Kids love cake, but that doesn’t make them good judges of cake

My friend who got married last year went to the Seattle Wedding Show (here are some pictures from the 2007 show courtesy of a vendor's blog) and, through a series of circumstances not relevant to the story, combined the visit with a brief stint of babysitting for her nieces, one a tomboy and the other a girly-girl. The children's father came to pick them up after a half hour, but that half hour at the wedding show was quite exciting for two little girls. It was hardly surprising that the "I want to be a princess when I grow up" girly-girl would be completely enthralled by the wedding show. What was unexpected was that the "kissing is yucky, let's go climb a tree" tomboy was also won over despite the high concentration of lacy dresses and frilly things.

The magic ingredient is cake.

Now you'd think kids would be experts at cake, and in fact the girls were quite enthusiastic cake-eaters. At the wedding show, there were about ten bakeries all showing off their creations, and naturally there were samples of the cakes available for tasting. Even the most hardened "I'm not cute" child, when faced with the opportunity, will stand sweetly with an adorable smile if it means that an adult will offer her a sample of cake.

By my friend's reckoning, the girls sampled five different cakes in the span of ten minutes. Despite this broad basis for evaluation, when asked for their assessment of the relative merits of the various cakes, the only response was "It's yummy!"

By the way, the wedding show also alerts you to all the things you never thought a wedding needed but which, it seems, have become an indispensable element without which your wedding will be a total disaster. Here's a sample from last year's show.

  • Chair covers. Not just seat covers, but chair covers. The great thing about chair covers is that they take a perfectly normal chair and turn it into something uncomfortable and unwieldy because you can't put your feet or your purse or anything else under the chair.
  • Fish in fishbowls as table centerpieces.
  • Flower preservation services.
  • Ice sculptures.
  • A stand-up comic.
  • A photo booth.
  • Sending CDs with the wedding invitations so you can include all the information on the CD instead of forcing your guest to OCR it into their calendar. (That's my only guess.)
  • Videography. (I have yet to meet anyone who watched a video of their wedding more than once. For many couples the count was zero.)

To see what sort of exciting must-have features are on the agenda for this year, go to the Seattle Wedding show site, and click on Wedding Specialists. Or just buy a ticket to this year's show and find out in person. Though given the recent economic downturn, this year's show is much more budget-conscious.

Comments (19)
  1. Chris S says:

    Hey, we had both a photo booth AND chair covers at our wedding. I’m mixed about the chair covers (and they wound up not being used because they were the wrong color or whatever) but the photo booth as completely awesome. Guests loved it, we had guests paste a strip of photos into a book with a written note and its still my favorite keepsake from the wedding. Every family member that has gotten married since has gotten a photo booth or a close approximation.

  2. I’ve probably watched this part of my wedding video about 100 times.  (The YouTube video was from a cell phone, but it’s almost as high quality as what the videographer got.)

  3. Gabe says:

    I went to a wedding of a marine biologist. The live fish centerpieces were Siamese fighting fish. We managed to sneak one on an airplane and bring it home, and it lived for quite a while. As a result we now have a 20-gallon tank of tropical fish.

  4. Roastbeef says:


    You’re evaluating the covers incorrectly because you’re not focused on the right problem.

    The problem it solves is bride’s discomfort at less-than-total color/style harmony.  Any discomfort from that solution is transitory (less than 8 hours) while the benefits it brings last significantly longer (theoretically MIN(your lifespan,bride’s lifespan) ).

    And I always felt that way about marriage too, until I found the right woman.  I had more nerves about pulling off our first dance correctly than I did about the wedding itself.

  5. Anonymous Coward says:

    The irony is of course that tomboys are sooo cute!

    Also, kids may be better judges for cake than you think. They also may be more calculating than you think. I remember that as a kid my opinion of pie was outwardly always ‘Yum!’ even when I thought it was just so-so. Even then I knew that adults chose the pie they fancied and if adults got the impression that I didn’t like a certain kind of pie I might not get it next time. Of course, you have to factor in that as kids we were never allowed to ask for such things, just wait nicely until you get offered. Which is good, I think.

  6. DoesNotMatter says:

    My parents wedding video watched count is up to three:

    They have two kids and there was "Come, let’s watch all the old videos I transfered to DVD".

    So your count is off. HA.

    Chair covers, are they like sofa protectors ? "You can sit there but I think you are filty and will ruin the sofa/chair so I spread a blanket over it" kinda deal ?

