Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Here are a few fun wedding cake topper pictures I've run across that may be of interest...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Yes, I'm sentimental!  I wonder about my parent's wedding cake. 

Before I got into really making these wedding cake toppers, my mother had passed away.  So, like so many things you wished you'd asked your parents, I couldn't ask about theirs.

Here are some of their wedding pictures....no figural topper...look like flowers? May 14, 1947.
And let me ask you this question...do you remember your parents wedding anniversary date? We knew my parents birthdays and their anniversary date...my kids have no idea.....

Monday, February 18, 2013

I'm sentimental.  Guess you ought to be when you're connected to the wedding business.  Let me re-phrase that....you'd better be if you're involved in the wedding business.  Same applies if you're in anyway connected to Christmas!  These are heart and soul occaisions first, commercial opportunities second.

So...I have our original wedding cake topper from 1974.  Despite my sentimentality, I did not offer or strongly hint that my daughter put ours at the top of her cake.  I make wedding cake toppers.  I wanted to make her one. 

When I create these, I gather important information...type of wedding cake, wedding colors, wedding flowers, wedding theme.  Being father of the bride on this wedding, I had most of the info already...pink ribboned banded cake, faint pink peonies, classy and fun wedding theme.

When I asked kate what she was hoping for...she said..."Make me something classy and fun...like my wedding!" 


Wedding Cake Figures....

I became enthralled with antique wedding cake figures as I researched weddings as a new "holiday" season to create and sell in the early 1990's.  As I've said in previous posts - the German examples from the 1920's and '30's are, in my opinion, the finest.  However, there are hundreds of fascinating examples made in pre and post war Japan, the USA and Hong Kong and China,

Figures at the top of a cake...let's look at mine!  It's very ironic that one who now makes custom wedding cake toppers could have paid little attention to his own wedding cake.  We were getting married on August 24, 1974.  But, like a typical groom, I don't think, at the time, I thought much about our wedding cake.  But someone made sure we had an unique topper at the top of that cake.

My step grandmother, who loved social gatherings and weddings, was going to have to miss our wedding.  You see, our family has island in Canada.  My Grandparents would spend the summer there and my Grandfather Gould had refused to return for our wedding.  So, she wanted to do something special for our wedding....and purchased a revolving wedding cake topper from the premier florist shop in Indianapolis. 

The topper figure is a molded plastic figure made in Hong Kong.  It features silver roping and white velvet wedding flowers.  The revolving music box plays "The Anniversary Waltz."

The music box is an unusual idea that I have considered for my toppers.  One small, tricky glitch...winding it up and placing it on the cake!  Today, I have heard from my brides that caterers that have difficulty placing my stationary toppers on their wedding cakes...let alone a moving one...but, I distinctly remember, when the time came to cut the cake...there it was....revolving at the top of the cake!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

OK, I'm going to share two more royal wedding cakes with you.   Sadly, don't think there are figures at the top...but they are interesting.  After taking them in, we will check out cakes with figures at the top!

Cake one - King George VI and Queen Elizabeth...the 'queen mum...1923.

Cake two - Queen Elizabeth's and Prince Philip's in 1947

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Let's check out a few other royal wedding cakes....
Of most recent memory....Kate and Will's 
No figure at the top....but I created one below that could have been!

The Royal Wedding cake was designed and made by Fiona Cairns. There were 900 handmade flowers on the cake in 17 varieties that Kate selected based on the "Language of Flowers."  Some of the swags and detail work of the cake are reminiscent of the architectural details of Buckingham Palace.
The Language of Flowers

Rose (white) :: national symbol of England
Daffodil :: national symbol of Wales, new beginnings
Shamrock - national symbol of Ireland
Thistle :: national symbol of Scotland
Acorns, oak leaf :: strength, endurance
Myrtle :: love
Ivy :: wedded love, marriage
Lily of the valley :: sweetness, humility
Rose (bridal) :: happiness, love
Sweet William :: grant me one smile
Honeysuckle :: the bond of love
Apple blossom :: preference, good fortune
White heather :: protection, wishes will come true
Jasmine (white) :: amiability
Daisy - innocence, beauty, simplicity
Orange blossom :: marriage, eternal love, fruitfulness
Lavender :: ardent attachment, devotion, success, and luck.



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Queen Victoria's Wedding cake - and her royal cake topper!  Victorians not only copied her fashion of a white wedding dress...but also a custom of figural wedding cake toppers! 

 The royal cake weighed nearly 300 pounds and was three yards in circumference. It was was about fourteen inches in depth or thickness. It was showcased upon an elegant “superstructure” and cost more than £100.

