Ah, the wedding cake. A detail that is so significant that it has its very own moment at the reception. And while everyone loves wedding cake, choosing what to serve for this momentous occasion is no cake walk.
From picking flavors and designs to alternative desserts and when to serve them, we’ve rounded up some of the top wedding cake questions on etiquette to help you choose the perfect sweet ending for your wedding day.
“When should we cut our cake?”
While it might seem arbitrary, the timing of your cake cutting actually plays a big role in your reception. In the past, the cake cutting was the very last moment in the reception—signaling to guests that they were welcome to head home. Though it usually happens much earlier today, cutting your cake still serves that same purpose (especially for older guests). These days, the cake is usually cut toward the end of dinner, just before dancing begins, and is the last “official” event of the evening. Slicing on the earlier side will let your grandmother or great uncle know they’re welcome to depart whenever they’re ready, and will signal that they won’t miss any of the formalities if they choose to head home.
What’s the Best Way to Cut a Wedding Cake?”
Have you and your partner practiced cutting a cake together before? Probably not, and we don’t blame you. Having two sets of hands on that cake knife can definitely be tricky. The neatest methods are either the box or wedge options. With the bride closest to the cake and the groom behind her, place both of your hands onto the knife. Cut an inch into the cake and slice down cleanly. Then, make a connecting cut for a wedge, using the cake knife to lift the wedge out and onto the plate. Skip the serving spatula, which is much larger than the slice should be and will just make a mess.
“I Want to Surprise My New Husband With a Groom’s Cake. What Should It Look Like? When Is It Served?”
Traditionally, groom’s cakes were the wedding favor, not another dessert. The cake was sliced, boxed, and given to guests to take home. Single women would then sleep with the cake under their pillow, hoping to dream of their future groom—hence the cake’s name. These days, a groom’s cake is a chance to add something special for the groom to a celebration that can often feel like it’s all about the bride. Displayed alongside the wedding cake, a groom’s cake can take any form and be any flavor, whether a traditionally-shaped cake in rich chocolate with a liqueur filling or the funfetti of his childhood, carved into the shape of his prized grill or emblazoned with his favorite team’s logo. Most couples opt to slice the groom’s cake immediately after cutting the wedding cake, and serving slices alongside pieces of the wedding cake so guests have a choice of flavors.
“Do We Need to Offer Additional Desserts, or Can We Serve Only Cake?”
It’s sweet and served after dinner, so wedding cake sounds like dessert to us. As a wedding tradition (and a favorite celebratory dessert year-round), a slice of cake is a perfect way to end the meal. Only serve extra desserts if you want them – having a cake is plenty!
“Can We Save the Leftover Tiers of Our Wedding Cake?”
It’s a long-standing tradition for the bride and groom to save the top tier of their wedding cake to share on their first anniversary. Just make sure you tell your baker and caterer in advance. This way your baker can provide a box to fit the top tier, and your caterer won’t accidentally serve it. The next day, wrap the cake tightly in multiple layers of plastic wrap, then tuck it in the box and wrap the whole thing in more plastic wrap to fend off freezer burn.
“Do We Have to Have a Wedding Cake?”
Of course not. A lot of people lately see a cake as an excess expense, and think that no one will eat it. If you and your partner prefer fruit pies, doughnuts, or cookies instead of cake, those all make great wedding dessert options. Arrange them on cake stands or pretty trays, and don’t forget to share one with your new spouse as the first sweet bite of your marriage.