Welcome back for another week where I plumb the depths of the internet for tips on making a wedding affordable.
This week, I’m going to give in to my sweet tooth and write about wedding cakes.
History of Wedding Cakes
Hanami Dream published a new blog post this past week that delved into the history of wedding cakes.
Did you know that the wedding cake tradition goes back a couple millennia to Ancient Rome?
It seems that the Roman groom would break his bread over his bride’s head as a sign of good fortune, long life, and many children. Guests who obtained a crumb of the broken bread for themselves believed that they would share in this good fortune. The breaking of the bread also symbolized the breaking of the bride’s virginal state.
Later, in medieval times, the custom was to pile a tall stack of buns in front of the newlyweds who would then try to kiss one another over the top of the pile. Successfully doing this without toppling the pile over was thought to symbolize a life of good fortune.
White wedding cakes later developed as a sign of purity and wealth. Fine white sugar was used for the icing and, back then, sugar was considered a luxury item. The whiter and taller the cake, the more sugar was needed, hence showing off the family’s wealth.
From there, it is easy to see how the tradition of the tall, multi-tiered, beautifully decorated wedding cake eventually came about.
Modern Wedding Cake Traditions
There are some wedding cake traditions that still go on today. Clemmie Millbank from Perfect Wedding lists a few of them in 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Wedding Cakes.
For instance, cutting the cake together represents the first task a couple will do as newlyweds. There is also a popular tradition of saving the top tier of the wedding cake for the first anniversary or the baby’s christening.
Many of these traditions are rarely strictly observed these days. Most couples end up having a wedding cake at their wedding simply because that it what everybody does.
Take a moment to ask yourself whether a wedding cake is a really important aspect for your wedding.
- If you find that this is something that you can live without, then you have just saved yourself several hundred dollars.
- If you want to pay homage to the tradition, then read on.
Faux Wedding Cakes
Ever heard of fake wedding cakes? If not, then you are about to have your mind blown.
Faux wedding cakes have been rising in popularity as fantastically affordable alternatives to multi-tiered towers of flour and butter.
How does it work?
Patricia Weigel Shannon has a great article on faux cakes on Southern Living. Some bakeries can create fake cake tiers, decorated in fondant, to display in front of all your guests. The newlyweds will then either skip the cake-cutting ceremony or else fake a cake-cutting and use a piece of real pre-plated cake to feed each another. The cake is then wheeled off “to be cut and plated” for the guests. In actuality, there is a (much more affordable) sheet cake sitting in the kitchen and waiting to be served. Yup, you have just done the ol’ switcheroo on your guests!
The great thing about faux wedding cakes is that they are much cheaper than real wedding cakes (up to 50% cheaper). According to Perfect Day Cakes, faux wedding cakes are generally made from Styrofoam. Styrofoam is, of course, so much cheaper than the ingredients and man-power required to make and decorate an actual cake. They are also easier to transport and less likely to get damaged en route.
Wedding Cake Alternatives
If the idea of faux wedding cakes is not for you, you could also look into alternative ideas in place of an actual cake.
Choice Weekly came up with a recent article on 10 Amazing Wedding Cake Alternatives. A tower of brownies, a pile of of donuts, tiers of cheese, a mound of crepes or a stack of waffles.
These alternative wedding cake ideas might seem a bit out there at first glance, but these are actual growing trends in the world of all-things-bridal.
To quote the article: Who says you can’t have pie on your wedding day?
So how do you like the idea of faux or alternative cakes? Personally, I am a big fan of the faux cake savings, although a giant tower of brownies is pretty tempting too. Let’s discuss it further in the comments!