If you know me at all, you probably know that I absolutely love cake! Wedding cake is seriously one of the best perks of working in the wedding industry. However . . . sometimes having wedding cake for your reception dessert can feel a little stale (pun intended).
Over the years of shooting literally hundreds of weddings, our team has seen so many fun and unique ideas for wedding desserts! I’m sharing four of my favorite ideas today.
First up on my list is the infamous cookie table. If you are from Pittsburgh (like our founder, Hannah Bjorndal), you probably know all about this tradition! In case you’re not a Yinzer (i.e. Pittsburgh native), I’ll fill you in.
The cookie table tradition is basically exactly what it sounds like – a table filled with cookies. However, it is SO much more than that! Cookie tables typically include a mix of homemade cookies from different people in the bride and groom’s lives. Family members and friends will literally start baking weeks (if not months!) in advance. So, as you can imagine, cookie tables typically have an insane abundance of cookies. Hannah informed me that the general rule of thumb for cookie count is anywhere from 1-5 dozen PER GUEST. Yes. You heard me correctly.
This option can totally be paired with a cake (as most Pittsburgh folks do), or you can make the cookie table display the main focus of dessert. If you’re looking for ways to bring in important people and embrace sentimental, meaningful details, this is a great way to do it!
To really make the table special, choose personalized containers for guests to fill with cookies and take home afterwards. You can also give the cookies fun, custom names with beautiful signage to create the most beautiful display. There are so many ways to make a cookie table not only a delicious treat for guests, but also an enhancement to the decor for your reception.
Is there anything more delightful in the warm months of the year than ice cream? I think not. There are several ways you can incorporate ice cream into your wedding reception, too!
First, talk about the ultimate ice cream experience at a wedding: the ice cream truck (or cart!). Bringing in a full ice cream service will make a statement and will be an incredibly fun experience for your guests. In DC, one of our favorite options is Captain Cookie & The Milk Man. The offer cookies AND ice cream, and it’s incredibly delicious. If you’re getting married in the Richmond area, Gelati Celesti is fabulous. And if you’re looking for a cool treat without the dairy, Kona Ice cannot be beat!
An ice cream cart can also be a lovely addition to your reception, especially if access to an ice cream truck is impractical for your celebration. By choosing the right cart, you can also enhance the look of your reception.
Another idea for including ice cream in your day is a sundae bar. Arguably the most experiential of the ice cream dessert options, a sundae bar allows your guests to choose and customize their dessert in a fun and interactive way. We recommend have a server stationed at the bar to prevent too much of a mess (particularly if there will be children at your wedding). If your favorite ice cream company isn’t local, consider reaching out to them to see if they can ship it to you (Penn State Creamery totally does this!).
To further enhance the experience of any of these frozen treat options, consider including pretty and/or customized dishes, spoons or napkins.
Cake-like in shape, yet totally unique and entirely unlike cake in taste: pies!
Pies are tricky – some people love them, some people hate them. But who cares about everyone else – what do you like? If you are a pie-lover, making pie your dessert might just be a perfect fit!
A top recommendation if you are going to go for wedding pie: include a bunch of different pie flavors for your guests to choose from. More options means more fun for you and your guests, and this also might help reach some of the guests who are less interested in this type of dessert!
Beautiful stands or trays for the pies will make them stand out and add to the decor and beauty of your reception space. Consider having stands and many different levels for the most impact!
And, of course: don’t forget whipped cream!
Donuts: the moment you’ve been waiting for, right?
In recent years, donuts have become the cake-alternative of choice for couples who want something fun, different, and crowd-pleasing. There a several different ways to serve and display donuts, too!
First, we have a personal favorite of mine: the donut wall. I’m not sure who first came up with this idea, but they were a genius. Donut walls have since become a common sight on wedding days (for us!), but they are not so common that the ideal is overdone. If you’re looking for a donut display option that has the biggest impact, this is it! It also is a cute photo opportunity for guests to stand in front of before enjoying.
A donut food truck is also a fun way to serve this cake-alternative! Your donuts will be served warm, which is another huge plus to a truck! Carpe Donut and Blondie Doughnuts are our trucks of choice, but there are several in the DC area that are perfect for a wedding day!
Donuts and pies are both great cake-alternatives that also allow you to do a “cake cutting” moment (without the cake!). You can feed one another a bite of pie or donut with a very similar affect as a cake cutting.
What fun ideas do you have for your wedding day dessert? Comment on this post to share!
Hannah Elise Butts
Romantic with moody fall vibes and jewel tones, this wedding was cozy and so beautifully designed.
La Vie En Rose photographs their 100th wedding at an all-time favorite wedding venue, Rockhouse Hotel.
Mixing sophisticated style with family traditions and meaningful moments - our kind of DC wedding!
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