Why Do We Have Wedding Cakes? And 10 Kickass Alternatives You'll Salivate Over
In lockdown there's not a ton to do except watch TikToks, binge watch Netflix and snack like there's no tomorrow! So this blog post is kindly brought to you by my stomach and need to create more wedding content. Before we jump into these delectable bites let's understand why it is we even have a wedding cake? My personal opinion is the cake cutting is weird and awkward it feels very "birthday-y" to me, but hey that could just be me. After documenting so many weddings and more often than not after the couple cuts the cake and they look at you and say "is that it"... yep, that literally it, if you want you cant like, maybe you smoosh it in each others face? I dunno, but that part of the day never really made sense to me. Which is saying something cause I bloody love cake.
Originally it was only the Bride that would cut the cake solo which was to symbolize her virginity... weird. Just like how white was traditionally a sign of power and wealth in a brides wedding dress as it was with wedding cakes.
So where does it stem from? Early on in Roman Times guests would break bread or scone-like pastry over the bride and grooms head, this was thought to be prosperous for the couple as they would eat a handful of crumbs, the guests would then take their fill on leftovers for their good luck. That's the earliest tradition on "dessert" per se but how does that reflect the frosted wedding cakes that we have today? Well like any tradition over time it progresses and morphs into something slightly new. During the medieval weddings they would stack frosted cakes, cookies and desserts as high as possible and if the couple could successfully kiss without the tower of desserts crumbling it was again a sign of good luck. Lots of weird things to signify good luck, it's almost like when a bird shits on you... but I guess frosted treats are better received. Anywho, Readers Digest suggests that a French chef thought this stacked clusterfuck was tacky and wanted to opt-in for a more classy tiered cake-like wedding tradition but it wasn't until centuries later that his thoughts would become a reality.
At this point 'Bride Pie" was common consisting of savoury mince. Then in the 18th century an apprentices baker named William Rich fell in love with his daughter Susannah Pritchard. Rumour has it he planned to propose and impress his lady love and her papa bear with a cake in the shape of one of the most ancient steeples in London, St Bride's Church a beautiful building that has many layers and tiers which inspired his sweet gesture. Unfortunately I can't find much more on their sweet little love story than that, so let's assume she said yes and they lived a happy life full of frosting and baked goods.
There's a lot of different cake traditions. Most common is preserving the top tier of your cake and eating it a year later on their anniversary, there are a few different reasonings for this but basically, it's thought to bring good luck to the couple (shocking) but let's not breathe too much life into traditions that don't make any sense and get around some non-traditional alternatives
1. Donut Walls
Photography: Luke & Mallory
2. Cheese Cake - the mouse kind
Photography: Sunshine Photography Australia
3. Cheese Burger Tower
4. Chocolate Fondant Station
Photography Source: Indulgy Blog
5. Cake and Ice-Cream Pops
Source: Ruffles & Ribbons
6. Sweets Table
Source: Perth Scrumptious Dessert
7. Poutine, this is my Canadian wedding roots showing
Source: Joy the Baker
8. Cannoli Tower
Source: Rossini Weddings
9. Dessert cocktails or shots - preferably espresso martinis or jam donuts - fuck yes!
Source: Rock My Wedding
10. Or nothing! Don't do something becaus eyou feel like you have too