Next to the couple, the most common thing that comes to mind when thinking about a wedding is the wedding cake. The wedding cake is an iconic element that often demands its creator to have a mastery of both bakery and architecture. It is such a statement piece in one’s wedding that it can sometimes be the subject of more photographs than the newly wedded couple.
But while every wedding cake is a premier example of its creator’sbalancing and decorative icing skills, there is one feature that can instantly transform the cake into a work of art – the wedding cake topper.In fact, over the years, cake toppers have become such an expected detail that since the 1950sno wedding cake is considered complete without one.
But where did this tradition of topping the cake with a special flourish come from and what is its true significance? In this post, we willlook at the history of the wedding cake topper, one of the world’s most enduring wedding traditions.
History of the Wedding Cake Topper
Determining when and where the first wedding cake topper was used is practically impossible because these decorative additions have been around for centuries and as you might expect, historical records often contradict themselves. What is known, however, is that the practice of using cake toppers on wedding cakes exploded in popularity during the Victorian era in Britain.
Most experts point to the 1840 wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as the birthplace of the wedding cake topper, as Queen Victoria crowned the top of her wedding cake with miniature sculptures of herself and her groom. It is believed that after the royal wedding, the tradition of including cake toppers fashioned in the wedded couples’ likenessesatop the peaks of wedding cakes was born.
The trend quickly took hold and soon after wedding cakes featuring intricate toppers were all the ragein Britain. Every married couple had to have their likenesses perched on top of their cakes.But as popular as the trendwas overseas, it wouldn’t reach the United States until the 1920s. Even then, it wouldn’t be until the 1950s, after World War II, that cake toppers would become cemented in the American wedding tradition.
The Significance of the Wedding Cake Topper
The cake topper that sat atop Queen Victoria’s wedding cake were figures that clearly represented the wedded couple, so for years, the Bride and Groom type of wedding cake topper was predominantly chosen. This type of topper was symbolic of the bride and groom and thus reflected them standing together, tall and proud,and often alongside a variety of other decorative features, such as wedding arches, columns, and more.
Butin the 1950s, as the cake topper found its place in the American wedding tradition, the cake topper’s significance changed. At that time, its significance shifted to symbolize the stability of the married couple. While the traditional figure-based cake topper remained the most popular style of topper, different elements eventually started to find their way atop wedding cakes. These alternatives were commonly used by couples who were interested in making their wedding even more special and unique.
Wedding Cake Toppers for the Modern Couple
Traditionally, the cake topper represents togetherness and stability, which is why this important wedding cake feature remains an iconic element in most modern weddings. But just how marriages have become more diverse, so too have wedding cake topper options.
Today, modern couples have a substantially wider selection of toppers to choose from, so they can better design the wedding cake of their dreams. For instance, some may choose silly cake toppers while others might choose creatively inspired elements, like carved initials or meaningful wordsor images.
Regardless of what tops your wedding cake, the most important thing is for it to mean something special to both you and your partner. The best cake toppers are those that the wedded couple can take home with them and incorporate into their home’s décor to serve as a lasting reminder of their wonderful wedding day.
For this reason, don’t settle on the status quo just because tradition says a certain type of cake topper is essential. Think outside of the box. It’s your wedding, after all. Make it uniquely yours by choosing the perfect cake topper that best represents your love and the promises you have made to each other.