Cutting the wedding cake is hotly anticipated by newlyweds and guests alike, but when should it be taking place? As the last formal moment of your big day, convention suggests that at a lunch or dinner reception, wedding cake should be cut before dessert. If your reception is an evening or cocktail affair, it is expected that the cake will be cut once you and your new spouse have welcomed the guests. Etiquette tip: ask your toastmaster or the best man to announce the beginning of the cake cutting ceremony. Make sure everyone is gathered for the cutting ceremony, and take the time to ensure all the necessary photos have been taken. Remember to speak to your photographer beforehand on how you would like the actual cutting to be captured.
Traditionally, the knife used for wedding cake cutting is silver-plated or engraved in some way, so it can be kept as a memento by the happy couple. If your cake is tiered, it makes sense to cut into the bottom one first, while the top tier is saved for you to enjoy later. Convention dictates that you hold the knife while your groom places his hands over yours: this is because wedding cakes were once made from extremely hard frosting, confectionary so tough that it was necessary for the groom to step in and provide some muscle! However, having your hands enclosed by your man's is also a symbol of the support and guidance he promises to give you, his new wife. Once this is done, your catering staff will take over (phew!) and finish cutting the rest of the cake, leaving you to let your hair down and enjoy your first evening as a married woman.
CAKE IDEAS & INSPIRATION
So, what's the best way to go about cutting a wedding cake, according to its shape? When cutting a round cake, we suggest you take the bottom tier first and slice a circle two inches from the outer edge. Then work your way around this ring making vertical cuts one inch apart from one another. Repeat this procedure on the rest of this tier, and then on the remainder of your cake. If you have a square wedding cake, begin by cutting the entire length of your bottom tier horizontally in two inch increments. To finish off the slices, make vertical cuts one inch apart, and repeat on the rest of your cake.
The top tier of the wedding cake was conventionally frozen by couples so it could be saved for the christening of the first child. Today, many couples still choose to save some of their cake to share with one another on their first anniversary, or other special occasion such as New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. Alternatively, you and your new husband could share the top tier at the end of the big day, and order another delight from the same baker to commemorate your one-year anniversary.
TRADITIONAL WEDDING SPEECH ORDER
It's customary to send a slice of cake to the guests who couldn't make it to your wedding day. Cutting the cake also marks a time in the day when it is thought appropriate for your guests to make an early departure, should they wish to. (Read: "you can't go yet, they haven't cut the cake")
In fact, some people consider it bad luck for a guest to leave the reception without eating any cake. Another old superstition states that if a single woman leaves a piece of wedding cake under her pillow, she will dream of the man she will one day marry. Whether it's true or not, in the morning, she'll definitely find a cakey mess on her bedsheets!