Serving Cake At Weddings, So Frustrating!

Decorating By kymscakes Updated 15 Jul 2008 , 8:34pm by cake-angel

kymscakes Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 1:39am
post #1 of 24

So I just was a t a guest where I also provided the wedding cake. Bride and I are close friends at work. We talked extensively about the cake, she was very, very easy going about the whole thing.
So, I'm at the wedding and after dinner, they serve ICE CREAM! While my cake to serve 240 sits there!!!! I was furious (open bar, mind you...), finally at about 9 they cut the cake and put it on a corner table with no announcement. The actual cake served about 140 with kitchen cakes to serve the rest, they never even cut the kitchen cakes!
Is this normal? In the future, this will be the first question I ask when doing a wedding, will each serving be served or put in a shadowy corner to be forgotten? Not bitter, really.....

23 replies
indydebi Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 1:55am
post #2 of 24

For some stupid reason, most wedding magz/advice columns will put out a sample itinerary that shows the cake cutting is done about 10 minutes before the bride and groom walk out the door. I will NEVER understand why some believe the cake-cutting should be the last thing done at a reception!

So ..... since I cut the cakes at my weddings, I suggest to the bride that they do the cake cutting "ceremony" soon after they arrive at the reception (Cut the cake then proceed immediately to the buffet table to "start the line" and open the buffet for the guests) and the reasons include:
1) This is one more thing that is out of the way.
2) you can sit back and enjoy your reception instead of trying to keep on top of where you're suppose to be next.
3) If you are paying your photographer by the hour, you could throw him into overtime if you delay the cake cutting.
4) once the cake cutting ceremony is done, then when your guests are done eating, the DESSERT that you've paid for can be cut and served to your guests at the end of their MEAL and not at the end of the NIGHT.
5) If you wait until the end of the evening, most of your guests will be gone and you'll have half of your cake still standing ... a waste of money.
6) If you wait until the end of the evening, then you are forcing me and my staff to sit around with our thumbs up our a$$, after the dinner dishes and equipment has been packed up and loaded in the van, and if you do that then I will be forced to add an add'l labor fee .... and you DON'T want to pay my labor fee for overtime cake cutting! icon_twisted.gif

This is also on my FAQ page.

MichelleM77 Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 3:35am
post #3 of 24

Oh my....our reception hall manager had to force me to cut it not long after we got there so they could cut it while we were eating dinner and then serve it right after. I wanted to wait cuz I didn't want to cut my cake first, but I see why that was good planning. We didn't have much left over. Actually, I don't remember taking any cake home except the anniversary tier (and they even gave us all the ribbon roses to take home that they removed while cutting, which my mom froze and assembled on a fresh anniversary cake that she baked for us, thought that was cute!).

indydebi Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 11:36am
post #4 of 24
Originally Posted by MichelleM77

I wanted to wait cuz I didn't want to cut my cake first,

Traditionally, the cutting of the cake is the first function done together by the new couple; it is the first "meal" shared by the new man and wife. So it's logical that the ceremony be done right away ... before dinner.

Plus, as I say on my website, to a lot of people, the cake IS the wedding. It's the only food designated as "wedding". You don't have wedding chicken, you don't have wedding salad, but you DO have wedding cake ... and the only place to get it is at a wedding.

For a bride and groom to put off and put off cutting the cake, until most of their guests have left (and therefore are not served any of the wedding cake) is inconsiderate.....because not all guests are 20-somethnings who are into partying all night. Many are older who want to go home ... many have small children (who get tired and the other guests WANT them to go home) .... many have sitters waiting for them at home.

Dessert should be served after the meal ... not after the festivities.

jess85 Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 11:42am
post #5 of 24

i agree that the cake cutting should be done before the night gets on.
i was wondering though, because we usually send a little piece home with people, not actually eat it there, whether the bride is ordering it to serve as dessert (which in this case, i guess not) or ordering a coffee portion?

indydebi Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 11:51am
post #6 of 24
Originally Posted by jess85

i agree that the cake cutting should be done before the night gets on.
i was wondering though, because we usually send a little piece home with people, not actually eat it there, whether the bride is ordering it to serve as dessert (which in this case, i guess not) or ordering a coffee portion?

