Who Pays For The Groom’s Cake?

Groom's Cake Etiquette

In a traditional wedding who pays for what is often a common question. Even the tiniest details can matter because they often add up in the already expanding budget. In this article, we will be covering who pays for the groom’s cake, yet another small but important aspect of a wedding. Needless to say, not everyone opts to honor this tradition, but if you’re among the select few, here are all the details you need to know about the groom’s cake, including who pays for the groom’s cake at a wedding!

What’s A Groom’s Cake?

A groom’s cake is a tradition that originated in Victorian England to honor the man of the hour with his own cake representing his preferences, interests, and personality. It is served as a secondary cake that is separate from the main wedding cake, but can be placed alongside the main one and is usually cut by both bride and groom after they cut the main one at the reception. Although, sometimes, the groom’s cake is usually served and cut at the rehearsal dinner too. 

The groom’s cake can vary widely in design and flavor. It can be themed around the groom’s favorite sports team, a hobby he enjoys, a favorite movie or TV show, or any other aspect of his life that holds significance. For example, if the groom is a fan of a particular sports team, the cake might be decorated with the team’s logo or colors. If the groom is passionate about fishing, the cake might be shaped like a fish or adorned with fishing-related decorations. All in all, a groom’s cake is a fun way to celebrate the groom’s personality and interests while adding an extra touch of personalization to the wedding celebration

History Of Groom’s Cake

Groom's Cake Etiquette

Courtesy: Sugar Geek Show

Groom’s cake originated in the Victorian era (the period of Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837 to her death in 1901) when three cakes were served at the wedding. One was the wedding cake, served at the reception and remains the most popular among them all, second was the groom’s cake, served either at the rehearsal dinner or at the reception, and the third was the bride’s cake which was only served to bridesmaids. The tradition was to cut the first cake and then the latter two cakes. The latter cakes were first enjoyed by the wedding party of both sides before being served to the other guests as an alternative flavor. 

It was also believed that any unmarried woman who took the groom’s cake with her and slept with it beneath her pillow will soon find her husband. Just one among the many unusual wedding traditions from across the world! 

Anyway, the tradition of cutting the groom’s cake quickly picked up in all of England, the UK, and then the US, especially the Southern states where it was considered a better version of the “feminine” wedding cake usually served. The cake quickly reflected the more manly version of the flavorings and often considered liquor flavorings such as rum and dark chocolate. 

Slowly, the cake started to become more personalized and artistic with the entire cake being built to reflect the groom’s interests, hobbies, and professions. These designs could range from symbols of his occupation, and sporting equipment, to favorite pastimes. This version of the wedding cake remains popular today and has become an opportunity to showcase creativity and the bride’s knowledge of the groom. With all the history though, the humble origins of the groom’s cake remains unchanged – to make the man of the hour feel special with his very own dessert! 

Who Pays For The Groom’s Cake?

Coming to the burning question of who pays for the groom’s cake, it’s usually the bride. Since the groom’s cake is usually a gift or a surprise, it’s often the responsibility of the bride to arrange and pay for the groom’s cake. Traditionally, too, it was the responsibility of the bride and her family to pay for the groom’s cake. Since this aspect of the wedding also is an opportunity to showcase the groom’s personal interests, preferences, and personality, it also gives the bride a chance to show off her knowledge of her future spouse and make him feel special. Sometimes, the groom’s cake can also be a joint contribution between the bride, the bride’s family or the bride and the groom’s family, or all of them together if they are sharing the expenses. 

Who Is Responsible For Buying The Groom’s Cake?

Traditionally, the person who pays for the groom’s cake is also responsible for buying the cake and designing it, which is the bride. However, in modern times, the groom’s family, the bride’s family, or the groom’s friends can also take responsibility for buying the cake and designing it. The planning and execution of the dessert can also be a joint effort among these parties and they can purchase the groom’s cake as a shared expense. Ultimately, the responsibility for buying the groom’s cake can be determined by the specific agreement and arrangement between the couple and their families. It can be a collaborative decision made based on financial capabilities, cultural traditions, or any other factors that the couple and their families deem important. 

When Is The Groom’s Cake Served?

