Aaah, the cake cutting ceremony…when everyone is watching and the cameras are clicking. Today, the cake cutting is one of the highlights of the wedding reception. It is a moment that symbolizes so many things, including the couple’s fertility, the first act performed together as husband and wife, and the beginning of their new life together. It also provides a fantastic photo opportunity and many guests look forward it.
A little history…
The cake cutting is a tradition that was actually born out of necessity. Back in the day, wedding cakes went from simple pastries to elaborate, multi-tiered confections consisting of some very stiff frosting. It was almost impossible for the bride to cut the cake herself. This is when her new husband stepped in to add some muscle and help cut the cake. Thankfully, today’s wedding cakes are easier to handle but the bride and groom still cut the cake together for the love of tradition.
But let’s not get stuck in the past. Here are some tips to keep in mind when incorporating this traditional ceremony into your wedding.
Don’t cut the top tier.
Your instinct may be to cut the top cake tier first but with a wedding cake you actually want to start at the bottom. This is because the top tier is too unstable for a good first cut and you may topple your cake. Remember, bottoms up!
Don’t be a caveman.
When taking that first bite of cake, avoid using your fingers. A dessert fork is the appropriate utensil to use for feeding each other. This also eliminates any temptation you might have to smash the dessert into your spouse’s face. Which brings me to…
Don’t smash (unless they really want you to).
To smash or not smash the cake in your spouse’s face should be discussed well before the big day. My advice would be not to do it. You’ve put all this time into designing a beautiful cake, not to mention the energy (and money) you’ve invested in your hair, makeup and dress. Do you want your first act as a married couple to be classy and refined or messy and potentially embarrassing? If that doesn’t sway you, remember, this moment will be captured on film and stay in the minds of your guests for years. Make it a good one.
Don’t make it boring.
When it’s time to cut your cake, make sure to think about the presentation. Have your bridal party line up on either side of the cake. Ask your DJ to make an announcement and play some music. You can even plan a grand entrance by having the cake rolled into the room. For an extra special touch, invite your parents or someone special to join in on the cake cutting.
Don’t be late.
Traditionally, the cake cutting signaled the end of the wedding, as the bride and groom would then change clothes and be off on their honeymoon. More often now, the cake cutting is a natural segue after which people who want to leave may do so while the newlyweds and majority of their guests stay and dance the night away. Plan to cut your cake early in the reception before the dancing begins. If you cut the cake too late, you may have to stop the dancing and, once the music ebbs, the party could be over. As soon as you finish cutting the cake, have your DJ ready to play music to encourage everyone onto the dance floor.
Don’t forget to eat.
Couples often don’t get a chance to eat at the reception because they are busy with their ceremonial duties and entertaining guests. Ask your venue to make sure and save some cake for you. Many couples opt to save the top tier of their wedding cake. While there are those who suggest freezing the top tier until your one year anniversary, I do not think freezer burn tastes that good. Instead, share the cake with your new spouse as a snack later that night or enjoy it together the next day. For your first anniversary, order a small cake from the same baker to celebrate.
Don’t cut, kiss instead.
A long time ago, the bride and groom used to kiss over a “croquembouche” cake. This is a quintessential French wedding cake and, as you can see in the design above by Laduree, it consists of a towering confection of cream-filled puff pastries. It was said that if the couple didn’t wreck the cake during the kiss then it symbolized prosperity for them. If you’re looking for a unique cake ceremony idea, this is an old tradition that is not done anymore so you can make it new again.
Don’t feel pressured.
Some couples don’t want to do a cake cutting ceremony, whether it’s because they don’t like the tradition, they are not fans of cake or they simply want out of the spotlight. Don’t feel pressured to do a cake cutting ceremony just because you think you have to. You can forgo the cake cutting altogether and have your venue serve dessert or set up a dessert bar where guests can help themselves. And, you don’t have to offer cake. Pies, candy, ice cream and pretty much any sweet treat will be a hit with your guests. If the cake cutting ceremony is not your thing, don’t do it. Remember, it’s your day so do whatever makes you happy.