Tips on Cutting & Serving Your Wedding Cake

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Wedding cakes have a long history and yet, they’re still a customary wedding tradition for most couples today. In ancient Rome, wedding cakes were made of barley and traditional smashed over the bride’s head. In medieval England, the wedding caked evolved into a tower of sugar buns and unmarried guests would take a piece home to place under their pillow for good fortune. In the United States, wedding cakes serve as the traditional guest treat and have evolved into edible works of art.


According to tradition, the wedding cake is cut at the end of the reception and is used to signal guests that the reception is coming to a close. Use the DJ or band leader to help announce the cake cutting at a designated time. Alert the guests that the reception will be ending soon by adding a “thank you” speech after the cake cutting.

Cutting Tips

Use a cake knife with a sharp, serrated edge. Traditionally, the bride holds the cake knife with her right hand, while the groom places his right hand over hers. Together they cut the first slice of cake. From there, one or the other can continue to cut the cake or a server can take over. Wedding cake slices are meant to be 1-inch by 2-inch about 4 inches tall. After the couple has had their piece, the bride should serve the groom’s parents while the groom serves the bride’s parents. Once the couple is done with their cake slice and serving, remove the top tier and start by cutting the second tier. Follow with the third and fourth until the cake is cut. Leave the top tier for the couple to take home and store.

Round Cakes

Start at the tier’s outer rim about 2 inches in from the edge. Cut a circle around the inside. Then, repeat by moving in another 2 inches and cutting another circle. Continue the process until the tier is cut. Then cut 1-inch slices moving around each circular piece. Use the core of the tiers to cut into halves, thirds or quarters -- depending on the size.

Square Cakes

Score the edge of the cake at 2-inch intervals to give yourself a guide. Then slice in 1-inch pieces by placing your knife against the 2-inch mark and cutting downward. Continue to slice until the entire tier is cut.


While a couple can save money cutting and serving a cake themselves, wedding cakes are specifically designed based on servings cut in the traditional 1-inch by 2-inch slice. So, if a couple does not cut the cake properly -- which can be hard for first time cutters on a circular cake -- a couple might not get the serving amount they wanted from their cake. Some venues charge a wedding cake cutting and serving fee, while other times it's up to the wedding cake decorator or caterer. Get pricing ahead of time. If the cake cutting fee is modest, it might be easier to have a professional cut the cake than the couple, especially since the couple might not want to spend the end of their reception cutting cake.