Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Wedding Cake Smash

I read this in Dear Abby a couple of weeks ago and it really made an impression on me. I'm reminded of it every time I hear about a wedding.  I totally agree with the writer.

Dear Abby: I’m writing you about a disgusting, rude, and, in my opinion, obscene habit – the bride and groom shoving wedding cake in each other’s faces. The couple are all dressed up in their beautiful finery. They have a wonderful ceremony and a perfect reception table. How rude and insensitive to the person he or she has just promised before God to love, honor and cherish – not to mention disrespectful. What do you think of this “custom,” and do you agree with me? –Faithful Little Rock Reader

Dear Faithful: I do agree with you. The cake in the face custom should have been retired at least 50 years ago. The significance of the “ritual” is extremely demeaning to women. According to the book “Curious Customs” by Tad Tuleja (Stonesong Press, 1987):

“The cake-cutting at modern weddings is a four-step comedic ritual that sustains masculine prerogatives in the very act of supposedly subverting them. …in the first step of the comedy, the groom helps direct the bride’s hand – a symbolic demonstration of male control that was unnecessary in the days of more tractable women.

She accepts this gesture and, as a further proof of submissiveness, performs the second step of the ritual, offering him the first bite of cake, the gustatory equivalent of her body, which he will have the right to ‘partake of’ later. In the third step, the master-servant relationship is temporarily upset, as the bride mischievously pushes the cake into her new husband’s face. …Significantly, this act of revolt is performed in a childish fashion, and the groom is able to endure it without losing face because it ironically demonstrates his superiority: His bride is an imp needing supervision. That the bride herself accepts this view of this is demonstrated in the ritual’s final step, in which she wipes the goo apologetically from his face.

This brings the play back to the beginning, as she is once again obedient to his wiser judgment. Thus, the entire tableau may be seen as a dramatization of the tensions in favor of the dominance of the male."


Huntress said...

I made one request for my daughter's wedding: Do not shove cake in each other's face.

They complied. But the funniest part of the wedding occurred at that time. A piece of the cake crumbled and fell down my daughter’s bodice. My son-in-law smirked and started to reach in after it.
I have the photos. Hilarious.

Luana Krause said...

Huntress: Funny! It's so ironic that the most sacred moment in one's life (weddings) can be the funniest, too. LOL

Anonymous said...

SO many things in modern weddings are still about making light of an emotional tense and special day. I think so much of the 'man as head of household' symbolism is still good and well. The woman walks up to him, she is dressed like a gift, in bows and under a veil. The parents 'giving her away' like she is livestock...anyway, I'm sure you know what I mean. Weddings can be so boring, I'm happy for anything to break the monotony.

Li said...

I've always thought that was a really silly/disrespectful custom. I guess I'm a bit of a prude that way, but fortunately my husband felt the same way so we just cut the cake, each had a bite, and went on with the show. I'm all for fun and a good time, but I guess I always considered cutting the cake as a part of the ceremony. Cake stuffing can be done later, along with performing "YMCA" and throwing up in the bushes.

Luana Krause said...

I'm not really against all wedding the traditions, but I cringe when I think of ruining a dress and tux with messy wedding cake. I respect the clothes too much. But that's just me.

I'm also not a fan of throwing the bouquet and the garter belt ritual. And don't get me started on bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Luana Krause said...

Huntress: Sounds like your wedding was beautiful and a lot of fun. That's what it's all about.

anthony stemke said...

I just want to say, all that other stuff aside, shoving cake into faces while dressed nice is ridiculous (except for the cake falling into the bodice).
If it is so important, why can't it be smaller, more manageable samples of cake?

Luana Krause said...

Anthony: I'm the kind of person that if I get a stain on my clothes when I'm eating, I stop and clean it off with bar soap and cold water. If it's too bad, I change clothes. I hate wearing stained clothes (unless I'm camping, fishing or exercising). Call me weird.