Having a groom’s cake at a wedding reception is normally attributed to the traditions of the Southern U.S. In reality, however, the history of groom’s cakes date back to the Victorian era in England, when it was not unusual to have not one or two, but THREE wedding cakes: a large, main (fruitcake) for wedding guests, a bride’s cake and a groom’s cake. The bride’s and groom’s cake were jointly sliced by the bride and groom and the groom’s cake served to the groomsmen and the bride’s cake to the bridesmaids.
Over time, this morphed into there being two cakes at a wedding reception: the bride’s, which is sliced by the couple and served after the meal, and the groom’s, which is served separately, often on an as-desired basis by plates of sliced cake being made available on a table for guests. Sometimes, this tradition is further personalized by serving slices of both the groom’s and bride’s cake on the same plate after the meal.
Even this metamorphosis of cake delivery methods, however, isn’t true Southern tradition. According to Southern etiquette, the groom’s cake should be sliced at the same time as the bride’s cake, but then put into decorative boxes and sent home with guests. In the U.S., therefore, the groom’s cake is intended to be a wedding favor.
In an effort to personalize the décor of their wedding or even to spoil their guests, many modern couples now hand out wedding favors for guests to take home. Many couples, particularly those living in the Northern U.S., forgo the groom’s cake altogether.
To make your groom feel special AND to cut down on the costs of purchasing separate wedding favors, consider bringing back the tradition of the groom’s cake. Conjuring up a unique groom’s cake is something fun you and your fiancé can do together, and – perhaps most important – allows you to have a second cake tasting. In fact, my husband’s favorite part of wedding planning was tasting the flavors for his groom’s cake with Stephanie the Baker. There are, however, a few rules for designing your cake:
- Don’t go crude: avoid lewd-shaped cakes or ones in the shape of alcohol or tobacco products.
- Think different, flavor-wise: the groom’s cake is traditionally chocolate, but if the bride’s cake is chocolate, consider using vanilla cake to offer guests variety.
- Let your groom have final say: the groom’s cake is an add-on, and will not destroy your perfect day if you don’t like it. If you struggle with this, compromise by being in charge of picking out the boxes to send home with the guests.
Although almost all grooms have some involvement in wedding planning, there may be very little that truly represents them on the day. A groom’s cake allows the couple to showcase something special and unique about the groom.
Looking for Groom’s Cake Ideas? Check out HJ Planner’s Pinterest Board!
Photo courtesy of Documentary Associates.