Cake Traditions
The wedding cake, as we know it today, was originally made of many little wheat cakes.  During the days of the Roman empire, wedding cakes were baked of wheat or barley. At the reception, they were traditionally broken over the head of the new Bride by the Groom as a symbol of her fertility. Guests would then scramble for pieces of the cake, and take them home for good luck.  This is one wedding cake tradition, which is fortunately for the bride, not practiced any more.

It later became a tradition to place many small cakes on top of each other as high as possible. The newlyweds would then try to exchange a kiss over the top of the tower of cakes without knocking them down. During the reign of King Charles II of England, the baker added icing, and the modern style of wedding cake was born. It is unclear when the tradition of the newlyweds smashing wedding cake into each other's face first began, and uncertain if such marriages are consummated later that day or evening!

Another tradition was to place charms in the wedding cake, which were attached to ribbons. A bridesmaid would pull at a ribbon, and depending on the charm that she uncovered, her fortune would be indicated. The charms that were traditionally used, and their respective meanings are:

- A Heart: Will bring love.
- A Clover: Meant good luck
- An Engagement Ring: You're the next to wed
- An Anchor: Adventure will come
- A Flower: Love is going to bloom
- A Horseshoe: You are lucky in life

The cutting of the wedding cake is not done just to signify the end of the wedding formalities. At one time, the wedding cake was cut only by the bride, and was symbolic of her upcoming loss of virginity. But today, this tradition includes the groom as well, and cutting the cake and sharing the first bite with each other, symbolizes that the wedded couple promises to share a whole new life together and will sustain each other.  How this evolved into cake smashing into face, I'm not sure.  What I am sure of though is smashing cake in each others' faces isn't positive symbolism.  So discuss it ahead of time if you don't want to ruin the appearance you've put so much effort and expense into. 

TIP: One of my favourite tips is to cut the cake right after the new couple come in to make their grand entrance and BEFORE dinner is served.  This way they're both still picture perfect for the photo op and the cake can be whisked away with enough time to cut and serve it in time to be eaten as a dessert.  So many cakes sit uneaten because it is cut too late into the evening.  Cutting it early isn't as strange as you might think given the wedding cake's symbolism. 

According to another wedding cake tradition, if an unmarried person sleeps with a piece of a wedding cake under their pillow, they will dream of their future spouse that night. We don't do this as much anymore, but I remember wrapping hundreds of bite size fruit cakes in coloured foil for many weddings in the past.  I'm glad most couples opt now for yummy centres instead of that candied fruit concoction. 

The top tier of the wedding cake was traditionally kept and used at the christening of the couple's first child. But today, this tradition has been modified slightly, and the top tier is saved to be used at the couple's first anniversary.

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