It's a tale as old as marriage itself—the bride and groom gather their guests around them, the beautiful wedding cake is sliced, and, suddenly, frosting ends up smeared across the faces of both husband and wife. Where did this strange custom originate? Traditionally, couples feed each other cake to symbolize their commitment to provide for each other. A sweet gesture, but there's a mischievous part of the tradition that appears much more often in history.
For instance, brides in ancient Rome had barley cake crumbled onto her heads to symbolize both male dominance and future fertility. In Yorkshire, however, a bride would have a taste of her cake and then throw the rest over her head; hopefully, this would mean a life empty of want. Newlyweds in medieval England kissed for the first time over a large pile of buns, ensuring a wealthy future. Nowadays, some couples choose to embrace tradition—they cut the cake together, feed a piece to their new spouse, and then smear cake and icing across their beloved's face. Other couples, however, have chosen to eschew this messy tradition.
"I could see it being fun," says Janet Rosebeary, owner of Rosebeary's Bakery in Oklahoma City. However, she generally recommends couples enjoy their cake in a far less messy fashion, reminding them of the price of both their cake and their clothing. In fact, in recent years Rosebary has seen this tradition becoming less and less popular. Not only is there a real chance of ruining a bespoke suit or custom wedding dress, but also an expensive dessert that can cost upwards of $12 per slice. It's also worth mentioning that serious injuries could happen if the bride or groom got a little too enthusiastic. Who wants to start their wedding night off in the emergency room?
Another reason you might want to skip the cake smash? It's been said that the more cake gets smeared into faces, the higher likelihood of eventual divorce. When a couple is "nice" and gently feeds their significant other cake, it symbolizes their willingness to be partners and share a household, as well as their commitment to take care of each other throughout their lives. However, when cake is smashed, all bets are off. Whether both bride and groom embrace the idea or its only one of them causing trouble, most agree that cake smashing shows a distinct lack of respect, and those marriages have a higher likelihood of failure. Others, however, see the tradition as great fun. Will they or won't they? Guests love the anticipation, and whatever stunt the bride and groom choose to pull is always met with laughter and lots of pictures; isn't that the goal of a reception, anyway?
Whatever you and your future spouse decide, it's important to remember that it's a decision that should be made together. A wedding, including the cake smash, should be enjoyed by all—if your husband-to-be loves the idea of a cake smash but you don't, it shouldn't happen.