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Love Southern wedding traditions and want to include them in your wedding? We wrote our e-book just for you!

From the looks of the comment section of our very first Southern tradition post, y’all sure seem to like history, don’t ya! Well, I’ve got another Southern tradition for y’all today – the cake pull.

Image credit: Mark Eric.

Most popular in the South, especially around New Orleans, the Cake Pull gets it’s roots from an old Victorian tradition of “ribbon pulling.” In those days, charms of luck and good fortune were placed into the wedding cake by the bride for her single friends. Now a days, bakers place sterling silver charms with specific means inside the bottom layer of the bride’s cake and all the single ladies are given the opportunity to pull a charm from the cake (a ceremony called the “ribbon pull”) just before the cake is cut.

Each charm has a specific and special meaning:

Hot Air Balloon or Eiffel Tower – A life full of adventure and travel

Claddagh – Friendship, Love, & Loyalty

Butterfly – Eternal Beauty

Star – Your wish will come true!

Anchor – Adventure is around the corner.

Four Leaf Clover – Good luck!

Flower – Blossoming love.

Heart – New Love!

Fleur-de-Lis – Love and Prosperity.

Kite- Something fun is about to happen.

Wishbone – Success!

Ring (similar to catching the bouquet)- Next to get married!

Did you have a ribbon pull ceremony? Do you have a crazy Southern tradition you’re just dieing to learn about. Let me know.

Looking for a place to put your cake pulls? Try my Mama’s Homemade Poundcake recipe here.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
14 Comments
  1. avatar Laurien reply

    Wowee, that’s a cool tradition! I think that’s a fab idea : )

  2. avatar Southern Wedding Traditions :: A Moment of Prayer « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] comment in the section below. Want to learn more about Southern traditions? Bridal Portraits Cake Pulls Groom’s Cake P.S. Three years ago today, I married the love of my life. Happy anniversary […]

  3. avatar Stamped Loves Letting The Good Times Roll « reply

    […] colors and ornate details. We love adding custom cake pull signs to our NOLA weddings. Do you know the tradition? It’s so fun to watch the girls pull their […]

  4. avatar Guest Blogger NOLA Star Event Designer Kim Starr Wise | Cornucopia of Beautiful Things Blog reply

    […] Cake Pulls!  A local tradition where charms (one for each bridesmaid) are placed in the wedding cake on a thin satin ribbon and pulled prior to the cake cutting.  Each charm symbolizes something different.  http://iloveswmag.com/2011/07/21/uncovering-southern-traditions-cake-pulls […]

  5. avatar Today’s Wedding Tip | Little Known Wedding Customs You Can Make Your Own ‹ reply

    […] is a tradition in the South of hiding charms in the bottom of your wedding cake with ribbons attached to each charm. Your bridesmaids (and/or other single women) gather around the […]

  6. avatar Crossover | The used key is always bright reply

    […] with ribboned charms.  The custom of charm cakes is an old one  – think Kings Cake or the cake pulls of Southern weddings.  I had read somewhere that finding your fortune by charms in a cake at All […]

  7. avatar Pulled to Tradition | Food Matters reply

    […] Victorian-influenced tradition is simple: guests select ribbons connected to silver charms. Each charm symbolizes a different […]

  8. avatar Southern Weddings V6: Southern Charm – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] familiar with the cake pull tradition? Read all about it […]

  9. avatar Auberge du Soleil Wedding :l: Michelle & Gabe – Adeline and Grace Wedding Photography Blog » Adeline and Grace Wedding Photography Blog reply

    […] What are they doing you may ask? This is a cake pull! Read all about this Southern Tradition here.  […]

  10. avatar Jenny D. Poulos reply

    Do you furnish the cards and ribbons for the cake pulls.?

  11. avatar Amanda reply

    I really wish brides would consult websites regarding cake pulls. I’ve been seeing brides, recently, where they are pulling their own cake pull. Or, they have friends/family/bridesmaids that are already married. It completely irritates me!

  12. avatar Wedding Traditions – Cat Lemus Photography & Cinema reply

    […] Some of these include giving the bouquet to the couple who’s been married the longest, a cake pull, the shoe game or my favorite whose creation came about after a few glasses of that delicious wine […]

  13. avatar Erica and Brad’s Wedding at Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club | Kelly Vasami Photography Blog reply

    […] lovely newlyweds enjoyed their first dance, followed by a New Orleans-style cake pull, where all the lades who are important in Erica’s life pulled a charm from the cake and had […]

  14. avatar Southern elements | (500) Days of Engagement reply

    […] Cake pull: I think this idea is really cute and I would love to incorporate it into a bridal shower. (hint, […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Love Southern wedding traditions and want to include them in your wedding? We wrote our e-book just for you!

