September 25, 2014

Wedding Ceremonies & Rituals….

(Original Caption) John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier cutting their wedding cake after their marriage in Newport, Rhode Island. John Kennedy was then U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. Robert Kennedy at left.

Recently, I've been on a quest to uncover the history and significance of the Cake Cutting Ceremony and the Bouquet Toss. I want to find out why we perform these ceremonies, and how they came into being in the United States. Somehow these ceremonies seem paramount to the American wedding and it almost seems almost unfathomable or alien not to include them. But why do we have the bride and groom cut the cake together? Why have the bride through a bouquet of flowers to a group of bachelorettes? What do these rituals mean? Sadly, these ceremonies often seem obligatory, devoid of meaning or purpose. This is especially true when they are orchestrated by an inexperienced DJ, and can come off as schtick or cheesy. So my goal is to educate myself and to infuse purpose and meaning behind these two rituals. And so begins my quest.

A majority of what I've been able to uncover stems from a single Wikipedia article on wedding cakes. This article touches on the history, symbolism, and significance of the Cake Cutting and Bouquet Toss; however, the information it provided is sparse and only skims the surface. A majority of the cited sources stemmed from other online articles. But I also uncovered another gremlin in my research. I found an uncanny pattern emerge amongst various blog postings and social media articles. Their postings bared an uncanny resemblance to this Wikipedia article. Many of them go as far as to outright plagiarize. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with using Wikipedia as a starting point in one's research. But there doesn't seem to be anything new or insightful in the blogosphere about these two traditions.

So I press onward and forward. This last week I have spent a considerable amount of time in the library stacks searching for academic and peer reviewed material. I believe I have struck gold. I have located a history dissertation written in 2009 by Ph.D. candidate, Patrick W. O'Neil. The dissertation talks about the rise and formation of wedding rituals in the United States immediately prior to the Civil War. It's fascinating stuff and I can't wait to share with you what I have found.

So I press onward and forward. This last week I have spent a considerable amount of time in the library stacks searching for academic and peer reviewed material. I believe I have struck gold. I have located a history dissertation written in 2009 by Ph.D. candidate, Patrick W. O'Neil. The dissertation talks about the rise and formation of wedding rituals in the United States immediately prior to the Civil War. It's fascinating stuff and I can't wait to share with you what I have found.

Please keep tuned in as I unfold the mysteries and histories of the Cake Cutting Ceremony and Bouquet Toss.

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