The cake cutting ritual is a wedding tradition that has evolved over the years. Historically, the bride cut the wedding cake and served the portions to the guests. It was believed that eating the cake ensured fertility. As the size of weddings grew, the wedding cakes became larger with thick layers of hardened icing used to support several tiers of cake. The wedding cake became more difficult for a bride to cut herself, so the groom was needed for additional strength to slice through the stiff icing. His hand placed on hers to manage the first cut, and a ritual was born. Wedding cakes are no longer the dense, stiff confections of the past, but the cake cutting ritual is still enjoyed by couples, to simply carry on a tradition. Originally born of necessity, this ceremonial first cut of the wedding cake symbolizes the bride and groom’s first task together as newlyweds, and their eternal love for one another.
Wedding cake is cut from the bottom tier, usually using a proper serving set specifically purchased for the occasion. Choose a flavor of cake to cut into that will not stain your teeth or lips, a serious consideration for photographic reasons. You don’t want to have the photos of your first taste immortalized with red or black colored lips and teeth.
The bride and groom feed each other the first slice symbolizing their commitment to each other, as well as facing life’s journey together. Plates and forks should be available on the cake table to facilitate this task. After the bride and groom cut the cake and enjoy the first piece, the caterer takes the cake away to the kitchen to be unstacked and cut up for the guests. The bottom largest tier is cut first, and continues largest to smallest tier. This way, should any cake be left over, it will be the smaller tier (s) easily packaged for the newlyweds. If you plan to keep your top tier, to be frozen for your first anniversary or for your first baby’s christening, be sure to let the caterer know so it is not cut and served to guests. Many bakers today offer couples a fresh anniversary cake for their first anniversary.
The timing of cutting the wedding cake should be scheduled with your wedding planner or caterer, to ensure that it will not be overlooked and remembered too late in the evening when most guests have already left the event. After dinner, before the first dance, is an ideal time for the cake cutting. Once the bride and groom cut the cake, they can then have their first dance, as well as the father-daughter and mother-son dances while the cake is being cut and served by the caterer. Once the dance floor is open to the guests, interest in the cake will be lost.
Like your gown, your wedding cake is special and symbolic to you, and the moment you cut into those fluffy, delectable layers together, you may become overwhelmed with emotion. After all, the wedding is over, the cake has been cut, and your sweet life as a married couple is about to begin.