Rules For Groom's Cake

Here are some of the common timings for the groom’s cake to be served:

#1 At The Wedding Reception

This is the most common choice for serving the groom’s cake. It’s often served at the reception right alongside the main wedding cake and placed on the same table or on a table right next to it. Guests can enjoy the groom’s cake along with the wedding cake or it can be kept as an alternate dessert option if the groom’s cake can’t be equally distributed or if serving separately is a personal preference. 

#2 At The Rehearsal Dinner

In some cases, the groom’s cake is served at the rehearsal dinner which generally happens the night before the main day and involves the bride’s and groom’s closest friends and family. This can be a nice option because it makes the groom’s cake the dessert for the night and also doesn’t take any attention from the main wedding cake. 

#3 At A Separate Celebration

Very rarely, the groom’s cake is served at a separate celebration or an event organized just to honor the groom and cut this cake. The event can be an informal affair with the closest friends and family and can extend the fun time over the wedding weekend. 

Who Pays For The Wedding Cake Traditionally?

Traditionally, the bride’s parents pay for the wedding cake, along with the rest of the costs associated with the reception and the wedding. The rule stems from the historic tradition of the bride’s family financing and hosting the wedding ceremony and reception. However, you should know that these rules have evolved and in modern times, the costs are often borne equally by both families and the couple can also choose to pay for certain aspects of their own wedding. The cake can be one of them and something the couple can cover, especially if the parents are covering the finances for the rest of the wedding. Some couples also choose to pay for some aspects of the wedding like say decor or cake or rehearsal dinner so they have more control over how it plays out and they can design the aspect based entirely on their own preferences. 

What Is The Traditional Groom’s Cake Flavor?

Traditionally, the groom’s cake flavor is something along the lines of dark cocoa powder and liquor, which are also considered to be more manly. Although, there’s no such traditional groom’s cake flavor as much and anyone who pays for the groom’s cake shouldn’t really worry much about the stereotyped etiquette when it comes to groom’s cake flavor because there’s no such rule! Though, liquor-infused cakes are preferred when it comes to groom’s cake flavor, but really you can opt for anything that the groom likes and make it interesting.

For example, Prince William’s groom’s cake reflected his childhood indulgence and he had grown up loving the chocolate biscuit no-refrigerator cake. You can pick a childhood favorite too! Or go for some of the popular options like vanilla, fruit cake, chocolate, red velvet, and carrot cake if it’s in the season – like fall or winter! Ultimately, the groom’s cake flavor should reflect his personal favorite flavors. The focus is also more on the design and decoration to reflect the groom’s personality rather than the flavor and we have included some of the best ideas for the groom’s cake in the last sub-section of the article. 

Is The Groom’s Cake Supposed To Be A Surprise?

Yes! Historically, the groom’s cake is supposed to be a surprise from the bride as it’s usually a gift from her. It also adds a sense of excitement and fun to the reception when the dessert is finally revealed and you can capture the reaction of the groom on seeing it for the first time. The cake often represents how well does the bride know the groom and this is often reflected in the design and flavor of the cake. 

However, in modern times, the bride can reveal the idea of presenting a groom’s cake at the reception beforehand so they can work on the design and the theme of the cake together. This ensures the groom is able to get a cake he actually wants and aligns with his preferences. 

Ultimately, since the bride is the one who traditionally pays for the groom’s cake and also takes on the responsibility for it, it depends on her if she wants to keep it a complete surprise or involve the groom in the design and planning of the cake. It’s definitely important to communicate and make decisions together so that both partners are happy with the wedding planning process. 

What Are The Rules For A Groom’s Cake?

Rules For Groom's Cake

Courtesy: Caroline Collective

While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to a groom’s cake, there are definitely some etiquettes to consider when planning and incorporating a groom’s cake into the wedding celebration:

1) Make Sure The Design Elements Represents The Groom

The groom’s cake is a chance to showcase the groom’s interests, hobbies, and favorite things. It’s important that this aspect of the wedding is about him, and only him. If you aren’t too sure about what he would like, it’s a good idea to let him in on the planning so the final dessert is something he is entirely happy about! Although keep in mind that even though the groom’s cake can be a different theme, it should blend with the overall aesthetic of the wedding.  

