More couples than ever before are serving up options beyond cake at their weddings. Some are even going as far as ditching the multi-tiered wedding cake altogether. Whether you choose an alternative or are just looking to further ignite guests' sweet tooths, there are so many mouth-watering treats to choose from.
Dessert displays have come a long way in recent years and are the second most frequented spot at receptions aside from an open bar. They're also a great way to personalize your Big Day by pulling all of your childhood favorites together, incorporating family recipes, honoring your heritage with a traditional treat, or tying the theme together with a show-stopping display. Here are our best tips and suggestions for creative desserts at your wedding:
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Tips for Selecting & Decorating Your Dessert Display
1. Keep it Seasonal
One of the biggest mistakes a bride can make is picking flavors based on when you do a tasting with your baker. Remind yourself of the season you're getting married, and select your desserts and their display based on this. Having a summer wedding? Think refreshing fruity flavors. Tying the knot in the fall? Apple, caramel, and pumpkin are big hits.
2. Make it Your Favor
These days, edible favors are preferred since they mean less waste plus a yummy treat after the party. Turn your dessert display into a wedding favor station, where guests can pick and choose their favorite treats to take home in a cute box. Bonus, this is also a great way to force shyer guests to get out of their seats.
3. Set the Scene
Turn your dessert display into a focal point for your reception that ties into your overall theme. Consult with your team of vendors: baker, florist, and event space to dream up a creative station. Decorate with flowers and candles, and vary the height of sweet stands to add dimension.
Don't limit yourself to a table either; you can serve desserts on a bar cart, in a cabinet, bookshelf, food truck, you name it. We've seen some fantastic backdrops made with disco balls, hanging botanicals, and bright color balloons. Use your imagination to bring your on-theme vision to life.
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4. Perfect the Packaging
Don't overlook the packaging. You can have a gorgeous hand-painted cookie, but in the wrong packaging, it won't look as good. Speak with your stationer to create boxes, treat bags, tags, or labels that match your wedding suite.
Add cute sayings or a handwritten thank you note, and select packaging that let the treats steal the show. From custom stamps and stickers to printed ribbons, and glassine bags to clear boxes, there are tons of options to choose from that'll highlight your style.
5. Add Personalized Touches
It's the little details that make guests feel like an essential part of your Big Day. Choose desserts that are meaningful to you, whether from your favorite local shop, baked in the shape of your home state, or whipped together using a family recipe.
Stick with flavors you and your future spouse love. We're talking about childhood favorites, treats you've enjoyed on your travels or dates together, or something that brings back wonderful memories for you.
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The Latest Dessert Trends
Individual Cakes or Mini Treats:Petit fours, cake pops, macarons, pastries, and mini cakes have increased in popularity in the last couple of years. What likely started out as a safety precaution due to COVID-19 has now turned into a lasting trend.
Plant-Focused Options:From incorporating candied or edible flowers into desserts to offering up more vegan-friendly choices, we've seen a recent surge in plant-based ingredients. Caterers are also turning to more natural sugars like agave or colorings like beet juice in their desserts.
Handcrafted Treats:There's been a growing trend to personalize cookies, rice crispies, and macarons. It's pretty common to see hand-stamped monograms, hand-piped messages, or hand-painted images on wedding desserts these days.
Boozy Blends:While open bars have always been a staple at weddings, more cocktail and mocktail options have been popping up in the dessert bars lately. Cocktail-inspired popsicles, spiked milkshakes, and espresso martinis are now cropping up on catering menus all over.
Treat Your Guests to These Desserts
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Say I Do to Donuts
Maybe it's just us, but we go kind of nuts for donuts. We can't get enough of that doughy goodness from artisanal varieties like matcha to classics like glazed. Consider flavors of the season, and don't be afraid to ask your baker to fill them with some jams or creams too. Flavors like maple or apple cinnamon are perfect for fall weddings.
Serve this alongside a coffee and tea bar for the perfect pairing. And be sure not to skimp on the display with options like a donut wall, donut milk shooters, donut stacked "cakes," and more.
Keep it Classic with Cupcakes & Cake Pops
Want to capture the spirit of a wedding cake in a smaller, cuter package? Cupcakes and cake pops are the perfect fix! Put together a variety of cake flavors, frostings, and creative designs using your wedding color palette and theme. Kids and adults alike will be in sweet, sugary bliss with just a few bites.
Give Dessert a Twist with Pretzels
Aiming for that Sunday-Funday at the brewery feel? Your guests won't be salty when you offer them delicious hot pretzels with pub cheese or honey mustard. Pair this station with craft beers from your favorite brewery, and it'll be a surefire hit.
