I Haven’t Met These People, Have You?

As you all know by now, mine is the beat watching and commenting on funky trends, odd assumptions, and just plain…well…goofiness that one finds in wedding-related reality shows. Again and again I throw myself into the dark underbelly of the Wedding Industrial Complex to find the things that make me sit up and go ‘did I really just hear them say what I thought they said?’ and then deconstruct said whatthehellness for your reading pleasure and dose of bridal sanity.

One I’m coming across with increasing frequency is the idea that People Do Not Eat Cake At Weddings. The first time I heard that, the bride wanted cupcakes so that her guests wouldn’t think anyone would ‘catch’ them eating cake. No, really, just because its cute and in a wrapper doesn’t mean it isn’t cake, or that it’s a single-bite wonder…unless they’re really freaking tiny. Still, the bride was a professional model. I thought to myself that perhaps it was a model thing. It still didn’t make sense to me, but then many things common in the world of professional modeling run a bit counter-intuitive to my thought processes, and it did occur to me that this could be one of those things.

Besides, she was still getting cupcakes. She intended them to be eaten. She and her planner and baker all consulted and made sure there were enough that everyone could have one and they’d have a few extra just in case of need.

Since then, though, I’ve seen multiple wedding reality shows where planners counselled brides to get cakes that would serve between half and two-thirds of guests for fear of unending leftovers. These were all in cases where there was no other dessert offered, too. If two-thirds plus one guests wanted a slice of cake, tough luck.

The one that (pun alert!) took the cake for me was a bride who kept insisting she didn’t want a cake. Why? Not because she preferred to offer some other treat, but because ‘nobody eats cake at weddings and it’s a waste of money.’

When her fiance protested that cake is traditional and he wanted cake, she yelled at him again that it was a waste because nobody would ever touch a single slice. The planner sat there nodding and agreeing. The groom stood his ground, saying he liked cake and ate cake at every wedding he went to. The bride got a nasty gleam in her eye (she was one of those made for TV brides who treats her groom as a prop rather than a member of the wedding) and asked if he’d had cake at a wedding they’d attended recently as a couple. When he said yes, she asked him what flavor it was. He couldn’t remember, but he did remember having cake. That’s when the bride laughed in a really nasty way and informed him he couldn’t have had cake because the couple in question had used a styrofoam dummy cake for cutting, but served no actual cake at the reception.

The groom was, of course, roundly routed with this fact, and the wedding planner (in a much kinder tone, at least) told him of course nobody eats cake at weddings, and so he should just shut up and forget about his dream of a cake…or any other dessert on his wedding day.

Okay, I didn’t have a cake at my wedding to Mr. Twistie. Mr. Twistie doesn’t care for cake at all, and we both prefer pies and tarts. Hence we had individual fruit tarts in six different flavors instead of cake. But a) I have never attended another wedding where there was no cake at all b) we made darn sure there were enough desserts that everyone could have two…and I think we ended up with half a dozen we took home after the festivities, and c) if there’s a cake, I’m having a slice. Oh, and unlike the poor, hapless groom in the tale of the styrofoam cake, I remember the flavors long after the wedding is over. I can tell you who served cheesecake, and who served chocolate, and who served carrot cake. I can tell you in a lot of cases which ones were from bakeries and which were homemade. I’m big into dessert, and have been all my life.

So I have to ask, do you eat cake at weddings? Have you been to a wedding where no dessert whatsoever has been offered? Do you plan to serve cake at your wedding? Did you serve cake at your wedding? Have you noticed a huge trend toward people shunning wedding cake in your area? Or would there be a riot if there wasn’t dessert?

Oh, and just a quick note to a friend of mine getting married in October…I know I’m on the guest list, and I do expect dessert. Just so you know. If you tell me there’s no dessert, I’ll make a cake and bring a slice for myself. So nyaah.

42 Responses to “I Haven’t Met These People, Have You?”

  1. Rhonda says:

    I personally don’t usually eat cake at weddings… not because I don’t like cake, or because I’m afraid it may be styrofoam, but because I’ve never had good wedding cake. It has always been white cake with oversweet white icing. Gross. However, if I saw a tasty wedding cake, you better believe I’d have a slice!

