While the dress, the venue and the decoration are all important parts of your wedding and reception, the cake also plays a significant role in your big day and in tradition. Not only is it visually the centre piece of your reception gathering, it is also one of the most recognised parts of the reception formalities. The cake cutting is one of the final symbols of the couple’s union, public promise and the ceremony surrounding this, and also offers a bit of fun with the tradition of feeding it to each other.
Like everything with your wedding — the engagement rings, the bridesmaid colours, the hire cars — selecting the cake can involve quite a few considerations. Below is a list of things to think about to get you started:
Surprisingly, the cake can make a big impact on your wedding budget, depending on who makes it, what style it is and how much decoration you require. While cakes can be expensive in general, when a cake maker and decorator learns your cake is for your wedding, expect the price tag to go up.
It is not uncommon for cakes to cost hundreds, even thousands, so be prepared. Discuss your ideas and requirements with a number of different bakers and cake shops so you can get a good understanding of what’s involved, their expert opinion and also compare costs so you get the best result for the best price tag.
Interestingly, what’s popular in cakes is impacted greatly by trends in other weddings at the time. While it has long been tradition for wedding cakes to have multiple levels – the top being the keepsake for the bride and groom – the current trend is for the cake to be split up even further. Quite common in latest trends is to see wedding cakes made entirely of separate cupcakes – one for each person. Each cake is specially decorated to create the entire effect, with a final top tier added for the bride and groom to cut into and keep. Also popular is for edible flowers, such as roses, to be used as a top tier decoration and then carried down throughout the layers to bring it all together.
While it does sound practical, these kinds of cakes can be expensive and do require a lot of work – especially if the design and decoration on each cake is very intricate.
The Actual Cake
Also requiring decision is the actual cake underneath the decoration – after all, that’s what your guests will be eating. Traditionally, when plastic icing is used in decoration, the cake itself is a fruit cake. This provides a solid, yet moist base for the decoration. These days, couples have moved away from tradition and more towards taste, many selecting chocolate and mud cakes so as to retain the moisture, provide the solid base, and still have the rich taste.
When considering the decoration, the cost and the actual cake, you also need to think about the purpose of the cake. For some weddings, the reception will include an extravagant three course meal, exclusive of the cake – this means the cake is more for visual appeal. For others, the cake will act as the third course, so the taste is much more important!
The number of couples feeling the emotional pain and financial cost of fighting a divorce in the courts may be about to fall, as the UK government introduces a new law requiring mediation to be the first option in a separation.
From 6th April this year, couples without any risk of domestic abuse or need for child protection will have to attend mediation to try to resolve their dispute before the case is allowed to go to court.
Justice minister Jonathan Djanogly said that mediation was a “quicker, cheaper and more amicable alternative” to family courts.
Couples receiving legal aid already benefit from mediation, yet those who fund their own divorce could be missing out on more beneficial and cheaper alternative to court.
Though mediation will still require the consent of both parties before it goes ahead, it’s hoped that many more people will take advantage of this.
Not everyone is convinced the new proposals will work.
Law Society president Linda Lee said, “As a matter of course any lawyer aims for an agreed solution through negotiation because going to court is stressful and expensive. This is not always possible and, in some cases, the court is the only appropriate way of resolving the problems.”
She added, “The government is creating a myth that mediation is a panacea in order to justify cuts to legal aid which will take areas such as this, where people desperately need advice out of scope.”
The law will affect couples in England and Wales.
Mediation won’t help the increasing number of people living in abusive relationships with little choice of escape due to the current financial climate. These cases would still need to be referred to a court.
Do you think this new requirement for mediation is a good thing?
By Andy Merrett
Jul 15, 2010
I’ve been watching the increasing threat of the Internet on the marriage relationship for over five years now, and it seems not a month goes by without another story about how technology is luring the weak into extra-marital relationships.
The latest story to hit my email inbox is that of middle class adulterers using Twitter to conduct illicit affairs.
While the micro-messaging service Twitter has many great uses, it’s also proving to be a tempting virtual space for people to hook up with each other.
As we’ve already seen, lawyers are probing social networks for evidence of infidelity.
