Wedding cake is not just dessert! It’s a tradition because cooked inside it is a lot of superstition. Those five layers of fondant are nothing more than a towering talisman trying to knock the bride up. Don’t believe me? Well, a cake is nothing more than wheat, sugar, water and eggs, which are all symbols for fertility. Cook them together, eat it and people thought it would literally put a bun in the oven. But today, despite lots of people going after Planned Parenthood in a modern day witch hunt, there are many women and couples, who don’t actually ever want to have kids. So instead of serving wedding cake and pushing a baby-making agenda they don’t want, here are 10 dessert alternatives that don’t come with the same sticky, messy symbolism(though feel free to pick one type of dessert if you’re not interested in a dessert bar).
1. THE ICE CREAM BAR: A make-your-own ice cream sundae bar will make everyone happy (and/or give them permanent brain freeze) just make sure you have enough whipped cream and Reesie pieces on hand to satiate the masses. What’s great about ice cream bars is that you can really diversify away from traditional banana splits and Neapolitan flavors. One wedding I attended hired a local ice cream truck that made its own flavors (the one downside was the line) but it was great to eat local and homemade. Frozen yogurt stations are also all the healthy, pro-biotic rage lately or the bar could even include gelato if you want to go international. Just keep a few pints of lactose or vegan friendly flavors for guests!
2. CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY FUN: WWWWD? (What would Willy Wonka Do?) He’d buy out Dylan’s Candy store and turn every Snickers Bar to Ding Dong into an art installation that would make Candy Land look like a landfill. The only limit to this dessert bar is your imagination, so go crazy. Just keep in mind that guests’ eyes will be bigger than their bellies and will appreciate a doggy bag to take home. And you might want to include a travel size toothpaste and brush with the bag so they can’t blame you for any cavities.
3. DON’T DO NOT DO A DONUT BAR: Alright, donuts are close to cake, but they don’t come with the baby-making superstition like cake does. Donuts these days are insanely fun, especially if you live in Portland, OR. and can have Voodoo Donuts cater your dessert bar. From maple bacon to rock candy to donuts with shots inside the hole, you can blow your guests’ minds with flavors and concoctions galore. Just remember to have a few gluten free options available; and if you’re from New England some Dunkin’ Donuts are a must, and even if you think Old Fashioned donuts are plain boring just know that some of us love them anyway…
4. DO IT THE FRENCH WAY: Oh la la, if the French do one thing right, it’s dessert. Imagine creating a buffet of all the best desserts our French friends have to offer from petite tarts to cream puffs/profiteroles from eclairs to crème brûlée. Macarons are all the rage right now and come in many fun flavors from Cheetos to Green Tea. You can even have a make-your-own crepe bar or a savory selection of french cheeses. Top it all off with a French press coffee bar so guests can feel like they are hanging out in Ole Paris. Tres délicieux!
5. COOKIE BAR: Create a cookie bar that would make Cookie Monster lose his shit. There’s a lot of curating one could do for a cookie bar, such as supporting the local Girl Scouts by having every flavor from Thin Mints to Caramel deLites available (having matching cocktails is also a popular option) or offer so many different Italian cookies your Italian grandmother is brought to tears. From chocolate chip to make your own sugar cookie (or gingerbread person if it’s a winter wedding), from Mexican wedding cookies to replacing the wedding cake to one massive brownie/chocolate chip cookie cake there are a million options if you just get creative enough.
6. CEREAL BAR: Because why the fuck not? Everyone loves cereal so if you get a box of everything from Muesli (for your grandparents’ regularity) to Apple Jacks (for all the kids) to Chex (for the gluten free peeps who don’t want to miss out) everyone will be happy. I’d even go the extra length and separate the Lucky Charms from the marshmallows; people will go nuts for that. Just remember to offer tons of milk alternatives from organic to skim, coconut to almond milk.
7. CHOCOLATE BAR: Be the Bubba Gump of chocolate and offer anything and everything with chocolate: chocolate mousse, chocolate fudge, white chocolate risotto, chocolate covered crickets, chocolate fondue, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate dipped strawberries, moon pies, chocolate truffles, brownies, flourless chocolate cake (it’s missing an important fertility ingredient), chocolate toffee, chocolate…okay you get the idea. You can even have a hot chocolate station to wash it all down. Just make sure you offer a complimentary wheel barrel ride home when people collapse after their sugar high.
8. A NIGHT AT THE CARNIVAL: Nothing says festive like a carnival at night. While you don’t have to have the kitsch games of an amusement park, there’s nothing like a freshly spun pink fluff of cotton candy to get someone giggling like they are 8 again. But there’s plenty of other delicious desserts under the big top such as fried dough/funnel cakes, popcorn, soft serve ice cream, snow cones, fried Twinkies and pickles, churros, caramel apples, roasted nuts and freshly squeezed lemonade to wash it all down.
8. LA DOLCE VITA: What better way to start the good life than with the sweet life? Embrace all the delightful goodness Italy has to offer from a towering mountain of vanilla wedding cannolis to pizzelles, ricotta desserts to zeppole. What’s more is that you can treat guests to a delicious macchiatto or cappuccino to wash down their amaretto biscotti. Not feeling La Dolce Vita? I hear the Belgains do a damn good job on dessert to, i.e. a make-your-own Belgain waffle bar.
9. PIE BAR: Guest will pie and go to heaven when you offer them every pie imaginable. For inspiration, I recommend watching Keri Russell’s Waitress (2007). From the traditional apple pie to key lime, there also pecan, pumpkin, coconut custard, meringue, mincemeat (which is actually pretty sweet), bride’s (which I don’t recommend, look up the ingredients if you don’t trust me), moon and any fruit, pudding, cream pie you can imagine. Feel free to offer some whip cream or vanilla ice cream as a side!
10. APPLES TO APPLES: Nothing says ‘Merica like apple desserts at any event and don’t be fooled that apples are only good for fall weddings. From apple pie to apple crisps with vanilla bean ice cream to apple fritters, from rummy apple bread pudding (it’s not quiet cake with the superstition) to a roasted apple with salted maple cream, this fruit gives plenty of serving options at a wedding. The plus side to an apple dessert is the warm sense of home and family guests making your wedding the apple of everyone’s eye.