  2. blablover5 says:

    It’s like the old standard of white sheet cake somehow ruined the idea of cake for everyone. Yes we had cake, yes it was a pretty simple cake with a filling and chocolate buttercream but I thought it was delicious.

    I usually try to get a piece, though it can be hard if they cut the cake at a weird time and all the guests are distracted by something else.

    I wonder too if as people push more and more to not having kids at weddings there’s also a push to adult up the reception and they view cake as something childish. I know all the weddings I’ve been to the kids have huddled around the cake, even at ours that had candy littered across all the tables. They just can’t turn away from that giant fancy confectionary goodness.

  3. sterlingspider says:

    I don’t typically eat cake at weddings. I’m not a big eater so the dinner is almost always more then enough food for me, and I don’t actually like cake.

    If it’s served individually with coffee (I *do* like coffee) I’ll have a couple of fork-fulls to be polite and so that the hall isn’t just throwing away a pristine plate of cake, but I can’t honestly think of the last time I queued up for a slice myself.

  4. Sarah says:

    I always have a few bites, even if that’s all I feel like eating. As a great lover of dessert and an avid baker, I can’t really make myself eat an entire piece of (typically, sadly) substandard wedding cake.

  5. Diana says:

    We had a delicious wedding cake! My mom made it and everyone raved about it and asked for the recipe. But my husband doesn’t really like cake, so he got his own personal pie, after all it was his big day, he should get what he likes!

  6. Meg says:

    I always eat the cake at the wedding (even if it’s not fantastic, like the last wedding I was at — some sort of mishap with the buttercream and it was too grainy).

    We did not have a cake. We let everyone pick their own desserts, and some people shared, and I think one person abstained. But we also had a 20 person reception at a restaurant done family style. (And I still rave about the tiramisu I had.)

  7. Mary says:

    I was also baffled by that show with the bride who insisted no one eats cake. Isn’t there a comedian who says the only reason he attends weddings is there will be cake?

    We had cake as well as other desserts. Two years later, the cake is the only thing some of my friends remember about my wedding. It was great.

    Maybe too many people are selecting cakes on the basis of looks, rather than flavor. Given how long they take to carve a cake on Ace of Cakes, it’s hard to believe it isn’t stale and dry as dust by the event.

  8. Ash says:

    My mother loves wedding cake. If you mention the topic of weddings, she’ll get slightly misty-eyed and say, just like that, “I love wedding cake.” She even loves the bad ones. I’m pretty sure that all the weddings I attended with her throughout my childhood, often for people she barely knew, were all about the cake.

  9. Melissa B. says:

    I’m apparently in the weirdo minority … I *always* eat the wedding cake. When I was a kid, it was pretty much the only part of weddings that I actually enjoyed. Yes, it was boring ol’ white cake with boring ol’ white frosting, but I was 10 and I loved the sugary rush.

    And I feel like wedding cakes have gotten a lot better in recent years — I’ve had a couple that I took a few bites of and then set down, but the bad ones have been in the minority (and they’re usually the hyper-decorated ones made with fondant in bizarre colors. I hate fondant). At the two most recent weddings I attended, the cakes were poppyseed with strawberry filling and chocolate marble with chocolate pudding filling, and both were scrumptious.

    So we’re definitely having a cake. It will be pretty simple, but I love the bakery we chose (as I write this my mouth is watering remembering the tasting we did there!) and I think even discriminating pastry lovers will enjoy it!

  10. Fabrisse says:

    Plus there’s the old idea that if you take a small piece of cake home with you and sleep with it under your pillow, you’ll dream of your future spouse (note: this superstition for unmarried people only.).

    If you have the traditional British wedding cake, the final layer is supposed to be saved to be served at the christening of the first child. Trying doing that with a bunch of cupcakes.

