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The wedding cake is usually the staple of the reception, and there is a lot of history that surrounds it. What wedding cakes mean and symbolize have changed over time. When my husband and I were ordering the cake for our wedding, I was wondering what the cake-cutting at a wedding actually symbolizes? Where did this tradition even come from?
The symbolism of the cake-cutting ceremony is that the couple holds each other’s hands when cutting into the cake which symbolizes a promise that the couple will take care of and support each other throughout their marriage.
I found this to be a very fascinating idea and I decided to dig a little further into where this tradition originated from and what actually happens during a cake-cutting ceremony. In this article, I’ll answer these and many other related questions that I had during the planning of my wedding.
What does cutting a wedding cake symbolize?
In general, cutting a wedding cake symbolizes the first thing the married couple does together and showcases the couple’s promises to support and take care of each other. There are many other representations for a couple to cut their wedding cake.
In the past, brides were responsible for cutting the wedding cake alone, and it symbolized the loss of their “purity”. During that time, it was also the bride’s responsibility to pass out the cake slices to the couple’s wedding guests in order to aid in their fertility.
Now, it’s typical for the newlyweds to cut the cake together.
This act is important because it is usually one of the first things the couple does together after getting married. It is customary for the bride to hold the knife while the groom places his hand over hers.
*By the way,if you have a personal venue, I would recommend having theright type of utensils for cutting your wedding cake ahead of time. After some research, I recently came across an awesomeSet of A Cutting Spatula and A Serrated Serving Knifethatworks and looks greatfor properly cutting a wedding cake. You can check out this set on Amazon!
The groom’s act of placing his hand over the bride’s hand and helping her to cut the cake symbolizes that they will support each other and work together to manage their future.
Whereas before the guests receiving wedding cake symbolized them getting luck with their fertility, now it symbolizes them obtaining good luck in general.
Another thing that cutting the wedding cake represents is the fact that it’s the end of the primary wedding activities, so the elderly and other guests can leave.
I know from experience how awkward it can be to be somewhere you want to leave but not know when it’s okay to do so. The couple cutting the cake quietly tells guests that it is now socially acceptable for them to leave.
A final symbol that cutting the wedding cake represents is the couple’s longevity.
It’s a common practice for newlyweds to be told to cut their cake from the bottom tier as this is thought to bring longevity to their marriage.
Where does the tradition of cutting the cake come from?
Generally speaking, the origin of the tradition of cutting a wedding cake comes from the belief that wheat grains bring prosperity and fertility to a couple. This belief became popular around the same time as wedding cakes started getting made with wheat grains.
As previously mentioned, the meaning of wedding cakes originally had a lot to do with the bride’s fertility. During Roman times, wheat grains were thought to represent fertility.
These grains used to be thrown at the newly married couple in order to bring them fruitfulness, and Ancient Greece had a similar belief that grains could give couples prosperity and fertility.
Once wedding cakes became customary, the beliefs they had about grains extended to the wedding cakes the grains were baked in.
Wedding cakes iced with white icing became common during the Victorian era as white was thought to represent purity similar to how white dresses were originally thought to symbolize a pure virgin bride.
*By the way, if you’re looking for a great cake topper, I just came across several different Bride & Groom Cake Toppers that you can check out on Amazon! These cake toppers are exactly what you might want to place on your wedding cake.
What happens during a cake-cutting ceremony?
In general, the cake-cutting ceremony consists of the following:
- The DJ or emcee announces the ceremony is about to begin
- The cake is brought out if it isn’t out already
- The couple cuts into it while holding each other’s hands
- The couple feeds each other the cake
- Speeches may be given
How the cake-cutting ceremony plays out differs between couples, but there are a few key things that basically stay the same.
Since the couple is usually busy socializing and enjoying their reception as best they can, most weddings usually have a DJ, bandleader, or emcee who makes the necessary announcements throughout the event.
When it is time for the cake-cutting ceremony, it is usually announced by the person tasked with the reception’s announcements. If the cake isn’t already in the reception hall or room, then it is often brought out by the caterers.
The couple then stands at an angle near the cake where they can face their guests, and the photographer can take good pictures without being in the way.
