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Wedding Cake Pulls

A Southern Tradition

A modern wedding is not only a celebration of the happy couple’s commitment to each other, but also can be a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends. While the wedding party is by your side, there are often additional friends and relatives you want to be a part of your special day. One way to include these extra special guests is by doing a cake pull at your reception.

Wedding cake pulls are a local tradition carried over from the Victorian era as a way to wish good luck onto close friends without extending the bridal party. The average bridal party today consists of about four to six bridesmaids, where the wedding cake pulls have anywhere from six to 12 women participating. Traditionally, all young eligible women are selected to participate.

wedding cake pulls

Small charms are delicately placed in the wedding cake attached to ribbons.

Wedding pulls covered with icing

The baker carefully covers each charm with a dot of frosting. Photos courtesy of Haydel’s Bakery.


As the name suggests, small charms attached to a ribbon are carefully placed between the layers of the traditional wedding cake with the thread lying gently on the outside of the cake. Before the cake is cut, the selected ladies are called to the cake table by the bride and each one places a hand on the ribbon of their choice. On the count of three, they all pull on their ribbon, exposing the charm.

Wedding cake pulls can be purchased from local gift shops, jewelers or bakeries. Photo courtesy of Haydel's Bakery

Wedding cake pulls can be purchased from local gift shops, jewelers or bakeries. Photo courtesy of Haydel’s Bakery.

Fortunes or well wishes are associated with each charm. Common charms include a ring (“next to get married”)a horseshoe or four-leaf clover (“good luck”), heart (“love will come”), anchor (“hope”), a telephone (“good news is coming”) and a thimble or button (“old maid”). A modern update to this tradition is to include married friends as well as new charms that wish happy marriages and healthy families.

Many local jewelry designers and stores have recently embraced the tradition. Once a small trinket, cake pulls are now also available in sterling silver or gold and can be found attached to a pearl bracelet. Lucky ladies can wear the good fortune on their wrists, reminding them of the bride’s fondness and friendship. Additionally, New Orleans-themed charms have become more popular, including a streetcar (good news is coming) and a fleur de lis (love and prosperity).


Wedding cake pulls are a great way to incorporate more friends into your special day. If one of your ladies is upset that she didn’t pull the ring charm, tell her not to worry. She has another chance during the bouquet toss!


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