    Nothing is prettier than a wedding cake. Even the wedding I attended where the bride’s aunt used a box mix to make the cake was lovely.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I love the cake. I’ve loved the cake at every wedding I’ve been to. The cake is awesome. It’s about the only reason to deal with the reception as a whole. I don’t dance, the food is usually lousy (except for a couple of homemade ones I’ve been to. Mmmm.), and you’re making nice in uncomfortable clothes in a roomful of people (a few of whom you will know and run around in a pack together the entire time), and get hardly any time to actually see/talk to/congratulate your friend.

    You NEED the cake. And sometimes whatever kind of bar is being offered.

  12. Sarah C. says:

    I love the cake. I’ve loved the cake at every wedding I’ve been to. The cake is awesome. It’s about the only reason to deal with the reception as a whole. I don’t dance, the food is usually lousy (except for a couple of homemade ones I’ve been to. Mmmm.), and you’re making nice in uncomfortable clothes in a roomful of people (a few of whom you will know and run around in a pack together the entire time), and get hardly any time to actually see/talk to/congratulate your friend.

    You NEED the cake. And sometimes whatever kind of bar is being offered. It’s crucial.

    (Apologies if this posts twice)

  13. TeleriB says:

    We had a small, two-layer 8″ round that I made the night before from a Duncan Hines mix. It was purely for cutting purposes. The real dessert was the chocolate fountain.

    I know, I know. But when I went to a bridal expo (free tickets, hurrah!) and I saw my first one, ever, my jaw just dropped. Melted chocolate. That you dip things in. IT MUST BE MINE! It was the only real extravagance in our otherwise simple wedding and reception.

    I just about always eat the cake. Usually, it is unremarkable. Sometimes, it’s not very good. Occasionally, it is stupendous: two friends got married almost a year ago, and the bride didn’t like chocolate. They had a yellow cake with fresh strawberry filling and whipped cream icing. OMG. Then there was a dear childhood friend who’s very NJ Italian wedding featured dessert buffets, with cookie assortments, cakes, petit fours and cordials.

  14. What’s so horrible about having leftover cake?

  15. TeleriB says:

    Always proof before you post…

    …A dear childhood friend whose very NJ Italian etc. …

    …I’m sorry. It’s just that apostrophe abuse usually drives me unreasonably postal, and I am just absolutely shamefaced that got past me.

  16. a meg says:

    We *almost* ran out of cake at our wedding. I remember three little pieces left on the table towards the end of the festivities. We had ordered different flavor combos for each layer of the cake, and had calculated that we were ordering enough cake for everyone at the wedding to have a piece, plus a little extra to be safe. What apparently wound up happening was that many many guests had their piece, found it delicious, and had to try the other flavors too! I can’t count the number of people who came up to me commenting on how wonderful the cake was and laughingly confessing that they’d had a piece of each flavor! So my advice to those planning is always to order more than you need, especially if you are doing multiple flavors — as it happened I was glad people liked the cake and enjoyed repeat offerings, but I would have felt terrible if that meant some people were left out.

  17. violarulz says:

    I’m one of those people who never eat the cake. I never know what’s in it and I have a lot of allergies (nuts, chocolate, and citrus) to common cake flavors. The dude and will be having an ice cream sundae bar instead. We’re going to light something on fire instead of cutting a cake, either baked alaska or bananas foster. Flames are WAY more fun to play with than knives. 😀

  18. MissPinkKate says:

    I don’t like cake and I rarely eat it at events that have it, but I still will have a cake at my wedding! My fiance wouldn’t approve of a wedding without cake.

  19. Roya says:

    I think this explains two weddings I have been to in the last year wear the cake ran out. It caused a certain amount of grumbling, and one in which my mother was a guest, I heard a lot about how tacky and cheap it was, at great length.

    I fail to see how having too much cake after the wedding is over copuld be worse than alienated guests and relatives?

  20. Melissa B. says:

    Roya, I completely agree with you and class-factotum — what’s so bad about leftover cake? OK, if you’ve picked one that tastes like cement, maybe you don’t want any left over, but in that case my advice would be “pick a cake that doesn’t taste like cement.” Personally my fiance and I are *hoping* we have leftover cake, because we think our cake is yummy!

