MSNBC, June 2, 2005
Thanks to some young, venturesome companies capitalizing on the permutations of modern love, many of those keepsake bridal figurines that grace wedding cakes everywhere this time of year look strikingly different. While love may be blind, these companies’ racially interchangeable wedding toppers show that the opportunistic entrepreneur sees very well.
With their tweak of nuptial tradition, the companies are responding to changes in the complexion of romantic relationships.
Interracial marriages in the United States have been on the rise, from about 310,000 in 1970, to more than 651,000 in 1980, to 1.16 million in 1992, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
A growing trend
Today, there are more than 1.5 million interracial couples in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While they are only a fraction of the 55 million married couples, their rate of growth has been remarkable — doubling every decade.
And although most gay couples are barred from marriage per se, they are increasingly holding ceremonies with all the trappings of traditional weddings.
Both founders say the Renellie line of wedding-cake toppers — interchangeable, hand-painted porcelain bride and groom figurines with African-American, Asian, white and Latino ethnic facial features — was an immediate hit.
“One of our customers said it was the first one he’d seen that didn’t look like a white man painted black,” Genuardi said.
“Mostly what we get is, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s about time, there’s such a great need for this,’” Puebla said.
Same-sex cake toppers are also offered in both genders, in a nod to the latest controversial expression of love. Renellie’s 7-inch figurines sell in pairs for about $70.