Why Couples Are Opting Out of Traditional Wedding Cakes

June 16, 2016

It's tradition to cut a multi-tiered wedding cake in the front a crowd of adoring guests on one's wedding day. But many brides and grooms are bucking the system: They're not only having super-customized weddings that reflect who they are together, but also deciding not to serve a wedding cake. Even our Creative Director, Kristen Miglore opted not to have a cake at her California ceremony. She instead went for ice cream floats and fruit cobblers!

As wedding planner Dominique Bell of Dominique Bell Events explained it, "People are doing cakes less and less because they are expensive and nobody really eats the cake." She said that couples may have a smaller cake as a symbolic gesture, but many people prefer dessert tables with an array of treats—and the more portable the desserts the better. When the time comes to cut the cake, many wedding guests are socializing and enjoying the reception, and not paying attention to the cake.

Dominique has planned weddings where couples have served ice cream from an ice cream truck, cookie cakes, and even a wheel of Parmesan cheese. "It is happening more and more," said Dominique about couples leaving the traditional cake behind—and if they do decide to have cake, many request "naked" cakes, unfrosted cakes with layers and fillings exposed. This "unfinished" look is typically rustic, fresh, and adorned with fruit and flowers.

Wedding planner Jove Myer of Jove Myer Events encourages his clients to pick desserts based on their favorites and also based on the season that the wedding is being held. He said, "Couples are trying to have weddings authentic to them. Why limit yourself to just having a wedding cake?" Besides, while cutting a wedding cake is a big moment, it can also be awkward for brides and grooms that don't want all the limelight on them.

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By having smaller specific treats—which, as a bonus, can often be assembled oneself and thus cost a fraction of what a formal cake does—couples can say something fun about themselves in a dessert. One couple Jove worked with served banana pudding from New York City's Magnolia Bakery with vanilla wafers in individual glass jars. He explained that the couple was from the South and felt that banana pudding represented who they were. Jove has also seen couples serve a tower of donuts, ice cream cookie sandwiches, cupcakes, or Cronuts.

Here are a few more ways couples are seeking dessert alternatives in lieu of a traditional wedding cake:

#cheesecake #weddingcakes #cheesecakeweddingcakes

A photo posted by Joanne Mackley (@designer_icing) on

Happy #nationaldonutday 🍩 We loved this awesome donut bar display that one of our most recent brides had! 🍩🍩

A photo posted by When In White Wedding Planning (@wheninwhite) on

What dessert would you serve at your wedding instead of a wedding cake? Let us know in the comments below!

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Alice K. June 19, 2016
In Pittsburgh, we always have a Cookie Table in addition to a traditional cake, not instead of a cake. I didn't know about this tradition when I got married, but I made sure that my daughter had a Cookie Table. Often, relatives and friends bring cookies, defraying costs and making them feel part of the festive plans.
Laura415 June 18, 2016
Loved the cake made of cheeses stacked. That would be a hit. The other non traditional desserts were also well done and looked good. The only thing I wasn't sure about was the unfrosted or lightly frosted three tier cake. Sure it looks good and was probably done by a pro but getting an unfrosted look right looks like it could be a challenge. It definitely would taste better than most fondant cakes though.
Jade G. June 16, 2016
Couples who serve donuts are bound to regret it. Traditions are traditions for a reason. Just look at the lovely cakes pictures, then look at the heap of donuts. There just isn't much you can do to make donuts special, and the same goes for pies. The best ones are home made, beat up, with cracked crust and goo oozing out. Row against the tide, brides! Save the wedding cake!
HalfPint June 16, 2016
If I had a choice, I would have had served Wedding Flan in lieu of cake. There was cake at my wedding but it was an old fashion 3 tiered layer cake. I had a different flavor for each tier. All frosted in a buttercream and decorated with silk flowers. We wanted a cake that tasted good. Looks were not a priority.