The cutting of the wedding cake is up there with some of the most key moments of your wedding day, alongside the first dance and throwing of the bouquet, but what does it symbolise?
The cutting of the cake goes back as a tradition to Roman & Medieval times, originally it was based around beliefs of ensuring good fertility. In Roman times the groom would break the cake over his brides head as a show of the power he had over her and to ensure good fortune and fertility, although it wasn’t actually a cake as such but more of a bread. They would then share the bread with their guests to pass on good luck.
Moving on to Medieval times the breads started to resemble cakes with the use of sweet buns similar to a croquembouche stacked high, the couple kissed over the top of the stack of buns, if they managed this task it was thought they would be blessed with children.
As time passed the sweet buns became pies and a whole new set of traditions came with that, some say the bride placed a ring in the pie and whichever guest found it, would be the next to marry or the female guests would place pie crumbs under their pillow, and it is said they would see their future spouse in their dreams. This tradition was slowly replaced with the throwing of the bouquet.
Wedding cakes then became more of the cake we would recognise today, always white in colour as this symbolised purity and virginity, it was a challenge to create a white cake with a shortage of sugar and icing, so if you had a very white cake it was usually because you came from a wealthy family. It was made of fruit cake as that too was a sign of fertility and prosperity.
Around Victorian times cakes started to become stacked and again this was a sign of wealth, the higher the cake and the more tiers you had, the greater symbol of status and wealth. With the taller cakes came more fancy designs, if you were showing a sign of wealth it had to be done in an opulent way.
Today the cutting of the cake symbolises more that it’s one of the first tasks you do together as a married couple, a task shared. The groom places his hand over the brides to help her to show his support and intention to care for her.
The groom will feed a piece of the cake to his bride, and then she will feed him a slice symbolising good luck and the commitment to provide and care for each other.
Weddings are full of tradition, and I think it’s lovely to see that some of these traditions are still followed today.