It used to be that newly married couples were expected to have their first baby before their first anniversary, and as a result of that, weddings and christenings were much more tightly linked to each other than they are today -- and, as it turned out, both occasions called for cake. During the 1800s when multi-tiered wedding cakes became fashionable, brides began saving the leftover top tier of the wedding cake to be used for the christening instead of buying a separate cake -- to be defrosted in what many a 19th-century bride hoped would be about a year. Today, couples freeze wedding cake for sentiment.
There's more to freezing the top tier of your wedding cake than a zip-top bag or food storage container -- or, we can barely imagine, in a cardboard box. The better prepped, the less chance your cake will suffer freezer burn. For example, before wrapping your cake, some recommend giving it a little time to chill uncovered in the freezer -- this is to help firm up the cake and frosting before you wrap it for storage. Wrap it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and zip-top freezer bags (and if you gently squeeze the air out of the bag before storing it will help reduce the number of cake-ruining ice crystals that form). When the time comes, thaw your cake slowly in the refrigerator before eating.
Despite your best efforts, year-old frozen cake can lack a certain freshness, no matter how much care you give it beforehand, and modern couples have been known to celebrate the tradition with a freshly-baked -- and top tier-sized -- version of their wedding cake.
Author's Note: 10 Strange Wedding Traditions
Before researching and writing this article I had never considered how many of our wedding traditions come out of superstitions and the desire to keep evil spirits from ruining the day; and I'd never head of charivari, which sounds like a truly rotten way to spend your wedding night -- way worse than those jangly cans tied to the back of the newlyweds' getaway car.
More Great Links
- Allen, Kelsie. "The Surprising Truths Behind Common Wedding Superstitions." Bridal Guide. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.bridalguide.com/planning/wedding-ceremony-traditions/wedding-superstitions?page=0,0
- Czajka, Christopher W. "Frontier Life: How the West was fun: Recreation and leisure time on the frontier." PBS. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.pbs.org/wnet/frontierhouse/frontierlife/essay9_3.html
- Deutsch, Gail. "20 From '20/20': 20 Ways to Cut Wedding Costs." ABC News. Jan. 16, 2013. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://abcnews.go.com/Business/20-2020-20-ways-cut-wedding-costs/story?id=18224623
- Editors of Martha Stewart Weddings. "11 wedding superstitions and traditions explained." CNN. Sept. 6, 2013. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/06/living/matrimony-superstitions/
- Flock, Elizabeth. "Queen Victoria was the first to get married in white." The Washington Post. April 29, 2011. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/royal-wedding-watch/post/queen-victoria-was-the-first-to-get-married-in-white/2011/04/29/AFIYPmDF_blog.html
- Gordon, Carey. "Are You A Control Freak Bride? It's Time To Break The Rules." The Huffington Post. March 14, 2012. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-gordon/are-you-a-control-freak-b_b_1343437.html
- Grabenstetter, Jenn. "The Bizarre Origins of 8 Wedding Traditions." Mental Floss. June 23, 2008. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://mentalfloss.com/article/18915/bizarre-origins-8-wedding-traditions
- Hall, Michell; and Lizzie Jury. "I do ... cost a lot: Weddings by the numbers." CNN. Aug. 9, 2013. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/09/living/matrimony-by-the-numbers
- In Love with Weddings. "Save the Cake -- Freezing Your Wedding Cake." Aug. 6, 2009. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.inlovewithweddings.com/save-the-cake/
- Kirkova, Deni. "Would you wreck your wedding gown for a photo shoot? Trash The Dress trend hits the UK." Mail Online. Aug. 2, 2013. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2383220/TrashThe-Dress-Photography-trend-brides-wrecking-wedding-gowns-love-arrives-UK.html
- Money Allocator. "11 Tips on cutting wedding cost." (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.moneyallocator.com/articles/wedding_expenses.asp
- O'Rourke, Meghan. "Diamonds Are a Girl's Worst Friend." Slate. June 11, 2007. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/weddings/2007/06/diamonds_are_a_girls_worst_friend.html
- The Wedding Report. "United States Complete Market Report: 2012 Wedding Statistics Summary for United States." (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.theweddingreport.com/wmdb/index.cfm?action=db.viewdetail&t=s&lc=00&setloc=y
- The Wedding Report -- Cost of Wedding. "Wedding budget vs Real Wedding Cost." (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.costofwedding.com/
- Trex, Ethan. "Why Engagement Rings Are Made With Diamonds." Mental Floss. Dec. 14, 2010. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://mentalfloss.com/article/26619/why-engagement-rings-are-made-diamonds
- Weddings by Wells. "Charivari." (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.weddingsbywells.com/charivari/
- Wilton. "Storing The Top Tier Of Wedding Cake." (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.wilton.com/cakes/displaying-cakes/storing-top-tier-wedding-cake.cfm
- XO Group. "2011 Engagement & Jewelry Statistics Released By TheKnot.com & WeddingChannel.com." Aug. 30, 2011. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://www.xogroupinc.com/press-releases-home/2011-press-releases/2011-08-30-2011-engagement-and-jewelry-statistics-released.aspx
- Zerzan, Rebecca. "5 Beloved Traditions Invented to Make You Buy Stuff." Mental Floss. (Sept. 8, 2013) http://blogs.static.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/21211.html
HowStuffWorks looks at come of the cultural differences between Europe and America, like ice consumption, metric system and portion sizes.