2) Display & Placement

The groom’s cake is typically displayed alongside the main wedding cake at the reception. It can be placed on a separate table or on the same table, depending on the available space and the overall visual presentation. Ensure that the placement allows guests to appreciate both cakes. 

3) Cutting & Serving

The groom’s cake is also cut by both the bride and the groom, just like the traditional wedding cake. To serve, you can choose to distribute it alongside the main cake or it can be kept at the dessert table as an additional dessert. Do work with the caterers and the venue staff beforehand to determine the best approach to serve the groom’s cake to the guests. Since the groom’s cake is smaller in size, many couples do keep it as an additional dessert, especially if their guest list is long and the cake can’t be equally distributed among everyone!  

4) Share The Story 

If the groom’s cake has a personal story attached to it or has elements that everyone isn’t aware of, then it’s nice to share the story with everyone to make it a more enjoyable experience for the guests and the man of the hour as well! You can share the story yourself or you can have an emcee mention it during the reception program. 

What All Does Groom’s Family Pays For? (Traditionally)

Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner (the dinner often takes place a night before the wedding and involves close family & friends including those who have come from out of town), groom’s attire, corsages & boutonnieres for the immediate family members, marriage license, groom’s ring (thought the bride can contribute to the cost), bride’s engagement & wedding ring and the lodging of the groom’s attendants. The groom and his family also cover the entire cost of the honeymoon as it’s considered their responsibility to arrange for this special vacation for the newly-married couple. 

What Does Bride’s Family Pays For? (Traditionally)

Traditionally, the bride’s family is supposed to cover the entire costs of the wedding ceremony and reception which includes booking fees for the venue, decor, planner, stationery, officiant, photographers, videographers, and the caterer. The bride’s side of the family also covers the costs for the bride’s dress and lodging of any guests arriving out of town from their side and not the groom’s side. 

However, you should know that splitting the costs has become a more and more acceptable approach toward wedding expenses and is also considered fair for the bride’s family. Further, splitting wedding costs has become more common between the couple and the respective families. A Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study found that the couple covers 49% of the wedding costs and their parents cover the rest of the 51% of the expenses. 

35 Groom’s Cake Ideas 

#1 For An Oreo Lover 

Groom's Cake

One of the ways to make the groom’s cake special is to recreate a favorite sweet treat of his from childhood, which can be anything from an Oreo to a Kit-Kat or an M&M’s loaded cake. If you don’t want it to be a figure cake, you can also make it a flavor and create a chocolate ganache exterior for a sweet surprise. 

#2 Outdoor Adventures 

Groom's Cake

This groom’s cake idea doesn’t just nod to the groom’s love for the great outdoors but is also a sweet gesture towards the many adventures the bride and groom will have together! We’re sure this three-tiered goodness will become a huge hit among the guests instantly. 

#3 When You’re Marrying A Police Officer

Groom's Cake

When you’re marrying an officer, there’s no better cake than this one to honor his profession and something he loves doing! We just love the overloaded donuts on the side – makes stereotypes fancy and tasty! 

#4 Brand-Conscious Groom

Groom's Cake

We all know someone who is conscious about brands and would rather prefer the name over the quality of the product. If that someone is who you’re marrying, then this groom’s cake sure seems like a perfect one for him!

#5 Keep It Simple

Groom's Cake

Since the bride is the one who pays for the groom’s cake, it’s only logical that she also becomes a part of the dessert and creates a cake that honors something they both adore doing together. Here, it’s mountaineering, but you can create anything you like, even a Netflix & Chill couple motif.  

#6 Beachy Vibes

Groom's Cake Ideas

For a groom who loves hanging out at the beach, there’s a groom’s cake inspiration you will love to have as an idea on your Pinterest board. It’s simple yet unique and perfect for brides who want to have a smaller groom’s cake for the wedding reception but still want to make it special. 

#7 Sneakers 

Groom's Cake Ideas

Groom’s cake is all about showcasing the preferences of the man of the hour, and if he is someone who loves his sneakers more than anything, here’s a cake idea you’d absolutely love! 

#8 Honoring A Cherishable Memory

Groom's Cake Ideas

There’s a very adorable story behind this groom’s cake. This groom is a musician who travels a lot, so he gave his bride a guitar pick to carry with her everywhere she goes so he will always be with her. Naturally, the groom’s cake idea was a Fender guitar pick cake, because nothing else made more sense. 

