The Victorian Origins Of Wedding Cake Toppers

Be it an old-fashioned garter toss, a couple not locking eyes on each other until the ceremony, or a groom lifting his bride's veil, wedding traditions of days gone by have become completely optional choices. But believe it or not, many of the time-old traditions that are becoming more and more outdated are well over 100 years old and have roots in the latter half of the 19th century, also known as the Victorian era. Engagement rings weren't even "in style" until Victorian times.

During the reign of Queen Victoria, the namesake of the Victorian epoch, ornamental lavishness was a direct result of the influence of British royalty. The queen's 1840 wedding to Prince Albert was no exception to the elaborate nature of the times. Queen Victoria is credited not only with the trend of a bride wearing a white dress, but she also marked the beginning of the figurine wedding topper. Resting upon Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's cake was a miniature sculpture of the newlyweds, and while there are no exact records on when or where figurine wedding toppers originated, the queen's wedding launched them into fashion in England.

After Queen Victoria's royal wedding cake, the figurine cake topper trend exploded, and it became a mainstream concept for commoners and royals alike to have their likenesses recreated for cake decor. Interestingly, as wildly popular as this fad was in Britain, it didn't reach the United States until the 1920s.

The Victorian-style topper has evolved

After World War II, the United States took an even firmer grasp on the figurine cake topper trend. Queen Victoria's cake topper was meant to be an obvious symbol of two people proudly being married, but Americans began to gravitate toward a more sentimental meaning of wholeness and togetherness. Soon, couples began incorporating other elements into the toppers like ribbons, hearts, and bells.

Nowadays, figurine wedding toppers have lost a significant amount of popularity, so they can be particularly hard to get your hands on unless you're shopping somewhere like Etsy. In fact, flowers and other botanical embellishments, the couple's initials, or a simple word like "love," are much more en vogue in modern times, but the meaning behind cake toppers for people who do elect to have them remains the same. Figurine cake toppers have evolved to further reflect a better representation of diversity and extended families, and now even include funny and comedic options for some light-hearted laughs on a monumental day.