14 Wedding Desserts to Serve Besides Cake on Your Big Day


It’s totally okay to not have a typical three or four-tiered buttercream cake on your big day. In lieu of the traditional confection, wedding desserts have actually grown in popularity throughout the past few yearsespecially for couples who don’t like cake! Not only do these wedding dessert alternatives allow couples to customize what they want to serve, but also allows them to find a few other ways to sprinkle some personalization into their big day.

{photo above by Pine and Sea // as seen in this dessert filled wedding}

Trying to figure out what to have besides cake at your reception? You’ve come to the right place. We asked the pros to send over their favorite wedding desserts and the list is filled with tasty treats. From donuts to ice-cream sandwiches to pies, these wedding desserts will cure anyone’s sweet tooth. Check them out below!

dessert spread

desserts by Sweetlee Made | photo by Kristen Booth as seen in this Colorful Boho Wedding

1. Serve miniature versions of all your favorite treats.

“I think mini bites of dessert are best to give guests a variety to choose from. Some of our favorites are sweet and salty chocolate dipped pretzels, mini cannolis with pistachio cream, mini cheesecake lollipops, dried fruit and gold leaf ruby chocolate bark, and tiny cupcakes with pipette infusions of Kahlúa or sambuca. Decorate your desserts to match your theme with fondant decorations and sprinkles, or do a classic all-white dessert table for your wedding.” – Michelle’s Catering


2. Nothing’s sweeter than a candy bar! 

“With glass displays of all your favorite candies (and of course, your partner’s too!), guests can fill a custom printed bag with their favorite selections to snack on throughout the night, and on the way home later in the evening! Take it up a notch by using color-coordinated treats that fit your wedding colors, or display your candy in an aesthetically-pleasing rainbow or ombré setup.” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events

3. Or, avoid something sweet altogether.

“When it comes to your wedding day, there are truly no rules! If you and your partner don’t have a sweet tooth, there’s nothing stopping you from skipping a traditional “sweet ending” and offering something that’s more fitting for you. Provide a European-style cheese plate to finish off the evening for your guests with a hint of sweetness with fresh fruits and artisan cheese, or skip straight to your late night snack offering with something salty like soft pretzels, popcorn, or French fries!” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events


photo by Lena Mirisola as seen in this wild flower-inspired shoot

4. Providing an assortment is always a good idea!

“Wonderful and enjoyable alternatives to wedding cake include a macaron tower or croquembouche, a fun and trendy donut wall or just creative mini donuts. Or, go all out and offer many desserts to your guests like chocolate covered strawberries, meringue pops, and chocolate dipped pretzels and Rice Krispies treats! No matter what you do, be sure to make it a beautiful display.”- Valarie Falvey, Kirkbrides

pie and tart wedding dessert tablePies & Tarts: Grapefruit and Thyme | photo: Megan Robinson | planner: Michelle Leo Events | table rentals: Wild Event Studio | florals: Lizy Bowden Floral

5. A fan-favorite wedding dessert option is pie!

“When brides and grooms come to WedBrilliant to post their needs for wedding desserts and our wedding vendors submit bids, we’re seeing so many creative options that fit every different type of theme, venue and personal style. One of our favorite desserts that couples should be considering is pie! Yes, pie! From the great seasonal favorites of apple pie and key lime pie to personal mini-pies, couples can get super creative. We’ve even seen some of our couples ask for custom designs in whipped toppings, or initials on the tops of tiered mini-pies. Flavor options are endless and there’s truly something for every couple (and guest) to love!”- Melissa Wilmot, Founder & CEO, WedBrilliant

