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Wedding Cake Traditions Throughout History

wedding-cake-traditions-grooms-cakeWhen you are planning a wedding on a budget, it can be helpful to understand how different wedding trends and traditions became established. With this knowledge in hand, you can make better decisions about what traditions to include in your budget wedding. Wedding cake traditions are especially fascinating, since they have changed so much over time. If you are planning a wedding on a budget, you may wish to know what wedding cake traditions you would like to incorporate into your own wedding, since certain traditions might be more affordable than others.

In Ancient Roman times, a common practice was to break an unsweetened cake or loaf of bread over a bride’s head. Later cultures put a napkin over the bride’s head before breaking the cake or bread. Some sources claim this tradition ensured good luck for the couple or for the wedding guests, while other sources feel that this early tradition was an unfortunate symbol of masculine domination over his bride.

From the 1600s to the 1800s, some weddings included a traditional bride’s pie rather than a wedding cake. The pie itself varied greatly – sometimes mutton, sometimes something sweet, but the common theme was a hidden ring inside. Tradition claimed that the person to find the ring in their pie piece would be the next person to be married.

In the later 1800s, sweet cakes became an increasingly common dish served at weddings. Plum cake and fruitcake were two popular choices before the advent of more modern baking ingredients. When white sugar and white flour became the norm for wedding cakes, the traditional plum cakes and fruitcakes were often used as a groom’s cake, with the larger white cake representing the virginal bride.

The groom’s cake is thought to be a mainly American tradition which remains popular today in the American South. Groom’s cakes are generally a different flavor from the bride’s cake, and they are often chosen specifically to contrast each other. Now that fruitcake is no longer a popular choice, a white bride’s cake and a chocolate groom’s cake is a very popular combination. Generally, a groom’s cake is less expensive than a tiered bride’s cake, so this can be a very useful tradition to turn to if you are planning a wedding on a budget.

Photo Credit: smcgee

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