Traditional wedding cakes are beautiful, and they are a great dessert choice.  But, more and more brides are saying “no” to providing cake at their wedding receptions and instead opting for non-traditional dessert choices.  Some say … “just a little” and add a few other dessert choices to create a unique display of desserts. Here are a few popular dessert ideas for receptions:


This is a great way to still serve “cake,” but have it in multiple flavors, using different frostings, colors and décor!  Cupcakes can be served in tiered displays to give the feeling of a multi-tiered wedding cake.  Top it with a small cake or giant cupcake for the formal cake cutting!  If you’re a frosting lover, cupcakes will serve you better than wedding cake!

Photo by Abbey Leigh Photography, Cupcakes by Loose Mansion

Ice Cream Sundae Bar:

This interactive station is an awesome idea for both adults and kids and never fails to be a huge hit at wedding receptions!  We’ve seen guests cheer and practically jump for joy over vanilla ice cream served with a smorgasbord of toppings! But frankly, you couldn’t go wrong with just vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, cherries, and nuts!  Instead of a cake for the traditional cake cutting, why not use your spoons and dive into a huge sundae served in a beautiful crystal footed bowl?

A Tip from the Italians:

Cookies!  Cookies!  Cookies!  If you’ve been to an Italian wedding, I know you’ll understand!

Photo by Freeland Photography

Photo by Freeland Photography

Candy Buffet:

Come on … who doesn’t love candy?!  A lot of our groups have provided this in lieu of party favors or a groom’s cake … but, there’s no rule it can’t replace the wedding cake!  We have a ball creating candy buffets with our lovely décor items and unique serving pieces.  Include your favorite candies as a couple, or just the groom’s favorites … or plan the whole buffet around your colors!  Feel bad about leaving out the cake?  Include some cake pops … mini cakes served like a lollipop!


I’ve been obsessed with pies, banana cream in particular, for as long as I can remember.  When one of our brides provided a beautiful display of assorted full-size pies, I knew there would have to be some pies at my wedding!  My husband and I cut into a banana cream pie for our formal pie-cutting, and we provided mini pies for our guests so they could sample multiple flavors.  I recall another pie lover … she surprised her guests coming upstairs to dance in our 3rd level Ballroom with pies for centerpieces on every single table!  The choices varied from table to table, and guests were mingling and chatting with everyone as they scoped out the choices.  Instead of pie, are you a cheesecake lover?  Serve mini cheesecakes instead, or let your guests cut their own slices from assorted large cheesecakes.

Photo by Epaga Foto, Pies by Upper Crust Bakery

Mix it Up:

Don’t worry about running out of certain items, select a few of the above so your guests have options!  There won’t be an unhappy camper at your reception!