Traditions have's some clips from my wedding-cake-history file:

"Cake historians say the [grooms cake] practice first came to the wedding party in the mid-19th century. About that time the bride's cake--for a long time a single-tier, dense fruitcake--had evolved into a stacked pound cake in the shape of a church steeple. But revelers still desired some of the old-style, rich, fruity cake. Enter: the Bridegroom's Cake. Each guest was given a slice of fruitcake in a box to take home. As the story goes, single women who slipped a slice under their pillow would have sweet dreams of a mate. Today, groom's cakes are baked and iced in the bridegroom's favorite flavors...A groom's cake is a have-to-have in the deep South."
---"A Cake of His Own," Washington Post, April 15, 1998 (p. E01)

"The grooms cake...The tradition of sending wedding guests home with a piece of second cake, called a "grooms cake," has its origins in early southern [U.S.] tradition. It is a tradition that almost disappeared by today is experiencing a revival of sorts. The modern-day groom's cake is often a chocolate cake, iced in chocolate, or baked in a shape, such as a football or a book, that reflects an interest of the groom. It is to be used as a second dessert, it is placed on a separate table from the wedding cake and cut and served by the wait staff. At a small, at-home wedding, it is placed on a separate table from the wedding cake and is served. Having a special groom's cake is a charming personal touch. Some couples ask to have the groom's cake packaged, festively wrapped and tied with a ribbon, in small boxes to send home with departing guests."
---Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette, Peggy Post, 4th edition (p. 339)

"The tradition of the groom's cake dates from the mid-nineteenth century, when guests took home slices of a dark fruitcake that was not served at the wedding. Those who were unmarried would slip their slices under their pillow to encourage dreams about their future mate. Although this tradition has faded, it's still fun to serve a dark chocolate cake along with the white bride's cake."
---Colette's Wedding Cakes, Colette Peters (p. 23)

Iheartcake Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 12:04pm
post #7 of 24

Oh kymscakes I am so there with you! I just did my best friends wedding cake last weekend. We talked design, flavours, etc. quite a bit over the past few weeks. After the reception, halfway through the dance I finally went up to her and asked if she wanted the cake cut. She said sure, so I cut it up, placed pieces of cake on napkins.. Oh I'd say.. maybe 15 people had cake icon_eek.gificon_confused.gificon_mad.gif

Plus she's from out of town, so at the end of the night when we were getting ready to leave, I asked if she wanted to take any cake with her.. she said no. She was leaving for her honeymoon the next day so couldn't do anything with it. So I took it.. I wasn't leaving all my hard work to be thrown out. I ended up giving plates of cake away to everyone I know. Such a waste icon_cry.gif

loriemoms Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 12:06pm
post #8 of 24

A few months ago a good friend of ours got married and I gave them their wedding cake as a gift. It was at a major hotel, but I think the DJ pretty much ran the event. They had a sit down dinner with a wait staff, and I too was surprised how late into the evening the cake was served. After dinner, everyone was asking me if I was going to cut the cake (No, I was a guest, I am not cutting the cake) as everyone wanted a piece! There was a lot of dancing after dinner and drinking and by the time they got to the cake cutting, half the guests had left. They only cut the middle tier, and took the rest away. It was sad. I blame the DJ as he was suppose to get things rolling, but I would think the hotel would have wanted to get the cake served already! It was a learning experience for me as well because the cake was SERVED to each person by a waiter. (not cut up and put out for people to come take) All three tiers were different flavors, so only one flavor got served. I now warn brides who order multiple flavors to find out how they will be served, and if people will get choices of flavors, etc.

It was the first wedding I had been in a long time and I too always thought the couple came in, a toast was made, the cake was cut and then everyone sat down for dinner, or buffet, etc, and this gave the staff a chance to cut the cake, and serve it after dinner, AND gave more room on the dance floor etc!

There are also still a TON of weddings down here that are nothing but punch and cake with heavy hors d'oeuvres . Do they also wait hours before cutting the cake?

Homemade-Goodies Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 12:12pm
post #9 of 24

It's not just in US. We attended a close friend's wedding in Ireland last Spring, and oh my lord, it all went on & on....meal, speeches, speeches, (did I mention speeches?), dessert(huh?), intermission, CUTTING the cake w/photo ops, setting up the band/chit chatting with family & guests......we left before the cake was actually served - and that was around midnight!!!

I really wanted to try the cake, but needed to get back to sitter. icon_sad.gif

Why would you serve a dessert, when you have a wedding cake for 300 sitting there? I found the whole process odd.

ziggytarheel Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 12:37pm
post #10 of 24

Years ago, we went to a wedding that was a good 12 hour drive for us. On Thanksgiving weekend. I ended up not feeling well at all and so we decided that as soon as they cut the cake, we would head back to the hotel to get some needed rest before heading home early the next morning.

They cut the cake at 2 a.m.


Seven courses, dancing between each course. And then the cake.

