HOW TO CUT A WEDDING CAKE:
It takes practice to actually GET the number of recommended servings from a cutting chart. Customers will NOT know how to get the recommended number of servings for which they have paid. The Wilton Serving Guide is the un-official serving/price-per-serving guide for the USA.
Wilton Cake Baking and Serving Guide
Cake decorators should learn the skills and logistics involved in cutting, plating and serving. Practice by making cakes to cut and plate at home [You can give the cut pieces to neighbors/family//wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for future desserts.] Time yourself when you do this on a small round cake, a large round cake, and a square cake. You'll be amazed at the mess and how long it takes.
When you are practicing, pretend there are 30-100 people impatiently standing in line for a piece of cake and watching you. Many times, cakes are cut where they are placed, instead of being removed to a kitchen. Additionally, IF the cake is stacked, you have to allow time to unstack it, and make room for the tiers on the cutting table, and remove the dowels/support plates/pillars.
Will YOU be cutting and plating the cake slices? Will a professional at the venue with cake/cutting/plating experience be cutting the cake and charging for the service? Will an aunt or cousin or mom of the bride be cutting and serving? Depending on who will be cutting the cake, the same size cake could end up with servings for 25 to 100 people.
Here are two superb resources that can be utilized to help get the recommended number of servings per cake. You may provide your customer with both a copy the the Indydebi instructions and a fake cake slice in the appropriate size. [HUGE thanks to both Indydebi and Schwammrs]
HOW TO CUT A WEDDING CAKE (I use a pancake type spatula and/or gloved hands instead of the cake comb)
SAMPLE CAKE SERVING SIZES—MADE OF PAPER OR CARDSTOCK
CAKE DELIVERY “TOOL BOX”
One 8" scalloped bread knife from the Dollar Store (in case they don't have a knife).
Small paper plates, Dollar Store plastic forks (in case they don't have plates or forks)
Pair of “cake use only” needlenose pliers from the Dollar Store to remove dowels in stacked cakes
10 pre-separated paper towels
2 damp paper towels in a gallon zip-lock bag (bag can be multi-purposed to hold trash after cutting)
3 pairs of food-safe gloves
A copy of the Indydebi “How to Cut a Wedding Cake” instructions
Sample cardstock/paper “cake” serving
Rubberized shelf liner from Dollar Store to place under the cake boxes in the car to prevent movement
Offset Spatula (if needed for repairs)
Disposable piping bags with extra frosting and tips for any border/cake surface repairs (if needed)
Extra gumpaste letters/figures made in case of breakage (if needed)
I also bring 3 new 12” bakery boxes as a courtesy. One can be used for any fondant or plastic decorations that you give to the family. If they don't want them, just pitch, no harm done. The other two boxes are for leftover cake that can be taken home by the family or given out to friends.
FOR LARGER CAKES:
Arrange ahead-of-time for 1 to 2 helpers to hand you the plates, put on the forks, and take the cake to the diners. (Young people love to help with this part!).
Pre-separate the paper plates so that they are slightly offset in a stack and can easily and quickly be grabbed with one hand and are not going to stick together. Same with forks, and napkins.
Have 2 cardboard boxes under the table, one for trash, and another one for cake pieces like dowels, plastic plates, etc. that you will want returned to you after the cake is cut.
Have a container of super-hot (NOT boiling) water to rinse cutting knife between cuts.
Have a stack of pre-separated paper towels (with a roll on standby) that you can grab, swipe the knife, and throw away in the trash box mentioned above.
Have room to place at least 10 plates with the cake/fork until assistants can take the pieces to diners and make more room.
You are welcome! I helped a friend and figured since I had it all written down, I'd post it here. I, unfortunately, had to learn the hard way. Thank Goodness for Indydebi's post--it saved my sanity at my first big cake-cutting event.