When it comes to modern wedding traditions, the wedding cake in all its multi-layered, icing-encrusted glory is a relative newcomer. Considering sugar paste icing and cake pillar supports were all ideas of the 18th century and beyond, it is not hard to deduce why this is so.
Still, sources indicate that the wedding cake could have been inspired from a multi-layer French pastry known as the croque-en-bouche (if you remember those Ferrero Rocher advertisements where the pastry chef stacks the chocolate treats into cone shapes, that’s what it looks like!), which in turn was inspired by a marriage custom of England in the middle ages. Apparently, back in those days, guests would stack piles of sweet rolls between the bride and groom, who would then attempt to kiss over the pile without toppling anything. Those who manage to do so will apparently have success in their marriage, and much posterity to look forward to.
Nowadays, while couples generally do not kiss over their wedding cakes, they are expected to cut it together in a symbolic gesture of their first task together as man and wife. In some cultures, the bride and groom even feed each other pieces of the confectionery to further emphasize the intimacy they will be sharing henceforth. One note of caution though: don’t ruin that beautiful wedding dress as you do so!
In view of the symbolic nature of cake cutting, some modern couples may choose to simply insert a knife into a fake cake to the applause of the guests. While this would mean that the guests do not get to enjoy fresh cake (not that they don’t already have other things to relish, though!), it also means that the couple is free to design their cakes with the most outrageous of ideas (in good taste, of course), since edibleness is not an issue anymore.
For couples who choose to have a real cake, some also have it pre-cut to save the hassle of cutting it on-the-spot. Other couples go even further to have a wedding cake made smaller cakes stacked on top of each other, so that guests can just grab and go! Most of the time, wedding cakes are white to go with the occasion. Nobody says you can’t have a bit of stylish pink or cool blue on your own wedding cake, though!
Like many other wedding customs and traditions, whether to have a wedding cake cutting is a personal choice only the bride and groom can decide for themselves. As newlyweds, it will certainly be nice to have something romantic to look back on a few years down the road, but keep in mind that wedding cakes won’t be the only romantic thing happening during your big day! One thing’s for sure, don’t forget to pose for your wedding photographer that day!