    If you don’t want to pay $4 a slice for cake people may not eat, here’s what my fiance and I are doing: we’re having a 3-tiered cake, but in addition to that, we’re also having a sheet cake that the caterers will cut and serve. It saved us quite a bit of money (the tiered cake is $4 a slice, the sheet cake less than $1 a slice). If you’re really convinced that only 1/2 or 2/3 of your guests will eat the cake and you don’t want to pay for a fancy tiered cake big enough to feed all of your guests, why not have a sheet cake in the back just in case you run out?

  21. MLE says:

    We had 3 kinds of cake at our wedding, and it wasn’t “wedding” cake but 2 sheet cakes ordered at a local bakery two days beforehand (white with lemon curd, white buttercream and chocolate with raspberry jam, chocolate buttercream, and a princess cake for the toppers/cutting). I had a little bit of all three and they were all delicious. The princess cake was cut up for anyone who wanted that; we didn’t save it. And I think we had four pieces total leftover. Our wedding was in another state, so it’s good we didn’t have too much left! We also had Mexican wedding cakes (a type of cookie) that I made, because I wanted those too.

    I love eat cake at weddings, and actually can’t remember ever eating a piece that wasn’t tasty. No, that’s not true – one wedding had a vegan cake with vegan fondant that looked great but tasted like sawdust.

  22. libbyblue says:

    …which is not to say all vegan cake is awful. my vegan cupcakes kick ass. the basic chocolate recipe from vegan cupcakes take over the world has replaced all others in my cake-baking. (all fondant i’ve ever tried, vegan or not, has tasted like sawdust.)

  23. MLE says:

    Oh, no, I’m sure if the cake had been less than 3 days old it would have tasted good. The bridal couple insisted on a dragon-shaped cake for their medieval/renaissance themed wedding, and the friend that baked the cake for them spent 3 days making it ahead of time (each piece was baked in a custom mold). It looked awesome, but the friend only had the one oven so the baking, frosting, and assembling of the cake took a really long time. Which is why, I think, it tasted like sawdust (the wedding was in Colorado, a really dry/arid climate). Here is a (somewhat blurry) photo of the cake: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_juEH4dU48zI/Rt90PofoNbI/AAAAAAAAAWo/CbUpnD1AVGk/s1600-h/2007+ca+410.jpg

  24. AmazonPrincess says:

    My mother and I are possibly baking and decorating the cupcakes ourselves. She is pretty sure that we’ll be able to make frosting roses, but I am hoping that she decides spending a lot of time before her wedding baking (on top of the crafty decor and other DIY stuff) isn’t such a grand idea. But there for sure will be cupcakes. At the last wedding expo we went to after sampling all the bakeries there, there was only one that we wanted to try other flavors at. And they had a lemon poppy-seed cake with cream cheese frosting that was seriously TO DIE. Oh nom nom nom. (If Mom doesn’t go for it, I probably will when my time comes.)

  25. Tara says:

    Nooooooooooo! Granted, Husband and I are probably a little TOO fond of cake. (Last night at a restaurant, we bought an entire carrot cake from the bakery case. Just to take it home and eat it.) But I consider cake — or at least a substitute dessert — to be one of the absolute must-haves at a wedding.

    A couple of years ago we attended a wedding where they ran out of cake before we could have a piece. And it was a lovely reception and all, but the couple’s other careful wedding-day preparations now barely matter … it will be forever known as The Wedding Where We Didn’t Get Any Cake.

  26. daisyj says:

    I realize people do it to save money and still get their fantasy wedding, but I get a little peeved at the “fancy cake for the inner circle, cheap sheet cake for the peons we call ‘guests.'” I know you’ll say that it’s just as good (generally not true, in my experience, but whatever) and no one can tell (key hint: not a lot of round cakes have corner pieces); for me it’s more the knowledge that I am being treated as second-class. If it was any other kind of party that would be considered incredibly rude; it seems like a wedding is the only time when the hosts are allowed to put themselves ahead of the people they invited.

    Okay, reading that over I guess it’s fair to say I get more than a little peeved. Back to the original question: this is the first I’ve heard of the no one eats cake thing. Sounds silly to me.

