Here's What You Need to Know About the Wedding Cake Cake-Cutting Fee

Don't worry, we'll clear up the confusion.
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
Associate Editor
  • Chapelle writes articles for The Knot Worldwide. She covers all things wedding-related and has a personal interest in covering celebrity engagements and fashion.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Chapelle was an editorial intern for Subvrt Magazine.
  • Chapelle has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Updated Oct 11, 2022

As you start your wedding planning journey, you may realize there are some hidden wedding costs you didn't know existed. The cake-cutting fee is one of those costs, and many to-be-weds have never heard of it. This fee is separate from your cake-cutting ceremony because it's a charge associated with the wedding venue staff serving your wedding cake to your guests. Depending on what things you're willing to allocate your funds to, this cake-cutting fee might not be an issue. If you would like to know more about the wedding cake-cutting fee, keep reading to learn what the cake-cutting fee is, the average cost and if it's worth adding to your wedding budget.

What Is a Cake-Cutting Fee?

A cake-cutting fee, also known as a cakeage fee, is a rate many wedding venues charge when a couple brings their wedding cake from an outside bakery. The wedding cake-cutting fee acts as an incentive for couples to use the wedding venue's in-house baker, but if the wedding venue doesn't have a baker, the cake fee's purpose is to compensate the venue's staff for their work. Usually, the cake-cutting service includes the wedding venue staff cutting, plating and serving the cake to your guests. Remember, it's important that you fairly compensate your vendors throughout your wedding planning process since you're receiving a service that'll lead to your wedding being the beautiful event you desire. Paying this fee is a good option for couples that don't want to figure out how they'll cut the cake themselves and have room in their wedding budget for this cost.

The Knot Expert Tip: Ask your caterer early on if cake cutting is included in your costs or if it's extra so there are no surprises.

The Average Cost of a Wedding Cake-Cutting Fee

The cake-cutting cost is per person or slice, which is how wedding cake costs are calculated. The exact cakeage fee, which is a play on the "corkage fee" is a charge some restaurants add to diners' bills if they bring an outside bottle of wine, will depend on the wedding venue. But on average, if you decide to have your cake made elsewhere, you can expect to pay $1.50 (or more, depending on your region) per person. So before you decide on getting an out-of-house baker to make your wedding cake, talk to your wedding venue about their cake-cutting fee to see if the cost fits into your wedding budget. If the cost doesn't work for you and your partner, consider using the venue's in-house baker (and don't forget to taste-test the cakes).

How to Avoid the Cake-Cutting Fee

Dessert is usually a large part of wedding receptions so if you're not thrilled by the cake options at your wedding venue, there are other ways you can have the baked goods you want and skip out on the wedding cake-cutting fee. Here are three simple and budget-friendly methods to not pay the wedding venue's cake-cutting fee.

Bring your wedding cake pre-cut.

Don't mind cutting your wedding cake yourself? Then cutting the cake before arriving at the wedding venue or cutting it in the venue's kitchen, if they'll allow you to handle this yourself, may be the best option for you. But remember, you should be celebrating with all your wedding guests on your special day, so we suggest asking your caterer, wedding planner or someone from your wedding party to cut and serve the cake. One wedding cake mistake people fall victim to is forgetting to assign someone to cut the cake, so make sure to assign this duty before the wedding day.

To be extra prepared, we advise couples to figure out what size proportions they would like each cake slice to be. A coffee-portion cake slice is one inch by one inch, and a dessert-portion cake slice is two inches by two inches. This decision will have to be made early in the planning process so that when you make your wedding cake order, you get the right amount of cake for you and your guests.

Serve an alternative dessert.

There's no rule saying that you have to serve a wedding cake at your reception, so have fun going the nontraditional route and hire a baker that makes sweet wedding cake alternatives. Individual wedding desserts like cake pops, cupcakes and donuts have become a major trend over recent years and are just a few of the delicious dessert options you have to choose from that wouldn't incur a cake-cutting fee. While you're in the mood of thinking outside the box, pick nontraditional designs, flavors, colors and even dessert toppers (like animal cake toppers) for your desired treats.

Set up a self-serve station.

Take the hassle out of the cake-cutting experience by simply having a self-serve station for your wedding cake. You can allow guests to dig in with your wedding cake-cutting set after you finish the cake-cutting ceremony or buy a set especially for the guests to use so you can stash yours away as a wedding keepsake.

Cutting a cake can be a little messy, especially if you have lots of cake decorations, so if you're going to have children at your wedding, make sure the little ones have a guardian with them. You don't want the entire cake to end up on the floor or for them to cut themselves a slice big enough to feed a family of four.

Opt for savory snacks.

Do you have more of a savory tooth than a sweet tooth? Then, serve hearty late-night snacks at the end of your wedding day. Soft pretzels with cheese sauce, fried chicken sliders and chocolate-covered bacon strips are just a few of the delicious salty ideas we've seen at real weddings. You can even combine these tasty treats with individual wedding desserts as well, so you and your wedding guests can have the best of both worlds. This alternative idea is the perfect opportunity for you to participate in the food truck wedding trend too.

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