Alternatives to wedding cake: various desserts on a table

For your wedding, it makes sense that you’d want everything to be personalized — including the dessert! And the truth is, cake isn’t for everyone. If a quintessential tiered wedding cake just isn’t your thing, don’t feel obligated to choose this dessert option for your wedding celebration. There are countless alternatives to wedding cake that can be equally special and delicious.

If you’re looking for some fresh inspiration for your wedding dessert, keep scrolling. We’re sharing our list of can’t-miss, must-have, all-time favorite wedding cake alternatives.

20 Alternatives to Wedding Cake to Serve at Your Wedding Reception

Yes, your big day is on the way, but maybe you don’t want a big traditional wedding cake. Explore some of our favorite alternatives to wedding cake — from donut walls and pie tables to sweet waffles and cheese towers.

1. Cupcake Tower

Alternatives to wedding cake: cupcakes with icing on top

That classic tiered look doesn’t have to be limited to a traditional wedding cake. Why not build your tiers out of cupcakes instead? Enter the cupcake tower — a wonderful tiered creation of cupcakes or mini cupcakes on a cake stand. You could even add mini cake toppers to each one for extra charm.

2. Macaron Tower

If you’re hoping to serve something a little more modern (but still want to make a visual statement) for your wedding celebration, go for a tower of macarons. Even the most delicate of macarons can be beautifully incorporated into a stunning display. For the biggest impact, choose macarons in pastel tones or vibrant hues to match your wedding colors or theme.

3. Donut Wall

Alternatives to wedding cake: cute donut walls

Glazed, frosted, or just the hole, there’s no wrong way to eat a doughnut! Why not incorporate all your favorite types into one stunning display? The donut wall remains a popular wedding trend for a reason — it’s one of the tastiest alternatives to wedding cake that’s easy to enjoy and doubles as a wedding decor piece. We especially love this idea for boho weddings or pastel weddings, alongside a pastel wedding invite.

4. Brownie Stack

If a cupcake tower isn’t calling you, how about a brownie stack instead? The principle is the same, but instead of tiers of cupcakes you have stacks or towers of delicious, freshly baked brownies.

5. Cake Pops

Keep things light and encourage guests to mingle while they sample finger-friendly cake pops. This is a fun alternative to wedding cake that bypasses the expense and time involved in designing (and cutting) a traditional tiered wedding cake.

6. Sweet Pie Table

Serving a variety of pie flavors—like apple, cherry, pumpkin, or chocolate cream—will guarantee there’s something for everyone at your wedding. It’s also a fun way to tie your dessert into your wedding theme, especially if it’s a whimsical wedding or a farm-inspired celebration. Keep in mind that fun-size portions (like these mini wedding pies) will allow your guests to try more than one flavor.

7. Croquembouche

Alternatives to wedding cake: croquembouche on a table

This French-inspired dessert is an ideal choice if you want something sweet that isn’t cake. A croquembouche is made by creating a tower of choux pastry buns in a cone shape, surrounded by caramel threads. It’s tasty, and makes a real impact on your dessert table.

8. Cannoli 

This traditional Italian dessert from Sicily is a great alternative to traditional wedding cake. Boasting a sweet, creamy filling, these fried tube-shaped pastries might be less formal but they’re certainly no less delectable or beautiful.

9. Cinnamon Rolls

These tasty treats aren’t reserved for breakfast alone. Cinnamon rolls can be a crowd-pleaser at weddings too! They’re a perfect choice for a brunch wedding or if you want to infuse your celebration with fall wedding ideas.

10. Gingerbread House

Winter Blues Save the Date

Design: Erika Firm (photo courtesy of Alexandra Celia)

Matching invite: Winter Blues Save the Date

If you’re hosting a winter wedding, why not add an extra sprinkle of joy with gingerbread? Craft an incredible gingerbread house as a stunning showpiece and serve individual gingerbread cookies to your guests. You could even offer mini gingerbread house kits as wedding favors.

