The wedding cake is one of the oldest traditions; bread and cakes have been associated with weddings throughout history, often representing the bride's fertility.
According to Kate Manchester's book, "The Perfect Wedding Cake," ancient Romans "shared a plain bread made from wheat or barley, salt, and water during their wedding ceremonies. The bread was broken over the bride's head by the groom, symbolizing both his dominance over her and the taking of her virginity.
"Later, this custom evolved to include the bridesmaids covering the head of the bride with a white cloth prior to the breaking of the bread. In medieval England, sweet rolls were piled high between the bride and groom during the wedding celebration. The couple would try to kiss over the top without tumbling the rolls; a successful embrace was supposed to ensure a life of happiness with many children."
The first recorded British recipe for a wedding cake (dated 1665) was, in fact, a pie. Eventually, the customary British wedding cake became a fruitcake. Even in China, sweet, steamed bread is served at weddings, symbolizing happiness, longevity, and fertility.
Although the inclusion of a cake in a wedding is customary ritual, the types of cake that brides and grooms choose vary widely today (gone are the days of the plastic bride and groom atop a white frosted sponge cake), as Cowie will show on Thursday morning.
Today, cakes range from the customary white to whimsical colors and shapes to downright cute (mini-cakes and cupcakes are now incredibly popular among the bridal set). The cake is now set on display for all the guests to see throughout the reception, and its role in the wedding is just as important as the flowers and the dress. In fact, the cake's appearance tends to be more important than its taste!
The following are three different cake options for couples ready to take the plunge:
- Whimsical - Three-tiered pink cake in the shape of stacked plant pots (think girly, feminine, lighthearted and fun). This is a total fantasy cake in color, shape, concept, etc. Made by Collette Peters.
- Modern - Cupcakes from the Cupcake Cafe. Today, cakes are not all about the massive sheet or tiered cakes from yesteryear. More and more couples are opting for small, individual cakes for each guest.
- Country/Traditional - This cake from master cake designer Sylvia Weinstock is the perfect embodiment of the classical wedding cake meeting today's "country cake." It's a white, tiered box-shaped cake with a basket weave frosting, and the sugar flowers that adorn the cake are nearly exact matches to the flowers that will decorate Craig and Lauren's wedding.
As far as rings go, again, brides and grooms don't have to adhere to the typical "gold standard." Bands of yellow gold are classic, but not the only rings to wear to show you're taken.
Lauren's engagement ring is a platinum band with a tension-set diamond, so she wanted a platinum wedding ring to match. Craig, too, likes the look of platinum, so he also opted to go platinum for his wedding band.
The Platinum Guild of America and Verragio Jewelers donated the rings The Early Show is showcasing, which range from plain, platinum bands to bands with etched designs to settings with stones in them (prices range, too, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars for each band).
Again, it's up to a couple to decide what suits them with rings. A thing to consider is whether the bride would like to wear the engagement ring along with the wedding band or not. Lots of women today move their engagement rings to their right ring fingers after their wedding days; this offers a far greater scope of wedding ring options to them - they're not constrained to finding the few rings that could "fit" with their engagement rings.