Wedding Wednesday – The Clue on the Cake

I scanned this picture for a post I want to write.Elgey, cake

It looks pretty awesome all blown up like this! The photograph is postcard size – not that small – but I have never seen (or noticed?) the details before.

The doily it is sitting on – is that paper or fabric? I’m thinking paper. A fabric bow….

And … hands?
Elgey, cake handsI’ve never seen anything like that on a wedding cake before! What are they made of?

Why are they there?

What else is on this cake?

Elgey, cake middle

Looks like leaves and horseshoes – for good luck, I suppose. Do you think the leaves and beadish things are silver or gold? I think silver. Flowers… ribbons… what else do you see?

Here’s the top…
Elgey, cake top

Some unusual bells, more flowers and leaves, some cherubs. What are those two cherubs holding in their hands?

The wedding topper doesn’t look that much different than some you might see today. What is the base of that topper made of? Bisque? Plaster? Royal icing? An early plastic?

I need to take another look at that hand on the right – it looks a little wonky.
Elgey, George.Wedding cake closer

I’ve never noticed the letters on that bow before. Looks like “I” and “L” on the left and “G” and “E” on the right.

I know this is the wedding cake for George and his bride, Bella, because it says so on the back.

Elgey, cake back

I know it’s George Elgey because I have a letter he wrote to my grandmother in his beautiful handwriting. He was one of my grandmother’s “English cousins.”

So G. E. could be for George Elgey.

“I” could be the initial for Isabella. And her last name must begin with “L”.

I’ve never come across the surname for George’s wife in the years I’ve been puzzling over his family. Now I have a clue!

Off I go to and low and behold – a marriage record for George F. Elgey and Isabella Lidmore! Registered in the last quarter of 1920 in the England and Wales Marriage Index.
Elgey, George.marriage index

A new clue. And all because I rescanned this picture and really looked at it.



29 thoughts on “Wedding Wednesday – The Clue on the Cake

  1. Great detective work! It was customary for British brides to carry a sew a horseshoe tucked into their bouquet on their wedding day as a sign of good luck. Maybe Isabella carried one in addition to the miniatures on her cake. Also, the bells look like they could have been charms of some sort. These were mementos for the bridesmaids, tied to ribbons (or in this case, wires) and inserted between the layers of the wedding cake (usually a fruitcake). The bridesmaids would pull them out with before the cake was cut – the “ribbon pull.” The charms were considered to be signs of good luck for the bridesmaids, too. Her choice of gift seems to promise her attendants could look forward to their own wedding bells one day. If those were indeed charms, Isabella must have had quite a few bridesmaids.

    • Thanks for your detective work as well! I have a wedding picture that I think goes with the cake – funny how the cake was identified, but not the picture with people in it! It doesn’t seem to be a large wedding, but maybe the photo was just for family…. not sure. The groom had several sisters and I don’t know about Bella? I didn’t know about the horseshoe tucked in the bouquet, so now I’ll have to see if one is visible in the other picture. Thanks so much for this great information, Linda!

        • I wish I knew. They appear to be a woman’s hands with some kind of pearlized cuff or bracelet. Their delicacy and whiteness might indicate the purity of the bride??? Just a guess. I can’t tell whether there is a ring on the left index finger or not. It is interesting that the hands are clasped around the cake.

  2. This is such a unique wedding cake, I’ve never seen one like it. After enlarging the image of the top portion of the cake, it appears the cupids/angels are holding a hammer in one hand and intertwined rings in the other. The hands remind me of Victorian pictures of hands. I’m curious about their meaning. If you find out, please add to your post or in comments. It really pays to enlarge small photos, otherwise you can potentially miss out on great details, like the initials on the ribbon which led you to the name of the bride. Great post!

    • I thought it looked like hammers in the cupids’ hands, but I didn’t notice the intertwined rings. Thanks for finding more! If I find out anything about those hands, I’ll be sure to let you know.

  3. Wonderful!! Great detective work! Congratulations on finding Bella’s maiden name!

    I love how you enlarged the photo of the cake to view the details. The hands are quite puzzling though. I can safely say that I’ve never seen anything like that on a wedding cake (or any other kind of cake for that matter).

  4. Wow, this is great and makes me want to go to a wedding. Perhaps I’ll just order a small wedding cake. The first thing I noticed was the initials on the ribbon. What a cool idea! They must have been very proud of it to use it as a postcard image.

    • I do wonder how the cake tasted! I read that three tiered cakes came into fashion not too many years before this one was made. I think you should order that little cake and enjoy it!

  5. What a fun idea – blowing up a cake. Well, photographically, I mean. The cupids look like they’re holding hammers although that makes no sense to me. And the hands appear to be a big hug around the cake although that sounds more like something a soccer-mom would do than a baker in 1920.

    • lol! I can’t help but think of the Saturday Night Live character with the little hands when I look at this. Maybe she’s hiding back there behind the cake and giving it a big hug.

  6. This is just so amazing! I just loved the photo revealing each layer of the cake to me as it downloaded. I now feel compelled to go back through wedding photos looking for cake. But I doubt I’ll ever find one half as neat as this. Fantastic detective work on your part. I am very very impressed – with the cake making too of course!

    • Danita! You are a great Internet detective! I got nothing from my search.
      Since this cake is a few years later than what the website said they were commonly in use, I wondered if they had been reused from a parent’s wedding? Or maybe they were still in fashion.
      And the picture of the cake you found does look very similar. Thanks!!!

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