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21 Wedding Cakes That Shy Away From Tradition

Be inspired by white cakes with modern embellishments and confections with a style all their own.

Though many brides and grooms choose to style their confections with the traditional decorations of the past, other couples select a nontraditional design that complements their wedding theme or their personality as a couple.

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Photo: Geoffrey Photography Studio

Modern-day weddings have come a long way from the traditional celebrations of the early 21st century, and even from events that took place in the past few decades. Couples are doing their best to make sure every aspect of their big day is true to their personalities – regardless of whether or not they stick to tradition. Besides the wedding décor, one of the biggest components of the wedding day that can be personalized is the wedding cake design!

Though many brides and grooms choose to style their confections with the traditional decorations of the past – think all-white tiers with elegant piping – other couples select a nontraditional, creative wedding cake design that complements their wedding theme or their personality as a couple. Artistic pairs may choose to include watercolor designs atop fondant or paint brush strokes embellishing the top of each tier, while brides- and grooms-to-be with a flair for the dramatic might select a confection decorated with thousands of sugar flowers in a range of shades or decorate their wedding cake with fresh flowers that offer a fragrant dessert. 

Take a look at the images below from real weddings to inspire your own wedding cake! Some of the designs add embellishments to a more traditional cake with all-white tiers, while others are completely innovative and feature fresh color palettes and modern details! Click on the link below each photo to see more from these extraordinary events.

Watercolor Wedding Cake Design

Three tier white wedding cake with light blue and silver watercolor details
This cake features three white tiers, which would be entirely traditional save for the modern watercolor designs painted on each layer in ocean-inspired shades of blue and silver. Photo by Lucas Rossi; From Event: Vibrant Styled Shoot with Colorful Bohemian-Inspired Details

Gold Wedding Cake Details

multi layer wedding cake with white fondant and gold sugar flowers
This towering confection featured layers of white and gold round tiers embellished with gilt designs that honored the couple's culture, giving the cake a modern, luxe look. Photo by Geoffrey Photography Studio; Planning & Design by La Cosa Bella Events; From Real Wedding: A Luxury Fall Wedding with Hindu & Western Traditions

Pastel Wedding Cake

Three layer purple and silver glitter wedding cake with sugar flowers
This bride shied entirely from tradition and decorated her cake with a sparkling silver tier, lavender layers, and light pink sugar flowers cascading down the side. Photo by Full Spectrum Photography; From Real Wedding: A Modern San Diego Hotel Wedding with Purple & Sparkling Details

Fresh Flower Wedding Cake Tiers

Five layer wedding cake on lucite acrylic stands green flowers
Though this cake would be quite traditional without the alternating floral layers, the fresh ivory peony and green hydrangea tiers add a dose of personality to the classic confection. Photo by Luke & Katherine Griffin for Max & Friends; From Real Wedding: A Tent Wedding with a Chic Nautical Theme on La Playa Bay in San Diego

Something Blue Wedding Cake

Small wedding cake light blue with white ruffles
A true "something blue," this small – yet stylish – wedding cake features light blue tiers with elegant ruffle designs and fresh rose accents. Photo by Meg Perotti; From Real Wedding: Colorful Outdoor Wedding at a Northern California Ranch & Winery

Sugar Flower Wedding Cake Accents

Five layer round tier white wedding cake with sugar flowers
Though this cake has five round tiers in classic wedding white, the cascading sugar flowers with elegant silver centers provide a festive design element. Photo by Trevor Dayley; From Real Wedding: Spring Wedding at a Tuscan-Inspired Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona

Black & White Wedding Cake

Black and white wedding cake for contemporary modern wedding
This modern black-and-white wedding cake was the perfect finishing touch for the contemporary celebration. Photo by Kortnee Kate Photography; From Real Wedding: Black-and-White Modern Wedding with Unique Details in Cincinnati, Ohio

Oversized Sugar Flowers & Cake Topper

White square wedding cake with purple sugar flowers
The traditional base of this cake was modernized with the addition of silver leaf details, vibrant purple sugar flowers, and a festive cake topper in laser-cut modern calligraphy. Photo by Katie Stoops Photography; Linens by Luxe Linen; From Real Wedding: Bright & Playful Oceanfront Wedding with Delectable Four-Course Menu

Floral Wedding Cake

Tall white wedding cake with flower tiers and black flower design
This tall wedding cake featured colorful sugar flowers and a black floral design to complement the bride's unique wedding dress. Photo by Carrie Rodman Photography; From Real Wedding: A New England Summer Wedding by the Seashore