It was covered with pure white sugar and the top featured the figure of Britannia in the act of blessing the illustrious Bride and Bridegroom, who were dressed in the costume of ancient Greece. These figures were not quite a foot in height. At the feet of HRH Prince Albert was the effigy of a dog, said to denote fidelity; and at the feet of Queen Victoria were a pair of turtle doves, denoting the felicities of the marriage state

A cupid sat writing in a volume expanded on his knees the date of the day of the marriage, with various other cupids bearing emblems of the United Kingdom. On the top surface of the cake were numerous bouquets of Orange Blossoms and Myrtle entwined; similar sprigs were placed loose as presents to the guests at the nuptial breakfast. The elegant Royal Wedding Cake, a symbol of the celebrations of marriage, was placed on the breakfast table of the queen at Buckingham palace following the ceremonies in the chapel royal.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Queen Victoria's impact on weddings....

Queen Victoria, as her British royal kin since, impacted all areas social trends.  Her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840 established two important wedding trends practiced today...the white wedding dress...and, important to me - the wedding cake topper!

Smart queen....the industrial revolution had nearly decimated the English handmade lace industry.  In order to stimulate and support the lace industry, Victoria chose for her wedding dress a large piece of handmade Honiton lace. The rest of the dress then became a vehicle to showcase the lace, and white was chosen as the most suitable colour to do this. In the case of Victoria’s dress, white symbolised practicality and patriotism, rather than purity.

Victoria’s wedding attire was not devoid of symbolism though: she wore a wreath of orange blossoms (symbolizing purity) and myrtle (symbolizing love and domestic happiness), and these became the most common flowers carried and worn in Victorian weddings.  A sprig of myrtle from Victoria’s bouquet was planted, and cuttings from the resulting bush have been carried by every royal bride in her family since then!

Next post...her wedding CAKE!

Friday, February 8, 2013

OK, I was a history major....so here's a brief history of wedding cakes and toppers...

We look to ancient Rome where the custom of breaking bread cakes over the bride’s head was thought to bring good fortune to the married couple.  It was also believed that the crumbs from these cakes were considered symbols of good luck and fertility for their wedding guests!

In Medieval England sweet bun type cakes were stacked as high as possible for the bride and groom to kiss over, if they successfully kissed over the stack they were guaranteed a prosperous life together.  

During the mid-17th century to the beginning of the 19th century, the “bride's pie” was served at most weddings. Guests were expected to have a piece out of politeness; it was considered very rude and bad luck not to eat the bride’s pie.  

Bride’s pie eventually developed into the bride’s cake.   The bride cake was traditionally a plum or fruit cake, the myth that eating the pie would bring good luck was still common. Fruit cakes were a sign of fertility and prosperity which helped them gain popularity because all married men wanted to have plenty of children.

The bride’s cake eventually transformed into the modern wedding cake that we know today.  In the 17th century, two cakes were made, one for the bride and one for the groom. The groom's cake eventually died out and the brides cake turned into the main cake for the event. When the two cakes were served together, the groom's cake was typically the darker colored, rich fruit cake and generally much smaller than the bride's cake. The bride’s cake was usually a simple pound cake with white icing because white was a sign of virginity and purity.   

In the early 19th century, when the bride’s cake’s were becoming more popular, sugar was coincidentally becoming easier to obtain. The more refined and whiter sugars were still very expensive therefore only the wealthy families could afford to have a very pure white frosting, this showed the wealth and the social status of the family. 

Next time...Queen Victoria and her impact on wedding traditions as we know them.... 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Classic German Hertwig wedding figures...

In 1865 Christoph Hertwig and 2 partners opened a porcelain factory in the Thurigian town of Katzhutte.  Their first products were porcelain "novelties" including shoulder head bisque doll heads.  

I love the term "novelties."  "Novelties" are small manufactured adornments, toy or collectible."  In the 19th and 20th century, Hertwig  manufactured a wide selection of impulse items...bisque dolls, figurines, animals, and knick-knacks.  Many of these were sold in Woolworths, J.C. Murphy and local 5&10 cent stores.  They also offered more expensive lines for fancy good stores.

Mixed in the Hertwig novelty line were cake topper figures.  Not everyone could afford to buy a fancy cake to celebrate a special occaision.  Figures commemorating a baptism or first communion could be purchased and stuck on a cake.  It is believed that Hertwig introduced wedding cake topper figures between 1914-1920. 

You can see below the quality of molding, painting and variety of their work below....

Monday, February 4, 2013

2013 Wedding ideas

Good news for nostalgic-vintage loving brides-to-be...with the approaching movie release of "The Great Gatsby" this spring summer....Great Gatsby inspired 1920's weddings are HOT in 2013!

Picture of my grandmother Sallie Haueisen...lace gowns, veils, and bridal crowns are part of the look 

This is good news for me.  I make custom wedding cake toppers.   My toppers feature wedding figures cast from molds made from originals from the 1920's and 1930's.  In my opinion, the German Hertwig company made some of the finest wedding figures ever made.  I'm lucky to have 6 original figures in my collection.  

My most popular figure used today is a Hertwig figure customized with elements carved off...
 2012 June Sweet Pea Topper
More talk tomorrow about antique Herwig figures and elements of a classic wedding cake topper...

Got an antique-vintage wedding picture to share....contact me!