10 Alternative Wedding Desserts

A dessert table with a small white cake and various other treats.

Everyone loves something sweet at the end of the meal, and it goes without saying that weddings aren’t complete without dessert. While wedding cakes are an iconic symbol associated with these exciting events, that doesn’t mean they’re the only option when it comes to treating your guests to something delectable to cap off the evening. If you’re looking to go beyond the traditional tiered wedding cake tradition, you can easily accommodate that desire. Learn below about wedding dessert alternatives that will more than appease your guests when it comes to a sweet tooth.

1. Pies

A selection of pies at a rustic wedding reception.

If you’re a couple that prefers pies to cake, incorporate this passion into your wedding night! Skip the traditional cake and opt for pies in different flavors – from fruity pies like apple and cherry to alternative flavors such as Boston and banana cream. This will appeal to virtually every guest while replacing a cake altogether. If you’re looking for something even more out-of-the-box, you can go with mini pies on sticks as something “grab and go” for guests who just can’t seem to leave the dance floor!

2. Breakfast Pastries

If you’re a couple that loves breakfast and wants to combine that love with a sweet treat, there are many delicious breakfast pastries to choose from. From fluffy pancakes to decadent waffles, guests will love this as a late night dessert in place of a traditional wedding cake. You can even include muffins and croissants in this spread to really bring it to the next level.

3. Donuts

A donut wall as an alternative to cake at a wedding reception.

Donuts are all the rage these days, and they’re pretty epic when incorporated into a wedding dessert table. Consider creating a donut wall with pegs (you can even make this structure yourself if you’re feeling handy) and create an Instagrammable moment for yourself and guests before they indulge. With so many unique and intricate donut flavors out there, there’s bound to be something for everyone. Another creative option is to create what looks like a wedding cake out of donuts. This is easy to do by layering them on top of each other in different “tiers,” just like a cake.

4. Milk and Cookies

What could be more appealing than warm chocolate chip cookies and a cold glass of milk? Every guest will love dunking their freshly baked cookie to end the night. This is great for couples that are looking for a quick and easy dessert that quenches the yearn for something sweet, yet isn’t too hard to serve or eat.

5. Candy Bar

A selection of white candy in glass jars at a wedding reception.

For couples that simply can’t get enough sugar and are looking for something whimsical for guests, create your own candy bar. These are great because they can be as simple or intricate as you desire. This idea also fits into virtually any budget, and it can be much more affordable than a wedding cake. You can pick your favorite candies and provide guests with baggies to fill as they wish. You can also customize this to match your wedding colors and create the perfect aesthetic.

6. Ice Cream Sundae Bar

If you’re getting married in the warmer months (or if you simply love ice cream), opt for an ice cream sundae bar instead of wedding cake. This can include several flavors and all of the toppings that make for a ice cream sundae worth diving into. Some couples opt to have an ice cream cart service come in at dessert time to serve their guests, which is a very cool touch.

7. Macaroons

A tray of macaroons at a wedding dessert table.

Going for something with an elegant touch in place of a normal cake on your wedding day? Macaroons are different, beautiful, and tasty all rolled into one! These can be presented to guests in individual boxes or even arranged into a tower that resembles a cake. Another great thing about these iconic cookies is that you can choose what colors best fit your wedding aesthetic.

8. Hot Chocolate Bar

Especially if you’re getting married in a cooler climate, you can provide your guests with something liquid to fulfill their dessert cravings. Create a make-your-own hot chocolate bar with a large carafe of rich hot chocolate and all the fixings to top off their cups. These can include marshmallows, peppermint pieces, sprinkles, cookies, gummy bears, crushed Oreos, and even Bailey’s so that adults can make theirs alcoholic if they wish.

9. Fruit Tarts and Parfaits

Fruit tarts at a wedding reception.

If you love the tangy taste of berries and other fruits, use them in your wedding dessert! Fruit tarts make a great choice in place of a cake. If you’re looking for a healthier option, go with berry parfaits, which are light and refreshing while still providing a sweet end to the event.

10. Cake Pops

Love the taste of cake but not looking for the formality of a full wedding cake for your big day? Cake pops are the perfect compromise. These can be designed to look however you want and are just as tasty as regular cake. Plus, incorporating cake pops into your wedding makes it easier to include additional flavors into your dessert table.

These dessert alternatives all provide a sweet touch to your big day that will make it even more special—and delicious.

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