#9 Say It With Words

Groom's Cake Ideas

We love how the bride not only portrayed the groom’s favorite pastime through this cake, but also included fun and romantic writing on the top to impress him, and the guests! You can come up with something amusing for your man’s favorite activity too and include it on his cake. 

#10 Star Wars Fans

Groom's Cake Ideas

Crazy about Star Wars? Well, who isn’t? We love this cute Star Wars-themed cake which is subtle, romantic, and amusing all at the same time. We also love the cake topper included that’s ideally themed and would be very easy to find! 

#11 Gracious & Elegant

Who Pays For Groom's Cake

When it’s the bride who pays for the groom’s cake and needs her celebration to be suave, this groom’s cake idea might fit into the picture while making the groom feel special. Also, this idea can look good in single-tiered or multi-tiered cakes. 

#12 Ohio State Fans

Who Pays For Groom's Cake

Guys are usually fans of some or the other sports team, but in this case, both the bride and the groom were fans of this team and enjoyed the game together several times. Naturally, it was the idea for the groom’s cake and the artist did an amazing job recreating the setup. 

#13 Artistic & Special

Who Pays For Groom's Cake

This topsy-turvy groom’s cake includes many of the things that the groom loves. From his favorite sports to his favorite food and a love for music, this cake entails it all and also has a casual and creative vibe, perfect for such a celebration too!

#14 Include His Favorite Drink

Who Pays For Groom's Cake

This groom’s cake reflected the man of the hour’s favorite drink in a rustic, inventive way, and can be customized to your groom’s favorite drink as well! It’s also not unusual for the groom’s cake to have the flavor of alcohol and it’s, in fact, also traditional to have a groom’s cake flavor to be something alcoholic and chocolatey!

#15 Many Favorite Things

Who Pays For Groom's Cake

Why stick to just one favorite thing in a groom’s cake when you can have many? The next idea incorporates the many preferences and passions of the groom to give us a cake that’s as creative and eye-catching as it gets! 

#16 A Decadent Treat

Who Traditionally Who Pays For Groom's Cake

This cake isn’t just mouth-watering with its rich frosting, chocolate-covered strawberries, and chocolate drip, but also includes a passion of the groom with the football figure and an amusing topper that relates to the game! Needless to say, it can be customized to any of his favorite games: from basketball to baseball to tennis. 

#17 Keep Things Simple

Who Traditionally Who Pays For Groom's Cake

One of my friend’s partners only had one condition for his groom’s cake: Red Velvet flavor! So she kept things simple and recreated this design for her groom at the reception. It was just the ideal color for her forest wedding and also made all the guests go Aww! 

#18 Nothing Like A Happy Meal

Who Traditionally Who Pays For Groom's Cake

This Happy Meal-themed cake didn’t just tell us that the groom loves this Mcdonalds’ delicacy, but also other things he loved and was passionate about! Perfection at its best. Don’t you think?

#19 Perfectly Complementing

Who Traditionally Who Pays For Groom's Cake

Including something blue in the wedding cake, the bride and groom coordinated the main wedding cake and the groom’s cake in an eye-pleasing light blue & white color combination and we’re sure it’s the ideal aesthetic you need for an elegant, formal wedding. 

#20 Sumptuous & Delish

Who Traditionally Pays For Groom's Cake

The flavor combination of strawberry and chocolate is a match made in heaven and if your groom thinks so too, a double-tiered square cake with a drip is just the one for him. You can customize the chocolate flavor to his favorite like truffle, chocolate caramel, Belgian chocolate, etc.  

#21 BB8 Groom’s Cake

Paying For Wedding Etiquette

When your groom is obsessed with a Star Wars character, you don’t have to think too much about what the theme of his groom’s cake should be! Here’s a cute BB8 cake dressed up for the occasion, but you can customize it to your man’s favorite character from the series, like R2-D2. 

#22 Vintage Baseball Cake

Paying For Wedding Etiquette

A vintage baseball groom’s cake is just what you need to honor your man’s favorite game while keeping it in line with your wedding theme. You can totally customize it to any other game of his liking, like basketball or football. 

