What wedding cake wouldn’t be complete without two little figurines on top? Like the cherry on the ice cream sundae, the angel on the Christmas tree, and the signature on the masterpiece painting, the wedding cake topper is supposed to be the crowning touch. You’d think that finding the perfect wedding cake topper would be as easy as finding two figures whose hair color roughly matches your own, but no. Cake topper culture has exploded since its inception in the late 19th century, and now offers an array of toppers that run the gamut from playful to abstract to downright perplexing.
The “Cute” Topper
Cuddly teddy bears. Wrestling puppies. Leaping dolphins and singing lovebirds. You have a childlike charm and have retained your sense of wonder and whimsy into adulthood. While this type of topper can signify a couple who’s not afraid to be playful, it can also send a message of immaturity to your guests. Don’t let that stop you, though; if you think that Lego figurines are the best representation of your relationship, go on and design a whole toy-themed cake. You may also have fun making your own cake topper in a style that’s unique to you.
The “Sexy” Topper
Forget old the cake toppers standing demurely side-by-side in your grandmother’s cabinet. Modern cake toppers come in options like “bride pinching groom’s derriere” and “bride’s legs wrapped around groom’s waist.” If you picked a sexually-themed cake topper, it probably wasn’t with the intention of giving your grandmother a heart attack (although get the ambulance ready, just in case). Chances are, you met your sweetheart on a recent Vegas trip and didn’t obey the “what happens in… stays in” rule. You’ll have a very fun wedding, to be sure, but don’t make your photos public afterward if you plan on running for public office.
The “Bad Idea” Topper
Maybe the bride and groom are facing away from each other, texting on their phones. Maybe the groom is dragging the bride, kicking and screaming, to the center of the cake. Maybe the bride is attaching a ball and chain to the groom’s leg. Even though this topper showed up as a gag gift at the bachelor party, you know you’re not obligated to use it, right? If, deep down, you suspect it really does represent your relationship–don’t put it on your cake. It’s not too late to cancel the wedding.
The “Abstract” Topper
The graceful, flowing lines could be roses, or maybe hearts, or possibly musical notes. Sure, you’re picking the tasteful road, but does it really represent you as a couple? Unless the topper itself symbolizes something meaningful (like the “double-happiness” symbol at a Chinese wedding), you may want to ask yourselves what symbols actually do hold meaning for your relationship. If you have a hard time coming up with something beyond the usual “roses and hearts” motif, it may be a sign that you need to do more activities as a couple.
The “Too-Realistic” Topper
Did you really need a set of custom bobble-head dolls sculpted in your likeness? Either you’re the kind of couple who insisted on putting a dozen full-length mirrors and the “monogrammed toast” toaster on your registry, or this was a gift from a well-meaning friend. If it’s the latter, just stick it on the cake and try not to watch yourself grinning and nodding maniacally as you cut the first piece.
The “Hobby” Topper
Unless you met at a football game or the two of you go fly-fishing every Saturday, chances are that the “groom getting tackled” or “bride holding up a prize bass” topper doesn’t fully represent both of you. Did one of you push a little harder to include your favorite hobby in the cake décor? That gives the other one of you free reign to slip the DJ any song list you’d like.
The “Traditional” Topper
With all the other options out there, did you really pick this one out yourself? Go on, admit it. Your new mother-in-law picked it out for you. It’s ok, though. No one will ever question your judgment or remark on your choice. In fact, no one will notice your cake topper at all. Better hope you went for a little more flavor with the cake itself.
When you wheel out the wedding cake, all eyes will be upon it. Unlike the polka-dot lining in your shoes or the third flower arrangement to the left of the bathroom door, you can be sure that your cake topper will be immortalized in the wedding album. In fact, if you choose a comment-worthy topper, you can be sure it will be shared around the Internet before your reception is even over. With such an intense spotlight shining on your decision, take your time and consider all of your options. After all, your cake topper says more about you than you know.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.