From 3-tiered wonders to bespoke creations, the wedding cake is arguably the single most important component of a wedding, besides the wedding dress. But where did the tradition come from?
The idea of using cake to confirm the marriage vows goes back to Roman times, where a small bread cake was broken above the head of the bride, symbolising good fortune. Similarly, it referred to the bride’s transformation from virgin to child-bearing property of her groom. And it also had its practical use; children born of couples who didn’t carry out the tradition during their ceremony were not allowed to take high office, a sign that the wedding cake was of particular importance for the future wellbeing of the couple’s ancestors.
As traditions evolved and the cakes began to become more elaborate in their design, the ritual of breaking the cake slowly faded as it became increasingly impractical. However, the meaning still endured, and during the mediaeval times, cakes still represented fertility and prosperity. According to some records, instead of breaking the cake, it was ritualistically thrown at the bride as a gesture of good luck. Perhaps not so lucky for the bride, however.
Holmewood Hall is a wedding, conference, and reception venue located in Cambridgeshire and serving the UK.