In Ancient Rome, rich families had a special cake which was used only in wedding ceremonies. At one point in the ceremony, the guests broke the cake over the bride’s head. This symbolized their wish for a life of wealth and happiness for the young couple. Then each guest would scramble for the crumbs of the cake to take home with them. This would then bring each guest the same wealth and happiness.
This piece of wedding cake was also supposed to have romantic powers as well, for if an unmarried woman slept with a piece of it under her pillow, she was “sure” to dream of her future husband.
Today, after the bride and groom cut their wedding cake, they usually serve it to their guests or give them a piece to take home. This is a custom that has evolved from the early practices of ancient weddings.
Wedding cakes probably began in Europe when guests each brought a spiced bun to a wedding. These buns were piled up on a table, and the bride and groom had to lean over the pile and try to kiss each other. This was a symbol of good luck if they were able to do it. Then some clever chef probably thought of the idea of making one large cake out of all the little buns, giving us our big wedding cakes of today.
The largest wedding cake ever made was baked for an Australian couple in 1976. It had 29 tiers and was 15 feet tall!