As with all wedding traditions, cutting your first slice of wedding cake together is meant to represent something. Do you know what it represents? Do you know why you have that fancy silver knife and cake server? Do you know why the slicing of the cake is such a popular photo opportunity? Do you plan to smash that first slice of cake into the face of your new spouse? Perhaps once you learn more about this tradition, you’ll re-think that plan…
Cutting your wedding cake together, hands together on the knife, is the first domestic act you will perform together. You have ordered a huge, beautiful pastry, big enough to serve all of your family and friends. Just as you will offer hospitality to friends and family in your new home together, cutting and serving your cake is the first act of hospitality you and your spouse will perform together. It is a ceremonial representation of the hospitality you will show to others, together as a new family unit.
The second part of the cake cutting tradition involves the husband and wife feeding each other a piece of the cake they’ve just cut together. This too, is a very important ceremonial act. When the husband takes a piece of cake and feeds his wife, he is showing the world how he will take care of her. It is a ceremonial representation of his intention to provide food for his wife and his family. Likewise, when the wife feeds her husband, she is also ceremonially showing everyone gathered how she will take care of her husband, and provide for him as well.
The ritual has nothing to do with who makes the money or who does the cooking. It is a visual representation of the vows the couple made to each other only moments before the cake was cut. It is the couple’s first opportunity provide for each other – ritually, yes, but no less importantly.
Some of our traditions and rituals are so old we have forgotten the reasons behind them. Ritual, though, is an important part of every culture. The wedding ceremony itself is one of our culture’s most significant rituals. Taking vows, making public declarations, and serving your guests and each other are all important parts of our culture’s wedding ritual. You will spend a lot of time and money preparing to perform these rituals. Understanding the meaning behind each one will make your wedding day even that much more meaningful and memorable for both of you.