No More Tiers: 10 Fun & Budget-Friendly Wedding Desserts that Aren’t Cake

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Kenroy Lumsden)

Nothing about planning my nuptials gave me sticker shock quite like looking at the cost of a wedding cake. So… we scrapped it. Traditionalists might balk at the idea of having a wedding without a big white cake, but I’m here from the other side to tell you: It’s totally OK if you’d rather have donuts or cookies or–like me–popsicles instead.

Your wedding is a chance to choose a dessert that speaks to your unique taste. So if ten days out of ten, you’d pick a cheesecake over a cake cake, why should your big day be any different? And if your taste these days is “saving money,” there’s no shame in that game, either. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Donut Holes

Above: These donut holes presented on heart-adorned skewers are the best part of this Cayman Islands wedding dessert bar designed by Sugar Canvas and featured on Eat Drink Pretty.

The complete guide to modern weddings.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


I don’t know anyone that would be disappointed to see a pile of donuts when they walk into a reception. You can even arrange them into a cake with a cute topper, like in this shot from Brides.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


This waffle cake, from Kathy Picardal on Gray Likes Weddings, is a brilliant addition to any early brunch wedding.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Make it a flavor buffet, like in this Ohio wedding from Lucy Dylan Weddings, or keep it simple and serve everyone a slice of classic cheesecake.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

A Cheese Cake

Sweets not your thing? Create a stunning focal point for your reception with wheels of cheese and serve that up after dinner with fruit. This one is from Birchtree Catering and Green Wedding Shoes.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Rice Krispie Treats

Serve up a cake made from cereal treats, or maybe just a whole bunch of the individual squares (on sticks or dipped in chocolate, if you’re in it for extra credit). This treat cake is from an inspiration wedding from Angela Marie Events, featured on Burnetts Boards.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


If the weather’s right (that is, it’s really freaking hot), a cool ice pop might go over better with guests than a heavy slice of fondant-covered cake. Find a gourmet popsicle vendor in your town (I served pops from King of Pops at my Atlanta wedding), and serve them up from a cooler cart or passed around in little jars, like in this shot from a New York wedding on Snippet and Ink.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Ice Cream

A make-your-own-sundae bar is a great addition to a warm-weather wedding, since it serves as dessert, decor and a fun activity all at once. Just check out this colorful spread from Pink Pistachio.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


It doesn’t get much easier than this. Make or buy a bunch of cookies in a half dozen of your favorite flavors, and serve them up on cake stands and under glass domes. I’m sure this cookie buffet from a Georgia farm wedding on The Lovely Find was just as tasty as it is beautiful.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

An Oreo Cookie Cake

So you’re craving on cookies but still fancy the grandeur of a big, tiered wedding cake… Then this Oreo tower, from an Asheville wedding featured on Southern Weddings, is just the thing for you.

Have you seen any creative dessert ideas at weddings?