Origin of smashing the wedding cake in the bride & groom’s face

I would have to say that after doing quite literally HUNDREDS of weddings, that there has been maybe less than 10 weddings that there was cake smashing in the face. (I’m not talking about putting a dab of frosting on the nose) Even at weddings that have no cake smashing, we inevitably hear at least a couple of guys saying, “DUDE!! GET HER!! SMASH IT IN HER FACE.” Usually, the groom has the good sense to ignore this advice because after all, HE is the one that is going to be with her through the night, not the others.

However, I thought I would share some information regarding the cake smashing. If you have already decided that this is something that you’re going to do, that’s a personal decision. It’s always good to know the origin of a tradition.

Cake smashing, “Dear Abby”, June 26, 2011

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.”

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