Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Wedding cake, cookies, cupcakes and more! The options are endless. What will you choose when building your wedding dessert buffet? Let's talk about it. Aye?
There are all kinds of things that make for a great wedding. Things like décor, flowers, table linen colors, and music! But, most importantly - its what you feed your guests! Having a dessert table at your wedding reception provides; a) a beautiful wedding cake arrangement and b) extra space to include other desserts options. The best thing is that whatever you choose to present is purely up to you, and I guarantee your guests will enjoy it!
Dessert displays are a great alternative to a traditional wedding cake stand. Many couples are choosing to ixnay on the wedding cake entirely! Or, just get a small single tier to cut just for themselves and have other options for their guests! Before we jump into these 10 ideas; let me give you three tips on how to communicate your wishes to your baker and/or planner!
There is no yes or no, up or down, right or wrong when it comes to what desserts you choose! Talk with your partner about what your favorite sweets are and think up cool variations on them!
Take the season and location into consideration... will you need refrigeration are there some ingredients that are harder to find or flavors that are really popular?
How do you see your desserts being displayed? Talk with your planner and/or baker about different options with towers, boxes or even something custom!
Alright! I'll get to the point - you came here for ideas right?!
As you start to think of different dessert ideas and display options - write them out, remember WHY you decided what you did. This is called a brain dump and it is incredibly helpful with wedding planning. But, that's a conversation for another day. For now, let's just discuss my Top 10 favorite dessert ideas of all time!!
1. Cake Pops!
Cake pops are a super fun alternative to traditional wedding cake for your guests, they come in all the flavors and literally any color you can think of! They are a great way to add some personality to your dessert table! Rule of thumb is to order two cake pops per person, they are cheaper than cupcakes so this can be an easy and also affordable dessert options for couples planning on a budget! There are tons of cool ways to display cake pops too!
2. Cookies/Macarons Bar
Who doesn't love a good chocolate chip cookie? Every had a brookie?! Those things are to die for! You can have your grandma's cookie recipe made in batches and served on beautiful platters and stacked in pyramids! Alternative to regular cookies; you can do edible cookie dough! Display cookie dough in portable cups or have a scoop and go option like an ice cream bar!!
3. Serve Mini Desserts
These are a popular alternative to a traditional cake display. You can really take this option anywhere. Mini ANYTHING! If it falls under the dessert category - you can get it minified. That's not a word but, it is today. You can display these in a variety of ways and it'll be easy for your guests to quickly grab a sweet treat and go! Besides the bar, the dessert table is one of the most frequented places at a wedding!
4. Pies + Cake
Single-serve pies mix well with a classic wedding cake. Who doesn't love pie?! You can serve mini cheesecake, single serve pies and mini trifles! These are always a hit! Leave out cans of whipped cream or bowls of cool whip (over ice, of course!) to give your guests a hand at making their own platter of sweetness!
5. Alternative Cakes
Okay, so you like the idea of having a traditional multi-tired cake BUT - you don't actually want cake. So, what do you do? You make a cake out of some other dessert. Cookie cake, donut cake, Rice Krispy treats, what about crème puffs stacked up like a Christmas tree?! There are so many ideas you can do here! Have it on display like a badge of honor! Don't forget to budget for cutting fees if you go this route!
Donut you know that everyone loves donuts? Really. 96% of Americans all say they like donuts! This is a hard one to go wrong with and becoming more popular every year! Yeast or Cake, Holes or Long Johns - a donut is a donut right?! They've even started making special display boards for donuts - you can stack them up on a peg board, or find a creative way to show off your love for sweet sweet BREAD!
7. Interactive Options
This one is not for everyone and not a top recommendation from me for larger weddings. But, it still made my top 10 list! Have you ever been to The Melting Pot? Or, use a chocolate fountain? These are considered "interactive." Something that your guests need to do in order to fully enjoy the dessert. You can order mini fondue pots to place on every table or have a couple oversized fountains and a large display of dippable treats like; strawberries, graham crackers, marshmallows and cookies! The fountain or fondue doesn't have to be regular chocolate either! You can have different flavors or cheese too!
8. Chocolate. Period.
Who doesn't like chocolate? If there's a local chocolatier near you - I highly suggest you talk to them about a large order for your wedding! You can have trays and stacks of different kinds of truffles, mini chocolate bars or even take and make kits so people can make their own chocolate bars at home (that's a bonus favor idea) This also goes hand in hand with the interactive idea #7. But, not any less sweet!! Just cleaner :)
9. Candy Buffet
This had to be on my top 10 list because I adore candy buffets and I'm surprised I didn't list this one first! LOL but, it is a less obvious version for weddings. But, so fun! You can get (buy or rent) apothecary style jars and full them with your favorite candies or make it a color theme based on your wedding color palette. You can put this on a table with a linen or get a shelf and stagger the jars on it! Buy custom favor bags and let your guests fill their bags with your favorite treats! Decorate the shelf with draping/viney greens and find some miscellaneous items that match your theme or framed photos of you as a couple! (Great opportunity to show off more engagement - Send logo variations to sweet details photos!)
10. Carts + Concessions
I do love this one because it's not traditional at all! If you love going to the carnival or food trucks this could be a great choice for you! You can even add these on to any of the other dessert options too! There are lots of vendor options here from an espresso cart or cotton candy station to a DIY popcorn cart or an Ice cream truck! Elephant ears anyone?!