Pearls of Wisdom

Make Your Own Wedding Cake Pull Charms

by Leslie McLane, Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Looking for fun wedding traditions to include in your reception? A wedding cake charm pull is the Southern-inspired wedding trend you're looking for. Learn the history of and see how to personalize your own ribbon cake pulling.

Charms History: What IS Ribbon Pulling?

Originating in Victorian England, ribbon pulling included the single ladies in attendance at a wedding. There were traditionally six sterling silver charms strung on ribbon and placed under the cake or between layers (after baking of course, but before icing). After the married couple cut their first piece, the designated women would take turns pulling a ribbon to reveal their charm. Each charm predicts the future for that woman, such as a ring meant she was the next to be wed. The tradition of cake charms is still fairly popular in American weddings of the South, but that doesn't mean you can't join in wherever you live.

Make You Own Cake Charms

Step 1: Charm Meanings

The first thing to do when making your own wedding cake pull charms is to find out what each charm means. Use this handy chart to review some of the more popular charms and their corresponding "fortunes."

Wedding Cake Pull Charms and Meanings
Charm Meaning
Ring Ring Charm Next to be wed
Key Key Charm Keys to happiness
Butterfly Butterfly Charm Eternal beauty
Tree Tree Charm Financial security
Dove Dove Charm Peaceful life
Horseshoe Horseshoe Charm Good luck
Moon Moon Charm Exciting night life or opportunity is on the horizon
Heart Heart Charm Your love is true
Music Note Music Note Charm A life of harmony
Cross Cross Charm Life of faith
Dragonfly Dragonfly Charm New beginnings
Fleur de Lis Fleur de Lis Charm Prosperity
Peace Sign Peace Sign Charm Peaceful future
Flower Flower Charm A blossoming relationship
Infinity Infinity Charm Never-ending happiness
Star Star Charm Bright future
Starfish Starfish Charm Life filled with friendship
Anchor Anchor Charm Stability
Airplane Airplane Charm Life of travel and adventure
Baby shoes Baby shoes Charm Next to have a baby
Clover Clover Charm Good luck
Wreath Wreath Charm Happy home life
High heel High heel Charm Fashionista
Shell Shell Charm Eternal beauty
Alligator Alligator Charm Long and enjoyable life
Eiffel Tower Eiffel Tower Charm Life of travel
Owl Owl Charm Wisdom
Rose Rose Charm Blossoming love life
Dolphin Dolphin Charm Playful life
Shovel/trowel Shovel/trowel Charm You are nurturing and caring
Sailboat Sailboat Charm Life of adventure
Crown Crown Charm Fame
Claddagh Claddagh Charm Friendship, love and loyalty
Lotus Lotus Charm Peace and tranquility

Step 2: Choose Your Charms

While the first ribbon pull ceremonies only used six charms, feel free to have as many or as few as you want. Just remember to keep in mind how many ladies you want to have join in the ribbon pulling so you have the right amount added to the cake. Lastly, while cake charms were traditionally made from sterling silver, you can pick from a myriad of metal materials and finishes to suite your tastes--it is YOUR wedding after all.

Step 3: The Ribbon Part of Ribbon Pulling

A ribbon may have been the preferred method of pulling the cake charms out, but you are certainly not limited to this material nowadays. Brides have used all manner of ribbon as well as beaded strands in custom wedding colors on Accu-Flex® beading wire. We've also seen the charms attached to pearl bracelets or on a petite necklace (like Gossamer™ chain) via jumpring so the women can immediately wear their charm and keep it as a memento. Be sure to give the finished cake pulls to your baker so they can place the charms under the cake layers or in the frosting during assembly (and AFTER baking) for a seamless appearance.

Other Ribbon Pull Ideas

Now that you know how to cake pull, feel free to add this tradition to other events as well, including your bridal shower. Some brides, who are having a big wedding, find the cake charm pull to be more intimate and easier to pull off at a smaller gathering such as a wedding shower. Other brides just have the bridesmaids pull charms at the wedding so they have an exact number early on to plan for. However and wherever you have your cake charm pull, it might be helpful for those unfamiliar with the charm meanings if you had a legend nearby or a small tag attached with the charm explaining the significance.


Cake charm pulls are a great way to get more of your wedding attendees involved and create lasting memories.

Design with ... Additional Resources ... If you have a question or feedback on this Pearls of Wisdom article, or would like to share your own wedding project idea, please contact us here.
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