11. Mini Cheesecakes

While some would argue that you can have a traditional wedding cake that’s also a cheesecake, we think they’re different enough to deserve a spot on this list. Swap the usual sponge or fruit cake for a lighter cheesecake and get ready for a tangy-yet-sweet twist on dessert.

12. Sweet Waffles

Waffle with fruits and chocolates

Whether you’re hosting a mid-morning wedding or simply love breakfast food (we understand!), a waffle bar or waffle cake are an ideal alternative to wedding cake. This dessert option is not too sweet and delightfully fluffy. Your guests will love getting to choose their own adventure with a variety of toppings like fresh fruit, whipped cream, and maple syrup.

13. Popsicles

Add a playful or tropical twist to your post-ceremony sweets with a popsicle bar. Invite your favorite ice cream truck along with a selection of unusual or traditional flavors, or set up your own DIY version with a large cooler and your favorite popsicles. This trend is ideal for a summer wedding and we can’t wait to see more of it.

14. Rice Krispies Treats

While Rice Krispies treats are a popular at-home dessert due to their simplicity, they’re also seriously tasty — and perfect for a rustic wedding. Serve up a traditional batch flavored with marshmallow or chocolate for a relaxed wedding or make these adorable pumpkin-shaped Rice Krispies treats for a fall or Halloween wedding.

15. S’mores

Mountain Retreat Invitation

Design: Becky Nimoy Stationery

Matching invite: Mountain Retreat Invitation

Gathering everyone outside to watch the stars, fireworks, or hosting an outdoor wedding beneath a beautiful night sky? Invite guests with a matching digital invitation and ask them to stay outside and roast s’mores around the campfire for a cozy way to end the evening. Set up a s’mores station with graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate to make this tried-and-tested treat a key part of your wedding menu.

16. Ice Cream Bar

Let your guests create their own sweet treat with a DIY ice cream bar. We love this idea as it’s easy to set up yourself (although you can ask an ice cream truck or cart to come in and handle it for you). Offer a range of ice creams and sorbets with plenty of toppings and sprinkles so your guests can make their own sundaes or cones.

17. Chocolate Mousse

For a dessert option that works straight after your sit-down meal, try the classic yet always delicious chocolate mousse. Serve in tall glasses for an elegant feel, with sprinkles of cinnamon or grated chocolate on top — or in small glasses as part of a buffet-style dessert table.

18. Personalized Cookies

Person making wedding cookies

Custom sugar cookies are perfect for parties and they’re even better alternatives to wedding cake for your big day. Celebrate your wedding day not with a cake but with a beautiful assortment of on-theme sugar cookies in the shapes of mini suits, wedding dresses, floral bouquets, wedding rings, or even wedding cakes!

19. Meringues

Meringues are another classic French dessert that serves as wonderful alternatives to wedding cake. This whipped confection is a crowd-pleaser, favored for its lighter feel than traditional cake. To give it a personal touch, match your dessert to your wedding theme by adding food coloring to your meringues.

20. Cheese Tower

Last but definitely not least, if you don’t have a sweet tooth why not try a cheese tower instead? Swap out the tiers of cupcakes for a selection of bite-sized pieces of different cheeses. (You could also create stunning cheese boards instead.) Offer a range of fromage, from classic sharp cheddar and brie to more adventurous types you love. Don’t want to leave out the sweets completely? You can always punctuate the cheese selections with grapes, dried fruits, and mini cocoa nibs. This is a fun alternative to wedding cake that we wish more couples embraced!

Create Your Dream Day Right Down to the Dessert Table

Traditional wedding cake ideas aren’t for everyone, and this list shows that there’s no shortage of amazing wedding dessert ideas that aren’t your usual white cake. With this list of alternatives to wedding cake, the hardest part will be narrowing it down to just one dessert option!

Of course, planning your big day also includes choosing the right wedding stationery. Fortunately, Greenvelope offers a variety of save the dates, wedding invitations, and thank you notes that you can completely customize — down to the layout, fonts, colors and stamps. With digital invites, you can add your own wording to create bespoke invites that forgo the expense and waste of paper invites. Explore our wedding stationery today!