Traditionally of the non-sit down dinner weddings around here have the couple come in after pictures, cutting the cake just a few minutes after arriving at the reception. Although as everyone seems to feel the need to have a bigger and bigger reception these days, there are more and more "festivities" even at these receptions (a few dances, a slide show, etc.), so it is becoming more common for the bride and groom to be at the reception for long enough for people to being to leave before the cake is ever cut.

jess85 Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 12:42pm
post #11 of 24

i personally would not have cake as dessert. i would serve it with coffee/ and or send it home with people. thats pretty much still the trend over here on Oz. the main reason people serve it as dessert here is to reduce the catering cost of having a plated dessert.

christeena Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 12:52pm
post #12 of 24

I'm with Indy on this topic and after making the cake for my niece's wedding and waiting 2 HOURS for them to come to the reception site after the ceremony and get the ball rolling so many people were so disgusted at waiting for them that they left! The had so much cake left over because of the inconsideration they showed their guests. I now cut any wedding cake I make and I give the brides Indy's reason to cut the cake early in the evening and so far they all saw the sense it made and the guests got the cake the bride and groom paid for!!

smoore Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 1:02pm
post #13 of 24

The last wedding we went to, me and a friend were actually in line with all the little kids to get cake after the cutting .... We were ready to go for a while (not as young as I used to be, I guess), but wanted to try the cake. It wasn't worth the wait. icon_sad.gif (though I did get compliments on my cakes when I was on my way out saying goodbyes ... people asked if I did the cake and I had to say no. Their response was "I knew it!"). icon_smile.gif

poshcakedesigns Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 1:02pm
post #14 of 24

Some complain about the price of the cake and then serve them last after almost everyone has left and then the bride complains they bought to much cake.. icon_twisted.gif

MichelleM77 Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 3:43pm
post #15 of 24

I would never spend that much money on anything and not "use" it! I'm glad my hall manager knew what she was doing because otherwise maybe it wouldn't have gotten cut til the end. I had no clue, was too busy with greeting my guests, etc.

It looks like catering/hall managers are the ones that need educated about when to cut the cake, not the bride and groom, though if they knew it needed to be done early, they could at least push the issue.

loriemoms Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 4:59pm
post #16 of 24
Originally Posted by MichelleM77

I would never spend that much money on anything and not "use" it! I'm glad my hall manager knew what she was doing because otherwise maybe it wouldn't have gotten cut til the end. I had no clue, was too busy with greeting my guests, etc.

It looks like catering/hall managers are the ones that need educated about when to cut the cake, not the bride and groom, though if they knew it needed to be done early, they could at least push the issue.

I agree, not just on when to cut the cake, but just how to be a well, event manager! I don't know how many times I have talked with an event manager and made arrangements for when a cake is to be delivered. Show up, and she/he isnt there, and hasn't told a soul (like their assistant!) where anything goes! If they don't want to be there before the wedding starts, then at least educate someone on what to do when venders show up (I have seen equal frustration with the florist..both of us shaking our heads and trying to figure out what is going on.) I HATE it when I say "I have a kitchen cake..where do you want it" and they say "Whats that?" I have to explain to them what it is and they still don't understand why it just cant go on the cake table with the main cake icon_rolleyes.gif

sillychick Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 5:21pm
post #17 of 24

Same experience here at the last two I've been to, where they didn't cut the cake until hours after the reception started and most of the guests had long since gone home.

What's worse than being at a wedding reception with kids who are constantly asking "when can we have cake?". Last wedding I attended I could hear almost all the kids there continually asking their parents for cake. As a parent (much less a caker) it's very frustrating!

terrig007 Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 5:30pm
post #18 of 24

I went to a wedding this past Feb. and it was so frustrating because the cake did not get cut until 10:50 p.m. and the reception ended at 11:00 p.m. There was not an additional dessert served at the wedding after the meal. Octavia (the bride) tried to talk to the waiter about cutting it earler as her mom was telling her all the relatives were complaining they were hungry for something sweet. He got the manager (this was at a hotel and they got the night manager over) and said they signed the contract that stated cake would be cut approximately 15-20 minutes prior to the end of the reception. More than half of the people gave up and left and about 60% of the cake sat on the side of the table (it was also pushed down and to the side) and was left. The next morning when she inquired what happened to the cake that was left, she was told that the staff throughly enjoyed it.
Wonder if that happend with your beautiful cake?

mkolmar Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 5:33pm
post #19 of 24

I totally agree! My second wedding cake which I was also a guest I asked the couple a few times to start to do the cake. They said "But we want to talk more to our guests and be a good host" I understand this, but it was the complete opposite of what happened. That night was the first snow/ice storm and it was horrid out. Over half of the guests left telling me as they walked out (I knew most of them) "Sorry, we stayed late because we wanted some cake, but it looks like it will never get cut and it's horrid outside and we have to go." So frustrating. Thank goodness some came back for seconds or they would have had a lot more cake left than what they did.