#23 Those Who Believe In Magic

Paying For Wedding Etiquette

If you’re the lucky one whose man believes in magic and loves reading everything related to it, this themed cake can be your perfect pick from this groom’s cake ideas list. Although it’s done with a vintage vibe, you can switch it up for an elegant celebration too by making the exterior clean and neat. 

#24 A Casual Basketball Cake

Paying For Wedding Etiquette

Clearly, games-themed cakes are big when it comes to creating a dessert for your man. Here’s one idea for rustic celebrations like a barn wedding, outdoor wedding, or forest wedding, and can also be tweaked a bit to incorporate into a more formal affair. 

#25 Amazing Detailing

Paying For Wedding Etiquette

A multi-color, multi-themed groom’s cake is all you need to make your man feel special and have a dessert that will serve as a precious memory for years to come. 

#26 Hunting & Cold Beer = Match Made In Heaven

Who Buys The Groom's Cake

Hunting and cold beer might be a favorite pastime of the groom or you guys might be an adventurous couple who like to do this outdoor activity together. Celebrate this passion with a groom’s cake featuring a gun, deer’s horns, and a cooler with beer cans. 

#27 Recreate His Favorite Indulgence

Who Buys The Groom's Cake

Everyone has their own favorite indulgence which perks them up when they’re down and is also a great celebratory treat. Choose that indulgence of your groom as the theme of your groom’s cake for a personalized and special sweet treat! 

#28 Baseball Fan

Who Buys The Groom's Cake

You will really hit it out of the park if you serve a figure of his favorite recreation sport as the groom’s cake. 

#29 Vintage Chocolate Cake

Who Buys The Groom's Cake

When it’s the bride who pays for the groom’s cake, then it’s natural for her to include some of her favorite elements in the groom’s cake too – like chocolate flavoring. It’s also a traditional flavor for the groom’s cake and is surely a beautiful surprise for your man on the wedding day. 

#30 Nod To America’s Golf Capital

Who Buys The Groom's Cake

If your man is from Michigan and also a golf lover (which is highly likely!), honor his heritage and interests with a lush green groom’s cake like the one displayed below. 

#31 Nature Admirer

History Of Groom's Cake

Embrace his love for nature and ask your baker to put it on the cake for a scenic and stunning design! The artist has certainly done an amazing job painting the exterior of the cake and gave us a design that truly makes us think of the great outdoors whenever we look at it. 

#32 Texan Cowboy

History Of Groom's Cake

Is there a better idea than this to honor the roots of your man? This Texan cowboy cake honors the state’s unique cowboy image along with the favorite hamburger meal on the top with, of course, the ketchup! It’s a special sweet and wonderful surprise for your man on the most special day of your life! 

#33 Keep It Cool

History Of Groom's Cake

It doesn’t matter what the occasion is, nothing beats a cold beer. And if your groom agrees with every word of this line, the next groom’s cake idea is superbly catered to his preferences. We love the detailing of ice on this one, which definitely shows the dedication of a baker. 

#34 Hunt Is Over! (Figuratively)

History Of Groom's Cake

While your groom’s hunt for a perfect life partner is over, his love for hunting in the outdoors can surely continue in full swing. Nod to his passion and hobby by creating a three-tiered goodness like this one. 

#35 Goodness Of Chocolate 

History Of Groom's Cake

Think square! If you want your groom’s cake to have a unique design without much of a creative streak, opt for a two-tiered chocolate ganache cake with strawberries on the side for the occasion.


The groom’s cake can be a very sweet (no pun intended!) and special tradition for the groom and can be a great way to pay homage to him! Since most aspects of the wedding are about the bride, this can be one that’s all about him. While traditionally, the bride is responsible for the groom’s cake, she can keep it as a complete surprise or can reveal it to the groom beforehand so he is able to design a cake he is completely satisfied with. The question of who pays for the groom’s cake is an entirely different thing though. While traditional customs often dictate that it’s the responsibility of the bride’s family, contemporary practices often follow a flexible and inclusive approach. The bride can choose to take the charge or she can choose to divide the costs with someone else. Alternatively, groomsmen can also buy the groom’s cake if the groom has been generous all along. Though, it’s essential for everyone to have open and transparent discussions about finances to create a plan that reflects their values and ensures a memorable wedding experience for everyone involved. 

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