All Your Wedding Cake Cutting Questions, Answered

A cake cutting ceremony is easily one of the most common, and often most anticipated, traditions that guests come to expect during a wedding. Whether it’s a white, three-tiered cake or a macaron tower, guests gather around and cheer while a newlywed couple enjoys their dessert together, but not many people know the significance behind this. It turns out, there are many meanings in cutting a wedding cake, and how you execute it needs some preparation for a seamless ceremony. As you plan your wedding reception, here are all your wedding cake cutting questions, answered.

What’s the meaning behind a wedding cake cutting ceremony?

The wedding cake cutting ceremony dates back to ancient Rome, where the groom would break bread over the bride’s head to symbolize fertility. Guests would then pick up the crumbs and keep them for good luck in their own lives. The bread eventually evolved into bridal pies, and couples would stack the pies, and if they could kiss without knocking the pastry tower over, they would have good fortune. Nowadays, we celebrate a marriage with wedding cakes of all styles and flavors, and the ceremony symbolizes commitment and good fortune, while also serving as a fun photo opportunity.

What’s with cake smashing, freezing the top tier, and groom’s cakes?

Other than just cutting the wedding cake, there are more traditions that are occasionally seen at weddings that have to do with the cake ceremony. After couples cut their cake, some guests may be expecting the moment where the bride and groom smear the cake across each other’s faces. Although this slightly resembles the breaking of the bread from ancient Rome, this action does not seem to hold any meaning in today’s weddings other than just adding some fun to the ceremony.

One tradition that stems from the 19th century is the saving of the top tier, which couples would freeze and enjoy together during the christening of their first child. Nowadays, newlyweds often save the top tier for their one year anniversary, since couples are having children later and later into marriage.

Having a groom’s cake during your cake cutting ceremony can also add a fun tradition to your wedding. Dating back to the 17th century, the groom’s cakes were introduced as small party favors for guests to take home. Now, couples may include a second groom’s cake as a more flavorful option than the wedding cake. Couples may also choose to add some personalization to the groom’s cake depending on their interests.

What’s the best way to cut a wedding cake?

Cutting a piece of cake may seem simple, but the way you do so mixes higher meaning into the ceremony. Traditionally, the bride will hold the knife, while the groom lays his hand over hers to guide her, symbolizing his support for her. Then the couple should cut a slice from the bottom of the cake, which symbolizes longevity of marriage. Cutting two one-inch wedges, the bride will take the first slice and feed it to the groom, and the groom will feed the second slice to the bride. This action shows their commitment to take care of one another. Following the cake cutting, a caterer will normally take the cake back to the kitchen, slice it up, and serve it to guests.

When’s the best time to cut the wedding cake?

The cake cutting ceremony often serves as the last official event of a wedding and signals to guests that they can start making their way home whenever they are ready. Because of this, people typically hold their cake cutting ceremony after dinner, before the dancing begins. It is also important to consider your caterer and your photographer and/or videographer when planning when you should cut your wedding cake. If your photographer and/or videographer is only booked until a certain time, hold the cake cutting sooner, so he or she can capture the moment. Also, holding it sooner will give your caterer time to cut the cake up and serve it before guests start heading home.

Our staff at The Mackey House loves all the traditions surrounding the wedding cake cutting ceremony, and we make sure to work with brides and wedding planners to make sure the ceremony goes exactly how they want it. Couples often choose to hold their cake cutting on our clear-covered deck or inside our mansion, either one resulting in a special wedding event. We will even set you up with one of our favorite wedding cake caterers in Savannah or let you bring in your own. For more information on throwing a wedding at The Mackey House, contact us today!