A few weeks later I heard someone from the wedding say how they ordered too much cake. I thought "No, you lost over 100 guests who left earlier than when it was cut because it took too long."

I really like Indy's idea of cutting it before hand.

MimiStacie Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 5:52pm
post #20 of 24

I wholeheartedly agree with all of you. IMO The cake should be cut prior to the meal.
This past weekend I made my nieces wedding cake as a gift. No small gesture as it was made to feed over 225 people. It consisted of 11 individual cakes stacked to make one big cake (see my Marlana's rose fountain cake). This took me 4 evenings after working all day to bake, decorate, etc. and it was never cut/served until the end of the reception. Only about half of the cake was actually eaten as many guests had left already.
I was a guest there but as it was held in a local VFW hall I ended up cutting and plating it while other guests carried the trays around and distributed it. The "kitchen staff" pretty much just sat around whining about what are we expected to do w/the cake and one of them sat there complaining that I used fondant on it! icon_eek.gif The only fondant was a small rose colored band at the base of each cake as I prefer buttercream myself. You'd think I had made it out of dog poo the way she kept commenting on the fondant icon_rolleyes.gif I was so angry that so much cake was left over. If I had known I could have made a smaller cake and saved myself so much time and energy!

bfp Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 6:27pm
post #21 of 24

It has been about two years ago but I went to a friends wedding and they had a three tier cake with five other side cakes on the table. It was a lot of cake but there was over 500 people at the reception. They had the dinner and then right into dancing. The bride and groom left around 3 am for their honeymoon and never cut the cake. The lady who made the cake was there and she was so upset. It was such a waste. I still do not know what they did with all the cake. I would have thought that the family would have cut it up and sent it home with everyone that was still there but they just boxed it up and took it away. The bride and groom did not realize they did not cut the cake until they got their wedding pictures back. icon_cry.gif

kymscakes Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 7:23pm
post #22 of 24

Well, lesson learned right? I intend to find out for certain if the cake is to be served to each guest at each table or set out later. They never even touched my kitchen cakes so I assume they were dumped, it is just the hours and hours of painful work....heartbreaking. I have 2 more weddings in August and I will handle them much, much differently....

indydebi Posted 14 Jul 2008 , 8:48pm
post #23 of 24
Originally Posted by MichelleM77

It looks like catering/hall managers are the ones that need educated about when to cut the cake, not the bride and groom, though if they knew it needed to be done early, they could at least push the issue.

Agree. And add DJ's the mix since many of them often function as MC. (i've worked with a LOT of excellent DJ's but god save me from the "I'm in charge so you all have to do it MY way" guy! icon_mad.gif )

I try to do my part by suggesting to brides they do the cake cutting early, whether they go with me for the cake or someone else ... whether I'm there to cut it, or it's a drop off at a large hotel. MANY brides lean toward the "well, that's kinda how I wanted to do it, but ....." everyone else is telling her "no, you HAVE to do it this way."

REmember that old saying? The only thing you HAVE to do is pay taxes and die! icon_biggrin.gif

cake-angel Posted 15 Jul 2008 , 8:34pm
post #24 of 24

I made the cake for two weddings last year at which I was also a guest. The first wedding the cake didn't get cut until 9 pm. If it would have been served then it would have been great but the kitchen staff took it and did not serve it until 11:30 pm by which time more than half of the guests had left. I even had to leave before it was actually served as my two little ones were just wiped out. Needless to say my brother and his bride had a ton of cake left over. The guests that remained at the time of serving were only able to finish offabout one third of the bottom tier. It was served again at the gift opening the next day and they both took some to work. I told them how to wrap and freeze it and I guess it lasted them through the first year -- They served it at every party hey had. The good news is that even after a year they are all raving over how good it was and my new sis says everyone keeps asking her where my bakery is LOL. Not in their province.
My sister's cake was served immediately after dinner as the dessert for the wedding. It was about the same size of cake and she had fewer guests expected. At the end of the wedding we had the anniversary tier, Half of the ginger tier and 1/2 of the smaller chocolate tier. By the end of the gift opening there was none left.
Serving it earlier definately gets more cake eaten. Of course with my sister's wedding I was also the wedding planner so I got to decide when to serve the cake LOL.

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