Couples feeding each other wedding cake- origins? meanings?

I’m cutting my brother-in-law’s wedding video. They fed each other a slice of wedding cake, immediately after cutting it. I’ve attended weddings where the cake wound up schmeared in the bridge and groom’s face. Not so here.

Anyone know if there is a significance to this tradition? What does it mean?


I saw a show on Discovery (or one of its evil spawn) some time ago about human sexuality. They had Desmond Morris (shudder shadowing a young couple on their first date. They went to a restaurant and were filmed feeding each other little morsels of food. Morris got all excited saying this was classic courting behavior that appears in lots of different animal species (i.e. birds giving their mates food, etc.) which serves to strengthen the pair bonding process. I suppose if we use Morris’ model, then the sharing of the wedding cake is just the final step of human courtship. I don’t know this particular tradition’s history, but he seemed to think that this sort of thing had a biological basis. YMMV

Feeding cake to each other (tender sharing of a sweet morsel) is supposed to symbolize their commitment to provide for each other with loving care. Everytime we go to a wedding where the couple smashes cake on each other face I feel embarrassed. One time we saw it done sweetly. A groom tenderly fed his bride a morsel and then playfully dotted her nose with frosting and kissed it off, but most of the time I feel the smashing of cake in one anothers mouth, face and wedding clothing is inappropriate and embarrassing.

He should be glad he got cake. In Nepal it would probably just have been a grape. From this page:

By the way, if you’re the videographer at a Nepali wedding, take plenty blank tape. They just go on and on and on…

Yep, same here. The cake feeding is supposed to be a symbol of how they’ll care for one another for their whole married life. We both agreed immediately that there would be no cake-smashing. Neither of us likes it, and I’m sorry, but after spending money on my dress, hair, and makeup, why would I want cake all over me? My husband felt the same. I did feed him a large piece of cake, but that was an accident - it just took some extra chewing time.

I have a friend who was married a couple of months ago whose husband shoved cake down her dress and all over her face. He’s a younger jock-ish type, so I guess it’s par for the course, but I hate seeing cake-smashing. Luckily, no one in my family has done it at our three (!) recent weddings (and we have another one coming up next year). I think it’s a lovely sentiment when it’s done right, but when it’s smashed, I just find it immature.


I like the grape idea a lot. She fed him a fairly large hunk and he had to work it fast, the entire wedding crowd is watching this event, yanno? What was sweet was that they did it again a few moments later when the crowd had dissipated, and kissed after they’d done so with such absolute love in their eyes… these guys were meant to be together forever.

-dreamy sigh-

I’ve got a book behind me on my shelf that tells how the wedding cake started.

Basically it all started from wheat, which is a symbol of fertility and prosperity. It was thrown as new brides in much the same way as rice/birdseed is thrown now. Then the Romans baked the wheat into little cakes, to be eaten by the guests and not thrown at the bride. Apparently the guests threw them anyway.

Eventually these little cakes were crumbled over the bride’s head. These crumbs were then eaten by the bride and groom (together) as a symbol of fertility. This practice then spread through Europe. The book quotes Lucretius, a Roman philosopher, about these customs.

So when brides shove wedding cake into their groom’s mouth, they are really telling him to be more fertile!

This book is one of my favorites: Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things. I highly recommend it for some light reading.

Here, it’s the first meal you share together as husband and wife, and it’s supposed to be lucky to eat the cake before any other food.

It’s some sort of fertility thing, especially since we have heavy fruit cakes, and you’re supposed to keep the top tier of the cake and use it as your first baby’s christening cake…most people know 3 year old cake isn’t a good idea, so that doesn’t happen so much any more.

I’ve thought cake smashing was juvenile ever since I first heard of it, when I was about 7. My mom told me about it happening at a wedding that she and Dad went to, and I remember thinking, “I’m more mature than that.” I think I decided at that moment that there would be no cake smashing at my wedding.

Mr Neville and I didn’t feed each other cake. We were both against cake smashing, and neither of us has the hand-eye coordination to neatly feed each other a bit of cake.

My cousin married some ass who smashed cake in her face during that part of the reception. He didn’t just do it playfully, he absolutely wrecked her makeup and everything. It seemed like a hateful gesture, and I guess it was a prediction of things to come because they were divorced within a year.

Sharing of food and drink is part of the wedding tradition in a lot of cultures, and it usually has connotations of affection, togetherness, taking care of each other, etc. Giving someone a bite of your shared portion of food is basically saying, “What’s mine is yours, and I give it to you freely,” which is pretty much what being married is all about.

We could have done that, if what was normally done was that the husband uses his fork to take some cake from the wife’s plate, and vice versa (I wish I’d thought of that before the wedding- we might have done that). We share food this way at restaurants all the time.

It’s the putting a bit in each other’s mouths that we couldn’t do (and I personally think is kind of gross). I have enough trouble making sure food I feed myself gets into my mouth and not onto my shirt…

Hmmm. The wife and I did not do this particular thing at our wedding.

We’re infertile. Both of us.


I can’t cite this (“my cousin told me, so it must be true” doesn’t count), but at my sister’s wedding recently, my cousin told me that she read somewhere that couples who smash the cake in each others’ faces really do tend to get divorced more often than those who don’t smash the cake.

I’m happy to report that my sister and her now husband did NOT smash their cake on each other :slight_smile:

I’d believe it, but I’d also believe that statistics haven’t been compiled on this sort of thing. Smashing the cake in each others’ faces just strikes me as so disrespectful, and mutual respect is, IMO, a requirement for a good marriage.

Some sociology student could probably get a Ph.D. compiling statistics on this…

I think the cake smashing, as opposed to cake feeding without any shenanigans, started becoming prevalent around the time that weddings started being videotaped. A lot of people will horse around if they know they’re being filmed. Then when they sober up…

Well, while it’s hard to type with your head hung in shame, I’ll admit to having smashed cake into my husband’s face. In my own defense, I’ll say:

I did it with the greatest possible respect (we’ve just always been playful, is all)

I knew he’d think it was funny

My niece was sitting in the front, yelling “Make him wear it!”

I had a rum and Diet Coke before the wedding

We’ll be celebrating our 16th anniversary this coming Thursday, and I don’t think either of us regret the cake-smashing episode.

I’ll second Elysian’s recommendation of Extaordinary Origins Of Everyday Things as almost required reading for Dopers.