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When planning a modern wedding, one of the first things that comes to mind is the cake. The modern tradition of wedding cake comes from ancient customs. Some couples today decide not to have a wedding cake at all. Here’s a brief history of the origins of wedding cake and some ideas for alternatives to a wedding cake if you’re not a fan.

History of Wedding Cake

The history of wedding cake dates back to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. In Greek and Roman times, the groom broke bread over the bride’s head during the wedding ceremony to symbolize submission and encourage good luck and fertility. Then in the Middle Ages, the newly-married couple would attempt to kiss over a stack of cakes. If they successfully kissed without the cake falling over, the belief was that they would have many children. The English created their own wedding cake custom where the groom would throw cake at the bride to encourage fertility. Tiered wedding cakes with frosting also became a symbol of status as time went on.

tradition of wedding cake and alternatives ideas

The Modern Tradition of Wedding Cake

Most modern weddings carry on the tradition of having a wedding cake for the couple and guests to enjoy. The modern cake-cutting tradition emerged from ancient wedding cake customs. Today, it is common for a couple to have a cake-cutting ceremony. Typically, a newly-married couple will cut the first piece of their wedding cake together and feed each other a piece of the cake. They might use a custom cake-cutting knife set that was gifted to them by friends or family. Some cake-cutting ceremonies are a simple photo opportunity, and others are more elaborate and include smashing or throwing cake.

ideas for alternatives to wedding cake

Wedding Cake Alternatives

You might want to do something a little different for your wedding. Whatever your reason may be, there are plenty of alternatives for sweet treats you can enjoy at your wedding. If you are planning a non-traditional wedding, or you simply don’t want cake, we’ve compiled a list of some desserts you could serve at your wedding in place of the traditional wedding cake:

Ice Cream

There are many ways you could serve ice cream at your wedding. For example, you could consider hiring an ice cream truck, renting a soft-serve machine, or creating a sundae bar for your guests.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are another popular dessert item that would be a unique alternative to a wedding cake. You could order cinnamon rolls from a favorite local bakery and create a beautiful display table with these baked goods.


Donuts at weddings are already a popular treat! You could create a donut wall or use tiered dessert holders to showcase this dessert. Look into donut shops and bakeries to find unique flavors, or you can always serve up some classic favorites.


If you like cake but want a single-serve option, try cupcakes! You can have multiple flavor options as well as easily accommodate allergies.


Macaroons are a fun, delicate, and colorful alternative to a wedding cake! These bite-sized treats would make for a unique dessert that looks great.


Prefer pie over cake? No rule says you can’t have wedding pie! You could have your favorite flavor or serve an assortment of pies to your guests.

Candy Bar

Candy-lovers might go for a candy bar for their wedding day dessert. Candy makes a great late-night snack for wedding guests, and you can have all of your favorite treats.


Another dessert that could be an alternative to having a wedding cake is cookies! Who doesn’t love biting into a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie? You could ask a family member to bake cookies or cater from a bakery or cookie shop. There are even options for gourmet cookies with fun flavors and unique designs.

cookies instead of wedding cake at wedding


Brownies make simple and delicious wedding desserts. They are easy to make and could save you money in your budget.


Many Hudson Valley wedding venues have fire pits where guests can roast marshmallows for s’mores. You can pre-package s’mores kits for your guests to enjoy.

alternatives to wedding cake - s'mores

Homemade Cake

If you want a cake but don’t want to cater a traditional wedding cake, check with your venue’s requirements to see if you could bake a cake yourself! That way, you could create a cake as simple or as elaborate as you want and even make a tradition of your own for your wedding day.

Other Wedding Cake Alternatives

There’s no end to desserts that could be served as an alternative to a wedding cake. So, when it comes to deciding which sweet treat is best for your wedding day, it comes down to your personal preference. Brainstorm ideas with your fiance and come up with desserts you both love and would enjoy for your special day.

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