Sweet Choices: Wedding Desserts

One of the most fun choices you have when it comes to planning your wedding is deciding what your dessert will be. While planning, you might find yourself wondering if the traditional wedding cake (typically a neutral flavored sponge cake covered in fluffy white buttercream) is right for you. Maybe you don’t like cake or are worried about making sure your guests dietary needs are met? Maybe you want something a little more out of the box?

The history of a wedding cake goes back to Ancient Rome where it was traditional to literally break bread over the bride’s head for good luck. Traditional English and early American wedding cakes are actually often fruit cakes instead of chocolate or white sponge cake. The tradition of keeping the top tier of a wedding cake to be eaten on the couple’s first anniversary came from using alcohol to preserve fruit cakes. Now wedding cakes can be any flavor, often decorated with white frosting. This white frosting used to be a status symbol as only the wealthiest families could afford the pure white frosting and sugar. In the American South, the white “Bride’s Cake” might be accompanied by a smaller “Groom’s Cake.” This cake is often chocolate and serves as another flavor option for guests.

Traditional Cake

If you’re planning to go the wedding cake route, you can be as traditional or subversive as you like. Many bakeries specialize in wedding cakes and make custom white dreamy cakes covered in frosting and flowers. Many bakeries have many different cake flavors to choose from and often have filling options to further personalize the cake. Wedding cakes often are priced per slice and the costs can vary depending on the size of the cake, complexity of the decorations, and ingredients involved.


Cupcakes can be a fun option for weddings that feel fairly traditional. Cupcakes can echo the look of a traditional wedding cake by being stacked on tiers, often paired with a small top layer that the couple can use as a cutting cake. Cupcakes offer more versatility than a traditional cake does: you can serve several different flavors without having to have your guests do any guess work on whether the slice they’re about to cut into is chocolate or hazelnut flavored. This can be a great asset if you’re worried about picky eaters or dietary issues where you’re worried about cross contamination. You can have the cake flavor of your dreams while having a kid-friendly chocolate options while also providing a gluten free choice.


Not everyone loves cake; wedding pies can serve as another wedding option that offers a lot of versatility. Pies can feel more rustic than cake. Depending on your guests, dessert may be a fun way to do a semi-pot luck by asking people to bring in their favorite pie in lieu of a wedding gift. Then you could have an elaborate dessert table filled with different flavors and styles of pie so everyone can find something they love. If you go this route be sure to know your audience.  Some people with more traditional mindsets might get their feathers ruffled if you ask them to bake instead of give a traditional gift. Make sure any servingware is labeled so guests get their dishes back after the wedding. It’s also nice to ask bakers about the ingredients in their dishes- display these on cute index cards next to the dish so guests can avoid any allergens.


Doughnuts are a fun wedding option, especially trendy with the hipster set. Doughnuts can be purchased in a wide variety of flavors and doughnut holes can be a great option to give to children who might not be able to eat an entire doughnut yet. Jumbo donuts can also be cut into like a cake, giving you a fun way to still have that ‘cutting the cake’ reception moment. Doughnuts pair well with an un-traditional dessert table, supplemented with various flavors of cookie and fruit tart. A theme can still be tied together by using silverware and napkins in your wedding colors as well as pretty labels. Packages of cookies can be a great favor, sent home in a pretty package.

No matter what you choose for your wedding, guests will surely be happy with their bellies full of sweets. Cake, doughnuts, and all sorts of sweet are all crowd pleasing options that let you be as traditional or adventurous as you like on your wedding day.

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