I love, love, love building timelines for my clients. One of the questions we go over is “when do we cut the cake?” Essentially, there are three basic answers to this questions: 1] Following dinner, 2] Towards the end of the night, and 3] Before dinner.

So let’s talk about them…

photo of the lovely Mallory and Will by Lauren Brimhall Photography married last May 2011 – and currently expecting their first baby any day now!

01. Following dinner. Logically, this answer makes the most sense. When do you normally eat dessert? After dinner. Cutting your cake when most-to-all of your guests have finished their meals is a great way to get the night going. From there, you can either go into your first dance or parent’s dances (if you haven’t already), or just jump right into “a most awesome dance party” (as one of my client’s calls it). As long as this option works for your caterer, this is my favorite and recommended choice.

02. Towards the end of the night. In the 1990s, this was big. Couples were told if you waited to cut your cake until about an hour before the end of the reception, your guests won’t leave early. Luckily, this isn’t true. There should be no reason to have to bribe your guests to stay using cake. However, there are some DJ’s that will recommend waiting to cut the cake if the dance floor is getting a lot of traffic right after dinner. They won’t recommend waiting until the end of the night, but they may advise you to wait 30-45 minutes after dinner which will give your guests some time to get their groove on and then get a break while you cut the cake. And if you’re worried about guests not having anything to eat after cake is served, ask if your caterer can put the cut cake on a table for guests to help themselves as they like.

03. Before dinner. GASP! Unless you are the type of couple who normally hosts a party, and upon the arrival of your guests you bring out a cake, cut it, and then take it away – don’t do this option. Please don’t let your caterer tell you it will save time later on so they can cut it during dinner. Cake cutting to be served for guests should not take any longer than 30 minutes maximum for 150 guests. Unless you are CRAZY strapped for time (which hopefully you aren’t) I don’t recommend cutting your cake before dinner. It won’t feel natural and it will feel like you are simply going through the traditions of “what’s supposed to happen at a wedding” – not good and very likely not the vibe you want to start the evening’s celebration.

So, my advice. Stick to option 1 or 2. Oh, and have a great weekend!