At what point did a wedding cake — and its cutting by the couple and feeding it to each other — become a featured tradition at many modern-day weddings? As with the origin of many things, we can look back to ancient Rome, where marriages were sealed by the groom smashing a barley cake over the bride’s head. The guests would then take home the crumbs as tokens of good luck. Once the Romans invaded Britain in A.D. 43, the custom seems to have been incorporated into English weddings where the bride and groom attempted to kiss over a very tall kissed pile of buns, which if successful, bode well for a lifetime of prosperity. The unmarried guests would then take a piece of the buns home to tuck under their pillow, which I presume served the same function as catching the bouquet at modern-day weddings. The wedding cake tradition continued to evolve, including the type of cake and the superstitions attached to it. Wilson, Carol. “ Wedding Cake: A S lice of History.” www.gastronomica.org. Accessed December 27, 2016
While the cutting and feeding of the wedding cake might not be the most eventful part of your wedding day, it is a highlight, especially for your guests as they anxiously watch to see if you will be naughty or nice. You don’t want to be that awkward couple that fumbles around, unsure of whose hands go where, which part of the cake to cut and how to make the first cut; so, here are some tips gathered from my experience photographing the cake cutting ritual, as well as from my friend, Valerie Phillips’ article for the Desert News, “ The slice is right: Here are some tips on how to cut a wedding cake”: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700248485/The-slice-is-right-Here-are-some-tips-on-how-to-cut-a-wedding-cake.html
Tip 1: Which part of the cake do we cut? Order your cake so that your favorite flavor is the layer at the base, which is where you will make the cut. (The exception to this would be if the bottom layer is fake. I have seen couples trying to cut through the fake layer, which is quite hilarious, so make sure you check with your wedding cake designer beforehand to make sure you know where your favorite layer is located).
Tip 2: Now that you know where to cut, let’s touch upon hand placement. This might not seem like it is of any importance, however, the hand placement is actually a symbolic act of unity. The bride’s hand right should go around the knife, with the groom’s right hand being placed over hers.
Tip 3: How to make the cut. Once the couple’s hands are in place on the knife, simply make a small (or large if you prefer) “V” shape. Use a cake spatula to remove the slice and place it on a plate.
Tip 4: Go wild! Some wedding etiquette guides suggest that the couple should always feed each other a slice of the cake in a “nice” way. However, for the sake of pictures and the entertainment of your guests, the “naughty” approach is much more memorable. If you do choose the naughty approach, be sure that you do not jam the cake into your beloved’s face in such a way that results in a chipped tooth, cut lip or other injury, OR that smears the cake all over the bride’s beautiful face and gets her dress dirty. Typically, that is not the kind of memory you want to make.
My wife and I both had a son from a previous marriage, so at our wedding, instead of feeding the cake to each other, we fed it to (smashed it in the face of) each of our sons. My son thought it was funny; however, my step-son’s feelings were quite hurt. Oops…
Tip 5: After the bride and groom have fed each other, they should then cut a slice and serve each of their parents.
Tip 6: Make arrangements beforehand with your caterer, wedding coordinator or whoever is assisting with wedding, to cut the remainder of the cake (except for the top) and serve to your guests.
Traditionally speaking, the top layer is kept and frozen by the bride and groom, and then thawed and eaten one year later on the couple’s first wedding anniversary.
If you have any other tips or tricks (or stories) that you want to share, please comment.
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