Here in New Orleans, we like our traditions, as evidenced by the fact that so many of us eat red beans and rice every Monday. Each day of the week, holiday, party and special occasion has tradition woven into it. A wedding in New Orleans is no different, from the food to the second line.
A Southern wedding tradition that New Orleanians love is the cake pull. Cake pulls can be traced back to the Victorian Era tradition of “ribbon pulling.” Ribbon pulling consisted of a bride placing a charm at the end of a ribbon and having the ribbons placed in her wedding cake. Each charm represented the good luck and good fortune that the bride wished on all of her friends.
Kelly here: Having seen this tradition throughout my life and participating in it for few for family members – I am three for three in pulling the ring – it’s easy for me to agree that it’s an endearing way of including those close to you, especially those who perhaps didn’t fit into your bridal party.
In the Victorian Era version, there were four main charms presented during the ribbon pulling. Just as any tradition grows, these charms and symbols have also grown to include myriad options.
Here are a few charms used today and what they represent.
  • Rattle – the next to have a baby
  • Hot Air Balloon – life of adventure and travel
  • Butterfly – eternal beauty
  • Four Leaf Clover – good luck
  • Heart – new love
  • Fleur de Lis – love and prosperity
  • Wishbone – success
  • Ring – the next to wed
Local jeweler Mignon Faget has a set of cake pulls tailor made for tried-and-true Southerners — many of them with a bit of New Orleans flavor. You can find the following in the set:
  • Bean – luck
  • Ring – next to wed
  • Heart – true love
  • Column – stability
  • Crescent Moon – opportunity
  • Fleur de Lis – prosperity
  • Shell – eternal beauty
  • Pepper – red-hot romance
  • Wishbone – wish come true
You can also find cake pulls at Adler’s Jewelry and online sites including and
No matter where your cake pulls originate from, this tradition is a great way to incorporate New Orleans into your wedding.

(Editor’s note: A version of this post originally published on 03/23/2015)