Wedding Cake Toppers



wedding cake toppers


For centuries, the wedding cake has been so elaborate in its construction that it could have been preserved as a lasting memorial of the marital couple instead of being the perishable creation of a nuptial day. The legends attached to wedding cakes are fully as old as those of the wedding ring, for we find the bride of ancient Rome having a cake broken over her head as a symbol of plenty. From this beginning comes the elaborately ornamented wedding cake and wedding cake toppers of today.


wedding cake toppers       wedding cake toppers
wedding cake toppers

The Roman bride carried three ears of wheat in her hand, and the early English bride wore wreaths of wheat which were sometimes golden. The grains were thrown over her as we throw rice today. Often the wheat was ground, made into small cakes which were broken over the bride's head, and the pieces distributed to the guests; hence our wedding cake is placed in boxes for the guests to carry away. Cakes which were thrown to the onlookers were in vogue during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. In the seventeenth century, French cooks then evolved the coarse little cakes to marvelous specimens decorated with ornamental icings, but even then it was considered essential to break it over the head of the bride, so those who could afford it ordered two, one for the breaking and one to be used as the table's chief attraction.

wedding cake toppers      


In the nineteenth century, the most famous wedding cakes were made in England. These wonderful plum loaves were sent, carefully sealed, to brides in India, Australia and America. Sometimes these monstrous confections were five feet in height and were made by bakers long skilled in their construction. Individual ideas in decoration were carefully carried out in detail. For example, the cake made in 1893 for the Duke and Duchess of York was lavish and marvelously carried out in a design of May blossoms and the white rose of York with the bridegroom's ships and sea emblems like dolphins, mermaids and shells worked out in icing. Heart shaped cakes were also popular and were simply ornamented with a conventional border, the monogram of the happy couple, and the date of the wedding.

wedding cake

The bride's loaf and the wedding cake were two distinct cakes. The wedding cake was a dark fruit cake, usually piped with ornamental frosting. The piping outlined the cake for cutting into slices. The slices were of a size to be easily fitted into small white cake boxes. The wedding cake boxes were covered with ornamental paper, and often embossed with the united monogram of the bride and groom. When the cake was in place, each box was tied with white ribbon, and placed upon the hall table. Upon departing, each guest supplied himself with one of these souvenirs. The bride's loaf was any nice white cake, abundantly decorated with white frosting in a simple design. The cake was always be cut by the bride, who took the first slice and offered the next to the bridegroom. This "eating together" of what was offered by the bride is a relic of marriage customs which trace back to an old Roman practice.


wedding cake

Queen Victoria's wedding cake was covered with pure white sugar and the top featured the figure of Britannia in the act of blessing the illustrious Bride and Bridegroom, who were dressed in the costume of ancient Greece. These figures were not quite a foot in height. At the feet of HRH Prince Albert was the effigy of a dog, said to denote fidelity; and at the feet of Queen Victoria were a pair of turtle doves, denoting the felicities of the marriage state.


By the late 1880s, there were specialist suppliers of attachable wedding cake ornaments or wedding cake toppers. These were typically styled vases for flowers to complement the top of the cake. For wedding cakes divided into tiers and arranged on pillars, there would be a wedding cake ornament or a plain silver vase with trails and dainty white flowers placed on the top of the cake to give it a finishing touch. Wedding cake toppers included designs which showed cupids in a bouquet; cupid playing a lyre; cupid ringing a bell; or any bell-shaped ornamentation. Germans trimmed wedding cakes with a picture of the bride and groom, which would stand under a bell or against a floral background.


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By the early 20th century, sugary figures of a standing bride and groom standing beneath a bunch of orange blossoms that overshadowed them like a palm tree. The groom had a mass of curly hair and a charming pink complexion; the bride figure with a heightened vermilion blush, a rosebud mouth, and a practicable veil made of silver netting. Also seen were bride and groom figures embarking on the voyage of life in a sugary boat freighted with orange blossoms or ornamented with silver balls as well as artificial flowers and icing. In the hands of a really expert confectioner, the wedding cake can become a veritable work of art, an ornate structure into which it seems scandalous to stick a knife.