Once ready to cut the cake, the bride typically places her hand directly on the cutting knife, and her new husband then places his hand over hers. After that, the couple then proceeds to cut a slice out of the cake together and place it on a plate.
Many couples choose to keep a portion of their cake for the future, and this portion is often taken by the caterer and properly stored for safekeeping until the newlyweds are ready to take it home.
Since many couples are now opting to not have a wedding cake and are instead choosing to have cupcakes or other dessert alternatives, cutting cakes have grown in popularity.
A cutting cake is a small cake that some bakeries sell so that couples who want to do the cake-cutting ceremony can do so without having to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a wedding cake.
Sliced cakes aren’t served to guests and are instead wrapped up and stored for the couple to enjoy on their own later.
As stated above, many things about wedding cakes have changed over time from their symbols to the cutting ceremony itself.
New to the cake cutting ceremony of today is the fact that the couple often doesn’t cut the entire cake themselves, and they typically don’t personally serve the slices to their guests.
Instead, the task of cutting the cake for guests usually goes to the caterer, and the guests are either served their cake by waiters, or they are responsible for getting their cake slices themselves from a table where they are all laid out strategically.
These modern changes to the cake cutting ceremony grew from the fact that wedding cakes are often bigger today and take longer to cut.
Also, newlyweds frequently have more guests to serve at their weddings these days compared to couples in the past, so if they were to personally serve all of their guests themselves, it could take a while and take away from the party mood.
*Sie Note: I recently wrote an article about How to Cut an Ice Cream Cake The Right Way. This article talks about how to properly thaw and cut an ice cream cake so that it looks great. You can check out this article here!
Do you announce cake cutting at a wedding?
In general, the DJ, bandleader, or emcee of the wedding reception usually announces that the cake-cutting ceremony is going to begin. This job is given to these individuals as their roles are important when it comes to managing the mood and flow of the wedding reception.
During the cake cutting ceremony, the band or DJ typically will play a tune that is fun or upbeat as background music for the ceremony.
They may also decide to play the wedding song for a more sentimental feeling.
Either way, they should coordinate the approximate time with the couple ahead of time. They then will choose the perfect moment to create the mood necessary for the cake-cutting ceremony.
What is the meaning of couples feeding each other cake at a wedding?
Generally speaking, the meaning of couples feeding each other cake at their wedding is to symbolize that they are committed to each other and will take care of each other during their marriage. In short, the couple feeding each other showcases their reciprocal relationship.
Newlyweds feeding each other the slice of cake they cut together is an event that is thought to showcase their care for each other. These days, some couples instead opt to smash the cake into each other’s faces.
It is important that you discuss this with each other so that no one is surprised on the big day. Smashing the cake can mess up the bride’s makeup and ruin their dress.
There have been more than a few viral videos showing newlyweds arguing because of an unplanned cake smash. Smashing the cake can be as meaningful as feeding each other as long as both people in the new marriage are on the same page about it.
*By the way, I always wanted to be able to store my cakes the right way but I never found a good container that could fit my large cakes. However, I recently came across an Extra Large Cake Carrier/Storage Container That Holds up to 12 inch 3-layer Cakes. This carrier was perfect for storing my large cakes. You can check out this Cake Storage Container on Amazon here!
What is the best way to cut your wedding cake?
In general, the best way to cut your wedding cake is to first unstack the layers to avoid the cake from toppling over. You should cut about two inches into the bottom layer of the cake and have a plate handy to slide the slice onto.
How do you cut a wedding cake to serve guests?
In general, you should cut a wedding cake from the top tier down to the bottom. Cut a circle in the middle of the cake and then cut slices all the way around it. After the top layer is done, repeat the process for each layer after that.
The caterer will usually be the one to cut the wedding cake to serve your guests. If you wish to cut your wedding cake instead, then you should separate the layers first so that the cake is easier to cut.
With the layers separated, it will be like cutting a sheet cake than a complicated tiered wedding cake.
Why do couples smash their wedding cake?
Generally speaking, some couples choose to smash their wedding cake into each other’s faces because it is thought to be a modern twist on the tradition of feeding each other. Some couples see smashing the cake as a way to showcase their mischievous sides and display the energy their marriage will have.
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