real wedding photo thorn floral studio the sterling venue private home wedding cake with macaron desserts wood table

12 Desserts Besides Cake to Serve at Your Wedding

Whether served in addition to or in lieu of wedding cake, these delicious options are sure to please your guests.

Whether you want to replace the wedding cake with an array of desserts or share more desserts with your loved ones in addition to cake, get ideas for some of the most popular wedding dessert ideas.

real wedding photo thorn floral studio the sterling venue private home wedding cake with macaron desserts wood table
Photo: We The Romantics

Wedding cake is one of the most recognizable traditions in modern wedding culture, and in the past years, there has been an increase in the extravagance of wedding cakes – from traditional wedding cake designs to unconventional wedding cakes. Oftentimes the elaborate dessert is more of a work of art than a tasty treat.

But while this may be a surprise to some, not everyone likes cake – or perhaps you're hosting a large wedding in which a cake big enough to serve everyone would be unwieldy. Not to mention, sometimes it’s just nice to have options.

So whether you’re eschewing cake – and even cake pops – altogether, or you have a sweet tooth and want a reception full of desserts at a stunning dessert table in addition to a naked cake or classic wedding cake, take a look at the delectable options below. These appetizing sweets are all from real weddings, so be sure to click the links below the images for further inspiration from these celebrations!

1. Pie

wedding pie dessert bar
There are dog people and there are cat people. Similarly, there are cake people and there are pie people. Though typically not as beautiful as its counterpart, wedding pie is on the upswing as engaged pie fans decide against purchasing a cake they’re not going to enjoy. Add ice cream or whipped cream for an added sweet treat! Photo by Laurie Bailey Photography; Planning & Design by Linda Howard Events; From Real Wedding: Shabby-Chic Garden-Inspired Wedding in Malibu, California

2. Milk and Cookies

milk and cookies wedding dessert bar
This homemade dessert is perfect as a post-dinner treat or a midnight snack. Young and old alike will smile as they enjoy a freshly baked chocolate-chip cookie with a cool glass of milk. Photo by KingenSmith; From Real Wedding: Chicago Private Club Wedding with Whimsical Details

3. Fruit Tarts


Perfect for a colorful wedding, fruit tarts look beautiful and taste great. Focus on fruits in the same color scheme as the wedding for a more polished look – or enjoy a bright dessert featuring all the colors of the rainbow! Photo by Marc Royce Photography; From Real Wedding: Mötley Crüe Member Nikki Sixx's Marie Antoinette-Inspired Wedding

4. Donuts

gourmet donuts wedding dessert bar
While this fried dessert may conjure up images of simple donut shops, gourmet donuts have become increasingly trendy and popular at weddings. Wedding donuts of all flavors, colors, and toppings can make for a fun display at the dessert table. Photo by Caroline Tran; From Real Wedding: Magical Garden Ceremony & Tented Reception with Chic French Theme 

5. Crème Brûlée

creme brulee wedding dessert bar
There aren’t many desserts more chic than crème brûlée. Ideal for a Paris-inspired wedding, but perfect for every wedding theme, guests will delight at cracking the hard caramel before savoring the delicious custard. Photo by Jay Lawrence Goldman Photography

6. Lemon Bars

wedding lemon bars dessert
Evoke nostalgic memories of bake sales with this sweet-and-sour treat. Lemon bars are light enough to not bog down your loved ones and keep them from dancing, but delicious enough that they won’t feel cheated out of dessert. The fresh flavor is a delightful match for a summer wedding. Photo by Yvette Roman Photography; From Real Wedding: All-White Wedding at a Beach Club in Santa Monica, California 

7. Milkshakes

milkshakes cookies wedding dessert bar
Surprise your guests after dinner with a frosty milkshake! Not as messy as ice cream, cooler than baked goods, and easy to provide multiple flavors, it’s almost a surprise that milkshakes aren’t served at weddings more often. As a bonus, they can easily be paired with other desserts like cookies or donuts. Photo by KingenSmith; From Real Wedding: Opulent Chicago Wedding with Elaborate Décor & Entertainment

8. Parfaits

parfait wedding dessert bar
This layered dessert can feature customized ingredients to match the color scheme of your wedding. The alternating patterns of a parfait will make it a favorite subject of your guests’ Instagram accounts. Photo by Bob & Dawn Davis Photography; From Real Wedding: A Dream Winter Wedding at The Art Institute of Chicago

9. Pâte de Fruit 

pate de fruit wedding dessert bar
Another French dessert, pâte de fruit is made from fruit puree to make a sophisticated jelly candy. The use of real fruit makes this a fitting choice for an eco-friendly or health-conscious weddingPhoto by Hoffmann Photographer; From Real Wedding: Eco-Luxe Vineyard Wedding in Southern California 

10. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

chocolate-covered strawberries wedding romance dessert bar
This special treat will add a flair of romance to your celebration. Though fresh strawberries and chocolate are really all that’s required, chocolate-covered strawberries can also be decorated for a more gourmet touch. Photo by Dalal Photography; From Real Wedding: Turquoise Oceanfront Wedding at the Montage Laguna Beach

11. Candy Bar

candy bar wedding dessertFor a more whimsical dessert offering at your wedding, consider a candy bar! The colorful display looks fantastic, and it allows guests to customize their dessert by offering a wide variety of choices. Offer take-home bags for an instant wedding favor! Photo by Images by Berit, Inc.; From Real Wedding: Wedding with Purple Modern Details at a Chateau in New Jersey 

12. Caramel Apples

caramel apples rustic wedding autumn dessert bar
While it’s a delicious and somewhat healthy treat for any wedding, caramel apples are a particularly apt choice for an autumn celebration. As rustic elements continue to be popular, a caramel apple may be the dessert to tie your theme together. Photo by Dalal Photography; From Real Wedding: Holiday Wedding with Woodsy Winter Décor Elements

For more wedding dessert ideas, view hundreds of images from real weddings in our photo galleries, and be sure to discover the latest trends in wedding cakes and desserts!

Opening photo by We The Romantics; From Real Wedding: A Garden Wedding at the Couple's Historic Home in Texas