The wedding cake is a large part of the wedding reception, but have you ever wondered why this tradition exists? Why do couples cut the wedding cake and feed it to each other? Traditionally, the wedding cake was made to bring good luck to the couple and all of the guests of the wedding.
Throughout time, the wedding cake has been full of symbolism. It dates back to the tradition of the ancient romans who would break the cake over the bride’s head. In the Roman tradition, the man would eat a slice of barley bread that was baked for the occasion. He would then break the rest of the piece of bread over the head of his bride. It is thought that this symbolized the hymen breaking and the dominance that the groom has over the bride.
As time has gone on, wedding cakes took the form of a more modern version of cake and it was impossible to properly “break” this form of cake on the bride’s head. Some reports state that oatcakes and other breakable cakes were broken over brides in Scotland during the 19th century. In the northern area of Scotland the bride’s friends would put a napkin on her head and then pour a basket of bread over it. There is no real explanation for this tradition and today the process of breaking bread or cake over the bride’s head has been done away with.
In most modern weddings, the cake is now a centerpiece of the wedding. It has a place of honor at the reception venue and cutting the cake as a couple is now the tradition. This activity is representative of the first thing that is done as a couple.