NPR

Eat Now Or Forever Hold Your Piece: The Layered History Of Wedding Cake

The iconic white confection is a relatively modern invention, says the author of a new book on the history of wedding feasts. But the rituals around the cake and other foods go back centuries.
Claire Stewart, author of As Long as We Both Shall Eat: A History of Wedding Food and Feasts, says the white-frosted cake familiar today "is a fairly modern invention." Source: Michael Skoglund/Getty Images

On June 2, 1886, 28 fashionable guests gathered solemnly in the Blue Room of the White House in anticipation of a rare matrimonial event.

President Grover Cleveland, a notorious bachelor at 49, was to wed 21-year-old Frances Folsom after a yearlong clandestine engagement. Wedding invitations had been sent only five days before.

Never before — or since — had a sitting president taken his vows in the White House. But while many facets of Cleveland's executive affair resembled 21st-century wedding revelry, the Blue Room ceremony would seem strange in some ways to a modern wedding guest.

The newlyweds did

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