    My opinion on tomboys/girls/boys: When I was their age – "Yay, someone to play with". Now – "Why do they always want to play with me ?". Seriously, all I want to do is read a book, not being chased by a horde of screaming lunatics.

  7. My parents had a videographer at their wedding, but the cinematography was atrocious. So the question is, does (crappy_video > no_video) evaluate to true?

  8. Ben Cooke says:

    As an engineer, I’m often confounded by such things as these "chair covers", since I tend to evaluate everything in terms of the problems it solves and the issues it creates.

    Issues it creates:

    * Can’t put legs under chair. Therefore sitting is less comfortable.

    * Can’t put items under the chair, so they end up either under the table where they get mixed up with everyone else’s stuff or out in the room where people are liable to trip over them.

    Problems it solves:

    * Makes it easier to clean up spillages, I guess… but that’s also true of seat covers.

    * …?

    However, I could say the same thing about the concept of marriage in general.

  9. Worf says:

    The only purpose I can think of a chair cover is if the chairs were the wrong color to match with something… and thus are a cheap way of doing color-coordination.

    I think. I can see no other purpose for them.

  10. Graham Reeds says:

    We had a Wizard of Oz themed wedding. The reading was from WoO and the entrace and exit music was also from it. No one dressed up (except for the ruby slippers) but was a very cool experience – until my gran hospitalised herself by taking a tumble down the stairs.

    I’ve been to the traditional white wedding and they are the most boring affairs ever.

  11. roastbeef says:

    just got married and our reception was kicking with a large percentage of guests all the way to 12:30am when the band shut it down. And the band was the key to a fun wedding. Living in Austin we’ve got access to some amazing musicians so we hired a band of session players  that included a multi-Grammy winner. We had some semipro swing dancers among the guests, and I think the band and dancers fed off each other.

  12. Ari says:

    I (and my wife) don’t understand those huge weddings which leave some family member in debt.

    We had a very pretty outdoors wedding generally described by people as "the prettiest wedding they’ve seen" and "the way I wish my wedding had been".

    Low key, pretty, relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable.

    Oh, and no unlikable aunts were invited. No acquaintances. Only closest family and dearest friends.

    Chair covers amaze me. For whoever made the comment about them being a cheap way of colour coordination, not really. Those things are pretty expensive.

  13. @Matt Cruikshank:  Wow.  *Amazing* video.

  14. Anthony says:

    Fish centerpieces, kids, cake, pick two. I was at a banquet once where one little brat was so enraged that he didn’t win the fish that he dumped his cake in the bowl. They went home with my sister, but had a short and unhappy life.

  15. mike says:

    There’s an implicit assumption here that kids are good judges of anything at all. Most parents would, I suspect, agree that kids’ epicurial, sartorial, occupational, and ethical judgments are not always to be trusted.

    PS Using live animals for decoration seems a little on the barbaric side. But that might just be me …

  16. wedding pictures painted on a cave wall... says:

    Does the existence of the wedding industry prove that virtual display of egomania just doesn’t cut it compared to the real thing? If so, what are the implications for Facebook etc.?

  17. Someone You Know says:

    At my wedding reception, we had a cake decorating contest. The kids were given their own cake to decorate, and they chose to dump all of the provided candy and other decorations on top of the cake haphazardly. Anything that fell off, they ate.

    So kids are not good judges of the visual aesthetics of cake either.

  18. Nawak says:

    One thing that surprised me when I went to a wedding in the US is how "short" the reception/dinner was (ending at 11pm or midnight).

    The party continued a little bit with a limited number of ‘same-age’ friends and relatives, but it was not the same ‘big party ‘ambiance’.

    Seeing a comment here, it seems that it is how it is done in the US.

    All the weddings party I have been in France lasted through the night and with the DJ or the band present until dawn. At the end, same-age friends and relatives go ‘wake-up’ the married couple which escaped discretly one or two hours before and then you eat a traditional soup with them.

    Then you go to sleep :)

    Of course, old people skip a lot of this but nobody is home before at least 2am

    I think that knowing that you have the whole night to party is more relaxing… (eg: you know you have time to both party with friends and meet new people)

  19. As surprising as it is, I think my wife already watched our wedding video something like 10 times. So maybe other people’s videos are just too boring? :)

    Oh, and we had chair covers as well – simply because the chairs were ugly.

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