The wedding cake tradition dates back to ancient Rome, when weddings concluded with the groom breaking a loaf of barley bread over the bride’s head.
This symbolized fertility and guests would scramble to pick up the crumbs in order to take home some of that good luck.
My grandfather, Max, was a pastry chef from Switzerland.... true story.... he created my mom's 7-tiered wedding cake in 1956 to match her height, 5'7.5". Yup.... 5 tiers of real cake, the 2 bottom tiers were hollow wooden boxes, iced and decorated to match the rest with little doors so that the wrapped fruitcake could be stored inside.
A little over the top? Maybe - but creating a masterpiece wedding cake is still a thing. (Getting it to the venue in one piece is an engineering feat unto itself!!! Bring on the stress!)
It's a tradition that some say is unimportant, but some wouldn't be without.
It's not the crumbs on the head or the 'good luck', or even the ‘tradition’ part to me, it’s kind of like your wedding ring being part of your wedding ensemble…. It is that small but oh so important splurge – and it can be a tender moment and an everlasting memory in a photo.
If you aren't thinking of having an elaborate statement-piece wedding cake... have something small and simple and surround it with bite-sized cupcakes. Something to cut for photos and have a taste of... it will satisfy your mom and your grandma and any other of the traditionalist guests. And seriously... when is the last time you had a really nice piece of cake though???
Be sure to tell the kitchen or your caterer that you want whatever is left boxed up and sent home with you. Cake freezes well and I have seen WAY too many exquisite cakes enjoyed by the venue staff in the kitchen before it was tossed out. Cake will keep for several days and is delicious, even just a forkful at a time, at midnight... with a swig of milk right out of the bag.... so they tell me...
Huge and elaborate or small and simple – let them eat cake! It’s one of those traditions that can be personal and deliciously unique to you on your wedding day.