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Great alternatives to a wedding cake

The traditional idea of a wedding cake is not for everyone.

With the choices of cupcakes, macaroons, candy tables, or even dessert cocktails becoming popular choices of late – maybe this is something you might consider.

Many of my friends have opted to move away from the traditional wedding cake. Does anyone ever even really get a slice at the end of the night? The answer is no… In my experience slabs of cake are sent home with grannies, aunties, and even wedding planners.

Maybe you’re not against the idea of a wedding cake, but you’re just looking for something a little bit different (or cheaper!). There are plenty of options.

From friends who are wedding planners, and from the experience of friends – only half, if not less, of your wedding party will eat the cake.

Let’s take a look at some alternative options:

Cake pops

Okay, so let’s get it straight – the cake pop vibe is not for everyone. But if you’re considering more individual alternatives to a large cake, cake pops are a great way of offering your guests literal ‘bites’ of cake. Not only do they look adorable, but they’re also more likely to be eaten than a massive slice of cake.

Candy Table

If you and your partner aren’t into cake – this could be a perfect alternative and a very DIY-able job. This could also be a ‘take-home token’ for your guests. Although you can rent candy carts or hire someone to set up a candy table, you can do this yourself (or have your wedding party prepare it!). Paper candy bags can be purchased on Amazon relatively cheaply, and glass or perspex containers can be ordered and picked up from IKEA. Now you’re halfway there. What about sweets? I think every Irish person knows someone with a cash-n-carry card, if not, there are several online candy suppliers where you can buy whole-size boxes or bags.


The perfect bite to end a meal, especially if you’re having your wedding abroad or have an Italian family link. Crispy cigar roll shells of fried pastry are filled with sweetened, sometimes flavoured, whipped ricotta cheese.

A cheese “cake”

‘Cakes’ of cheese wheels have become increasingly popular of late, particularly for those who enjoy a cheese course after a meal. Mimicking a traditional wedding cake, these ‘cakes’ consist of three wheels of cheese, cut as you would a traditional wedding cake and served with crackers, et voila!


Every considered serving cookies at your wedding? Cookies and biscuits are the perfect alternatives to a wedding cake. Serve with tea, coffee, or a tumbler of Bailey’s. This could be a lovely touch for a winter wedding; cookies and a cocktail fireside? An elevated cookie and milk experience.


Cupcakes are a great alternative to a full wedding cake. Not only can these be arranged on a tiered cake place, but cupcakes are also just enough for a single serving or to settle that need for just a taste of cake without going all in for a full cake.


An alternative to a wedding cake, a Croque-em-bouche is a stacked inverted cone of filled and sugared choux pastry puffs (think along profiteroles). Impressive and unique, a Croque-em-bouche is a showstopper piece. Sugar or spun sugar usually encases the structure, adding to the drama. The choux puffs can be filled with fillings of various flavours to suit all tastes.

Chocolate dipped strawberries

Sometimes simplicity is the ultimate pleasure. And big, juicy, flavourful strawberries enveloped in a rich layer of chocolate – perfection. These babies became a huge trend a few years ago, and we’re still not over it, to be honest. There are a few local Irish vendors that also cater to weddings; choose from various ‘designs’ and chocolate flavours—bites of Heaven.

Doughnut wall/cake

Doughnut ‘cakes’ and doughnut walls are definitely an Instagram and Pinterest-inspired dessert and cake alternative. Special walls with pegs for ring doughnuts can be rented, allowing attendees who would like dessert to select a doughnut. Equally, a doughnut wall could be part of the reception rather than for dessert. Doughnut ‘cakes’ are doughnuts (filled or ring) stacked on top of each other to form a ‘cake.’

Dessert cocktails

Why not replace your typical dessert plate or wedding cake with a dessert cocktail? Espresso martinis are the ultimate dessert cocktail, and there are various ways to serve them. Bailey’s espresso martini, chocolate espresso martini, white chocolate espresso martini, salted caramel espresso martini – the list goes on! Having a summer wedding? You could choose a limoncello or lemon meringue cocktail.


Macaroons are very Marmite, you either love them or you hate them. Personally, I love them; bitesize, sweet, crunchy, and gooey all at the same time. Usually made of meringue and almond flour shell – shiny and brightly coloured, filled with buttercream, ganache, or jam. Perfect served with tea or coffee, and they usually hold until the next day should you not get through them all.

Millefeuille cake

A gorgeous summer option, custard or fresh cream is sandwiched between light layers of crispy and flakey pastry. This is a light and tasty alternative to a wedding cake. Some couples even choose to build this together in front of their wedding party – no doubt providing some light entertainment or maybe even a front-row seat to the first row!

Mince pies

Having a winter wedding? Mince pies are the perfect after-dinner dessert to serve instead of a traditional wedding cake. Whether you present them served on a tiered cake plate or directly on the table, this is such a lovely nod to your season. I feel like this might be a very Irish thing, but you’d really be surprised at how many people enjoy a good mince pie – especially at Christmas!

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