Archives : Wedding History

Wedding Traditions: Bridal Fashion

Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by annalemberger

Word association time. What image appears in your mind when you read these words? Pearls, veil, white. I imagine “bride” or “wedding” came quickly to mind. For those of us infused in Western culture, weddings and brides are closely associated with these traditional images. Even as a small child, I was following these traditions, receiving a pearl for every birthday to be added to my future wedding necklace.  Yet, from where do these traditions arise? Curious, I did some research and discovered some interesting rituals behind three major elements of the bridal ensemble: the veil, the white dress and the pearls.

Bride with Veil Read more »

Wedding Cake Basics: History

Posted on September 22nd, 2010 by Mandy Webster

Like many wedding traditions, the wedding cake is often said to have originated with the ancient Greeks and Romans. The tradition has since evolved from its earlier bread-like form to the beautiful and delicious concoctions we have come to expect today. And, just as every other aspect of wedding planning is subject to both seasonal and yearly changes, so do wedding cake trends change as time passes.

Square Wedding Cake with Purple Accents Topped with Sugared GrapesBack in the days of the Roman Empire, the wedding cake tradition began in the form of a loaf of wheat or barley bread which would often be broken over the heads of the newlyweds to bring the couple a life of luck and prosperity. The crumbs of this ‘wedding cake’ that fell to the floor were eaten by guests for good luck. And, single female guests would also fight for the grains for luck in their own betrothals.

The groom sometimes also broke a loaf of the bread over the bride’s head. This was a symbol of the husband’s dominance over his bride. The tradition of breaking bread over the bride’s head continued for centuries and is reported to have been in use in Scotland as recently as the 19th century.

In the tradition of the ancient Greeks, the newlywed couple would cut a sesame cake together. A symbol of fertility and happiness, this is perhaps where our modern tradition of wedding cake cutting originated.

In the middle ages, wedding cakes consisted of simple biscuits, scones or sticky buns. At that time, the cakes were provided by the guests, each bringing one small cake. These small cakes, which were somewhat larger than today’s cupcakes, would be piled in a heap, and were often pasted together with apple sauce. The bride and groom would kiss over the top of the cakes as a symbol of the guests’ wish for a long and prosperous marriage with many children.

In the 17th century, French bakers began to stack wheat buns, pasting them together with icing. These were the first cakes that began to resemble what we would recognize as a wedding cake today. Since those early days, the wedding cake has evolved from bread to the sweet cake we recognize today. And, as the cake itself has evolved, so have the traditions surrounding it. Read more »

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