No wedding is complete without the elegance and grandeur of a wedding cake. In many cases, the wedding cake may be three, four, or more tiers tall, and it is often a velvetly-smooth white centerpiece for the event. This refined and beautiful aspect of weddings has roots dating back for centuries, and the tradition of the wedding cake may surprise you.
Why A Traditional White Wedding Cake?
Throughout history, white has been the color of purity, love, and virginity. The wedding cake developed initially as the bride's cake. For many years in medieval times, bride's cakes and groom's cakes were often only symbols rather than actual, edible pieces of a wedding. Only the top tier would be eaten by the groom and bride, and it was routinely made out of a bread, therefore signifying the breaking of the bride's purity. As time passed, the bread-constructed cake developed into a groom's cake--often a dark, fruit-cake, and a bride's cake. The groom's cake fell out of tradition and was replaced by the bride's cake, which was commonly a pound-cake. It wasn't until the 16th century that the tiers began to have pillars between them, which signified the balance that all marriages must go through. Interestingly, the pillars also represented the bride's supplication to the groom.
In America, brides would place a glass or wooden ring within the cake, and the bride would be the only person to cut and distribute the cake. Additionally, women were the primary persons who would partake in eating the cake as it was a symbol of fertility and finding a husband. The maiden who found the ring in her piece of the cake would become the next believed person to get married, which is equal to our current tossing of the bouquet tradition.
In addition to the purity standards and hope for a family, traditional white wedding cakes stood as a status symbol. The brilliant white icings were only attainable to those who had the capital to pay for the extensively refined sugars, such as powdered sugar. The white icing became known as "royal icing" when Queen Elizabeth ordered the creation of her own wedding cake.
As the centuries have passed, our wedding traditions have grown from a vast number of influences. What was once the most-fertile and fortunate aspect of the wedding--the wedding cake--has changed into the tossing of the bouquet, which actually comes from Greek tradition involving the goddess Hera and the Apple of Discord. When you start planning your wedding, you might think about breaking from the mold of towering wedding cakes made of the most delicate sugars, or you might stick tradition. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge opted for a fruit cake in their wedding, but thankfully, we no longer have to follow what everyone else wants. As the one getting married, you get to make decisions, and your dream will be perfect.