1. Ask your wedding reception venue if they offer wedding cake services in-house.
The reason for this is because cake cutting fees are usually assessed only when the bride and groom buy a cake from SOMEWHERE ELSE. If your wedding reception venue offers a cake, then buy it from them and they will have to waive any cake cutting fee. If they offer a cake, just confirm that they will waive the cake cutting fee.
2. If they say that they do NOT offer cake services at your wedding reception, then you have a profound argument in saying, "Then why are you punishing us for a service that you don't offer?"
Basically, they don't offer cake services. This means they are FORCING you to buy a cake elsewhere. They should NOT be able to benefit from their own lack of services by charging a $3 (or whatever it is) cake cutting fee. That is pathetic and you have to be SO STRONG in telling them how unreasonable this is.
3. They will probably throw a bunch of excuses at you (our waiters are cutting it, etc.), but just fight back.
Their waiters are already filling your water glasses and bringing your food at the reception. They're being paid by the hour for their work, not by the SERVICE. It's not like they get $5 for pouring water, $5 for bringing you your dinner. It will not irk them (the waiters) to cut the cake. The money will be paid to the reception site, not the waiters. I just don't see the cake cutting as such a profound "extra" service that they need to charge a few more hundred dollars for it.
4. You can even scare them by saying that other wedding receptions sites are offering to provide the wedding cake and waive the cake cutting fee but none of them are FORCING you to buy a cake outside and subject you to a horrendous cake cutting fee.
5. If they say they DO offer cake services, obviously you'll have to ask how much it usually ranges from (price-wise) and what your options are. I doubt it would be some crappy cake but just make sure it's something you want, obviously.
6. Also appeal to their sympathetic side (if they have one) to say that you guys are paying for the wedding reception out of your own pockets and you really can't imagine paying $3 per slice of cake just for CUTTING it when the cake itself is like $3/slice to begin with.
7. The key is to do "all or nothing." If you say, "Oh, I'll pay $1 for cake cutting" then that cuts down on your argument that you shouldn't be paying anything at all. It's the principle that we're arguing. So ask them to waive the entire fee or you'll go elsewhere (and say this with conviction or else they won't buy it). If they are willing to go down to $1, then say, "Listen, it's the principle that I dislike. I don't want to pay for this cake cutting service because I don't SEE the service.
8. Another possibility is to say I will gladly upgrade our dinner by $200 (or whatever the cake cutting fee amounts to), but I will NOT have it listed as a cake cutting fee." Basically, you still win -- you are getting something ELSE for $200 (but still getting the cake cutting fee waived). The point is that you never benefit from the cake cutting. It's not like a chair cover or upgraded linens where you SEE the beauty of the money spent. But if you tell them you'll upgrade something worth the same value, then you SEE something. You'll get an extra dessert or something but you still get the cake cutting fee "for free." They get the "money" still (although they are giving you something more desirable) and you get something other than some abstract "cake cutting service."
9. Additional options are to get a family member to be a cake server, it will be an honor to niece or nephew.
10. Cupcakes are a good way of avoiding a cake cutting fee, hence their rise in popularity and they come in a variety of sizes.
11. Individual table cakes are another way of inviting the guest or family to become interactive with the cake ceremony. Simply post a family member to each table for cake service and a description of the cake being served. The cakes can be different flavors, adding to the mingling effect and creating motion and movement.