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Wedding cakes have come a long way from the stacks of sweet rolls and fruitcakes of centuries gone by. Meant originally as a wish for prosperity and fertility to the happy couple, what we see now as (generally) a single cake originally started as two cakes. One cake was for the groom, and one for the bride. The tradition turned and changed over the decades, and according to geography. In some cases what is now a cake was once a pie, which was considered bad luck for wedding guests to refuse. The closest relation to the wedding cake of today seems to be the creation that a baker’s apprentice from London based on a cathedral, in honor of his bride to be.

Today we have lost much of the symbolic meaning of the wedding cake, though sometimes we still see the tradition of a cake for the groom (usually of chocolate) make an appearance. The cake is still one of the focal points of the reception, and much ado is made about the cutting and sharing of the first slice of cake. It’s a glorious photo op, and can lead either to a sweet and loving moment shared by bride and groom, or a laughable food fight between the two newlyweds.

Choosing a wedding cake is an important decision that couples sometimes make together, and sometimes the bride makes the decision herself. Whatever the case, the options are limited only to the imagination. The tools and materials available to construct the modern wedding cake are seemingly endless, and some brides and grooms are driven to create something completely original. In any event, couples should spend some time digging around online for photos to inspire the perfect cake, and work closely with their baker or pastry chef to make sure their vision is turned into a confectionary reality.

Prices for wedding cakes can vary widely and will depend upon many factors. It’s important to set a budget for the cake and stick to it. When making an appointment with a wedding cake designer, start by clearly stating what the budget is, and then by giving the designer the exact picture of the ideal dream cake. From there, work together to create something that is within the budget, and still perfect for that special day. Too many times couples start with the idea that they’ll never be able to afford their dream cake, and go to the appointment giving the designer the stripped down version of a cake they think they will be within budget. But given the opportunity, a cake designer may be able to adjust ingredients or materials to make that sweet dream come to life.

Whatever the final product, the most important part is really enjoying a special day with friends and family, starting a new life together and making beautiful memories. The wedding cake is important, but the meaning of the day itself should be the main focus. The bride and groom may choose to keep the top layer of the wedding cake to relive those memories with a first anniversary celebration. That is… if they can go a whole year without eating it!

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