We all have that image in our head of the bride and groom dutifully standing over a white, multi-tiered confectionery creation as the band or DJ delivers the strains of “The Bride Cuts The Cake” and guests wait for the inevitable cake-to-face smoosh.
It’s a sweet tradition—and many people believe that a wedding isn’t complete without it—but more and more couples are opting for alternatives to the classic cake, and in some cases, are doing away with wedding cakes, entirely.
Luckily, there is no rule book stating that a cake absolutely must appear at the end of a reception. After all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event for the couple of honor, and as such, every element should reflect their tastes and style.
Here are several popular alternatives to that same old wedding cake:
No longer relegated to one ubiquitous franchise chain, donuts are having a moment, thanks to multiple gourmet shops that have popped up over the last half decade. These adventurous bakers have created original takes on this classic treat—tasty, whimsical, and as eye-catching as they are delicious.
A tower of donuts is a casual and colorful way to bypass cake, giving guests the coffee accompaniment they crave, while also making a stunning visual statement. Other arrangements include a donut station, backdrop, or wall.
With so many different tastes to satisfy, a table lined with an array of fresh, locally baked pies is a great cake substitute.
Yes, the classic wedding cake is a dramatic marvel of modern dessert engineering. It’s stacked improbably high and spackled with frosting, smoothed out with luscious curves, and finished with decorative flair. But where cake is showy, pie is compelling, with variations that touch all the flavor and textural categories. Pies can be sticky or smooth, fruity or creamy, flaky or crumbly, sweet or savory.
That is precisely what makes pie such a crucial dessert alternative at receptions. With so many different tastes to satisfy, a table lined with an array of fresh, locally baked pies is a great cake substitute. Pies can be served in personal sizes, or even in a mason jar. The bride and groom can also enjoy their own personal pie, meant to stand out in grand fashion and topped with a playful decoration.
Ice Cream/Ice Cream Sandwiches
For those who prefer the cold comfort of ice cream, it very well may be the best statement you could make that this wedding is yours and yours alone. Picture it: Your wedding reception is winding down and your guests are starting to feel the effects of all that savory food, booze, and dancing. They need to take the edge off with a sweet treat. That’s when you announce that there’s an ice cream truck outside, set to deliver the goods. Stand clear of the exits!
Ice cream at your wedding can range from well-known classics to more lavish and dynamic artisanal offerings, developed by gourmet chefs using high-end, delicious ingredients. For an additional wedding day visual, truck proprietors often allow the bride and groom to climb aboard for photo ops, too.
A more modern take on the traditional wedding dessert, cupcakes and cake pops offer the spongy sweetness of cake, with the added bonus of being handheld and bite-sized. You can also serve multiple flavors, satisfying the varying tastes of your guests.
Cupcakes and cake pops also give the bride and groom the best chance among these alternative options to adhere to the tradition of feeding dessert to one another. If the bride and groom approves, it’s a popular moment at weddings that often garners many photographs, from all angles.
Perhaps what makes cake such a classic wedding finale is its ability to be stacked high. If that’s the case, how about wedding pancakes? Seriously. Pancakes are easily stacked, plus they are a fun favorite, and can be layered with an array of toppings.
This is an especially good idea for couples looking to hold a morning ceremony, followed by a brunch-themed reception. Smaller sizes can be tiered atop a foundation of larger hotcakes. Pancakes also take kindly to decorations like fruit, flowers, or even the time-honored mini bride and groom statue.
Your wedding, your rules is perhaps the most important thing to remember at such an unforgettable celebration. If you are an engaged couple that either doesn’t like cake, or simply wants to skew away from tradition, know that there are plenty of alternatives available to provide a sweet end to your special day.