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How to Cut a Wedding Cake: Everything You Need to Know

This guide covers everything from the history of this tradition to top tips on cake cutting from industry experts, including a handy diagram to help you out

Bride and groom cut into rose gold and sparkly wedding cake
Pixabay / Jay Jay Redelinghuys

Bride and groom cut into rose gold and sparkly wedding cake
Pixabay / Jay Jay Redelinghuys

The newlywed couple may be the star of the wedding ceremony, but the reception is the wedding cake’s time to shine. This sweet treat even gets a big moment all to itself when the couple invites their guests to watch them cut the wedding cake.

Watching the happy couple cut their wedding cake together allows guests to see them starting their exciting new life together. Not only that, it’s the perfect photo opportunity to capture the experience of entering a new life together. 

There are lots of things to consider when cutting your cake - If you’re feeling a little nervous for your big moment or you’re not 100% sure what you’re doing, then read on for our top tips. 

Why Do the Couple Cut the Cake Together?

Couple kiss in front of a 'mr and mrs' sign and behind their superhero reveal wedding cake

Cutting the cake together represents the first act the couple will do together in their married life, although in the past, the bride did this alone to represent the loss of her virginity.

Some couples also like to feed each other the first slice of cake, a pretty intimate act and a sweet way to kick off the party part of your celebration. 

When Do You Cut the Cake at a Wedding?

In most modern weddings, the cake is cut just before the first dance so everyone can watch before heading onto the dance floor. It’s also a great way to split up your reception so any guests not wanting to take part in the dancing will know it's about to happen. It also means your evening guests can see you cut into your wedding cake as they arrive. 

However, recently we’ve seen some couples cutting the cake after they've been announced at the reception, which means that cake can be cut up and served in time for dessert, which is a great way to save money on your wedding.  

How to Cut a Wedding Cake

Black and white image of bride and groom cutting their wedding cake

There are several things to bear in mind when cutting your cake. Decide beforehand whether you want to cut your cake in a wedge or a box shape. When the big moment arrives the couple’s hands should both be placed on the wedding cake knife. Cut about an inch into the cake, then a connecting line and use the cake knife to lift the slice onto your plate. 

Using two people to cut a cake probably isn’t something you’re used to doing, so it’s a good idea to practice beforehand - why not have a trial run with the groom’s cake?

Tips for Cutting a Wedding Cake 

Cutting the cake together can be pretty nerve wracking as all eyes are on you and your spouse. But never fear, we’ve got some top tips from the experts to help you out. 

Choosing where to cut into can be confusing. Pippa from Sugar and Spiced Cakes advises: “Depending on the size, second tier, to the side and only that tier. There will be boards in between each tier so don’t try to cut through them!”

Serena from Cobi & Coco emphasises the importance of positioning for photos: “The position is so important, the backdrop will be in all your cake cutting photos. Too often there is a fire extinguisher or a fire alarm button behind the cake table and spoils the photos. Choose a clean wall so that all the details of your wedding cake will stand out in the photos."

It’s also important to be well prepared for the big moment. Serena says all you need is “a suitable cutting knife and a top up of your wedding lipstick for the photos.”

How Much of the Cake Does the Couple Cut?

A couple hand's with knife cutting into white wedding cake
Pexels / Maria Lindsey

In the past, couples would cut the entire cake themselves. However, with cakes growing increasingly larger and more complex over the years, now it’s custom for the couple to cut the first slice only, and leave the rest to the caterers. 

Songs for Cutting the Cake at a Wedding

The song you choose to cut your cake to is really down to personal preference - there are so many wedding songs to choose from, after all. Pippa from Sugar and Spiced Cakes recommends, “something catchy, fun and means something to you both.” Here are some of our top picks:

  • Celebration - Kool and the Gang - This upbeat funky tune is the perfect vibe to enter your new life and remind your guests that this is a celebration!
  • Sweet Disposition - Temper Trap - This dreamy tune creates a sense of building excitement and has some ultra romantic lyrics.
  • Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran - One of the ultimate love songs of the 2010s. Instantly recognisable and super sweet, it’s guaranteed to bring tears to your guests' eyes. 
  • You Make My Dreams Come True - Hall and Oates - Go for a throwback with this infectiously upbeat classic by Hall and Oates - this will get everybody in the mood for dancing!
  • Marry You - Bruno Mars - This sweet song is a wedding and reception classic, and for good reason. 
  • Love Story - Taylor Swift - Calling all Swifties! Love Story is THE classic love song of the century, if not all time, so it’s a must-have for cake cutting (not that we’re biased…).
  • I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) - The Four Tops - Go all out cheesy with this love song, perfect for hopeless romantics and old souls.

How to Cut a Wedding Cake Diagram

A diagram showing how to cut circular and square wedding cakes of different sizes

Cutting the cake can differ greatly depending on the shape and size. See our handy diagram for some practical help. 

Still deciding on your wedding cake? Check out these incredible wedding cakes for some inspiration.