Despite being a classic wedding tradition, the cake smash is often something of a hot-button issue with brides and grooms. For those not in the know, the cake smash takes please immediately after the cake cutting ceremony: Traditionally, the bride and groom each take a turn feeding their new spouse a bite of wedding cake, and this often results in one or both of the newlyweds ending up with a bit of frosting smeared (gently!) across their mouth or nose. While some men and women think of it as a fun, lighthearted nod to tradition, some are not amused by the idea of a messy dessert fight taking place while wearing their wedding finery. If you're considering a cake smash for your own reception, here are some dos and don'ts to ensure minimal mess and absolutely no hurt feelings.
Do: Make an advanced plan.
First and foremost, make sure both partners are on board. If either doesn't want cake smashed in their face at the wedding reception, the conversation should be over and their opinions should be respected. On such an important day, no one wants to feel less than their best self. But if you're both okay with a cake smash, Samantha Rotter, owner of The Perfect Moment Events & Design, recommends discussing guidelines early on. "My advice for a cake smash would be to speak with your fiancé about it beforehand," she says. "I've seen a bride get fairly mad about it. After all, she spent time and money on her makeup." It's important to agree on the timing, level of mess, and amount of enthusiasm beforehand. When in doubt, the pros suggest putting just a playful spot of frosting onto each other's noses, ensuring great pictures but also preserving dignity and clothing.
Don't: Surprise your new spouse.
Surprises are great, but not at this magnitude. A wedding is an important day, and a lot of time, planning, and money goes into every detail. With family, friends, and photographers watching every move, your wedding isn't the day to try something unexpected. If you haven't discussed a cake smash, don't go for it on a whim.
Do: Share your plans with the photographer.
If you're the type of couple that wants to have fun with a cake smash, this is bound to a prime picture opportunity. Make sure to let your photographer know exactly when the big event is happening so they can position themselves and capture the best possible snapshots. Your children and grandchildren will appreciate it!
Don't: Use a handful of cake.
Wedding cakes are expensive: They require hours of work and often feature details that are both edible and strictly decorative. That's why you should never just grab a handful of cake and shove it in your new spouse's face—for one, it's a waste of money, but the piece you grab could include something that was purely meant to be decorative and could hurt your significant other. If you want to use your actual cake, make sure to cut a neat, tidy slice first. And if you want something a little less messy, Rotter has an idea: "One trend I've seen as people have moved away from the traditional wedding cake is a smash with cupcakes instead," Rotter says. "It's a bit less messy than a cake slice smash in the long run." Your baker can help you formulate a plan that will be delicious and easy to execute.
Do: Be cautious.
It's one thing to playfully smash cake into your new spouse's face. It's another to be so energetic that you injure them or yourself. Some couples have come away from their wedding reception with broken noses, jammed fingers, and a myriad of other injuries because they weren't careful. Long story short: Be cautious! Don't start your honeymoon at the doctor's office.