Colorful Wedding Cake

Three layer purple and white wedding cake
This colorful wedding confection featured two purple tiers decorated with sugar flowers and a gold-brushed floral design while the top white layer showcased a watercolor motif. Photo by Jenny Quicksall Photography; From Event: A Romantic Wedding Shoot for Valentine's Day at a California Vineyard

Classic Cake with Fresh Flowers

Eight tier wedding cake with monograms and flower layers
Though the size of this confection sets it apart from the wedding cakes of past decades, the design is fairly traditional: white with elegant piping and monograms; however, the vibrant fresh flowers set this design apart! Photo by Bob & Dawn Davis Photography; From Real Wedding: A Vibrant Fall Wedding with Lush Flowers in Chicago, Illinois

Wedding Cake with Figs, Fruit & Flowers

White wedding cake for fall wedding with best day ever cake topper and figs
This semi-naked cake showcased fresh rosemary, sage, berry, and fig toppings to give it a twist on the traditional white confection – the perfect design for a fall wedding. Photo by Vue Photography; From Real Wedding: Baroque Autumn Wedding with Deep Wine Tones in North Carolina

Gold Brush Wedding Cake Details

DeMarco Murray five layer wedding cake with white round tiers and gold paint brush strokes
Add gold brush stroke details to the tops of white cake tiers to give your confection a modern look! Photo by Thisbe Grace Photography; From Real Wedding: The Dallas Wedding of Actress Heidi Mueller & NFL Player DeMarco Murray

Glass Art-Inspired Wedding Cake

White tall wedding cake with blue and green clear flower designs art inspired
Inspired by the glasswork of artist Dale Chihuly, this couple decorated their confection with sugar flowers in shades of sea glass. Photo by Shaun Menary Photography; From Real Wedding: Outdoor Elements in Lavish Modern Wedding of Childhood Sweethearts

Wedding Cake Swing

White wedding cake with silver beads on swing at reception
Though this cake might look fairly traditional on a typical cake stand, the chandelier-inspired swing on which it rests takes this confection to the next level. Photo by Handeland Tesoro Photography; From Real Wedding: Alfresco Jewish Wedding Ceremony & Lush Receptioon in San Diego

Ruffle & Gold-Dipped Wedding Cake Details

White wedding cake with ruffle layer sugar flower
Take a classic cake with round tiers and make it something special by adding ruffled details, sugar flowers, and gilt accents. Photo by Michael Bambino & Co.; From Real Wedding: Whimsical Open-Air Secret Garden Wedding with Soft Spring Hues

Damask & Quilted Wedding Cake

Indian wedding cake with white tufted layers and purple damask print design
Designed for a lavish Indian wedding, this tall confection design alternates between royal purple damask prints and crystal-dotted tufting. Photo by Alucinarte Films; From Real Wedding: Vibrant Indian Wedding with Purple Details in New York City

Gold Foil Wedding Cake

White ruffle and gold foil wedding cake
This stylish confection pairs two modern approaches to cake design: ruffled layers and gold foil details. Photo by Jose Villa Photography; From Real Wedding: Elegant Destination Wedding with Beach Ceremony & Gilded Reception

Butterfly Wedding Cake

White wedding cake with pink flower watercolor design and black butterfly decals
In a huge departure from the traditional wedding cake, this stylish design features a watercolor floral motif and black butterflies. Photo by Thisbe Grace Photography; From Event: Dramatic Wedding Shoot Inspired by Alexander McQueen & Chanel

Dinosaur Wedding Cake

White and gold wedding cake with purple sugar flower tiers
This couple certainly infused their personality into the confection by adding sugar flower tiers in shades of purple as well as dinosaur figurines at the base. Photo by Ira Lippke Studios; From Real Wedding: Dinosaur-Chic Celebration at The American Museum of Natural History

Towering Monogram Wedding Cake

Tracy Morgan Megan Wollover wedding cake tall with monogram and sugar flowers
When Tracy Morgan and Megan Wollover chose their wedding cake, they desired a towering confection with plenty of opulent sugar flowers, lace details, and their monogram. Photo by Jeff Tisman Photography; From Real Wedding:Tracy Morgan & Megan Wollover's Elegant Wedding at an Estate in New Jersey

Discover these beautiful cake designs featuring fresh flowers, see seven cute cake topper ideas, and be inspired to have another wedding dessert with these 12 non-cake wedding desserts. Browse through thousands of images from real weddings in our photo galleries to see the delectable wedding cakes chosen by real couples. For more wedding ideas, be sure to follow Inside Weddings on Instagram and Pinterest

Opening photo by Geoffrey Photography Studio; Planning & Design by La Cosa Bella Events; From Real Wedding: A Luxury Fall Wedding with Hindu & Western Traditions