As you know, we Southerners have some very specific traditions when it comes to weddings. I’ll admit, some of them make absolutely no sense! Like Nicole’s favorite: “dancing in the wash tub”! (If anyone knows anything about this, please send me an email — I’m desperately curious!). So, over the next few months, we’re going to give y’all a little history lesson in Southern wedding traditions. First up: the groom’s cake!

Image credit: Sara Kauss. P.S. This is my husband’s groom’s cake from our wedding!

Originally meant as a gift from the bride to the groom, these delicious treats have had quite the transformation throughout the years. Traditionally dark chocolate-flavored and often containing fruit and liqueur, today’s groom’s cakes are a reflection of the groom’s personality and hobbies. Long gone are the days of the armadillo in the carport; these cakes now (literally) take many shapes, from the seal of his alma mater to his favorite video game console. Some brides and grooms even opt for a non-cake groom’s cake, choosing instead to serve his favorite treat (we’ve seen everything from banana pudding to Krispy Kremes!).

One last quirk of the groom’s cake? Originally, these cakes were not even meant to be served to the guests at the wedding, but rather given as favors. Rumor has it that if a single woman put a piece of groom’s cake under her pillow, she would dream of her future husband! Crazy, right?!

What is your favorite Southern tradition? Will you have/or did you have a groom’s cake at your wedding? Leave a comment below or send me an email.

And don’t forget to enter the GIGANTIC Southern Weddings iPad giveaway here! It’s so good, you might have to fight us for it!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
22 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    I’m sending this post to my Ohio-native boyfriend, who had no idea what a grooms cake was when I told him about it! I will definitely have one when I get married, and I have a really good idea for it…but I’m not posting it here since I’m sending him this link ;)

  2. avatar Noelle reply

    I love the tradition of the groom having his father as the best man. I think it is such a sweet, sentimental gesture. My husband asked his father to be his best man, and he really was the perfect one for the role.

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Noelle, I love the tradition of his father being his best man! My FIL was my husband’s best man at our wedding as well! Just such a sweet tradition. xo, Marissa

  3. avatar Amanda Zerra reply

    We had a grooms cake at our wedding. It was a complete surprise to my Groom : ) A friend who is an up and coming specialty cake maker designed a Nascar cake. It was to die for! It was a race track featuring a few race cars, particularly Dale Jr., my husbands favorite. The cake was rectangle with the oval track centered, it displayed stands with tiny little nonpareil’s to represent the fans, and best of all it was mostly cheesecake. My husband LOVES cheesecake! I wanted to make sure that my husband new our wedding was about the two of us and not just the bride. That theme truly showed throughout our entire wedding.

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Amanda! Wow, that sounds like quite the display! I’m sure your hubby was so thrilled to know how much thought you put into that surprise. My husband also had a cheesecake groom’s cake (he hates regular cake)! Thanks for sharing! xo, Marissa

  4. avatar Amanda Zerra reply

    And good grief I can’t spell today! That is “knew” not “new”… :-// lol

  5. avatar Erin reply

    I’m SO happy you wrote about this! I’ve been so curious about groom’s cakes and debating on whether I want to get my man one or not for so long! A girlfriend of mine just got engaged, too, and we were thinking just over the weekend “Do we get our guys one? Do we not? What would it be?”–it’s great to get a little history for them so we can REALLY make a decision! PS I LOVE that your groom’s cake was the Alabama symbol; my Stephen ADORES Alabama, even though he didn’t go there, and rocks their clothes/hats pretty much whenever he can! Might have to steal that idea ;)

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Thanks, Erin! I personally think that a lot of treats could work as a “groom’s cake”, but I do agree that buffalo wings might get a BIT messy! Feel free to steal the Alabama theme – spread the love! Roll Tide, my friend!

