Why do we see the same wedding foods?

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The wedding cake — often white and resplendent with flowers — appears at virtually every reception. There are many other foods that are commonly seen at weddings. Reasons for this vary from tradition to the emergence of social media.

Katherine Stewart, a secondary education major from Idaho, said tradition played a major role in purchasing her wedding cake. She said her fiancé is traditional in his tastes, so much of their day was rooted in tradition.

“I didn’t even think about not getting a wedding cake,” Stewart said. “It’s a part of the celebration. Why else would people spend $500 for a cake?”

Katherine Stewart chose both a wedding cake and a groom's cake because tradition mandated it. (Courtesy Katherine Stewart)
Katherine Stewart chose both a wedding cake and a groom’s cake because tradition mandated it. (Courtesy Katherine Stewart)

Stewart followed tradition not only with her wedding cake, but with her groom’s cake.

“We chose to do a groom’s cake mainly because my fiancé wanted a chocolate cake and I wanted red velvet,” Stewart said. “But it’s kind of a tradition. Most people don’t do one because it’s expensive and not needed, but you’ll see it a lot at big weddings.”

Many brides choose specific foods because of family tradition. This tradition is sometimes based on what food was served at older siblings’ weddings, or even at the parents’ wedding.

Amanda McNear, a psychology major from Orem, said she chose brownies and ice cream because that is what her mother did.

“My mom had it at her wedding, so I wanted it at mine,” McNear said. “It’s a family thing. Weddings are all about family.”

Often the trends in wedding food appear because of cost. Weddings can be expensive, so brides often choose food and beverages that can save them money.

Cameron Hafen, a general education major from St. George, said he sees a lemon-lime slushie at every wedding he goes to.

“It’s cheap,” Hafen said. “It can be used for special occasions but still be practical for large groups.”

Social media and the Internet may also influence the frequency of certain foods at weddings, according to Lou Crandall, the executive chef of Savory Catering. The company specializes in custom wedding food. Crandall said the choice in food isn’t always rooted in tradition but in trends appearing in magazines and on Pinterest.

“Pinterest is huge for weddings,” Crandall said. “I ask every bride to create her own Pinterest board so we can find out her preferences.”

Jordan Healey, a sociology major from Hurricane, said her food inspiration for her wedding originated from Pinterest.

“I loved the photos I saw on Pinterest of a lemonade stand and cotton candy,” Healey said. “I also had a s’mores bar that was a big hit.”

Whether through social media or their own creativity, many brides choose food that is based on a theme.

Jesse McNeal, a psychology major from Oregon, said the wedding food she chose followed her theme.

“I did mini tarts and mini pies,” McNeal said. “My theme was vintage, so I wanted food that would portray that theme.”

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