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10 Popular Wedding Cake Traditions

The sweetest part of your big day will probably be your wedding cake. But wedding cakes aren’t just sugar and flour anymore. Today you can customize everything from the frosting, fondant, flowers and more. Shopping for your wedding day dessert can be more complicated than you think. Here are 10 wedding cake traditions to keep in mind as you plan for your big day.

Price Shock
Wedding cake ain’t cheap, ladies. Be prepared to pay between $2.00 and $18.00 a slice. The more complicated the cake, the more you’ll spend. Generally, fondant is more expensive than frosting. Handmade detailing will increase price as well. Some brides use a dummy, or imposter cake, which can save a bundle on the bakery bill. These gorgeous faux confections, often consisting of decorated Styrofoam, are photographed and then rushed out of sight. Sheet cake is then served to unsuspecting guests.

All Shapes and Sizes
Wedding cakes can come in any size, shape or form from round to rectangular, topsy-turvy to triangular. These days you can choose a six-tiered masterpiece or even miniature cupcakes. Wedding cakes keep getting taller each year. If you want the height without the price, consider adding on a fake tier or two.

A Matter of Taste
Everyone has their own dessert preferences. In the UK, traditional wedding cake is made from fruitcake; in Korea, it’s made from ground steamed rice; in the United States, brides can choose anything from carrot cake to vanilla bean. As of late, brides have been passing on fruit-filled cakes and opting for more inventive flavors like chocolate hazelnut or the super-trendy red velvet variety.

Cake Décor
Today cake themes range from uber modern to homemade looking, vintage-inspired creations. Cakes can be covered in anything from crystals to floral arrangements. A huge trend these days is to match the cake with the bridal gown. This tradition dates back to Victorian times (1837-1901) when white frosted wedding cakes, which symbolized purity, created a visual link between the purity of the bride and the cake.

Frosting, Filling and Fondant, Oh My!
Choosing the cake covering today is usually based on a combination of the bride and groom’s’ personal preferences as well as the theme and the overall aesthetics of the wedding. Contrary to popular belief, white wedding cakes did not evolve to symbolize purity. Back in the day refined sugar was not as prevalent as it is today (hard to imagine a life without Snickers, I know) sugar was not easy to come by and white icing required the finest refined sugar. The whiter the cake, the more well off the family appeared. Therefore, white wedding cakes became symbolic of affluence. Today, as refined sugar is widely available, there are crazy cakes out there that can be customized to look like anything you could dream up. Lately, brides have been foregoing fondant in favor of the tastier buttercream option.

Cake Toppers
Traditionally, cake toppers have been small models that perch atop the wedding cake that resemble a bride and groom. Today, however, couples are getting personal and finding specially crafted toppers for their big day. Wedding toppers today often feature the a bride and groom in comical scenes, like the bride dragging her groom to the altar, or the bride and groom engaging in a shared hobby or passion. These can also tie into the theme of the wedding.

Grooms’ Cakes
This cake is served the night before the wedding. It’s typically decorated with something reflecting the groom’s interests. They are usually a dark color, which is to contrast from traditionally white wedding cakes. The tradition of this origin is unclear but today it almost serves as something that the groom’s tastes are reflected in.

Let ‘Em Eat Cake
After the cake cutting ceremony, the couple proceeds to feed one other from the first slice. This act symbolizes the mutual commitment of bride and groom to provide for one another for all of eternity. Make sure your photographer is ready for this Kodak moment.

Smashing Good Time
Immediately after you and your loved one “provide” cake for one another, comes the tradition of smashing the cake into each other’s faces. If you want to avoid your first fight as a married couple though we suggest informing your groom that if he messes up your makeup, he’ll be headed for an annulment. It’s a mandatory tradition, just make sure your groom doesn’t go wild.

Have Your Cake…
Believe it or not if you wrap your cake right, you and your hubby won’t be the only ones to survive your first year of marriage. Once you get the top tier home, place the cake unwrapped in the freezer so that the frosting will harden. Once the cake is hard to the touch, wrap it in several layers of plastic wrap, not foil, which may lead to freezer burn. Place the plastic-wrapped cake in an air-tight bag in the freezer. Mark the package in some way so that you don’t think it’s old leftovers and accidentally toss it. Alternatively, you can also consider ordering a copycat cake the following year.

…And Eat It, Too!
This lovely tradition serves as a lovely and delicious reminder from the most special day of your lives. Eat cake and be married!

Katie Berwitt is a lawyer by day and a blogger by night. She is the founder of Ms. Smartypanties. Inc. and runs, a website for smart women who want to live luxuriously on a budget. Live Luxe. Less Bucks. She’s getting married in May to her favorite person in the world and can’t get enough of WE tv!