake with a particular charm would benefit from its meaning. Traditional charms included a heart for true love, a ring for an upcoming engagement, a clover or luck, a flower for growing love, a wishing well for wishes granted, an anchor for travel, a highchair for a baby, a rocking chair for a long life and more.
Sleeping with Cake Under the Pillow
According to folklore, if a person sleeps with a piece of wedding cake under their pillow, they will dream of the person they are to marry. This custom dates back 300 years and is the reason favors are given at the wedding today. Traditionally, a small piece of the cake was sent home with guests for this purpose. That tradition grew into sending home pictures or other small favors in lieu of the cake. Today, some brides choose to give miniature replicas of the cake or wedding cake shaped biscuits as a favor in remembrance of this mostly forgotten tradition.
White Wedding Cake
There’s a reason most wedding cakes are white. It turns out that the color is actually a tradition, symbolizing the purity of the bride. Today’s cakes are often made with a white base and accented with colors from the bridal party’s dress or flowers from the bouquet. In Victorian times, white sugar needed to make white icing was quite expensive, so the stark color of the white cake was a display of the family’s wealth.
While the entire wedding is steeped in tradition, the wedding cake is one of the most symbolic parts of the wedding. Think of these traditions and their meanings when selecting, cutting and enjoying your wedding cake.
Whatever style of cake you’re considering for your big day contact Sweet Sensations Cakes today and we’ll help you make it into a reality!