  6. avatar Erin reply

    PS I also thought about going the non-cake route and getting Stephen a “groom’s cake” made out of a tower of hot wings from Buffalo Wild Wings, but I’m not sure if I like the idea of Buffalo sauce ANYWHERE near our nice clothes :-P

  7. avatar Danielle reply

    I love this Southern traditions portion! My fiance and I are getting married in October and when I first told him about the groom’s cake he had no idea what I was talking about! He is definitely not a sweets guy…he would rather have wings over chocolate any day. His one and only sweet craving is donuts; so, I want to surprise him with all different kinds of donuts as his “groom’s cake.” Do you typically do the groom’s cake or sweet at the rehearsal dinner or the actual wedding? Or does it matter? I am hoping he will love the surprise!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Danielle, I’m so glad y’all are considering a groom’s cake! I think they are such a fun way to incorporate the groom’s personality into the wedding. And I think your beau would LOVE a donut tower! Check out how this couple did it here. In the past the groom’s cake was served at the rehearsal dinner, but now it can be served whenever you would like. Who doesn’t love an extra sweet treat? xo, Marissa

  8. avatar Desiree reply

    Marissa…I had to comment only to salvage some SEC respect. I too, surprised my husband with a grooms cake (we served it at our rehearsal dinner). It was a circular cake (like yours) with ARGYLE print on the sides and a giant, amazing, beautiful ORANGE AND BLUE Gator emblem on the top!! He loved it and was completely surprised. The argyle was inspiration from the socks he was planning on wearing to the wedding the next day. He at the cake while sporting his blue seersucker suit and an orange and blue tie ;o)

    go. gators.

    hahahaha

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Oh, Desiree! My poor and misinformed friend! Orange and blue?! Boo! ; ) Just kidding – I’m sure Eric loved the cake!! xo, Marissa P.S. We LOVE having you in the Southern Weddings family!

    • avatar Desiree reply

      Marissa: I LOVE being a part of the family :) …Im forseeing some really fun back-and-forths this football season between you and I. yay!

  9. avatar Lauren Frances reply

    First of all, Roll Tide! Loved your groom’s cake! My boyfriend is a Tar Heel through and through so I’m planning on getting a cake from Sugarland that is decorated to look like the UNC basketball court. We’re going to serve it at the rehearsal dinner the night before instead of at the actual wedding reception. One of my research papers I had to write for my anthropology degree was about American wedding traditions (I had to narrow it down to American Christian traditions because I was only limited to 30 pages which I easily filled). I’m a huge fan of any tradition whether it be a cultural, religious, or personal family tradition. Some of my favorites include the Scottish honeymoon period of one month (because most marriages were between people from fighting clans and the new couple had to run and hide for awhile) and when brides incorporate pieces of their mothers’ and grandmothers’ dresses into their own.

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Lauren! We simply adore Sugarland! We nibbled on their yummy cupcakes at our recent SW Yard Sale! The cake for your beau sounds divine – I’m sure he will love it! And that paper sounds very fun! I’m sure you rocked it! Roll Tide indeed! xo, Marissa

  10. avatar The Groom’s Cake « Ashley Morgan Arts reply

    […] 13 Jul I have a very “sweet” post for you today – cake!  Perhaps you read my previous posts on our wedding cake inspiration (if not, you can feast your eyes here, here, and here).  This week, it’s time to think about the flavor and look of the groom’s cake!  For all you non-southerners out there, this is traditionally a one-layer chocolate or fruit cake of some kind.  It provides contrast from the traditional “white” wedding cake and usually reflects the personality of the groom/couple.  As such, these cakes come in all forms: football stadiums, electric guitars, soccer balls, you name it.  On the more traditional side, you often see a simple chocolate cake (with chocolate frosting) and perhaps the couple’s monogram.  For a little more history, read the SW post from yesterday… […]

  11. avatar Kelly reply

    Oooh ooh! I still can’t fathom people not knowing about grooms’ cakes! For our wedding, Drew has insisted that my Father make his legendary cheesecakes (atop my mother’s Fostoria cake stands!). Ranging in flavors from white chocolate raspberry to pineapple, they give Cheesecake Factory a run for its money. :) I’m excited that my parents can be even more a part of our special day!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Ooh, how fun that your father made his cheesecakes! I bet they are divine! What a great way to incorporate them into your big day! xo, Marissa

  12. avatar Uncovering Southern Traditions :: Cake Pulls « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] the looks of the comment section of our very first Southern tradition post, y’all sure seem to like history, don’t ya! […]

  13. avatar Joe reply

    I loved the groom’s cake at my cousin’s wedding: Hubig’s Pies! They were a huge hit!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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