As well as ruining your clothes, hair and makeup, a nonconsensual shove bodes ill for your marriage before it has properly begun
A groom and bride feeding each other cake
A symbol of mistrust? Photograph: Siri Stafford/Getty Images
A symbol of mistrust? Photograph: Siri Stafford/Getty Images
Pass notesWeddingsThe cake smash: a messy, raucous wedding trend that suggests trouble ahead

As well as ruining your clothes, hair and makeup, a nonconsensual shove bodes ill for your marriage before it has properly begun

  • Name: The Cake Smash.

    Age: Ancient, allegedly.

    Appearance: A messy, affectionate harbinger of doom.

    What is a cake smash? Some kind of online challenge? It’s the act of smashing cake into someone’s face.

    When would a thing like that happen? At a wedding. The bride and groom smash cake into each other’s faces.

    How awful. And I thought my wedding was a car crash because my uncle punched a waiter. The cake smash is meant to be a lovely, playful tradition. It’s getting pretty popular too, especially on TikTok: the #cakesmash hashtag has had more than 449m views.

    So how did it start? Hard to say. At ancient Roman weddings barley cakes were crumbled over the bride’s head for good luck. This evolved into the throwing of crumbs, and then later still, rice.

    I don’t see the connection. There probably isn’t one. It is more likely the modern cake smash is just a prankish offshoot of the tradition of the bride and groom feeding each other cake as a symbol of trust.

    So a symbol of mistrust, in other words. You’re not wrong. According to Dr Becky Spelman, a nonconsensual wedding cake smash could spell trouble for the couple’s future. “The act could potentially highlight issues related to control, disrespect, or disregard for boundaries,” she told metro.co.uk.

    It is also a complete waste of cake. Not to mention the ruined clothes, hair and makeup, along with the prospect of being sticky for the whole night.

    It must be a health and safety nightmare, too. It can be. One bride gave her husband a bloody nose, although it is generally the groom going overboard.

    Does anyone have a good word to say about cake smashing? Not really. Wedding planners frown on it, etiquette experts disapprove and there are loads of cautionary cake-smash-gone-wrong videos on TikTok.

    Those I will watch. Some end up involving the whole cake. Honestly, it is amazing that these people stay married for the rest of the reception.

    Any other time-honoured wedding traditions worth getting ridding of? The bouquet being tossed to the single women in attendance is thankfully on its way out.

    I didn’t know anyone still did that. Likewise, modern wedding trends are moving away from garter tossing, long speeches, balloon arches, registries filled with domestic appliances, and fireworks.

    Are any of those an accurate predictor of future problems? Not as accurate as a big fat cake in the face, no.

    Do say: “Instead of the traditional cake smash, my husband and I will be recreating the climactic routine from Dirty Dancing.”

    Don’t say: “And then we’re going to re-enact a fight scene from Kill Bill.”

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