Divorce-Online.co.uk studied over 1,000 behaviour divorce petitions produced by the divorce service between December 31st 2009 and June 30th 2010 for the word Twitter and found that 102 (10%) of the petitions looked at found that the micro- blogging service had been mentioned in a word search of their behaviour allegation data.
Looking deeper into a sample of those petitions, they found that the majority of the errant spouses (72%) were men aged between 35-45 and were earning above £40,000
The common themes in these divorce petitions were that the errant spouse was using Twitter to either conduct affairs or flirt with members of the opposite sex and their spouses had found out and were using this in their behaviour allegations.
And rightly so.
Divorce lawyers are ditching the old-fashioned methods — private detectives and the like — in favour of snooping the social networks to catch out cheating spouses.
A careless status update or a series of compromising photographs could be all that’s needed to catch someone out, making them look less favourable in court.
Not only can social networks be used to catch cheaters, but they may also be responsible for extra-marital affairs in the first place.
Some of the recent privacy concerns surrounding Facebook in particular have meant that people are often unaware just how far-reaching their information may be shared, or easily found by those specifically searching for it.
It’s not just you who needs to be careful, either. If anyone else — the person you might be having a liaison with, or mutual friends — publishes something online about you, it could still land you in hot water.
That is, if you’ve got something you want to hide, of course.
“Attorneys advise users of Facebook and other social media who are headed toward a divorce or custody battle to edit their profiles, be cautious about updating statuses and double check to see who is really a “friend.”
Or to make things easier — at least until the trial is over or a settlement is reached — just get off Facebook completely.”
Brits may not recognise the name Larry King, unless they are avid fans of American chat shows, but the talking point here is just how many wives he has got through.
News today suggests that he is ready to divorce his seventh wife (and in fact has filed for divorce eight times).
In fact, with his seventh wife Shawn Southwick he’s done rather well as (celebrity) marriages go — managing 13 years and having two sons with her.
However, it all sounds pretty acrimonious now, with reports that King is petitioning a judge not to award 50-year-old Southwick spousal support or transfer of property to her.
He’s also seeking joint custody of the kids, while his wife wants sole custody.
The guy is getting on a bit, though, and as Southwick was only 28 years his junior, perhaps he’s looking for a younger model to take him into his octogenarian years.
It turns out that the near-ubiquitous prenuptial agreement that every celebrity couple now arranges before the wedding day has worked in savvy Sandra Bullock’s favour.
Perhaps you’d expect the potential breakup of Sandra and husband Jesse James to net him a handsome chunk of her fortune, but the fact is that he messed about with another woman (women) — something expressly forbidden not only by the marriage vows but also by the pre-nup.
When you can’t stay faithful — five times — to your wife and still expect something in return, you’re deluding yourself.
With the country still tentatively coming out of recession, it’s been difficult getting exact budgetary figures from any of the major political parties.
We know that the Conservative Party has been talking about family values for a long time now, but now that the General Election is looming, its plans to introduce taxes that benefit married couples are being scrutinised.
The Financial Times reports that the party has refused to comment on its speculation that £1bn would be ploughed into benefiting married couples.
Speculators believe that the Tory party could scale back the plan to give all married couples a single transferable tax allowance, instead opting for something that benefits newlyweds or those parents with under-3s.
Unfortunately, it seems likely that we won’t get any specific answers from any party until after the election, and even if we do, things often change once they get into power.
We know that you can prove most things with statistics, but having said that, some interesting new figures have come from the UK’s Office of National Statistics…
The number of divorces in England and Wales decreased 5% in 2008 compared to the previous year, while in Scotland it was a 10% drop, and 4.8% in Northern Ireland.
Though the figures can’t paint the whole picture, experts believe that better counselling may have improved the figures.
It’s worth bearing in mind that these statistics don’t include couples that are living together unmarried, and there could be a range of other factors involved. However, it would be good to think that struggling couples are seeking advice and help, and that in an increased number of cases it’s working.
What we don’t know is how the economic crisis will affect rates in subsequent years. There have also been suggestions of a two per cent rise in the UK divorce rate this year.
