Why do brides and grooms smash cake?
When a traditional wedding is highly choreographed, down to the last table setting placement, give some thought to ‘breaking tradition’ and improvising when it comes to the cutting of the cake.
All day you will have been told where to stand, how to smile for the camera and when to say your vows, so why not make cutting the cake an unforgettable, unscripted event. This time-honored tradition can turn into an entertaining affair with laughter and affections shared between the newlyweds. Of course occasionally things can get out of hand. What am I talking about? Cake smashing. Yes, newlywed couple demonstrating the fine art of smashing their beloveds’ faces with precision-made, finely decorated, multi-tiered cakes.
Why do brides and grooms smash cake?
Wedding Cake Customs
As many things do, customs evolve over time and more commonly today we see the cutting of the cake as one of the classical events at a wedding symbolizing one of the very first ’tasks’ newlyweds undertake together.
History also tells the story that having the bride and groom cut the cake together was actually a necessity as cakes have become elaborate multi-tiered masterpieces that take more than one pair of hands to cut.
Guide To Wedding Traditions
History of The Wedding Cake And Cake Smashing
The wedding cake has always been a symbolic inclusion to any wedding and the tradition of cake smashing, or breaking the cake over the bride’s head actually dates back to Roman times.
The Wedding Cake Wasn't Always Eaten
Back then wheat and barley were symbols of fertility and it was common practice to shower newlyweds with sprinkles of the cake; similar to the tossing of rice as a couple leaves the church. Remaining cake was then to be eaten by unmarried women as a means to giving them good luck in finding their suitor, again similar to the catching of the bride’s bouquet.
Overtime, the Romans began preparing batches smaller cakes (possibly how we got the cupcake of today) and stacked them into pyramid shapes as high as they could for a wedding, having the newlyweds lean over them to attempt to kiss without knocking any over.
For those that were not able to meet halfway, it was common for the bride and groom end up being having their faces covered in cake.
Is this where the tradition of cake smashing began?
Wedding Cake Traditions
One common gesture often seen after the cake cutting is the newlyweds feed each other, with crossed arms, a piece of cake on a fork. You may see this get slightly out of hand if they miss each others mouth but it can then be followed up by a loving kiss as they nibble it clean.
To smash or not to smash the wedding cake
At some point prior to taking your steps towards your wedding cake, or even in the wedding planning stages, you and your partner need to ask yourselves the question “ To smash or not to smash?”
For many, this ‘coming back into fashion’ tradition is an integral part to starting off your marriage on the right foot, under the belief that whomever can smash the greatest amount of luscious cake into their partner’s face will have the ultimate control in the marriage.
For others though, particularly the brides, having cake smashed into their beautifully made-up face and hair and covering their once in a lifetime wedding gown is the quickest way to having the groom spend their honeymoon alone.
Sometimes too, the decision to smash or not to smash can be a completely random, spontaneous event; making it all the more of a surprise to not only the other spouse, but to the wedding guests who are poised expecting the traditional cake cutting ceremony to take place.
If you have an inkling that this just may occur, it might be a good idea to word up your wedding photographer as I am sure the immediate reactions will be some of the best pictures taken.
To potentially avoid being surprised by your partner, you can always organize for the cake cutting to occur when the celebrations begin as things are relatively more reserved than if you leave it to much later in the proceedings you may end up finding things can get a little crazy.
Opinions Are Divided
Opinions are definitely divided on this wedding event. To smash or not to smash.
Some consider it an act of aggression, tacky, humiliating and down right rude to the point where smashing cake will equal an instant annulment of the wedding.
Others find this all a light-hearted fun way to make the wedding memorable and to demonstrate their outlook on life as being fun and spontaneous.
It is definitely a personal decision.
Have you ever been to a wedding where there was cake shared in this messy manner? Or have you smashed cake yourself?
AnswerQuestions (author) on February 22, 2015:
CM on January 15, 2015:
My husband did it & I was pissed. Then he jumped over the cake table & ran away. Our cake had chocolate in it, so my white dress was ruined.
We talked about it beforehand & he agreed not to! But his groomsmen talked him into it. 4 years later, he's a great husband but this is not something I ever think I will laugh about.
Disgusting on May 26, 2014:
This is a disgusting "tradition" and one I've only seen transpire once....and that couple is already divorced! Anyone seen this done where the marriage lasted?
Confused on September 26, 2013:
Two weeks ago, I was attending a very dear friends wedding. After the most appauling event of cake/face smashing, I watched as the bride wiped cake from a very beautiful and expensive dress, her hair and face to the enjoyment of the groom and a pat on the back from his groomsmen. Her surprise, embarrassment and disappointment were shared by many of the guests. Shortly after, the bride left the venue in tears and at the unease of the guests. Not only did I feel embarrassed for being witness to the most disgraceful attention the groom could "shower" on his bride. But also, the lack of tact he used in front of all the guests regarding the respect he had for his new bride.
Truly if this is some sort of tradition, it is definitely not ment for anything but degradation. I left before the bride returned to her guests.
Susan from India on May 04, 2013:
Recently my cousin brother got married and there this cake smashing happens to take place. I wandered why they are doing so. Thank you for sharing this interesting hub.