February 14, 2013

The History Behind Our Wedding Cake Toppers

Since it's Valentine's Day I thought it would be fitting to share a little history behind one of our wedding details — the cake toppers.

Before my 100 year old grandmother, who I am the namesake for, passed away last year, she handed down a very special gift for me two watch over that I have cherished and feel so honored to be the caretaker of. These original 1920's Bisque Kewpie doll cake toppers graced both her very own wedding cake and her 50th wedding anniversary cake:

Here's the shot of her and my grandfather with them on their 50th wedding anniversary cake back in the late 1970's:

Lots of love here:

These shots were taken before I was born. I never actually got to meet my paternal grandfather as he passed away while my mother was carrying me. I sure have heard a lot of stories though and from what I can tell he was quite the character — I can also see a lot of my dad in all the photos I've seen of him.

Here's a shot of the two of them here in Richmond when they were much younger:

I want to say my grandmother was only 17 when they got married. What's so interesting to me is how both of them lived and grew up literally 1 block up the same street where Tim and I live now. Tim and I bought this house before realizing the coincidence and I was lucky enough to have Granny over to see it 2 Christmases ago before she passed — but that's a story I'm holding onto for another time.

My dad was a fraternal twin — he has a twin sister, Susan, and the two of them were the very youngest of a long line of 8 children. This makes me the youngest of all the actual grandchildren on that side and the only one named for my grandmother, along with the only one who never got to meet Granddaddy. Granny lived to be over 100 years old and saw many more children in the shape of great grandchildren (some of which are older than me), great-great grandchildren and I want to say even a couple great-great-great grandchildren. She looked after my sister and I a lot while we were very young after granddaddy passed away and we both developed a very special bond with her.

She actually gave these toppers to me almost 10 years ago, back in 2004, when I was far from engaged, but I've held onto them tightly and knew when the time was right, I'd use them on my own wedding cake. They came nested in tissues (her favorite wrapping material) inside an old Miller & Rhoads stationery box accompanied by a handwritten note with instructions for how she wished they'd be used:


I was able to scan the letter:

It reads and instructs:

Dear Grandaughters,
I leave these two little persons in your care. I would love to have you and any of my grandchildren use them on the always special wedding cake (if all which). These two dear little ones topped our wedding cake. They have seen your Grandad and me though our Wedding Vows — have stood by us in hellish and sublime times, through hope, faith, trust and love. 

I especially would love for them to be on any 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary Cake to say — see "We made it like Granny and Grandpa did."

They are very young looking but are really 75 years old — handle with love and keep them safe. Each of my families have given me love and so many Blessings in life.


I tear up every time I read it and can still hear her voice narrating it for me.

I'm not sure how many of my family members on her side read this here blog (hey guys!), but I'm hoping for those that don't, these little cake toppers on our own cake with the framed handwritten note and photo of granny and granddaddy cutting their 50th wedding anniversary cake on display will be a meaningful surprise and small way to honor Granny on this special day. I was so very badly hoping she would be able to make it in person to the wedding, but know she is in a much better place and will be there with us watching and smiling in spirit as Tim and I make this great journey together.

I hope that by documenting them and proudly displaying them at our wedding, it will in some way help carry out her wishes while I continue to keep them safe in her memory. My plan is to keep them just the way they are with the framed notes after the wedding and as new members of the family get engaged or celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary — I'll offer them up for them to use if they like. Then maybe one day if I'm lucky to live a long and full life like Granny, I will pass them down to the next safe-keeper.

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours.

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  1. That is so Lovely. I look forward to seeing them on your cake!

  2. So romantic.
    Am I the only one that noticed that the groom
    isn't wearing any pants? hee hee!
    Love Kewpies and storing things in stationary boxes.
    Some things never change.

  3. What a lovely story! Thanks so much for sharing it, and I look forward to seeing how you use these two beauties on your and Tim's cake!

  4. That is a wonderful family history to carry on, and it is so cool you can have such a meaningful heirloom in your wedding. Thanks for sharing! I actually had no idea that Kewpie dolls came in bisque either.

    I'll bet your grandmother had some amazing stories.

  5. This made me tear up. What a special special gift. Something to cherish always. Thanks for sharing.

  6. What a lovely family history ! So happy for you Mary !

  7. wow such a touching story and treasured memory. love it! thanks for sharing. im new to your page here via the apple vinegar post i think.

    1. Thank you Fay for stopping by. Welcome to our little world!

  8. I was doing a research for wedding cake toppers and found your story. I'm going to shoot over some of my blog readers today to read your touching story. What a great way to keep your grandparents incorporated into your wedding.

  9. Nice story..all the photos are very beautiful..Thank u so much

    1. Tamil, thanks for stopping by and for your kind words!

      Best, Tim and Mary

  10. Before my 100 year old grandmother, who I am the namesake for, passed away last year, she handed down a very special gift for me two watch over that I have cherished and feel so honored to be the caretaker of.


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