So Sweet: Six Desserts to Delight Your Guests

Cakes are among the most time-honored wedding traditions. But as couples think increasingly outside the box when it comes to planning their big celebrations, they’re bringing more options to the table. The dessert table, that is.

Wedding Cake Alternatives: Ice Cream and Pie | Weddings Illustrated

Photos by Ruth Eileen Photography and Brooke Images

Although no ceremony or tradition could ever replace cutting the cake, serving up additional desserts—from homemade pies to DIY sundae bars—at your reception does add to the celebratory atmosphere. Here are six decadent treats to keep your guests’ sweet tooth satisfied long after the cake’s been cut.


Cupcakes

Wedding cake alternatives: Cupcake Tower | Weddings Illustrated, Photo by Leslie Hollingsworth

Photo by Leslie Hollingsworth

Cupcakes lend a wonderfully charming and casual touch to a reception, and they make for the perfect grab-and-go treat for guests. Ask your baker to whip up several dozen that complement your wedding cake, and have them arranged on impossible-to-miss platters and stands.


Pie

Wedding Cake Alternatives: Pie | Weddings Illustrated, Photo by Brooke Images

Photo by Brooke Images

Few foods convey a sense of warmth and comfort the way a homemade pie does. Give your guests that same warm-fuzzy feeling with a variety of pies, from seasonal fruit classics, such as apple, cherry, or, of course, Key Lime, to more decadent options like chocolate cream or peanut butter.


Croquembouche

Wedding Cake Alternatives: Croquembouche, Photo by Gertrude & Mabel Photography | Weddings Illustrated

Photo by Gertrude & Mabel Photography

Traditionally served at Italian and French weddings and other important ceremonies, such as baptisms and first communions, croquembouche are as delicious as they are fun to look at. The dessert comprises a tower of cream puffs, which is typically covered in delicate threads of caramel or spun sugar. Personalize yours by adding pretty flowers, festive sparklers, or any other design detail you choose.


Macarons

Wedding Cake Alternatives: Macarons, Photo by Elaine Palladino Photography

Photo by Elaine Palladino Photography

When it comes to sweets, the French sure know their stuff. Not only did they give us the dazzling croquembouche, but we also have them to thank for the very en vogue macaron. The delicate meringue cookies can be customized with a seemingly endless array of colors and flavors, and they can be arranged on trays, platters, cake stands, and towers, too. Bonus? They’re highly portable, making them a fun and tasty to-go treat for guests when the reception’s over.


Ice Cream

Wedding Cake Alternatives: Ice Cream Bar, Photo by Ruth Eileen Photography | Weddings Illustrated

Photo by Ruth Eileen Photography

For a rustic warm-weather barn or backyard affair, treat your guests to a DIY ice cream cone or sundae bar. Tailor it to your wedding theme, from your serving pieces to the ice cream flavors (think pistachio and mint-chocolate-chip if you’re working with a pale-green palette). Whatever you do, just make sure to buy toppings and sauces aplenty.


Donuts

Wedding Cake Alternatives: Donuts, Photo by Lori Barbely Photography

Photo by Lori Barbely Photography

Though it’s hard to imagine a donut pairing with anything more perfectly than an early a.m. cup of joe, our favorite bakery treat is also a perfect alternative to the everyday wedding cake. If you’re throwing a lively, colorful wedding, mix up flavors and colors—think bright icing and sprinkles. If you’re going the more classic route, stick with good, old-fashioned glazed. Either way, this unexpected dessert option will have your guest in giggles—and going back for more.

 

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