Wedding Cake Etiquette

Where to place your cake and when to cut it


The wedding cake is an important tradition, as like all important traditions, comes with expectations and etiquette. It can vary depending on what type of reception you have, but these are the basic rules to follow:

  • The cake should be displayed in prime position on a special table near or in front of the top table at the wedding breakfast. It shouldn’t obscured the guests’ view of the bride and groom though.
  • It’s traditional to cut the cake with a silver knife, which most venues will provide. Some couples, particularly those with Scottish heritage, prefer to use a ceremonial sword.
  • To cut the cake, tradition dictates that the groom’s right hand should be placed over the bride’s left one as they hold the knife. They should then share a slice, which they feed to each other, as it’s thought to guarantee a happy shared life together.
  • There are certain times of the day when the cake can be cut, depending on the type of reception you are having. If you’re having a more formal affair with a sit down meal, the cake can be cut after the main meal has been served and eaten. If your party is less formal, then you should cut it once everyone has been welcomed and the speeches have been made. If you don’t plan to serve the cake at the party, you can cut it before the evening entertainment begins, which means all of your guests, not just the daytime ones, can witness the event. It should be announced to guests when the cake is about to be cut so they don’t miss seeing it.
  • The cake should be removed from the sight of guests after the first slice has been cut. It should be cut up behind the scenes, and then distributed as a favour, or served with coffee as dessert or with the evening buffet for guests to take as they please.


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