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Here's Cake in Your Face

June 01, 1995|ELENA JARVIS

Bridal traditions are so romantic, with one exception: cake-smashing.

Primarily popular among young couples, cake-smashing is when the bride and groom eat their cake by cramming it in each other's face. Needless to say, the ritual is controversial.

"It's messy, it's stupid and it isn't a loving way to start off a marriage," says Toby Kay Applebay, a wedding coordinator who's found herself in the middle of such food fights.

Often in these situations, the groom smashes his bride without her consent.

"I've seen brides literally pushed into the cake, where it goes in their ears, up their nose and all over their pretty dress," says La Starr Heiliger, a well-known county cake-maker. "That's not funny. This is the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with."

There are also practical considerations.

"A bride spends a lot of time and money and preparation on her makeup, hair and gown," Heiliger says. "Often, she still has to have pictures taken after the cake cutting."

Heiliger believes the ritual stems from the old English custom of breaking rice cakes over the bride's and groom's heads to ensure fertility.

According to Charles Panati's "Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things," the first wedding cakes were not eaten by the bride but thrown at her. She would then scramble for the crumbs and devour them to secure her happiness.

We found no statistics on the divorce rate among cake-smashing couples.

Bringing Order to Chaos

If you're not Martha Stewart and don't know the difference between a traditional formal, modified formal or semi-formal receiving line, don't panic, cry or think about eloping.

Many county hotels employ wedding consultants to take the stress out of planning. If you book their hotel as your wedding site, some hotel consultants will advise you for free; others add a fee, depending on the package. They can recommend musicians, caterers, bakers, florists, photographers, deejays and the rest of the small army needed to pull off a memorable wedding.

"You've got to be careful with deejays--they are the flakiest people in the world," cautions Jeri LeBlanc, wedding consultant at Ventura's Pierpont Inn.

The consultant's job generally ends before your wedding day. To get somebody to run the ceremony and reception, you have to hire a coordinator, who charges anywhere from $300 to $500.

"I can't believe anybody spending thousands on an event wouldn't spend a little more to make sure it all comes together as planned," says Applebay, consultant and coordinator at Mandalay Beach Resort.

And what could go wrong, besides the band not showing and the photographer running out of film?

"I always have extra nylons, thread, pins for boutonnieres, cake tops and guest books," said Pierpont consultant LeBlanc, who also coordinates weddings.

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