1916 Wedding Cake and Reception Tablescape

Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1916)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1916)

I came across some fun pictures in a hundred-year-old magazine of a wedding cake and a tablescape idea for a spring wedding.  Enjoy!

wedding tablescape 4 1916
Source: Ladies Home Journal (April, 1916)

63 thoughts on “1916 Wedding Cake and Reception Tablescape

    1. I like how the caption on these old pictures indicates who designed the cake and tablescape. It shows a certain respect for those talented individuals.

  1. My first question was, “What is gum paste?” Well, as it turns out, gum paste is a form of sugary dough used to decorate things like wedding cakes — and it’s still around. You can buy it at places like Walmart, or make your own. Who knew?

    The articles I read were very clear, though: gum paste is not fondant!

    1. Thanks for asking. The menu was included in the magazine article. Your comment made me realize that I should have included it in the post. Here it is: strawberry cup, wafers, rolls, lettuce cream soup, olives, radishes, eggs in aspic jelly, broiled chicken, potato balls, asparagus salad, pistachio and fresh coconut ice cream, wedding cake, candies, salted nuts, coffee. No recipes are included–though I’m curious about a few of the dishes, especially the lettuce cream soup.

      It must have been quite the event. In 1916, Ladies Home Journal was already a mass circulation magazine magazine. I’m thinking that this tablescape and wedding spread may have been aspirational for many readers, and not typical.

      1. That is quite a menu, though in most part the dishes are quite simple, it definitely was labor intensive.
        I too think that it was not typical and more of an aspiration.
        As for the lettuce soup – it was quite common in classic French cuisine. It’s interesting that it somehow lost popularity. I wonder why. I still use it in certain soups. It adds lots of body and creaminess without making the soup heavy.
        You can check this link for a recipe: https://ronitpenso.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/zucchini-lettuce-and-herbs-soup/

        1. I enjoyed learning a little about the history of lettuce soup. It sounds like it’s time to reverse the trend, and revive the use of lettuce in soups. Thanks for sharing the link. This soup looks wonderful.

    1. My sense is that ice cream freezers were a relatively new invention back then, and that ice cream was a very popular treat. Sometimes I’m amazed by how many ice cream recipes there are in old cookbooks. As the weather gets warmer here I’m going to have to browse through the ice cream sections of hundred-year-old cookbooks, and see if there is a recipe that I want to try. 🙂

        1. I think that you’ll like it. If you make it, let me know how it turns out. With these old recipes, it’s always helpful to get the opinions of others about any tweaking that may be needed.

    1. It’s interesting how styles change across the years – even for wedding cakes. For example, bride and groom figurines on top of the cake were popular once upon a time. And, wedding cakes with plastic pillars between the layers were very popular when I got married.

  2. Oh this is so lovely. I wonder if it was just for a small family gathering…as you say, perhaps is was their Martha Stewart edition 🙂 And the narcissus would smell heavenly! Mine are just finished here in PA.

    1. I tend to associate cupids with Valentine’s Day. Apparently a hundred years ago, cupids represented something broader (love) than just a holiday.

      1. One of my grandmothers got married in 1910 and one in 1919. I would love to time travel back to either. Pretty sure neither had anything like what is pictured.

  3. They look lovely. I appreciated how the person writing the caption mentioned colors (“white satin” and the “strawberry… color note”). I’m going to imagine the narcissus is yellow, but it might be white or other colors (I have no idea how long those colorful varieties–like pink–have been around).

    1. I’m going to imagine that the narcissus were yellow, too. It seems like the author would have indicated what color they were if it was something different. It’s fun to see how descriptions included colors back in the days of black & white. 🙂

  4. My niece is getting married soon. She will enjoy this post. My blog got accidentally deleted. I am so happy to be back. I have missed your posts!

  5. Isn’t it so interesting how the styles have changed? I am a home baker and I’m currently writing an insert on the wedding cake trends through the decades. May I use your photos and reference your blog?

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