If you haven't met the perfect couple, let me introduce you. They stand atop a layer of butter-cream frosting. The secret of their success? Well, for starters, they don't have to look at each other.
There is a tradition of putting little bride and groom figurines on top of the wedding cake. At some point there became a film tradition of using a shot of the figurines to tell us about the wedding. This occurs particularly if there is something unusual about the bride and groom that they can show in the figurines; e.g., a gay or lesbian wedding, an interracial marriage, or that the groom is a huge Packers fan
. Just as often it can be a commentary or joke on the wedding or the marriage or sometimes just to establish the scene at the reception, with the amount of damage to the cake indicating time passed.
If left at the altar expect a character to take out their frustration on the half of the cake topper that left them. Or talk to it while weeping.
- An EC Comics story was based around a conman using bride and groom voodoo dolls to bewitch a wealthy old woman to marry him so he could have her money. He is eventually killed by the bride doll, which had maintained its power after the woman's death, and was being kept as a cake topper on a leftover piece of their wedding cake.
- Mel Brooks parodied this in Silent Movie, where he and Bernadette Peters see a wedding cake in a shop window. They then fantasy-segue into a gown-and-tails dance number on a wedding cake, struggling as they go as the icing gets deeper and deeper. At the end, the scene fades back to Mel and Bernadette, gazing soulfully at each other, not noticing the bride and groom figures are now splattered with icing.
- At the end of Sweet Home Alabama, the happy couple has an impromptu wedding reception at the local bar/hangout. Since the original cake toppers no longer fit, one of their friends grabs a pair of Rock Em Sock Em Robots as a substitute.
- At the double wedding in Calamity Jane, you'll notice that the two couples managed to get cake toppers that are dressed a bit like their current wedding apparel, with the right hair colors and everything.
- A wedding cake topper is used for Sympathetic Magic in the Amicus anthology horror From Beyond the Grave (1973).
- In Shrek, Princess Fiona is being forced to marry Lord Farquaad, a man who is absolutely not Compensating for Something. When she looks at their wedding cake toppers, she smushes his down into the cake to more accurately show his height.
- In one of the The Baby-Sitters Club books, Mary Anne's classmate mentions bride and groom cake toppers during a social studies class, "or maybe you could have a giant plastic wedding bell, right ..."
- The Larry Niven short story What Can You Say About Chocolate Manhole Covers is set in part at a divorce party, where a couple is splitting up, but friendly. A black frosted divorce cake has the toppers facing away from each other.
- In the George of the Jungle movie, the little figures Break The Fourth Wall and shriek in terror just before George smashes them into bits.
- An episode of The Simpsons had Marge and Homer find their old wedding cake top with the figures still on it. Homer speculates that they have "wee little parties" at night, and then attempts to quickly open the freezer and catch them in the act. Another episode has Homer eat the couple on top of Apu and Mandula's cake, believing them to be made of icing.
- In Futurama, Leela was engaged to a fellow Cyclops shapeshifting grasshopper and the top of the wedding cake shows the bride on her knees polishing the groom's shoes. It more or less defines the way he treated her.
- In one episode of Family Guy, Peter sets up Meg for a shotgun wedding, after she believes that she's pregnant. While planning the wedding, Peter says that the store was all out of little cake figurines, so instead he got a toy version of The Iron Giant and one of those courtroom rag dolls where they ask the children just where the suspect touched them.
- Wacky Races: In "Dash to Delaware", Dick Dastardly lured Peter Perfect and Penelope Pitstop into a bakery, where he somehow managed to put them into the top of a wedding cake and dressed like bride and groom.
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: During "A Canterlot Wedding", we see that Equestrian weddings use the little cake toppers as well. Spike can't stop playing with Shining Armor and Cadence's.
- Dungeons & Dragons module I6 Ravenloft: On the day Sergei was to marry Tatyana, Strahd murdered Sergei so he could have Tatyana for himself. The wedding cake is in a room in Strahd's castle: Tatyana's figurine is still on top of the cake, but Sergei's has been cast to the floor (presumably by Strahd).
- The DVD cover of Gay Weddings here◊.
- Gahan Wilson drew a cartoon where two chefs are looking at a wedding cake with two guys on it. One chef doesn't look too happy, but the second tells him, "Times change."
- LEGO Artist Eric Harshbarger has created many wedding items out of LEGO bricks, including cake toppers. Read about them here, see the cake here◊, and see a closeup of the LEGO cake topper here◊.
- Along with same-sex and interracial cake toppers, there are now ones where one half of the couple is being forcibly dragged by the other. Or shackled to them.