  27. Annabel says:

    YES to cake. I’m having three tiered, (two fruit, one chocolate) bake in the oven for 10 hours cake with gorgeous decorations to tie in my them. My mum’s baking it. Thanks mum. mmmmmmmmmm

  28. Sarah G. says:

    I love cake. At our wedding we had a basic yellow cake with with white buttercream frosting and raspbery filling. Very yummy.

    I made the cake for my brother’s wedding. Italian buttercream frosting on a classic 1-2-3 cake with alternating fillings of raspberry butter cream and chocolate ganache.

    Everybody got a slice and people clamored for more (in addition to a fairly decent chocolate mousse supplied by the caterer).

  29. De says:

    From what I remember being taught, cake became the thing to serve at a wedding because it was the cheapest/easiest way to make a dessert that would serve all the guests equally. And as people had fancier and fancier get togethers, the cakes got fancier too.

    The basic party with food rule stands in my opinion: the hosts (whether its some combination of the couple’s parents or the couple itself) are responsible for their guests’ comfort and enjoyment. The big goal is that every guest leave happy and equally satisfied.

    Which why if you have 30% vegetarian guests, you make sure there’s an option. If you have 10% guests with Celiac’s, you have some gluten free options. That’s just how it is…otherwise you’re failing your duty as a host. Some people, this doesn’t bother them….but it sure bothers me.

    We both thought long and hard about what to serve at our upcoming wedding. We talked about it at length and decided to serve my favorite dessert – strawberry shortcake. It has fresh strawberries and cream for the people on our list who can’t have cake, and there are sweet little cakes for those allergic to strawberries and other fruits.

    I think that as long as your first priority is making sure your guests are happy, then you shouldn’t have to worry about what ‘everyone’ or ‘nobody’ does at their weddings, and can focus on having a good time at your own.

  30. JR says:

    I have never been to a wedding without a cake, and most have had two, a tiered cake and a groom’s cake. I wouldn’t mind a lack of cake as long as there were some dessert available to everyone.

  31. kate says:

    No cake? That’s a travesty. (Well, for me.) No DESSERT? TOTAL travesty. For everyone. We had a cake – a GREAT cake – and were incredibly disappointed when the leftovers went awry.

    We did go to a cake-less wedding last year, but there was definitely dessert. And it wasn’t because the bride & groom didn’t think anyone would eat the cake (I think they were among the people who demolished the cake at my wedding, in fact!) – they just wanted the other desserts more.

    It makes me angry when people make wedding decisions based on “what people Do or Don’t Do” – rather than what they want. If that bride was anti-cake, she should have owned it, and said “Hey Groom, I’m anti-cake” rather than ridiculing his pro-cake-ness. Somehow I doubt that guy got his own Groom’s cake, but it seems to me that’s a perfect solution. (And I’ll kick that wedding planner in the shins if I ever see him/her.)

  32. Melissa B. says:

    daisyj, I see your point — we’re actually doing a very simply decorated square tiered cake for that very reason, so that the difference between a sheet cake piece and a tiered cake piece won’t be completely obvious. The same baker is doing all of our cakes and she’s assured us that the frosting, flavors and fillings will be identical. The major reason we’re doing the sheet cake thing is so cake can be served more quickly after the cake-cutting ceremony, we’re definitely not trying to save the “special” cake for the wedding party and pawn off a grocery store sheet cake onto the rest of the guests! So I hope no one ends up feeling as though they got the “cheap” cake on purpose, it certainly wasn’t our intention to serve a lower-quality dessert to half the guests.

  33. KTB says:

    We’re actually doing a combo cake–my fiance’s aunt owns a cookie-making business, so her sister is making the cake, she is baking the cookies, they are covering each layer with buttercream frosting, and then sticking teeny-tiny cookies all over. Each tier will feature a different cookie. I can hardly wait–and we knew from Day One we would be serving dessert.

  34. Chelle says:

    We had a cake at our wedding, it cost $150 and fed all our 80 guests. It was beautiful. And it was a single sheet cake that was incredibly delicious. Everyone had a slice.

    I had a custom top done and everyone one enjoyed it.

    In fact, they liked it so much, there were photos of the guests mobbing the cake.


