Victorian Charm Cake

In my constant search for all things wedding, I have stumbled upon the tradition of the charm cake. I had never heard of it before, but from what I gather, it dates back to the Victorian era. It is sometimes referred to as ribbon pulling, and often takes place at the bridesmaids’ luncheon (though some websites suggested it be done at the reception right after the cake cutting).

Basically a number of charms (equal to the number of bridesmaids) are placed in a cake with ribbons attached to them. The ribbon is visible and each bridesmaid is supposed to take a ribbon and pull out the charm. Each charm has special meaning–i.e. an airplane means travel/adventure, a four-leaf clover means good luck, a wedding ring means you’ll be the next to be engaged.

Check out Wedding Cake Charms and Jewelry by Rhonda for more information of the tradition (as well as sample charms!)…

Today the charm cake tradition is most commonly seen in the South, but I’m thinking of bringing it to the West! Do you think this would be a nice touch to the bridesmaid lunch (the day before the wedding)? Are there any traditions you’ve discovered that you want to bring to your wedding?


Mrs. Peppermint

LA/Palm Springs
Wedding Date:
December 2007
Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?
What Do You Leave Behind?
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    ladyjeni, Guest @ 10:36 am

    I attended my cousin’s wedding in Peru several years ago and took part in this tradition. I also will have it for my bridesmaid after my FI and I cut our wedding cake. I got ours from Wilton cakes, yeah even they make them. But I will replace the ribbon to match our cake.
    Btw, my cake designer never heard of it either. So glad that you published this so she wouldn’t think I was crazy.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Laura, Guest @ 10:55 am

    This is a common tradition in Louisiana, especially around New Orleans. Mignon Faget (a New Orleans jeweler) has a special set of ribbon pulls with all the traditional French/Cajun meanings. I think it’s a great way to incorporate something unique into a wedding outside of the deep south. It’s a lot of fun, and the bridesmaids get to keep the pulls as a small favor.

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    Jodi, Guest @ 11:02 am

    We did the charm cake at my bridal shower. The bridesmaids and I had fun with it. The charms I used were from Hallmark and I scored them for about $3 at Big Lots.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    JC, Guest @ 11:07 am

    Are the charms actually baked in the cake?

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    cdd, Guest @ 11:09 am

    We do this at most bridesmaids’ luncheons I attend (I am from the South, too). This last one I went to, the bride’s mom got the cake at Whole Foods of all places. But it’s a cute tradition – the little flower girls especially love it.

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    dots, Guest @ 11:14 am

    I’m doing something like this, only not a ribbon pull. We’re going to make tiny bite-size cakes and bake the charms in (cover them with waxed paper before you put them in the batter!) and hand them out to all the single females (or all the females, haven’t decided yet) at the wedding as an alternative to the bouquet toss. That way everyone gets a good wish!

    My mom used to do this for our birthday cakes as kids, only she’d bake in coins instead of charms. Some kids got a penny, others would get dollar coins etc.

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    amy, Guest @ 11:15 am

    i agree that it’s a fun tradition. i’ve seen it a couple of times (i’m another southerner) and i like that you can decide which charms you want, and what meanings you’d like them to have. for example, my feminist friend decided to leave out the one about babies but throw in one about career.

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    Miss Tulip, Guest @ 11:19 am

    Ooh, I love your suggestion of having this at the bridesmaids’ luncheon! I had heard of this as a replacement to the bouquet toss (i.e., have all the single gals give a pull), but it seemed too involved for the reception and we don’t have many single friends. The bridesmaids’ luncheon is a much easier way to “pull off” (ha, I crack myself up) the tradition!

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    Miss Newport, Guest @ 12:04 pm

    This is a Southern Tradition.

    Not seen very often in The North east.

    Tts fun to use at the rehearsal dinner and as a brides mades gift

  10. Member
    My 17 posts, Newbee @ 12:25 pm

    This is a great idea. I just saw cake charms on another site and I was wondering how they actually worked…

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Tea, Guest @ 12:32 pm

    i think this is a really neat idea. i’ll definitely file this one away…maybe toss it out as a surprise at a shower or something. hmm. i like it

  12. peppermint Member
    peppermint 84 posts, Worker bee @ 12:40 pm

    Anyone who has made one, how do you go about it? Is there a special way to put the charms in? How do you ensure that they don’t sink?

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    heather, Guest @ 2:01 pm

    According to the Jewelry by Rhonda’s Website you posted:

    You don’t actually bake the charms in the cake. You can put them underneath the bottom layer with the ribbons sticking out. You can also put them inbetween layers also.

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Annie, Guest @ 2:13 pm

    what a cute idea! i’d love to incorporate a lot of different traditions into my wedding (right now, i’m looking @ the german bridal cup and maybe jumping the broom). adorable idea!

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    lisacase, Guest @ 3:04 pm

    Can you guys explain this to me? I really like the idea of this, perhaps having our family and bridal party pull it after we cut the cake?

    How do you incorporate it into the wedding or is it only for showers and such?

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    Anne K, Guest @ 3:12 pm

    I’m a Virginian living in L.A. I think it would be great to bring this tradition to the West. I was going to do this at my own Bridesmaids’ Luncheon, but couldn’t find anyone to make it here in L.A.

  17. daffodil Member
    daffodil 598 posts, Busy bee @ 3:51 pm

    wow, i have never heard of that before! How cute and cool!

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    Moi, Guest @ 4:13 pm

    This would be so fun for any junior bridesmaids and FG’s especially.

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    cs, Guest @ 6:56 pm

    I did this for a bridal shower I hosted up here in New England (although I’m from the South).

    I had done something like this before with the charms in between the layers of a layer cake, and it got pretty messy. So this time, I used a angelfood cake, fill the middle hole up the the charms on ribbons and strawberries and “frosted” the outside with whip cream.

    Worked out much better!

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    L, Guest @ 7:11 pm

    That sounds like fun! Although, I don’t know if I want to end up with the baby carriage, since I am single and all…

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    Brandi, Guest @ 7:11 pm

    I am doing the wedding cake charm pull, but going to do it at the actual wedding.

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    LE, Guest @ 10:34 am

    In New Orleans it is almost always done at the wedding right before the cake is cut. The bride’s best single girlfriends participate in the cake pull.

  23. Guest Icon Guest
    Jessika, Guest @ 4:56 pm

    One tradition I ran into while watching a cake show was that of a ‘pantry party’. A kind of bridal shower, it’s a party where all of the ladies of the family (close family friends, aunts, cousins, sisters, from both the bride and groom’s familes) gathered together before the wedding and bring food, rather than the appliances and decor that are for the wedding and the risque lingerie that are for teh bachelorette party. the food is gathered and put into the newlyweds’ home (particularly in the pantry – food that will last through the honeymoon) so that when they come back from their honeymoon, they’re not starving, but already have fully stocked cabinets. not only does it help save the new couple on grocery bills, i think it’s a loving way to start your life together on the right foot!

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