Does it matter when we cut the cake at our wedding reception? Cutting the cake does provide an unspoken signal to guests: namely, that it's okay to leave without being thought of as rude. In days past, the cake was cut at the very end of the reception. Today, as a courtesy (especially to elderly guests), the cake is cut early on during the reception so that guests are free to leave when they are ready. The cake is typically cut after dinner is over and before the dancing gets in full swing.