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Have Your Wedding Cake and Eat It Too

The ins and outs of one of the sweetest elements of your wedding day

The wedding cake is such an iconic element of wedding culture, so much so that bakeries specialize in it. Wedding cake is so special that it has a table of its own and often has its own moment at the reception. In many ways, selecting your cake is one of the sweetest moments of wedding planning.

But that doesn’t mean choosing a cake is a cakewalk. Fortunately, we’ve addressed some of the most common concerns regarding taking the cake.

Selecting the Cake

Research your baker by visiting their website and social media. This can help you learn the available styles, sizes and flavor options. Like other design elements, it’s best to collect inspiration to show the baker. In the timeline of planning, most couples meet with a baker and do a cake tasting four to six months before the wedding. By this time, you should know the color scheme, florals and other important design elements to share with your baker. Should your timeline and budget allow, doing multiple cake tastings at different bakeries is not a bad idea to ensure you select the best bites.

The icing on the cake is often selecting the icing itself, along with the cake flavor and any fillings you might want. Cake tastings are not only fun but encouraged. You may think you want a vanilla cake with strawberry filling, only to taste the salted caramel and realize that’s the way to go. Depending on your cake design, you could choose multiple flavors. That way, you can each have your favorites represented and even a third layer representing your union.

When chatting with the bakery, be sure to talk about your budget. This can help you assess if you will have a large multi-layered cake or a small cake for cutting and a sheet cake of the same flavor for guests. Another factor to keep in mind is the bakery’s distance from the reception venue. Many bakeries include a delivery fee if the venue is within a certain range. Others charge extra depending on the mileage. Should the bakery be out of the delivery zone, someone will need to pick up the cake and safely transport it.

The Cutting
Photo courtesy of Paul Johnson Photo

Cake cutting typically takes place within 30 minutes after dinner plates have been cleared. This allows a little time for the food to digest but arrives soon enough to satisfy sweet tooths. Typically, the DJ or master of ceremonies announces that the cake is being cut. Guests can gather and watch if they would like or remain seated. Because guests like to watch, the cake table should be in a space that’s easy to navigate. Whether indoors or outdoors, the cake should remain out of direct sunlight. If your reception is outdoors, keeping your cake indoors until before the cutting is best. Some couples use this moment to thank their guests for attending. A song may play in the background while the couple cuts and serves one another.

At the table should be a cake knife, two serving plates and two forks. Many couples elect to have a small cake that they cut and then a sheet cake of the same flavor that is served to the guests. Others want the full cake on display. If you have a multi-tiered cake, select a tier that is a comfortable height for you and your partner. With both of your hands on the knife, cut a small slice, about one to two inches in width. Use a knife or cake server to put the slice on the plate. Couples can elect to feed each other or use their forks to taste the cake at the same time.


If you have a caterer, they will often take over the cutting duties. They will most accurately know the portion sizes. If your caterer is not present, you can ask your wedding planner or elect a family member or friend to cut and serve. Some couples opt to do so themselves.

Photo courtesy of Cedar Relics Photography

After the couple’s slice is eaten, the couple’s cake or top tier is often saved. Per tradition, couples may save it and freeze it to eat on their first wedding anniversary. Rather than saving and freezing it, some bakeries offer a free miniature cake or slice to commemorate the anniversary that can be purchased fresh.

Some couples elect to have a groom’s cake or dessert. The cake is often decorated with something representative of the groom, whether his favorite sports team or band in his preferred flavor. Should cake not be his thing, consider a pie, doughnuts, or cookies.

Excess cake and desserts? Have to-go boxes for guests to load up on a sweet snack for later.

To Cake or Not to Cake?

Perhaps you’re a couple that simply does not like cake or lacks the budget for it. That’s fine, too, but it is advised that some form of a sweet treat is available for guests. Slice a pie together, feed each other cookies or make ice cream sundaes. There are countless options for satisfying sweet tooths.

Feature image courtesy of Sarah and Paul Photography

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