The Tradition of Cake Cutting

A wedding night isn’t complete without the bride and groom cutting a piece of cake together, right? But have you ever stopped to wonder how this tradition started and if you have to follow it?

daisey wedding cake

Photo Credit: Jessica Spengler

The wedding cake is usually served at the wedding reception after everyone is finished with dinner.  It was originally created to bring good luck and fortune to all guests attending, as well as to the lovely couple.  Some parts of the world actually serve the cake at a wedding breakfast following the ceremony the night before.  Other cultures only have the cake on display as a grand centerpiece, and don’t serve any to the guests.  Another custom is to have it made with only a single edible tier for the bride and groom to share.

Cutting the cake has definitely come a long way from early traditions.  In ancient Rome, bread was broken over the bride’s head to bring good fortune to the couple. In Medieval England, cakes were stacked as high as possible so that if the bride and groom kissed successfully over the stacks, then they were guaranteed a prosperous life together.  During the mid-17th century to the beginning of the 19th century, most weddings served a “bride’s pie.”  Sometimes, the bride would hide a glass ring in the middle of the pie so that the maiden who found it would be the next to marry.  This coincides with today’s tradition of catching the bride’s flower bouquet.

wedding cake with fruit

Photo Credit: Bill McChesney

Eventually, it became more common for cakes to be made with fruit.  This symbolized fertility and prosperity for the soon-to-be family.  Modern wedding cakes today are usually made with separate tiers and dense icing, originating at the wedding of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany in 1882.  The use of multiple levels and refined sugars represented social status and wealth of the two families.

Tradition also suggests that the bride would cut pieces of the cake herself and then distribute them to all of the wedding guests.  But let’s face it. Cutting all the slices of those huge fancy cakes have become difficult for one person to do!  So, it has become a joint task for the bride and groom to do together, probably more out of necessity than anything else.  Over time, the process has come to signify the couple’s first task in their lives together.  After cutting the cake, the bride and groom can feed each other the first slice, symbolizing their union and promise to provide for each other forever.

cutting wedding cake

Photo Credit: Bradley P. Johnson

But now you might think with all of these cake traditions, what if you’re not a fan of cake or simply can’t decide which flavor to choose because you love them all?  No need to worry, you’re not the only one!  Today, many couples are steering away from the conventional wedding cakes and searching for other fun alternatives to make their special night even more memorable.  And there are plenty of options out there too!  Reception desserts can range from cupcakes to ice cream, to everything imaginable in a dessert bar.  You can even serve delicious dessert shots! The sky is the limit when it comes to finding the perfect reception dessert for you and your partner.

cupcake wedding

Photo Credit: Mis’s Creative Cakes

If you’re worried about following ancient tradition, let’s not forget the long history of how wedding cakes came to be. These customs have been constantly changing and evolving for centuries, and they are definitely not stopping anytime soon! So enjoy your big day and find the sweetest way to end your most perfect night.

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