History of the Wedding Cake and Wedding March Music

The Wedding Cake

Cakes have been part of the marriage ceremony throughout history, and represent the fertility of wheat and good luck for the couple.  Serving cake to the guests represents the spreading of good luck to them.

The history of the wedding cake began in ancient Rome.  The Romans broke bread over the bride's head as a fertility symbol.  Guests gathered up the crumbs and ate them.  This custom continued until the start of the 17th century when in England many small cakes were made which were arranged in a mound on top of each other. These were not sweet cakes like the present day, but flat cakes made of flour, water and salt.

Other cakes in England were also flat and round, but included the addition of fruit and nuts which symbolized fertility.  The couple had to kiss on the mound of cakes.  The cakes almost always crumbled, which is the reason why the idea of multiple small cakes was replaced by one giant cake by the middle of the 17th century.

In Yorkshire a cake on a plate would be thrown out of a window.  If the plate broke, the bride would enjoy a happy future with her husband, but if it remained intact the future would be bleak.

Another old English custom, which has grown over time, is to place a ring inside the wedding cake.  The guest who finds it in his slice is assured of happiness throughout the year ahead.  Part of the top layer of the wedding cake is usually kept for the baptism of the first child.

This idea has extended through history to to the present day, where wedding cakes have several layers.  The wedding cake usually enters the room to the sound of the Wedding March.  Next the bride and groom take a knife together and make a symbolic cut.

The Wedding March Music

The wedding march is the music which opens and closes the religious ceremony.  It is a tradition which comes from the wedding of princess Victoria of England with prince Frederick William of Prussia. Princess Victoria herself chose two classical pieces for her wedding march music: Mendelssohn's Wedding March of  for the entry to the church and the Wagner's Lohengrin Opera for her exit out of the church in the hands of her husband.

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