Friday, March 15, 2013

New Orleans has a few wedding traditions that are specific to us (or our Southern region), although some New Orleans natives do not realize that things like our over the top groom’s cakes and police escorts to and from the ceremony are not a part of weddings everywhere. My New Orleans brides have always enjoyed keeping things traditional no matter what age they get married, which is why they have changed some of the traditions to adjust to their specific style, guests and desires.  One of the newest changes is the twist they have put on the tradition of Cake Pulls.   

Cake pulls, for my destination brides reading this blog, originally consisted of the bride buying silver charms tied to the end of thin satin ribbons which would be placed into the cake and pulled by the six to eight single girls at the wedding, chosen by the bride.  The girls might consist of single bridesmaids and close family or friends, but all girls involved in the pull had to be single.  Typically, the charms were made up of such things as a clover (symbolizing luck in your life), an anchor (symbolizing hope on the horizon), a heart (symbolizing love or romance), and of course, the coveted ring, which would indicate you are the next to get married.  I’m sorry to say that there’s even an old maid button which symbolizes your eternal single status.

Now, brides want to have their bridesmaids involved in the pulls, which means married women get the chance at the cake pulls.  New charms have been added to the list, such as a baby carriage indicating who will be the next to get pregnant.   Then there are charms that are all together different such as the New Orleans charms.  These consist of charms that are universal such as a mardi gras mask (life will be a party), St. Louis Cathedral (your marriage will be filled with peace and joy), a horse and carriage (life filled with romance), etc.  The lists of charms that are out on the market today are endless.  And places to buy the charms are a bit easier to come by these days as well.  Your bakery may sell them or you can find them online. 

The cost will vary, depending on the quality of the charm you are looking for.  Typically, the charms were cheap and tied to a simple satin string.  More and more, brides are choosing to get more expensive charms and attach them to pearl or sterling silver bracelets.  At a place like Mignot Fagot, you can spend up to $600 on a set of 8 cake pulls, but let’s discuss the realism of putting a piece of nice jewelry into a cake.  It’s like the guy that thinks putting a $20K engagement ring into a baked potato is a good idea.  It’s not! 

If you’d like to participate in this tradition and make the charms something that your girls would want to keep and actually wear as jewelry, I have two options for you.  First, you need to buy something worth wearing.  You will need to buy the charms at a jewelry store, more than likely, in order to make them worth keeping.  If you decide to do that, my suggestion is to have the charms wrapped in a small plastic jewelry bag to protect the charm from the cake.  No matter how many times you wash the charm and how much you spent on it, there’s always going to be cake somewhere in the details of your $100 charm.  An even better idea for those who really want the charms to be a gift to their bridesmaids is to pick an individual charm for each of your girls and have them wrapped in jewelry boxes.  Place them in front of the cake where the pulls would be and have each girl open the box instead of pull from the cake.  This way, they still have the fun of not knowing what charm they will get, but they will get to wear the charm on a necklace or bracelet of their choice truly enjoying the gift you spent money on.
Nine times out of ten, the cake pulls will just be a fun, girlie tradition that’s consistently practiced intending nothing more than bragging rights for the ring puller and heckling for the “old maid.”  But I am finding more and more brides who want to use these traditions as something special for their best girlfriends and if that is the case, be different and pick your own charms.  Spend a little more money on them and give them something that’s significant to them and your friendship.  And for God’s sake, do not make them stoop to the level of licking cake of off their fine jewelry – for a trinket it is part of the fun, but not for real jewelry!

photo by Photography by Louis


  1. You can make your wedding traditional if you want. You can use various traditional symbols to decorate.
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  2. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post; I’ll try to get the hang of it! San Antonio Event Location

  3. Could not be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!....
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