Wedding Cake Service Trends Change With The Times

I was doing my final planning meeting with one of my brides last week. At this meeting we plan our schedule of events; setup, breakdown, first dance, last dance, dinner service, bouquet toss and cake cutting time. This particular bride wanted to cut the cake late in the evening in hopes of keeping her wedding guests from leaving early. Once-upon-a-time the cake cutting served as a signal to guests who wanted to make a hasty exit, that they would not be gauche by leaving the reception.

As with most wedding etiquette, changes in times have brought changes with this tradition. One of my brides wanted her cake to have a very prominent position in the wedding reception (The couple had spent about $4000.00 on the cake. I would want it noticed too!) Rather than performing the first dance after being introduced, the couple walked to the center of the dance floor where their beautiful cake stood on a rolling table (they wanted it there so no one would miss it). Accompanied by great fanfare from the band, the couple cut the cake and fed it to each other. The servers dramatically whisked it off to the back of the house. After dinner, the sliced cake was served to the guests on beautifully decorated plates — a presentation that was only possible because we cut the cake early.

Another one of my brides wanted to make sure she had a great dance party. As soon as dinner service was over, the bride and groom cut the cake (about an hour and a half into the reception) then they led the guests upstairs to the pool deck where the dj was playing great dance music, a cigar roller was rolling cigars and a desert presentation was displayed with cookies and… the wedding cake. How did we get the cake plated and upstairs so quickly? The wedding cake on display at dinner was a dummy cake with a small corner cut out with real cake so the bride and groom could feed each other. The dessert cake was in the kitchen ready to be placed on display upstairs.

Sometimes the tradition is changed out of necessity. A few years ago one of my brides wanted a cake with white chocolate ribbons all over it. I reminded her that her wedding was in July… she still wanted that cake. I reminded her that her wedding was outside… still wanted that cake. I reminded her that we live in Central Florida! She had to have that cake. The caterer and I held off in putting the cake out on display as long as we could. Sure enough, the second the chocolate met with the July humidity, it began to sweat. Shortly thereafter, the beautiful white chocolate ribbons began to slide. The entire cake started shifting. It looked like a tire with a slow leak. We quickly had the bride and groom cut the cake and we carried it to the back of the house just in time for it to completely slide apart. Fortunately, we had servers with quick reflexes. None of the cake hit the floor and as each piece was plated, we reshaped the chocolate on top.

So back to my bride from last week… I suggested that rather than holding her guests hostage by postponing the cake cutting, that she put the cake cutting where tradition has always had it, after dinner. This will allow any guest that wants to leave to gracefully make an exit. For those who want to stay and party, they can have a yummy sugar boost prior to getting their dance on!