Wednesday, January 15, 2014

You know your guests are looking forward to the sweet last course, but that doesn’t have to mean tiers upon tiers of fondant. Wedding cake costs often come with sticker shock for many couples. The national average cake cost last year was $451, but cakes can run as high as $1,200, which doesn’t include the per-slice cake cutting fee your venue or caterer may charge. While a wedding cake alternative may seem like a break with tradition, it’s an opportunity to personalize the sweetest aspect of your wedding day. Modern couples want their weddings to reflect their personal style, and moving away from traditional tiers and sugar paste flowers is one way to do this. So here are 5 wedding cake alternatives that will satisfy each and every guest’s sweet tooth while saving a heap of money for the honeymoon!

1. Think small: If a wedding cake alternative just isn’t classic enough for you, choose a smaller wedding cake to display and cut, and serve your guests from non-stacked sheet cakes. This can save around 50% from your cake bill, since the most expensive aspect of a wedding cake is the labor, not the ingredients. A smaller cake will take less time for your baker to create. And opting for buttercream over fondant can also be a big source of savings.

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2. Rustic appeal: A pie table is perfect for a rustic wedding! Pies are an all-American wedding cake alternative that can be set out on cake stands of varying heights for a beautiful dessert station. You can either ask any of your wedding guests with culinary talents to bring a pie as their gift, or order them from a bakeshop. Take notes from this helpful how to and then let your guests happily decide between strawberry-rhubarb, apple, cherry, lemon, peach, and blueberry!

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3. Glazed or jelly-filled: Imagine your guests walking into your reception venue, perusing the lovely centerpieces and looking around to find the cake…only to see a doughnut tower instead! Doughnuts are trending as a wedding cake alternative right now, on their way to surpassing cupcakes as a go-to handheld dessert. Cheaper than cupcakes, doughnuts have been having a renaissance in the foodie world. Not only are there lots of varieties, from cake doughnuts to crullers, malasadas to beignets, there are different ways to serve them too!

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4. Pittsburgh Tradition: Cookie tables are a long-held tradition in Pittsburgh, where most brides can’t imagine their reception without plates piled high with linzers and biscotti. Cookie tables are filled with tons of varieties thanks to the efforts of moms, aunts, grandmothers, and friends, who bake and freeze in anticipation of the wedding day. Make this tradition your own with a DIY dessert table filled with all your favorites, like lemon tarts, peanut butter blossoms, thumbprints, and macarons. Be sure to get creative with your display and leave out little take-out boxes or bags to make the cookies pull double duty as your dessert and wedding favors.

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5. Ice Cream Bar: I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! An ice cream Sunday bar is perfect for a summer wedding. An assembly line for putting together ice cream sundaes will quickly banish any lingering thoughts of wedding cake. Have a few different ice cream flavors and a fruit sorbet on hand, and then display the toppings creatively, offering up sprinkles, chocolate shavings, berries, sliced bananas, nuts, shredded, coconut, crushed oreos, and anything else your heart desires. Let your guests top it off with hot fudge, caramel or whipped cream. You can even give it a vintage spin with these cute tips!

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We’re sure you won’t miss the standard tall white cake (or the associated cost!) with these delicious and budget-friendly wedding cake alternatives.


Comments (1)
  • We didn't do minis, but as 'pie people', my husband and I chose to do pie at our wedding rather than cake. We loved showing our individuality and breaking the norm a bit, plus our guests really enjoyed the unexpectedness of it!

    Posted on January 22, 2014