6. A s’mores station.

“Another fantastic option, depending on your venue, is a s’mores station! There are WedBrilliant vendors who can help couples get it all set up and manage it during the reception so brides and grooms can just enjoy it all. The firepit is naturally a place guests will gravitate to, and then if couples include the classics of graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows, along with some surprise new favorites (think Reese’s Pieces, cut up Snickers bars or peppermint patties!), you’re going to have a dessert station people will be talking about for a long time!”- Melissa Wilmot, Founder & CEO, WedBrilliant


photo by Dear Lovers Photography | design by Feathered Arrow Events

7. Have a crowd-pleasing donut bar.

“My go to wedding desserts that pack more “wow” are items other than cake! Guests love a good dessert bar, especially donuts! One of the things I’ve seen go the fastest at every single wedding are donuts.”- Kari Dirksen – CEO and Lead Planner, Feathered Arrow Events

Donuts for Wedding Favors

donuts + sweets by Sweetlee Made | donut favor bags | photo by Kristen Booth as seen in this Colorful Boho Wedding

8. Opt for easy-to-serve selections.

A custom wall filled with your favorite cookie flavors are sure to add a nostalgic statement to any couple’s wedding! After all, there’s nothing sweeter than a fun dessert alternative that’s not only easy to serve, but guests can take to enjoy for their ride home. Just don’t forget the complementing florals and calligraphy signs to elevate the display for a wow-worthy look!”- Meghan Shaughnessy, Lace and Belle


ice cream cake cones

photo by Wisteria Photography as seen in this post

9. Think beyond traditional items and choose something creative.

“We love a fun dessert display with many sweet treats from candied apples to ice cream cone cupcakes and mason jars filled with apple crisp. Dessert displays cover for all tastes from chocolate to fruit!” – Jamie, Cape Cod Celebrations

floral ice cream sandwich

flower petal dipped ice cream cookie sandwiches from The Wild Posey

10. Made-to-order ice cream sandwiches.

“If cake isn’t your thing, don’t be afraid to go with the dessert you’re most excited about! We’ve seen everything from a personalized pie bar to ice cream sandwiches made to order – perfect for a hot summer wedding!”- Danielle + Hannah, Joyfully Gathered

succulent cupcakes wedding dessert

floral cupcakes by LILA Cake Shop

11. Provide grab-and-go wedding desserts to let your guests get back to the dance floor.

“Dessert bars are one of the best alternatives to wedding cake! There is still room to do a small cake if you’d like, but you can hit all the bases this way! From cupcakes, to mini pies, to donuts, all the way to tiramisu shooters, you can have so many fun options. Your guests can grab a quick bite and head right back to the dance floor so the party stays going and their sweet tooth is satisfied!”- AnneMarie Austin, Something Blue Productions



photo by  Bonphotage as seen in this unique engagement party

12. Get nostalgic and serve your childhood favorites!

“Nothing makes my sweet tooth more excited than when a couple wants to bring in unique desserts to liven up their reception! This is a great opportunity to bring in childhood favorites or treats that represent your heritage to personalize the event. From ice cream carts to warm cookies and milk to bite-size treats to just straight candy, the options are endless and I can guarantee your guests will give them a try!”- Nora Sheils, Founder of Bridal Bliss and Co-Founder of Rock Paper Coin

macaron creative display

macarons by Hey There Cupcake! | florals by Layered Vintage and table from Folklore 

13. Consider customized wedding dessert options.

“Custom macarons are a big hit with guests that aren’t big on sweets. It’s a small portion, and color as well as filling can be customized to compliment the evening’s menu. Individual portions of any dessert are also a way to bring wow-factor to your guests’ place settings. Cakes, pot de cremes, or sundaes can all be customized to fit guest’s preferences, dietary restrictions, and/or allergies.”- Ashley Lachney, Alston Mayger Events

fortune cookies for wedding desserts

fortune cookies by rymondtn

14. Represent your relationship with a blending of flavors and style.

“Dessert is the perfect opportunity to share a little about yourself and set the mood for your reception. Couples with Dutch heritage might serve Stroopwafels while couples with a French background could choose macaroons, or a cannoli could tie in your Italian heritage. If you and your beloved are from different cultures, the dessert table can be beautiful blending of flavors and style. Another option for dessert is to think of the mood you would like to create. Mini pies and tarts create a more elegant and structured feel, while a donut wall will offer a more casual vibe.” – Karese, owner of Detailed Floral Design