The Evolution of Sex Education
I’m no expert on how sex and relationships education in schools has changed over the years, but stereotypically things have become more liberal of late, with a focus much more on the process and physical repercussions of sex than on moral and societal issues surrounding the subject.
I can’t say that this is absolutely true, because schools can teach things in different ways, with more or less emphasis placed on issues beyond “how sex works”.
However, thanks in part to the way society has changed, particularly over the last decade or so, in its attitudes to sex and its portrayal in the media, the UK government on both sides is now looking at promoting familial and stable relationships.
Yesterday, the standard curriculum for sex education in English schools was updated to place more value on the moral and relational aspects of sex.
In an age-appropriate way, children will now be taught that it’s OK to delay having sex, and that they shouldn’t feel pressured by friends or the media into becoming sexually active as the “normal” thing to do.
Marriage and other stable relationships will be heralded as the “bedrock of family life”, with education on “the challenges and responsibilities of parenthood”.
Bullying and Pressure
Sexually-motivated bullying is sadly becoming more common. Mobile phone technology can be used to send compromising photographs which, apart from being illegal in the eyes of the law, could cause great distress to those victims caught on camera.
Other advice will warn about overtly sexualised imagery now prevalent in most types of media, including television, magazines, advertising and the Internet.
Children’s Secretary Ed Balls said, “Young people today grow up in a very different world to the one their parents knew as children.
“New technologies and a 24-hour media mean that young people are increasingly exposed to images and content that can make them feel pressure to be sexually active before they are ready and can give them misleading information about relationships and growing up.
“We also want young people to understand the importance of marriage and other stable relationships – these are the bedrock of family life, the best way to bring up children and the kind of relationships we want young people to develop as they get older.”
What do you think of the changes?
Photo credit: Made Underground
According to the same online agency that told us Facebook is bad for marriage, the UK’s divorce rate could rise for the first time in a decade.
MD of Divorce-Online, Mark Keenan, expects to see at least a two per cent rise in divorce in 2010, with the recession generally to blame for much of this.
Britain’s annual divorce rate, at around 12 per 1,000 based on current figures, is still one of the world’s highest despite the fact that the rate has dropped over the past ten years.
Interestingly, some reports from last year thought that couples might stay together because of the poor financial climate, yet Keenan reckons a rise in property prices means couples can sell a house and move on without large debts.
By scanning their divorce petition database, they found that the word “Facebook” was used in 989 out of 5,000 cases sampled.
It seems that virtual infidelity, often starting with “inappropriate sexual chats”, have caused the most upset.
Of course, the research isn’t perfect by any means.
Firstly, this is from a scan of their own database, and therefore implies that their clients are technologically savvy.
Secondly, it only scans for one term, and doesn’t imply that use of such Internet services are wholly responsible for people filing for divorce.
Perhaps if there are already problems in a marriage, one or both partners may make problems worse by their online behaviour, but generally I think this would be a byproduct rather than the initial cause.
Having said that, it’s interesting that seven in ten Brits say online flirting is acceptable.
We also have interesting, albeit sensationalist, stories like that of a couple driven apart by online games.
So, I’m not surprised that Facebook and other online activity can play a part in marriage breakdowns, but it’s certainly not the sole cause in most cases.
Last year, when the scale of the economic crisis was still dawning upon us, the UK’s Office of National Statistics found that the slowing property market could be reducing the divorce rate.
That doesn’t mean that relationships have suddenly got significantly better. In fact, financial turmoil places a real strain on relationships, and new statistics from US-based LegalMatch paint a much more worrying picture.
While this year’s divorce rate increase of 12% was much less than in previous years (28%), cases of domestic violence had increased over previous years.
Added to this, in November 2008, the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, headquartered in Austin, Texas, reported a 21 percent increase in calls compared to last year.
While I’m a strong believer in marriage, the numbers suggest a sad story: that many in relationships where one partner has violent tendencies are even less able to leave now that the financial situation is so dire, and yet that same predicament is obviously leading some people to higher levels of aggression.
Money can’t buy happiness, but it can provide a greater sense of security.
What’s really important is to talk to your partner straight away when it comes to dealing with financial problems.