Like many 30-somethings, I have gathered my fair share of memories of siblings, cousins, and best friends exchanging vows with their soul mates. I remember, sometimes through tears, the love and commitment two people shared on that day.
Oddly, I cannot recall any instances of the mostly American tradition of two new spouses feeding cake to each other. (This is probably because I am usually asking someone what flavor the cake is and if I am allowed to break out my Tupperware at this time.)
Apparently, I really should have been paying attention to this moment if I wanted some intel on the relationship — namely if I wanted to know how “healthy” the marriage was going to be. But you know who’s always paying attention to those moments? The wedding photographer.
Last week Reddit user HHS2019 asked the following question: “Marriage/engagement photographers/videographers of Reddit, have you developed a sixth sense for which marriages will flourish and which will not? What are the green and red flags?”
The subject was a hot one — receiving more than 40,000 up votes and more than 6,600 responses (and counting). Out of the responders, which ranged from members of wedding bands fighting off a drunk groom, to photographers who witnessed a couple not sweating the small stuff or the big stuff (like a missing wedding dress), one particular response from a wedding photographer got a lot of attention in the discussion thread.
“Photographer here: to me the biggest sign is the cake cutting,” user MorgaseTrakand says in a Reddit comment. “Some people like to smear the cake everywhere as a joke, some people don’t. Usually the couple is in sync about this. They know what the other would like and they don’t smush cake on the others face if they wouldn’t want that.”
MorgaseTrakand continues, “Sometimes one of them (usually the groom) will force cake all over the others face and embarrass and upset them. I’ve seen this happen a handful of times and all of those relationships that I have kept up with have ended in a divorce.”
Another user, _My9RidesShotgun, agrees with this, this time from the other side of the photographer couple relationship. “At my wedding, my husband KNEW not to do this,” she says, before revealing that she warned him multiple times not to, and of course he did anyway, leading to a furious bride and a bad omen for the marriage which “lasted two years and he’s now my ex-husband.”
If you’re thinking that this is anecdotal data and not exactly scientific, you would be correct. There haven’t been any official scientific studies (yet) that confirm that the way a couple interacts over this messy American cake tradition correlates to longevity in a marriage. However, it is an indicator of how healthy their overall relationship is. A husband who is not going to respect his partner’s wishes on the most important day of their lives is probably not likely to listen to her any other time.
Even though this isn’t science-backed, there are a lot of commenters on this Reddit thread who, even if unfamiliar with the cake smash tradition, agree with the idea that a having a disagreement over whether or not to participate in a certain tradition or delivering a betrayal of that arrangement is a very bad sign on the day of what is supposed to be the biggest agreement of your life.
“It’s just a small thing which displays whether he’s empathetic, caring, and respects boundaries,” user caffeine_lights says in part on the thread. “Violating your wishes on that respect shows that he’s none of those, because he didn’t stop to think about how it would make you feel.”
To read the full discussion, check out the thread on Reddit.