PROPER WEDDING CAKE CUTTING ETIQUETTE

 

A flowered wedding cake on a glass table surrounded by floating candles.

There are certain iconic moments throughout a wedding that you won’t want to miss capturing in picture-perfect detail. Some of these moments include the first kiss, the first dance, and cutting the wedding cake! To give yourself the best opportunity to capture stunning photos of this special moment, we are sharing our simple guide on proper wedding cake cutting etiquette.   

When to Cut Your Wedding Cake  

The timing in which you cut your wedding cake plays an important role in the flow of your reception. In the past, cutting the wedding cake was the very last moment in the reception and was a nonverbal signal to guests that they were welcome to head home. However, wedding timelines are more flexible than ever and when you decide to cut your wedding cake is completely up to you! After all, we’ve never heard a guest complain about getting cake too soon! 

While cutting your cake still signifies to most guests that the formalities of the wedding are over, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the celebration. Cutting the cake during dinner, before or after the bouquet/garter toss, or before the grand exit are all perfectly acceptable in today’s cake cutting etiquette. 

In our experience, we’ve seen many brides and grooms cut the cake toward the end of dinner, just before the music and dancing begin. This guarantees your photographer and videographer have time to capture the moment, as not all photographers stay until the end of your wedding. (Make sure to confirm with your photography team in advance!) This also allows both the bride and groom to freely enjoy the rest of the evening with friends and family without having to break for additional formalities.

A close up of a wedding cake with the serving knife and two forks at the ready.

How to Cut your Wedding Cake 

Even if you love to bake and are a pro at cutting homemade desserts, cutting a wedding cake can be a bit tricky without some helpful tips to follow. Since we only get one chance we want to make sure it’s done right! 

To begin with, cutting the wedding cake isn’t designated solely to the partner with the steadiest hands. This is a team effort and both partners will have their hands on the knife, not just for cutting purposes just also for pictures! The way you choose to position your body, and where on the cake you make your first cut can affect the quality of the images your photographer can capture. We recommend cutting from the bottom tier and having the groom place his hands over the brides. 

It’s also important to know the difference between the cake knife and the cake server. This may seem obvious, but they are roughly the same size, and both appear as if they can cut the cake. As a rule, the cake knife will always be the skinnier of the two, and the cake server should come to some kind of point at the end. 

When it comes to the actual type of cut, 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, and cut about an inch into the wedding cake and slice down cleanly. It can be a modest slice since you really only need two bites' worth. 

Feeding each other these pieces of cake is supposed to represent a symbol of your commitment to provide for one another in your new shared life. You can each take your pieces from that same plate with either two forks or your hands if you are going for the cute, messy approach. Once this part of the cake-cutting ritual is complete, you can then hand the cake over to the catering team to complete the cutting and serving.

A bride and groom exchanging bites of wedding cake flanked by floating candles and flowers.

Tips for Capturing Stunning Photos 

Even the most photogenic couple can feel a little awkward trying to cut the wedding cake and pose for pictures at the same time, but with a few simple tips, you’ll realize just how simple it is to get great pictures. 

  • Take your time and remember to smile. It’s not a race and in fact, the slower you move through this process the more opportunity your photography team will have to maneuver into the best possible positions. 

  • If your photographer or videographer make suggestions on where to stand, trust their judgment. They have done this before and can guide you into creating the best possible angles and movements. 

  • Don’t be so focused on getting it right that you forget to have fun! The best pictures are the ones that capture genuine emotion, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and get a little messy! 

A happy bride and groom smiling as they cut into their wedding cake together.

Enjoying an Iconic Moment 

While cutting the wedding cake is a symbolic ritual the main purpose is the intimate moment it creates between the bride and groom. By following these tips on proper wedding cake cutting etiquette, you can go into this moment with confidence and enjoy looking back on all the fantastic photos you were able to capture.  


Contact us for more information on how we can tell your love story. We would love to walk you through our amazing packages, wedding albums, canvases, and other print photography products. We look forward to providing you with more information on our Wedding Videography and Wedding Photography and the opportunity to introduce you to our team!