The Top 5 Wedding Desserts to Serve In Addition to Cake

Looking for a wedding dessert alternative to wedding cake? Couples weigh in on the top wedding desserts to serve in addition to (or instead of) cake.

By Deanna deBara

wedding dessert alternatives
Photo by GTB Imagery

Wedding cake is, hands down, the most common dessert option for weddings. According to Zola’s 2018 Wedding Guest Report, a whopping 77% of couples planned to serve wedding cake on their big day. Wedding cake may be the most popular wedding dessert—but it’s certainly not the only wedding dessert. In fact, according to that same survey, a solid 50% of couples will serve other sweets in addition to cake on their wedding day. So, options abound. Let’s take a look at the top five wedding desserts (besides cake) to deliver an out-of-the-box sugar rush to your wedding guests.


Doughnuts are quickly becoming a go-to sweet for weddings—and for good reason! First of all, doughnuts are much more affordable (and easy to find) than many other desserts. So, they’re a great choice for couples on a budget. Doughnuts also add a ton of variety to your dessert table. You can serve different flavors, different toppings, different icing colors, and different fillings. There can be a doughnut for every wedding style, color palette, and taste preference.

How to Serve: There are plenty of ways you can display these tasty treats. A doughnut wall doubles as a fun piece of decor, a doughnut tower makes for an impressive display, or a DIY doughnut decoration station gets your guests involved in the fun.

INLINE D.J.&Graham PhotobytheSNAPsistersPhotography Photo Credit // The SNAP Sisters Photography


Complement a slice of a cake with a slice of pie. Pies are a truly unexpected wedding dessert option, but they’re gaining popularity. Pie is the second most popular non-cake wedding dessert (after doughnuts). Details like lattice work and decorative edges and top crusts make for an impressive dessert. Plus, like doughnuts, pie can come in a lot of different flavors—there’s something for every season. Think strawberry rhubarb in the spring, pumpkin maple in the fall, blueberry in the summer, and good, old fashioned apple for a winter wedding.

If you’re having a more intimate wedding, you could even bake the pies yourself. This could help keep your dessert budget to a minimum.

How to Serve: Set up a pie station (complete with toppings like whipped cream, of course!) and let your guests serve themselves. Alternatively, slice up the pies into bite-sized squares, display them on your dessert table, and let guests grab a bite of each flavor throughout the night.

Milk and Cookies

This simple dessert staple is quickly becoming one of the most on-trend wedding desserts of the year. The biggest benefit of serving milk and cookies at your wedding is, hands down, the cost. Whether you buy cookies from a bakery or whip up a few batches yourself, cookies and a few gallons of milk aren’t going to put a dent in your budget. Plus, you can easily serve a variety of flavors (chocolate chip, oatmeal, and butterscotch brown sugar, for example)—which will keep your dessert table interesting. We also recommend offering a few varieties of milk, as well. Oat milk may up you budget, but only marginally.

How to Serve: If you want to get creative, get mugs for each of your guests, fill them with a few cookies, and display them on a table next to jugs of milk on ice. That takes care of your dessert table and your wedding favors!

INLINE PhotobyKristenHoneycuttPhotoCo. option2 Photo Credit // Kristen Honeycutt Photo Co.

Cake Pops

Cakes, weddings—these things just go together. You don’t have to go with the three-tiered display in order to serve cake at your wedding. If you want to do something unexpected and a bit more casual than traditional wedding cake, try cake pops.

Cake pops have been having a serious moment for the last few years. They’re easy to make, easy to decorate, and easy for guests to eat. The truth is—and always will be—people love food on sticks (popsicles, corn dogs, etc.). Cake pops require no silverware, they are dance floor-friendly, and they’re also just cute.

How to Serve: Thanks to their stick-centric design, cake pops also offer a wide variety of display options. You can create cake pop bouquets, a cake pop garden, a cake pop wall, and more.

Ice Cream Sundaes

If you want a wedding dessert that’s easy, affordable, and completely customizable (which is great if you have a picky eater or two in attendance), ice cream sundaes are the way to go.

How to Serve: With ice cream sundaes, all you have to do is supply a variety of ice cream and toppings—the rest is up to your guests. Create an ice cream sundae bar and have guests move through it like an assembly line. Start with bowls and spoons, follow up with ice cream on ice, and wrap things up with a wide variety of toppings for your guests to choose from. It’s choose your own adventure: the wedding dessert edition!

These top wedding desserts will serve as perfect alternatives or complements to any traditional wedding cake ideas. There’s no right or wrong way to do wedding desserts—as long as you’ve got sweets on hand, your guests will be more than happy to eat them!

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