The groom’s cake is a mysterious thing down here in Australia. We hear the term and the question is raised, what is a groom’s cake?
The groom’s cake is a tradition hailing from Southern USA (though other sources tell me it’s from Europe). In the 1800’s, the wedding cake (a light cake) became known as the bride’s cake and thus the darker groom’s cake was born.
Instead of the usual fruitcake or light coloured cake, the groom’s cake is usually a little more creative – something richer or darker like chocolate is the usual choice. It is also often ordered as a surprise from the bride to the groom.
The fun part of the groom’s cake is the decoration. Instead of a tiered cake with flowers or bows this cake can take on a special meaning to the groom. A football, a character from his favourite TV show or as seen in Steel Magnolias– an armadillo.
If not eaten at the reception, the groom’s cake is boxed to take home.
A little tale tells us that a single girl who sleeps with a slice of the groom’s cake under her pillow will dream of the man they’re going to marry (or end up with a messy pillow!)
The groom’s cake is otherwise eaten the night before the wedding at the rehearsal dinner or during day after the wedding celebrations.
You can of course use different things. I’ve seen beautiful raw edged silk flowers in fabrics of the bridesmaids gowns, coral and seashells for a beach side wedding, rust coloured leaves in autumn, herbs at a garden wedding bound with ribbon, wheat at a farm wedding. The only limit is your imagination!
Ms Polka Dot recently headed to the expert to get the lowdown on those flowers we’re supposed to wear on our chests. The Boutonnieres! She spoke to leading Melbourne florist Kate Hill of Kate Hill Flowers for her tips.
I believe the history of the boutonnière dates well back into the 1700’s and is a French term for a buttonhole flower. Don’t the French know how to make just about anything sound sexy!
They are symbolic of a new age of men’s style and status and are worn to highlight the significance and formality of an occasion and also add a personal flair to the gentlemen’s suit. At weddings they are used to highlight the importance of a male guests and most often matched to the style of the brides flowers.
Interestingly high-end couturiers in the 1800’s were known to integrate support for small hidden boutonnière vases into the gentlemen’s suits. Fortunately our wedding boutonnières only have to ‘survive’ an afternoon and evening, whereas back then they commonly worn by men all day.
Is there any ‘etiquette’ concerning boutonniere?
The key etiquette surrounding the boutonnière is that the groom has a distinguished boutonnière from the groom’s men and the other boutonnière, including the fathers of the bride and groom who also have boutonnière distinguished from the groomsmen. Detail is the key to this and a good florist should pick up on family history or items of significance to the family or relationships of the men and using this as influence for the design if possible. Detail within the boutonniere should work to almost create a hierarchy, while colour and key blooms will bring them all together.
Are there particularly good flowers to use for boutonniere?
Hearty flowers like orchids, such as Cymbidium, Singapore, Vanda, Phalaenopsis varieties are ideal as they hold water within their blooms ensuring that the flowers looks amazing and fresh for the entire event. These flowers are best in Summer.
Most flowers such as Roses, Tulips, Calla Lilies are also good as long as they are fresh for the day and prepared right before the wedding.
What are the different ways of binding a boutonniere?
These days boutonnieres are designed very differently to the old days. The principals are still the same, wiring each bloom individually and taping the stems, but there is further embellishment to the boutonniere with detailing wire and ribbons commonly used.
Should the boutonniere match the bride’s bouquet?
I believe the bridal partners should match but it’s always a personal choice. The groom should always stand out with the bride, and the groomsmen should compliment the bridesmaids.
What flowers should a Groom consider for his boutonniere for summer, winter, autumn, spring?
In summer blooms such as Calla Lilies, Gardenias, Vanda Orchids, Singapore Orchids, Rannunculis, Hyacinths, Garden Roses and Miniature Succulents are available. In spring there is an abundance of everything! Blooms such as the Bulb Blooms (Tulips, Earlycheer), Daphne, Peony Roses and Roses are best. Autumn and Winter brings beautiful Cymbidium Orchids in many tones, flowering Magnolias, Lily of the Valley and interesting textural foliage.
What are some of the more creative ideas you’ve used?
I always base my creations on meaning that is significant to the bride and groom so this makes it a little tricky to say one stands out from another, but incorporating materials and lace from the brides gown, detailing with wire and items such as crystals and even mini succulents have been used. I really do try to take a story that is unique to the couple and express it in a unique way so they remember them forever.
Thanks for joining us on Polka Dot Groom Kate! Do check out Kate’s website Kate Hill Flowers for more of her stylish floral work!