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Sweet News – Cake Toppers (How’d that get started?)

September 21, 2010

As regular readers know, every once n a while we have to stop and figure out where some of these wedding traditions started.  Most wedding traditions are British it seems.  And all require a walk thru history.  We’re not going back to Roman times for the cake topper, as it’s a fairly modern invention at around a hundred years or so.  And it doesn’t seem British at all.

There are a number of charming stories about how the first toppers were created, none of which appears to be verifiable.  In the 1890s, wedding cake toppers began appearing.  Made of paper, glass, plaster, china, bisque or gumpaste, if you ever find one of these hiding in your grandparents’ attic, grab it quick.  They are highly sought-after and quite valuable antiques!  Generally speaking, the first toppers were miniature bride and groom couples.  Lovebirds, bells and arches also made an appearance.

Wedding cake toppers made it into mainstream fashion when in 1922 Emily Post wrote,  “the wedding cake is almost always ordered from the caterer who delivers it shortly before the hour of the reception. It is usually in several tiers, beautifully decorated with white icing and topped by small figures of the bride and groom.”

However the etiquette lady, who would write volumes on the subject, warned such layouts could be expensive: “Although the cost of ordering such a cake (complete with adorable topper figures) may be prohibitive, the charm remains, and it might be a suggestion for an unusual and thoughtful wedding gift from a family friend who is skilled in the art of baking—-or very rich.”

Then Sears, Roebuck stepped in.  In 1927 their iconic catalog featured a whole page of wedding cake toppers.   Everyone could order from the Sears catalog!  And everyone had to have a cake topper for their wedding cake.

If you can’t find a truly antique wedding cake topper, there are toppers made today that resemble antiques.

Or you might find your mother’s wedding cake topper, as this bride did.  Louisville Wedding Cake made this chocolate wedding  cake a few years ago, and it’s remained one of our favorites!

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