The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I Do! I Do! I DO!!

The ever knowledgeable Mike Norton surprised me in a comments thread over on the always entertaining blog of my intended. Nearly going as far as calling wedding traditions “chick things”. (It made Martha faint, I tell you.) Specifically, with regard to "Groom's cakes". Something I thought were relatively well-known.

And so, in the ever-broadening mission of The Oral Report, here's a little something to help you all get your learn on.

Jan Kish puts it about as succinctly as I could ever hope to, so I'll refer you to her for a history of the groom's cake.

Though, I suppose I've taken for granted that everyone knows what a groom's cake is, let me just say that my personal experience has been that the wedding cake (or bride's cake) is the more formal/traditional cake and the groom's cake is the "fun one".

When the wedding cake is white cake, the groom's cake is chocolate fudge. While the wedding cake is staunch and formal, the groom's cake is all about everybody getting footloose. The wedding cake is flowery and lacey and as feminine as it gets. The groom's cake is anything but.

As someone who loves the kitchen, I am, quite honestly, in awe of the artistry of wedding cakes. The amount of work that goes into baking and then decorating these breathtakingly beautiful displays really impresses me. While most of the groom's cakes I've seen (and tasted) are rather less distinguished, there are some that are quite memorable.

So, while the tradition is not a new one, but instead a rebirth, and though it seems to be catching on a little stronger in the south than for our northern neighbors, the lighthearted fun of a groom's cake is a wedding tradition I can get behind. Traditional weddings are often a very fussy affair. The groom's cake attempts to shake things up a little.

It's entirely possible that the majority of my male readers have never seen STEEL MAGNOLIAS. I know, I know, you keep meaning to, but just haven't gotten around to it. The lack of nudity and/or violence, and abundance of emotional intimacy gives it a resounding "10" on the Chick Flick-O-Meter. Likely pushing it farther and farther down the "Must See" list.

If you had, however, you'd have noted a pretty funny scene in which, during Julia Roberts' wedding, Shirley MacLaine is serving the groom's cake (a red velvet armadillo cake) to the guests and, because she is angry with Tom Skeritt (who plays Julia's father), when he asks her if they can call a truce long enough for him to get a piece of cake, she cuts the tail end off of the cake in a gesture to show him exactly what she thinks of him. Tom Skeritt recover's with a "Nothin' like a good piece of ass."

Myself, there was no groom's cake at my first wedding, and it's unlikely we'll be having one at my last wedding. But, had Highlander an interest, I'd have certainly supported it. Though I'd imagine, it would look something like this.

Class dismissed.


Blogger MJ Norton said...

Ah! Okay, I've seen Steel Magnolias, and while I distinctly remember the cake and the joke I simply don't recall the groom's cake references. It was a bunch of Southern women -- I wasn't expecting and therefore not looking for any reasons for the things they do!

Thanks for the link to Jan's site so the madness can stand revealed. Consider this excerpt:

In the South, the groom's cake tradition has enjoyed renewed popularity in recent years, especially with single, female guests. Legend has it that if they take a slice of the groom's cake and place it beneath their pillows at bedtime, they will dream of their future husbands.

Hopefully the future husband works as an exterminator so he can take care of the ant and roach problem arising from this quaint tradition.

Fluff and piffle, says I! Along with most of the trappings of the wedding as an "elegant" affair. I'd rather fight off a wolf pack than get near any of it!

(Oh, I'm saying it jokingly but I mean every syllable.)

Honestly, the groom's cake seems a pleasant nod to the condem-- the groom, and a fun place to unleash some creativity. What concerns me about such things is that weddings, like outdoor decorations at Christmas and weapons stockpiles for nations, tend to quickly turn into must-have, must-out-do competitions. The mad escalation!

As I've said before: Weddings are for the couple. Funerals are for everyone else.

1/30/2007 11:27 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Fluff and piffle, says I! Along with most of the trappings of the wedding as an "elegant" affair. I'd rather fight off a wolf pack than get near any of it!

(Oh, I'm saying it jokingly but I mean every syllable.)

Heh, I have no doubt of your sincerity, even with the humorous delivery.

I've never slept with cake (or any other food stuffs) under my pillow, but have heard of the tradition.

Weddings, like many other traditionally formal affairs, can be what you make them. Sure, there's gonna be some fluff and piffle, but I look at it as an opportunity to have a nice party with people who's company I enjoy.

I am not in any kind competitive wedding division. I'm doing what works for me and Highlander. We've rewritten traditional vows, we're wearing non-traditional garb, we're making it a pretty casual day all the way around. If there's a contest, I'm pretty sure I've already lost.

The most important part, as you note, is that we're happy. And in our case, the wedding factors in not only the couple, but the wife's kids, too...;) It's kind of a package deal.

And while I understand and can appreciate your feelings on weddings and funerals (and would never try to dispute them), in my case, there have always been people who want to share in the joyful moments, just as there are people who want to show their support in the sorrowful ones. I'm not sure that detracts from the situation. (Though, I can see the potential, believe me. There will be at LEAST one Flashback Friday! that is wedding themed coming your way.) At least not in my eyes.

As an aside, (and not to put too much emphasis on all the dialogue I can quote from STEEL MAGNOLIAS) I'd like to direct your attention to the first scene in Dolly Parton's beauty shop, where Sally Fields is talking about the wedding (after Julia Roberts has a diabetic episode) and says that the one thing they can agree on is the groom's cake being served in the carport...hinting that it would be where no one would see it, since they both thought a red velvet armadillo cake was distasteful.

Oh, yeah, and while I wear both hats, quit dissin' on the southern women...;)

1/30/2007 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

I remember the groom's cake from Steel Magnolia's and thought it was a
cute southern tradition...I've never seen it used here in the north.
But I would like to use it if and when Dakota ever gets married.
Something like Flash's lightening bolt symbol would make a good one.
Or I could make it a treasure chest and hide the key to Dakota's
chastity belt inside for the lucky groom to find. hah

1/30/2007 6:39 PM  

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