When it comes to a wedding, sometimes we forget that there are many long-established routines couples do in order to have a calm and full-filling day.
Cutting the, most often than not, tiered cake has become a symbolic tradition at a wedding. It is a momentous occasion by the bride and groom to demonstrate their love and support for one another in front of family and friends.
Although initially it may seem a somewhat simple task, there are a number of factors to keep in mind before applying the knife to the icing. The first being cutting the slices so there is plenty of cake for everyone.
To make sure nobody goes cakeless, the trick is to cut the slices in such a way that there is enough to go around.
Secondly, during the cutting of the cake, there are certain etiquettes the newly married couple will follow, such as the way they cut the first slice in front of both the photographer and guests.
This is usually where photographs are taken by the guests too, so it will want to be done right, or forever immortalised on social media!
Alternatively, you may want to pay a professional to cut the cake, but this could add on a needless amount of money to an already expensive wedding. You may also be on a strict budget, especially if you are trying to save money.
If this is the case, having a family member or learning how to cut the cake yourself could be the best option for you. Plus, it adds an even more personal touch.
When Is The Best Time To Cut the Cake
The big day can be very exciting, so it is understandable that once the cake cutting ceremonial rolls around at the reception (or even earlier depending on what type of wedding you are having), the nerves will hit for the second time that day – the first being when you actually got married.
Do not worry though, because once you learn how to do it properly, it will not seem as intimidating.
Normally, if the reception is finger food and a buffet style, the cake will be cut as soon as the couple have greeted the guests due to it being included within the food menu. If you are extra nervous about this part of the wedding day, then this is a good way to get through it quickly.
If it is a full meal, however, it will be cut after the sit-down dinner and the couple’s first dance. Usually there will be a signal, likely from someone such as the DJ, to tell guests that the cake cutting is about to happen. Guests will then flock to see the bride and groom, cameras out ready.
The Newlywed Etiquette Of The First Cut
As previously stated, cutting the cake is not as scary as one might think. It is something friends and family will be excited to witness. So, with that knowledge, when you cut the cake, make sure the photographer has a good view, as well as the guests. Here are a few tips:
- Take your time. The cutting of the cake, apart from the actual wedding, will be a highly photographed affair. So, because of this, take your time and pause for the photographs.
- The photographer will help you. When you are doing something like the first cut, the photographer may tell you what will work for the photos, so listen. This could include which layer looks best when photographing.
- Working as a team. Traditionally for the cutting of the cake photograph, the groom’s hand is on top of the bride’s to signify how they will work together as a couple. Depending on the icing, if it is difficult to cut, more than one hand may be used.
- What to use. Usually a couple will use a decorative cake serving set suitable for a wedding. If one is not available, usually it can be borrowed from the catering staff.
- Feeding each other cake. It is symbolic for a couple to feed each other a small slice of cake first, symbolizing a nurturing relationship between the newly married couple.
- Offering a slice to each other’s in-laws. Even though optional, some choose to then offer their in-laws a slice of cake. This would mean the couple cutting an additional slice, showing their respect to one another’s parents.
What To Avoid
There are a few things to avoid if you are after elegance at the wedding and would like things to run smoothly. Even though minor things can happen, it is always worth noting things to avoid.
- Which tier to cut. It can be difficult to figure out which tier should be the couple’s first cut without ruining the whole cake. One to avoid is the top tier due to it being potentially unstable and some people like to save it to eat at their first anniversary. Even so, it all depends on how the cake was constructed, so it is best to ask others for advice before the first cut ceremony happens.
- Crushing the cake, rather than feeding. There is nothing wrong about having a bit of fun at a wedding, it is a celebration after all, though do think twice about smashing a slice of cake in another person’s face. It can be tempting to be a little silly, but the other person may have make-up on that took a while to apply with no products on hand to re-do. Tuxedos may have been expensively rented as well as the wedding gown itself, so keep this in mind.
- Using fingers to eat. When feeding each other cake during the first cut, it is more appropriate to use a dessert fork rather than your hands. It looks delicate and leaves hands clean. Also, it will stop any temptation to smear the cake in a person’s face.
Cutting The Cake For Guests
You could say that cutting the cake for the guests is the most important due to it needing to be correct, otherwise some people will be left without a slice.
Generally, a wedding cake slice is around one inch wide by two inches deep, so be careful if you have started by cutting quite large portions. Sticking to a small slice will mean the cake will go further if you have quite the number of guests.
Make sure the tiers are unstacked, otherwise the cake will be very difficult to cut. The layers might also include dowels, so take them out first. Start by cutting the largest tier first due to it being the biggest one to get slices out of.
To keep each slice smooth, remember to wipe the blade of the knife after every cut. This will ensure an elegant and clean slice of cake.
And lastly, do this out of view of the guests. Even the most beautiful of cakes can be reduced to a crumbly mess.
How To Cut A Round Cake
This one might look like the most difficult, but it can be easy with the know-how. The final cut cake will not look round, and will resemble straight and neat cut slices.
Cutting around 2 inches into the cake (as if a large horizontal slice), cut down the end leaving half an inch uncut. Then cut one inch slices, producing long and uniform slices and repeat.
How To Cut A Square Cake
Many people are more familiar with the round wedding cake, but a square tiered cake can look just as beautiful. If you are anxious about cutting the cake, then this will be a good option.
The best thing to do is to divide the cake into two inch rectangles starting from the halfway line in the middle of the cake. You will find that the ends of the cake are all icing and will not match up evenly, so they can be discarded.
The Round Up
The cutting of the cake is an exciting moment of any wedding, but it can also be nerve racking. With these simple tips, you’ll be able to cut a cake for a number of guests and understand how the ceremony of the cake cutting works, meaning no scary surprises.
Sticking to the traditional routines and keeping it simple are the best ways to ensure that the cutting of the cake stays both timeless and elegant.