Cake has long played a key part in weddings. Some sort of carb-y treat has been part of wedding celebrations since Roman times, when grooms broke a loaf of unsweetened barley bread over the bride’s head. Elaborate, multi-tiered wedding cakes gained popularity in the seventeenth century. Today, wedding cake provides a sweet treat to end the night and provide the sugar high guests need to power through late-night dance parties. (Not to mention, cake tastings are often the most delicious part of wedding planning.) But cake isn’t for everybody. Whether you want to do something different, provide an alternatives for guests with food allergies or preferences, or just simply don’t like cake, here are seven alternatives to wedding cake that are just as sweet that you and your guests will love.
1. ICE CREAM
Serve ice cream at your wedding and all your guests are sure to scream with delight. Whether it’s in a cone, in a sandwich, part of a milkshake or as an accompaniment to your wedding cake, ice cream is the perfect sweet treat for guests who need to cool down after getting down on the dance floor all night long. Pro tip: When choosing flavors, consider picking one non-dairy variety to make sure guests with allergies get to indulge as well.
The cake versus pie debate can cause some serious debate, but if you find yourself squarely on the side of Team Pie, why not make your wedding reflect your style? Wedding pie is delicious, comforting, and fits in just right if you are going with an even remotely rustic theme. Pro tip: If you can’t choose between the two, consider offering both cake and pie — and letting your guests vote with their taste buds.
Having a cookie table at your wedding, in which the bride and groom’s families prepare an array of cookies for guests to snack on in addition to wedding cake, is actually a common tradition in certain parts of the country, especially Pennsylvania. Embrace this tradition and delight guests with a cookie table of your own. Pro tip: Do we even need to say it? Milk!
4. ANYTHING IN A JAR
Sorry hipster-haters, but jarred desserts aren’t going anywhere. Whether you’re filling mason jars with a parfait, pie, cheesecake or crumble, jarred desserts are easy to prepare and serve and look as good as they taste. Pro tip: Personalized mason jars double as wedding favors.
You don’t have to be a total health nut to enjoy fresh fruit as a delicious dessert alternative. A big platter of fresh fruit is a great alternative to balance out a rich meal or more sugary treats. It’s also a great option to suit a variety of allergies, so any guests avoiding gluten, dairy or other common allergens can dig in. Pro tip: Get creative with the presentation! Ask your caterer to carve some of the fruit into unique shapes and your fruit bar can double as a decoration.
Ooey gooey caramels aren’t just delicious, they make wonderful favors as well. So why not double up on the sweet stuff and offer up jars of caramels, or other candies, for your guests? If you’re an avid DIY-er, caramels are easy to make and package up en masse, or you can purchase artisan caramels online or at a local gourmet shop. Pro tip: We got hooked on Le Bon Garcon’s salted caramels, pictured above, at a Joy wedding this past spring. Not only are they insanely delicious, but they have been raved about by Oprah herself!
French macarons have a lot going for them: they are cute, colorful and insanely delicious. And since they are made with almonds instead of flour, you can practically call them health food. (Macarons are naturally gluten-free, so more guests can get in on the sugar high.) Pro tip: Choose macarons in your wedding colors to keep your theme and decor consistent.