Ok your first question is probably: why the hell does there need to be a song playing when I cut into the cake? Strictly speaking, you don’t need a cake cutting song. But, strictly speaking, you don’t need a wedding either. As a ritual, the cake cutting is potentially kind of cheesy. But it’s a ritual that you’ve agreed to take part in–and a feature of that ritual is that music is required.
Every ritual of a wedding has both an historic and a customary meaning, and wedding cakes are no exception. The cake isn’t sitting there looking all pretty just to be served at the end of the meal as dessert with no fanfare. It has–wait for it—layers of meaning that have changed over time.
The cake cutting ritual extends back to the Romans, who would break loaves of wheat bread over the bride’s head, the crumbs giving luck to her fertility and hopefully increasing how many children she’d have. By Victorian times, the symbolism had reversed: the cake had come to represent the bride’s purity. Cutting into it represented…well, pretty much what you would think.
But after the sexual revolution, women’s rights, and the general downgrading of sexual purity as a marriage requirement, we’ve had to come up with a new meaning for this delicious and highly anticipated part of the wedding.
Cake cutting today can represent the first “meal” you will eat in front of your friends and loved ones. A pristine, sweet, deeply thought out cake is the perfect symbol to cut into, feed each other, and start your life together.
After an evening of declarations, toasts and dancing, the thing that will really get the feeling and the mood of this moment is the song that you choose.
To start, let’s address some of the obvious choices, most of which feature references to candy and sugar:
Sugar Sugar – The Archies
As a wedding website, we’re almost contractually obligated to include this song on a list of cake-cutting choices. That doesn’t mean you have to have it on your Big Day, but if you’re into the retro-style, then it’s actually not a bad choice.
How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You – Marvin Gaye
The Motown Sound elevates the energy in any room. Marvin Gaye has such a soulful, sweet voice and this song really asks the lover and beloved to stop and thank them. And then maybe you can eat some cake.
Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
Hair metal anthems your thing? Then go for this headbanger with the appropriately sweet-toothed chorus (though it’s clearly a different sugar that Joe Elliott is singing about here).
Happy Together – Turtles
This song has stood the test of time because it has everything: longing, a risk, a big crescendo, lyrics that everyone knows and can sing. It hits every generation, so overplayed it’s no longer ironic anymore. How is the weather, by the way?
Sweetest Thing – U2
You probably didn’t even consider U2, who are generally more about big anthems and social causes. But this is a romantic, even touching song–and is appropriately sweet in tone.
Now for some other choices:
Jason Mraz, I’m Yours
Who hasn’t wished this song was sung to them at some point? The intimacy of Jason Mraz’s crooning voice and his declaration of love always brings the warm fuzzies to all the parts.
Gonna Love Ya – Aviici
This is a celebratory song, and–despite the EDM/Electronic bleeps and bloops–a real romantic pick. Even your most musically conservative relatives will be moved.
All of Me – Willie Nelson
Any number of artists have covered this beautiful standard, and this version adds a folky country twang that is as charming as a three-tiered angel food cake.
Fly Me to the Moon – Frank Sinatra
We still don’t have regular flights to any hot lunar vacation spots, so this song remains an exercise in hyperbole. But of course that’s just what you want on your wedding day. Totally romantic, totally masculine, an alpha move. In a good way.
How Deep Is Your Love – Bee Gees
So disco. So slow dance. “You know the door to my very soul/You’re the light in my darkest hour.” Nothing to do with cake, but who cares?
Waiting In Vain – Bob Marley
Marley at his most yearning, this is a great song If you want to cut your cake while thinking of ocean breezes and the taste of rum on your tongue. Also, the repeated refrain “I don’t wanna wait in vain” is perfect for a groom just itching to taste that fork full of cake.
Baby I Love You – Aretha Franklin
This is a crowd pleaser, for sure, it will have your troops circling you and singing out loud, this is the song for you.
When I’m Sixty Four – Beatles
64 is really not that old anymore, but if you are promising each other that you will get past your quarter and mid-life crises, there are few more apt ways of showing it than cutting a cake and feeding it to each other.
Satellite of Love – Lou Reed
This is a great love song, one of Lou’s most romantic, but not particularly good for dancing. Hence its fitness for this moment, which is about standing still, gazing into each other’s eyes, and eating putting delicious cake into your mouth.
Tell Me Something Good – Rufus and Chaka Kahn
If you can find a funkier bass intro to a love song, please by all means use that one. It’s a song about longing but, at this point, will work just as well as a celebration of your new husband-wife status.
Love You Madly – Cake
Ok, this song’s first lines are “I don’t want to wonder/if this is a blunder,” which maybe isn’t that great for a wedding. But: the groove is an infectious mix of funk and Led Zepplin, the chorus is appropriately fun, and the band’s name is Cake. So consider it, ok?
Cakes (#3) – Marvin Gaye
Normally, we’d say it’s sacrilege to pick a Marvin Gaye song where you don’t actually hear Marvin Gaye’s voice, but this instrumental from Let’s Get It On is a great sonic backdrop that will add a sexy vibe without overpowering the moment.
Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now – Starship
Pure, over-the-top ‘80s power ballad madness. But in a good way. Half the crowd will be on their feet lip-syncing along before you even finish cutting the first slice.
Honey Bee – Blake Shelton
If you need a country song, this one hits this one on the stinger.
Get The Party Started – Pink
In sickness and in health? For better or for worse? Ok, so that is in your future. Enjoy the journey, as everyone always says. It’s a philosophy that might help get you through the rough times, if you really enjoy the great times and start out that way, consider this fun song.
A Big Hunk O Love – Elvis
I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You is the expected Elvis song. But this song is so much more fun, in the spirit of the wedding and will get the crowd going for a song afterward. Maybe you are a hunk who is serving her a hunk of cake.
The Way You Look Tonight – Michale Buble
As with all the Great American Songbook standards, there are a lot of versions to choose from. If you want a soft, sexy croon, you can’t lose with Michael Buble.
Signed, Sealed Delivered – Stevie Wonder
We’ve already written about how this makes a great Recessional song,, summing up how both husband and wife might feel right after making it all official. But it’s pretty cool as a cake song too.
I Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd
This song is funky, soulful, and is rumored to be about snorting coke. Ok, that last fact maybe isn’t so great for your wedding, but the first two facts make it definitely worth considering.
The Light – Common
This man loves his lady, with respect and a backbeat. Your Memaw might not be able to follow the rap lyrics, but she’ll be able to feel the love.
The Best I Ever Had – Drake (the clean version)
If you like to call your boo shorty, this is the song for you. “A” game? Loving her with “hair tied, sweatpants, no makeup on?” That is the way to any woman’s heart. Maybe a little sexy for a cake cutting, but a little sexy never hurt anyone.
Interlude (That’s Love) – Chance the Rapper
With the tiniest nod to Biz Markie’s Just A Friend, Chance the Rapper uses atonal notes and and off-kilter rhythm on a song that crescendos into a bare bones ode to love.
You’re All I Need To Get By – Method Man featuring Mary J Blige
Again, you can tell your Grandad what “shawty” means. While not as melodic as the Marvin Gaye/ Tami Terrell original, Mary J. adds some serious heat to Method Man’s gruff flow.
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