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Wedding Cakes - Why Do We Need Them At the Wedding?

Updated on June 10, 2015

The History of the Wedding Cake

How and where did the wedding cake begin. The tradition of the wedding cake began back in the Roman Empire. It did not look like it does today. Back in history, the cake was a loaf of bread that the groom broke over the bride's head as a symbol of dominance in the marriage. The reason that the cake was white was that it was the sign of purity of the marriage. The idea of the bride and groom cutting the cake together is a sign of the first task they complete together in their marriage. The idea of feeding the cake to one another was a symbol that the commitment that the bride and groom are making.

In the old English times, the bride and the groom would make a great big pile of sweet rolls that divided them. The couple would then attempt to kiss over the pile without knocking them all down. A French pastry chef witnessed this and returned to his country and created today's classic French wedding cake. Another name for this is the magnificent croquembouche.

The classic style wedding cake was quite smaller with stacked tiers. It is believed to have first appeared at the nineteenth century royal weddings. Finally, in 1870, the wedding cake became an actual tiered cake. We know how beautiful wedding cakes can be.

Wedding Cake Traditions

Cutting of the Cake

One of the major Wedding Traditions is that of the "Cutting of the Cake." The cake cutting represents the first activity done as a couple although in history the bride would normally do this alone. This act would symbolize the loss of her virginity. Now the cake cutting tradition is a more complicated process. The reason that this is more complicated is the multi-tiered cakes and the very large numbers of guests at the wedding.These days the bride requires the groom's assistance and usually they do not cut the entire cake. They leave that for the caterer to do.

Saving the Top Tier

All most all couples save the top tier of the wedding cake. One of the reasons for this is that the top tier is eaten on the couples first wedding anniversary. Sometimes it is eaten at a Christening ceremony. Christenings in the past were within a year of the wedding. That is why this tradition made perfect sense. In the present day, most couples will usually create a small cake eating ceremony around the time of their first anniversary. The refrigeration process has become a more advanced practice and has gained merit today. As long as the cake does not have mousse layers or delicate fresh fruit fillings, a cake that is wrapped well can easily last frozen for a year.When this cake is shared with your spouse and other important people, this creates a special reminder of this special day.

Bride and Groom Feeding Each Other the Cake

The traditional cake cutting ceremony is when the bride and groom feed each other a small bite of cake.This tradition can be very romantic and very symbolizing of a commitment to provide for each other the show of love and affection. Many times today this custom is is not followed. Couples have now created a custom to grind the cake into their partner's face. Unless this is agreed upon by both parties, then the normal tradition should be kept.

White Wedding Cake.

Most wedding cakes should be white. Some people choose different colors, but the tradition is for a white wedding cake. The reasoning behind this tradition is that the color of white is the sign of purity. This cake is also traditionally referred to as the "bride's cake." The white of the cake was simply a representation of the bride as the main focal point of the wedding. This is why, generally, a bride's dress is white. A lot of cakes today are made in the same hue as the bride's dress or bouquet. White icing was also a symbol of money and social importance in Victorian times. In this time white was highly desired.

Sleeping with a Piece of Cake Under the Pillow

The reason behind this tradition is that sleeping with a piece of wedding cake under their pillow will allow them to dream of their future partner that night. This custom dates back almost three hundred years and is often practically combined with wedding favors being tiny replicas of the wedding cake.The favors being tiny replicas is much easier to put under the pillow, and definitely less messy, than a piece of cake.

Ten Steps to Save Money on Your Wedding Cake

Having a beautiful wedding cake can become very expensive for your wedding. Here are 10 different suggestions where you may be able to save some money on your wedding cake. Knowing that saving money is very important to all of us, saving money on your wedding will be beneficial.

Step #1- The main cost of the cake is in constructing, icing, and detailing the cake. It is not the ingredients. This is the main consideration in the cost of the wedding cake, and cardinal rule #1. So the more time spent of constructing and decorating the cake, the more the cost will be.

Step #2- Cakes are priced per slice. Not everyone will participate in the eating of the wedding cake. A good idea is to ask the baker to allow for 25 fewer slices for a 150-guest count.

Step #3- Consider a cake-slicing station. The guests can choose from a plated presentation. This will be a savings of at least 10%.

Step#4- Create an effect of a larger cake. This can be done by separating each layer of cake, with thick, decorated, non-cake layers. These can be Styrofoam squares wrapped in glitter paper. This will turn a three-tier cake into a six-tier cake.

Step #5- Go smaller. It will definitely cost less for the wedding cake if it is not large. Today, some people are going smaller with two-tiered cakes.

Step #6- Create a deconstructed cake. This is where the wedding cake is not stacked up into tiers. This is where the tiers are one right beside the next one on the table. This strategy creates a 25% savings.

Step #7- Rethink the idea of mini wedding cakes for each table. This can increase you cost dramatically.

Step #8- Have a square cake instead of a round cake. A square cake feed more guests, and is much easier to cut. This creates a savings of approximately 10%.

Step #9- Shaped cakes are notorious budget busters. These types of cakes get sculptured and cut away. This is a waste of the cake. It also takes much more time for the person creating the cake. This will definitely cost more money.

Step#10- Many reception sites charge a per-slice cake cutting fee. The price range for this is $1 to $8 or more per slice. Some places charge an extra fee if an outside baker's cake is brought in. This cost can be negotiated.

Final Wedding Thoughts

The wedding is such an important part in many people's lives. There are many historical impacts of wedding ideas and traditions that have been implemented. There are also some traditions that are practiced normally, and then there are some traditions that can be unusual. Understanding these traditions allows each of us to see the importance of weddings and where the significance of the cake comes from.

There are also many different ways to save money on one of the main parts of the wedding, the wedding cake. Only a few tips are listed here. These tips can be very helpful if implemented. What a wonderful idea, a traditional wedding that does not cost a tremendous amount of money.

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    • Dawn Henderson profile image

      Dawn Henderson 2 years ago from Ohio

      My cake was beautiful, too. It made the entire occasion even more special.

    • SuzanneV profile image

      Susan Veenendaal 2 years ago from South Africa

      This is one beautiful cake. Even if it wasn't tradition, I would have still wanted a wedding cake at my wedding. It just refines the whole occasion and is a nice finish.