When During Reception Does Cake Get Cut?

Decorating By KateLS Updated 19 Nov 2011 , 12:46am by KateLS

KateLS Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
KateLS Posted 18 Nov 2011 , 6:25pm
post #1 of 11

I keep puzzling myself over this question. Almost every reception I've gone to, the cake isn't cut until the end. So it just sits there being pretty.

I'm planning to make my sister wedding cake, and she and I both want it to be served, but when do people see it?

Do you do the sheet cake thing to compromise?

Thanks for any insight!


10 replies
BakedAlaska Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
BakedAlaska Posted 18 Nov 2011 , 6:51pm
post #2 of 11

It depends on the wedding. But the most common timing is to cut the cake a little bit after the meal has been served and consumed. Sheet cakes are generally used to provide additional (more economical) servings for larger weddings on a budget. These are served in addition to the actual wedding cake.

Chiara Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Chiara Posted 18 Nov 2011 , 6:57pm
post #3 of 11

I can tell you that I have had this done a few times and every time it was different.
If you are leaving a real cake to be cut by a caterer they will want to chop it up fast because they want to serve it right after the dinner. I had one instance where none of the guests ever saw the cake because the caterer was so nervous about timing that they cut it up before people arrived at the hall. Then to make matters worse, they had some cake in the back because they served people a cake that was not the wedding cake. So some of the people got it and some did not.
Then, the most recent one, the cake stayed out on display and everyone was served a well plated cup cake made of the same cake. Each cake had a calla lily made out of good fondant on it. The photos and cake were never touched.
So it is purely a crap shoot depending upon what the bride tells the caterer and when you want to eat it. You could be standing there handing out cake for a while if you do not have it planned well.
My wedding, I had a buffet so that if people wanted to return for more salad or some other dish they could. The cake was partially cut and plated and if they wanted more they could cut their own. I had plenty of cake.
Good luck

KathysCC Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
KathysCC Posted 18 Nov 2011 , 7:12pm
post #4 of 11

I thought that the cake was cut and served right after the bride and groom have cut their traditional first piece of cake. Everyone should be there at that point and the cake will be the focus of attention since they usually take photos of the bride and groom cutting the cake and eating the first piece.

AnnieCahill Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
AnnieCahill Posted 18 Nov 2011 , 7:41pm
post #5 of 11

It's up to your sister when the cake is served. I got married in December and worked it out with my DJ. We did our dance, had a buffet dinner, and then we cut the cake immediately after. I understand a lot of people think the cake should be cut before dinner, but to us it seemed weird to do it that way.

If your sister wants it cut and served, then she needs to make sure she does it early in the evening after the first dance.

You don't need sheet cakes if all your servings are included in the tiers.

KateLS Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
KateLS Posted 18 Nov 2011 , 8:02pm
post #6 of 11

I guess it's a bit different at receptions here. There is rarely a dinner at the reception. And guests come and go throughout the whole night like an open house.

What usually happens is the bride and groom wait in their line as guests come. The guests congratulate them and those in their line. Then they go and help themselves to refreshments, visit with others a bit, and then leave. So most people are only there for 20 minutes or so. Only the immediate family stays the whole time. And the majority of the people who come show up the second half of the reception time.

Perhaps this is why it's just there for show..... or else no one would see it.... so why go out and get a fancy cake?

Hmm....... frustrating.......

leah_s Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
leah_s Posted 18 Nov 2011 , 8:22pm
post #7 of 11

Around here, people come for the entire reception, and it's dinner and dancing. Receiving lines are pretty much not done any more.

Appetizers and wine/drinks are served for 45 minutes - hour while the couple takes pictures. DJ announces couple, and the buffet line is opened, or dinner is served if plated. Couple makes the ceremonial cake cuts, Best Man and MOH offer toasts, couple has first dance. Catering staff cuts cake and serves it or puts it on tables for guests to pick up. Catering staff clears tables and band/DJ starts the party. Candy buffet is opened.

cambo Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
cambo Posted 18 Nov 2011 , 8:53pm
post #8 of 11

Yes, as Leah stated...that is what's common here in SW Ohio also! However, I must say that a trend for most of my brides in 2011 was to cut the cake shortly after arriving at the venue...then the cake is cut/plated by the catering staff closer to dinner time. It's still very much a tradition to cut the cake as a couple and take pictures, etc., but the event itself is almost like a "ribbon-cutting" introducing that "dinner is served" or "let the party begin"!

KateLS Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
KateLS Posted 18 Nov 2011 , 10:00pm
post #9 of 11

Thank you for your replies.

I talked to my sister about it and we decided to have a center cake to last the night and then separate tiers that will be served.

Hope this will work okay. =)

AnnieCahill Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
AnnieCahill Posted 19 Nov 2011 , 12:14am
post #10 of 11

Yeah my family has always had huge weddings and there is always dinner and dancing. It feels awkward to go to a wedding that doesn't have that. We didn't do a receiving line either and I don't think anyone does them in my area anymore. I would be offended if someone left before even having dinner, especially paying the price per head!

KateLS Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
KateLS Posted 19 Nov 2011 , 12:46am
post #11 of 11

Yeah, it's totally different here. (We're in Utah, and invite lists include everyone you know at church and all large families. So this can add up to over 300ish people.)

So receptions are mostly held at a church or in someone's backyard. Family and friends help with the food and set up and decorations are usually minimal but beautiful.

Then, after the couple leave, the family stays behind and helps to clean everything up.

This isn't the rule on all receptions here, but it is most common.

Quote by @%username% on %date%