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Get Toasty with S'mores
There's something about s'mores that just brings back the best childhood memories, cozied up around a campfire. If your venue allows guests to roast marshmallows in an open flame, we say go for it! If not, though, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate this dessert.
Consider packing mini s'more kits as a favor or serving deconstructed s'mores in a cup with melted chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker crumbles. However this gooey treat is presented, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
The Perfect Pair: Cookies & Milk
Relive your childhood with a late-night cookie and milk station. Toss artisanal flavors like chocolate-dipped lavender shortbread or pressed-flower almond biscuits into apothecary jars for a chic look. Surprise guests with custom-printed cookies or a boozy milkshake pairing, and be sure to have a variety of flavored milk on hand, alongside a range from whole to oat and almond blends.
Fill Treat Bags with a Candy Bar
Reaching for those Sour Patch Kids again? You're not alone! Set up a classic candy station, and your guests will instantly be transported to their favorite candy shop. Place tiny favor bags and plenty of tongs at the candy bar so guests can fill up on Hershey's Kisses, Swedish Fish, SweeTarts, and more. You might even want to stuff it all into a sparkly piñata for a burst of fun with family and friends.
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Chew into Rice Crispy Treats
Take it back old-school style with this classic sweet but upgraded with an adult twist. Ask your caterer to add rum-infused dark chocolate or a sprinkling of dried raspberries or pistachios. Throw on a white chocolate drizzle or heart-shaped sprinkles and capture that bridal vibe.
Pass the Pastries & Mini Desserts
You can't go wrong with a small variety of petite sweets; they're the perfect bite-size snack and offer tons of possibilities when it comes to presentation. Wow the crowd with a leaning tower of cream puffs or an assortment of eclairs and cannoli's in trendy flavors like chocolate chip or pistachio. Add fruit tarts, cheesecake, brownies, trifles, pudding, and parfaits to round out this dessert station.
Get Whimsy with Cotton Candy
Give cotton candy a grown-up spin with gourmet flavors like marshmallow, peach, and cappuccino. This dessert is served outdoors in an old-time candy cart or tabletop indoors and is just the right amount of whimsical fun to get your guests excited. Let them choose whether to have it served traditionally on a stick or atop their champagne as a sweet garnish.
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Marvel at the Macarons
It's hard not to love these elegant little treats. Packed with pretty colors and creative flavors, macarons are a romantic dessert option that's perfect for a wedding. Choose from classics like raspberry, vanilla, chocolate, or more exotic flavors like passion fruit, boysenberry, or black sesame.
Arrange these in a traditional tree cake formation on a porcelain platter or on top of an elegant glass bar cart. We promise that they'll be gone before you know it, so make sure your caterer puts some aside for you and your spouse.
Save Room for Churros
Give your tummy a cinnamon smile with these sugary twists that are fitting all year-round. Feature cinnamon powder, whipped cream, melted caramel, chocolate dip, and fresh fruit at your churro station. Ask your caterer to serve them sliced in cocktail glasses if plating individually. Enjoy them solo, with toppings, or dipped into a cup of coffee.
Have a Slice of Pie
Everyone knows that fall is prime pie time. Bite into some crusty deliciousness with apple, blueberry, pecan, or pumpkin pies sourced fresh from your local farm. Mix in some savory options or banoffee too, and incorporate the flavors of the season. Serve alongside hot apple cider or chai tea for those cozy fall vibes. If you're having a summer wedding, no need to skip this treat; just go with options like lemon meringue or key lime pie instead.
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Chill Out with Popsicles
We can't get enough of the bold popsicle displays that have been cropping up at weddings. This chill treat is just what guests want for summer nuptials, from push-pop style to old-school molds filled with flavors like watermelon or kiwi. Pour some rosé into a coupe glass, and let your popsicle melt into a cocktail-infused creation. Up the ante by adding your monogram or a secret message to the popsicle stick.
Let's Scream for Ice Cream
Nothing says nostalgia like an ice cream cart or sundae bar. This is the perfect cool treat for a hot day outdoors if you're having a summer wedding. It's also a great interactive station that lets guests pick their flavors and sprinkle toppings over their cones. Think beyond sprinkles and offer different syrups, candy, and cookie coatings, and definitely some whipped cream.
Ice cream sandwiches or chipwiches add that fun factor and take the taste level up a notch by mixing and matching cookie and ice cream flavors too.