The History (and Legends) of The Groom’s Cake
When you’re from New Orleans, it’s easy to forget some of the traditions we have and celebrate are not recognized all over the country (like me, Kelly, who thought Mardi Gras was a national holiday until I was about 12 years old).
Recently, while reading about groom’s cake, we found the usual information: the groom’s cake is a popular and typical sight to see for Southern (especially New Orleans) weddings. Though we knew it wasn’t just limited to couples of the South, and it originated in Victorian-era England, we had no clue the amount of folklore and wives’ tales that went along with this tasty wedding addition.
Before getting into the legends, let’s talk about the history. In the Victorian Era, it was typical for the wedding to include three wedding cakes – the main, larger cake and two smaller cakes for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Originally, the groom’s cake was a dense fruitcake – not the most popular – and was supposed to be heavier and laced with alcohol to represent the “stronger sex” (We’re just going to file that under antiquated notions and move on). Today, groom’s cakes are typically chocolate or another flavor opposite that of the main wedding cake. It’s an opportunity for the groom to express his personality, maybe recreating his favorite movie or sports team, for the bride to pay tribute to her beau, or to just give wedding guests a fun alternative to traditional wedding cake. For same sex weddings, the traditions are still being built, but we’ve seen couples opt for a main cake and two groom’s cakes or simply forego the groom’s cake.
Though the groom’s cake is widely popular, the folklore that prompted this post is not something we had ever heard of before. According to Martha Stewart Weddings, the legend surrounding the groom’s cake is that the cake is sliced and boxed up before the end of the reception and given out to all of the unmarried women. It is said that if the unmarried woman sleeps with the slice of cake under her pillow, she will dream about her future husband.
We’re not sure we can endorse sleeping with a piece of cake, but we definitely support having your groom’s cake and eating it, too.
This article originally published Nov. 6, 2018.