As I was perusing the Internet I came across a cake with a bunch of ribbon tails coming out of the bottom of the cake. A caption on the photo mentioned something about a “ribbon pull tradition.” I had never heard of anything like this so I did a little research and found out the following about the history of the tradition. With the popularity of Pandora and other charm-type bracelets, I thought that this might be a neat gift to do with bridesmaids either at the wedding, which is traditionally where it is done, or even at a bridal shower.
In Victorian England, silver charms were placed into the wedding cake that brought luck and foretold the future. These charms were attached to ribbon and were hidden within the layers of the wedding cake. Traditionally, you would only have single ladies participate but the tradition can easily be modified to be relevant to the modern bridal party.
The charms typically used seem to vary but each charm has a specific and special meaning. Some examples of charms and their meanings are:
Hot Air Balloon – A life full of adventure and travel
Claddagh – Friendship, Love, & Loyalty
Butterfly – Eternal Beauty
Star – Your wish will come true!
Anchor – Love that is steady and true.
Four Leaf Clover – Good luck!
Flower – Blossoming 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!
If you want to pull the charms out of your wedding cake at the reception, consult with your baker and let the charms be hidden under the bottom layer when assembling the cake. NOTE: The charms should not be baked into the cake!
The ribbon-pulling should occur before the cake is cut and should be announced by the Master of Ceremonies. If you wish, each bridesmaid can read out loud what her charm means after she pulls it – usually the charm’s meaning is on the ribbon. The whole process is a great photo opp for the bride and her bridesmaids!
It might be neat to use some of the charms currently available through Pandora or you can visit a site like Sterling Trends to purchase their special ribbon pull charm collections.