  35. Annalucia says:

    The Annalucia loves a well-made cake, and will always at least sample them at the weddings. If they are very good, she will eat the whole piece. If it is REALLY good and there appear to be leftovers, she will sneak back for more.

    What really horrifies her is the behavior of the Second Bride of which the Twistie speaks. She hopes the mild-mannered young man thought better of the arrangement and refrained from marrying someone who was so scathingly rude to him; surely he deserved better.

  36. daisyj says:

    Melissa B.– That makes perfect sense. I didn’t mean that people had to have one giant cake that would feed everybody, just that kind of sucks to watch a lovely cake being cut and then get stuck with a corner piece with Crisco frosting.

    Also, speaking of dining, remember the post about the inadvisability of putting engagement rings in food? This guy probably should have read it:


    Really, the alarms should have gone off when the idea of a a speed-eating contest came up.

  37. Heck yes, I eat cake! If there’s enough, I’ll take a second slice (is this bad wedding etiquette?). I don’t think that cake is mandatory, but I would feel a little sad if there were no sweet end to a wedding reception. I’ll take pies, cookies, cake, cupcakes, or even a candy bar.

  38. Toni says:

    I’ve been unemployed for the last two months, and have spent quite a lot of my free time working on my chocolate frosting.


    Baking just makes me so happy. Hooray for cake.

  39. Pencils says:

    I eat cake at weddings. Lots of time they are terrible, but I always taste them. At our wedding we had several cakes. The “wedding cake” was a three-tiered cheesecake with apricot glaze baked by my mom from Martha Stewart’s original Weddings book. My sister had the same cake in 1989 and I always wanted one too, it was so tasty and so lovely. Besides, my mom made it, how could it be more special? My husband, however, doesn’t like cheesecake, but he knew I really wanted that cake so he was OK with it. He’s a very sweet man. Because he was so sweet I got my husband a chocolate groom’s cake as a surprise; it was decorated in his favorite NFL team’s colors and logo. And because our hall provided us with a cake from a great local bakery, we converted that into a tower of three different cupcakes: chocolate, vanilla, and carrot. They were beautifully iced in our wedding colors with a pearlized sugar glaze. Then, on top of all that, the hall gave us a bunch of other assorted little desserts for some reason I can’t remember–stuff like chocolate dipped strawberries. I’m so glad I arranged for cupcake boxes for people to take leftovers home! BTW, we saved the top of the groom’s cake for our anniversary, but it tasted pretty bad after a year of freezing.

  40. Little Red says:

    I LOVE CAKE! I always eat a piece of cake at the wedding. If I ever get married, there will definitely be cake. Sheesh, no cake! What is wrong with people?

  41. La BellaDonna says:

    My wedding cake was buttercream frosting on the outside, and rich, chocolatey devil’s food cake on the inside, and beautiful edible little marzipan fruits all over it. I’m a firm believer in a sweet course at a wedding – generally opting for Teh Wedding Cake. And Of COURSE there should be a wedding cake if the groom wants one! I am absolutely horrified at the way the bride-to-be treated her (potential) groom-to-be. The correct response when YOU don’t want a cake, and the person you love DOES, is: “OK, honey, what flavor would you like?” Berating him in front of other people, and bullying him out of what he wants, and then behaving as if you’ve “won” something, is a perfectly lousy way to start a marriage. It is, in fact, a vile way to treat anybody whom you don’t outright despise – and an inexcusable way to treat someone you love.

  42. mywhimsey says:

    I adore cake – it was one of the few things I really, really cared about at the wedding – and not the way the cake looked, but the way the cake tasted.

    I can’t tell you how grateful I was that there was leftover cake at after the reception, because I got 2 bites of the cake to go with the 1/2 glass of champagne I had while it was going on. One was the “cutting of the cake” bite and the other was a forkfull from the piece my very kind bridesmaid saved for me before it was whisked away by our very efficient caterer. I can tell you the cake was excellent, and thank goodness I had those bites b/c the lemon raspberry pieces were all gone at the end of the night. So, in conclusion, leftover cake is a huge blessing!