What is a Wager Cup?
Pronounced ‘way-jer’ cup
Created in the sixteenth century, and originating in Germany, the wager cup is a double cup in the form of a female in an upright position holding a cup (sometimes swinging) above her head. These drinking vessels were usually created in the female form, although gents can often be used when pairs are created. The wager cups are often crafted from silver, with the wide skirt forming one cup and, more obviously, the cup held above the figure’s head is the second cup.
Using a Wager Cup
The silver wager cup was originally created for use at wedding banquets – hence the alternative name of ‘marriage cup’ or ‘wedding cup. The groom would drink from the larger cup, (this cup is created by the lady’s voluminous skirt), and the bride would drink from the smaller cup (the one held above the figure’s head) – the intention being for both the bride and groom to empty the cups without letting a drop spill! So steady hands were required.
I personally love this concept of the first drink as a married couple being shared from a wager cup. I feel it should be revived and become wedding day tradition.
If you want to test your drinking co-ordination, swinging wager cups can be employed. Such cups were originally used in men’s ‘drinking games’ requiring gents to drink form the upturned skirt without spilling a drop from the cup below. It’s safe to say I would be no good at this game , coordination and liquids don’t mix well for me!
As with many antique pieces, their form and use evolves over time with variants being produced.
Do you feel the silver wager cup should be reintroduced? And would you use this at your wedding?