I just realized that I never shared this part of our wedding on the blog. Looking back on these photos got me thinking a little bit about how this wedding cake (and cupcakes) represented an interesting cultural difference between Americans and Germans.
Being in any relationship means making compromises. Striking a balance. Finding out what works. Being in an intercultural relationship also means making compromises, perhaps even more so because of cultural differences. There were a few things that popped up while planning our wedding that I felt surprisingly strongly about. Traditions that just seemed normal were all of a sudden different than my husband’s traditions, and while his were not bad (just different!), I was surprised at how emotionally charged some things were for me.
Take our wedding cake for example. Americans have the wedding cake on display at the reception so all the guests can “ooh” and “ahh” at it. Nobody would dare serve themselves any cake until after the bride and groom had cut it and shared their big moment.
Germans, however, bring the cake out at midnight, also accompanied by some sort of midnight snack. We had tomato soup; another wedding we went to had a huge cheese platter. The cake itself is a secret until it is brought out and unveiled to the guests. They still “ooh” and “ahh” and the couple cuts the cake. Another cultural difference is that the German couple usually cuts the whole cake and then serves the guests, too!
When Tobias mentioned the midnight rule, I was so [unexpectedly] sad! When would our guests get a chance to marvel at our beautiful wedding cake? Our photographer was only booked until right after dinner. We wouldn’t have any professional photos of our cake! That, however, was a stupid thing to worry about, since at least one-third of our guests were Tobi’s photographer friends. Silly me. We still got great pictures!
I definitely had to reevaluate my priorities. “When in Rome…” I decided: we did it German style. The Germans loved the very American cupcakes. (And only a few called them “muffins”. Ahem.)
Besides, our outdoor reception location didn’t have room to have all those cupcakes set up the whole time, anyway. The heat would’ve also melted the buttercream frosting if we’d had it sitting out in the sun. That…and bugs. So practicality also won out.
The thing that mattered most to me was that we use my grandma’s wedding cake topper that she and my grandpa, my parents, and my aunt and uncle had all used at their weddings. My little bit of family history. In the end, the timing of it all ended up being no big deal to me. It was our day, and it was special regardless.
When cultural differences or disagreements pop up, it’s okay to feel a little sad. That’s normal. Use it as a learning experience. Discuss the matter with your partner. List out the pros and cons. Try to see things objectively (like the practical side of things), while also acknowledging your emotional side. You will learn a lot about each other, about what you feel is important, and you can create your own way together. Besides, a wedding is all about you and your partner. And the exercise in compromise will help towards a lifetime of other experiences.