The Ultimate Wedding Cake Cutting Guide

You may be wondering how to cut your wedding cake perfectly. We’ve created the ultimate cake cutting guide so your reception can be worry-free.

By Emily Forrest

Wedding Cake Cutting Guide
Photo by Zola

Cutting the cake after saying ”I do” is a well-known tradition most couples incorporate into their wedding day celebration. Whether you have a unique cake shape or many loved ones to feed at your reception, you may want your wedding cake to last until your day has come to a close.

To make sure everything goes according to plan, there are a few things to keep in mind when digging into all of your cake’s layers and decorations.

Surprisingly enough, most caterers charge a cake slicing fee of up to a dollar a slice. If you want to avoid this cost and you’re wondering exactly how they do it, we’ve broken down all the basics of cutting your own cake for everyone to enjoy.

How to Feed The Crowd

Even though you may have a large wedding cake, it can be hard to feed every guest if your cake isn’t cut correctly. Typically, after you and your partner enjoy your first slice with your family, your cake is taken to the back to be disassembled in this order:

  1. Start by taking out all of your wedding cake dowels.
  2. Carefully take apart each cake tier.
  3. Mark off each side of your cake to make sure each piece is cut similarly, ensuring everyone gets the same portion size.
  4. Cut each slice rectangularly one inch wide and two inches deep.
  5. Start by cutting the largest tier first. Wipe your knife in between slices to ensure each piece is cut evenly. If you’re able to, save your top tier to freeze for future anniversaries.

Round Tiers:

Round Cake Round cakes are common for traditional wedding cakes. To successfully cut a round wedding cake, start by cutting an inch across the whole length from the bottom tier’s outer edge and repeat this step until you reach the other side of your base. After that, turn your cake clockwise 90 degrees to make a slice two inches in from the edge. Repeat until you reach the other side of the cake. Depending on the size of your cake, you can also consider cutting it like you would cut a pizza. Make triangles by vertically slicing your cake as you turn it slightly to the right or left, about one to two inches apart, until your base is fully cut.

Square Tiers:

Square Wedding Cake A square wedding cake is also common. Its perfect frame makes cake cutting easy and can feed large crowds. Start with your bottom tier, making one-inch wide cuts from the edge of your base. Continue slicing until you cut all the way through. Turn your cake once clockwise and start cutting two-inch wide slices. Repeat on every layer of your cake.

Heart Tiers:

Heart Cake For couples that love bold touches, a heart-shaped cake is the perfect way to go. Whether you want one large base as your whole cake or multiple tiers, there is a special way to cut it evenly.

For a heart shape, start off by slicing your cake straight down the middle from top to bottom so you have two even sides. Cut vertically along each piece making two-inch wide cuts. From there, turn your cake sideways to cut a vertical line in the middle. Finally, cut one-inch slices from your centerline to each side of your cake and repeat until your whole cake is cut.

Petal Tiers:

Petal Cake Petal tiered cakes are where cutting may get a little tricky. For 15-inch petal cakes, start by cutting a circle two inches from the edge of the cake. Then, cut another circle one-and-a-half inches from that circle. After that, cut four slices through the middle of your cake, turning clockwise, at each petal indent. Continue to cut one-and-a-half-inch wedges around your cake until your whole base is cut.

For smaller petal cakes, start by cutting one horizontal line through the middle of your cake. Cut a circle two inches from the edge of your cake. Then, go around the outside circle of the base and cut one-and-a-half-inch slices until your outer circle is fully cut.

Oval Tiers:

Oval Cake Add a spin to a classic round wedding cake and catch your guests’ eyes by choosing an oval cake. To cut into this masterpiece, turn your cake so it is horizontal lengthwise and make vertical one-inch slices along the cake. Once that’s complete, turn your cake clockwise 90 degrees and make vertical slices two inches apart until your cake has been fully cut. How to Cut a Wedding Cake

Other Things To Keep In Mind

Cutting your cake with your partner and all of your loved ones watching is a memorable part of your reception. With that in mind, there are some things to agree upon before enjoying your first slice.

1. When to bring out your cake

It’s likely everyone is ready for the cake before the reception even starts. If you decided on a full course meal, it’s common to bring out the wedding cake after you have finished your last course. If you and your partner decided on finger food and small appetizers, the cake is normally brought out shortly after you start your reception.

Either way, announce to your guests when the cake cutting is about to begin so everyone has time to grab a front-row seat to watch.

2. Avoid cutting into the top tier

You may feel like cutting right into the top where your cake topper is but it’s important to note that this is the least stable part of your cake. For your cake’s survival, cutting your first piece from the bottom tier may be your best choice. Then, if you and your partner want, freeze the top tier for your first-anniversary celebration.

3. Create your perfect photo opportunity

It can be easy to dive right into the delicious dessert you’ve been planning for months but take things slow. Not only can this prevent cake mishaps, but your photographer can also capture every moment you and your partner share.

4. Plan for the unexpected

Tiered cakes normally require a special set of utensils. Make sure you have a cake knife, easily accessible plates for you and your partner, two forks, napkins, and your drink of choice.

Ask your caterer or baker to bring a couple of extra cake cutting sets in case either of you forgets your favorite set at home.

5. Feed your partner first

Have one partner step slightly behind the other at an angle facing the crowd. Place the back partner’s hand towards the back of the knife and the front partner’s hand on the top to make the perfect cut. After slicing your shared piece, feed each other and toast with champagne or a decorative mason jar cocktail.

Cut a couple of extra slices for your in-laws to show your respect and celebrate the joining of your two families.

6. Remember cake smashing is optional

Cake smashing has been a known tradition since Ancient Rome to represent male dominance and endorse fertility. Even though it may be hard to resist smashing cake on each other’s faces, it can end in disaster.

For couples that want polished photos and their hands kept out of the cake, cake smashing may not be of interest. Either way, agree on what you’ll do with your partner before your wedding day.

7. Place your cake in the spotlight

Before you start cutting, make sure your cake is in the spotlight for all of your guests to see. If you’re hiring a photographer to capture every moment you and your partner share while feeding each other, make sure your lighting is directed on your tiered masterpiece to snap every picture just perfectly.

Take it a step further and decorate with an eye-catching backdrop and intricate linen table cover for a simple touch to your set up.

Cutting your wedding cake symbolizes your first activity together as a married couple, so have fun with it! Create a beautiful backdrop or a decorative arch paired with a table cover for your picture-perfect cake cutting celebration.

If you haven’t picked out your wedding cake flavor just yet, check out our wedding cake ideas. For those that want to bake their cake at home, we have an easy-to-follow DIY wedding cake guide.

Sources: Cake Art | Design Me Cake 1, 2 | How Stuff Works

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola

Find even more wedding ideas, inspo, tips, and tricks

We’ve got wedding planning advice on everything from save the dates to wedding cakes.