While cake may be a wedding staple, an increasing number of modern couples are also bringing other tasty treats to the dessert table.

One driving factor in this trend is cost. In 2017, couples spend an average of $540 on the cake according to The Knot’s annual “Real Weddings Study,” so supplementing a smaller cake with other goodies can help couples keep costs down and stay in budget.

Other couples choose dessert bars simply to offer more variety to their guests or for the “wow” factor. If you’re thinking of serving more than one dessert, be sure to “keep portions small,” says Bobbie Lloyd, chef at the famous Magnolia Bakery in New York City.

Here are a few ideas of popular confections to tempt guests with at your reception:


If you want a guaranteed crowd pleaser, offer this chocolate treat. Whether they’re cakey or moist, brownies are comforting and dependable. If you want to dress up the plain variety, include your favorite add-in like chocolate chips, peanut butter, or caramel. Blondies, made with brown sugar instead of cocoa, make a tasty companion.

Rice Krispies Treats

Grownups get giddy when they spot a tray of these square cereal and marshmallow confections. Sticky and sweet, they remind us of the times when Mom rewarded us for a good report card with a stack of these treats!


The appeal of these delicious mini cakes is eternal, so it’s no surprise they often pop up on wedding dessert tables. Though Magnolia offers cupcakes in enticing flavors like pistachio and peanut butter, Lloyd says their best seller for weddings is vanilla with vanilla frosting.

“It kind of blows my mind that people still want a good old-fashioned vanilla cupcake,” she says. Give yours a special touch by matching the buttercream’s hues to your wedding colors or topping with buttercream rosettes.

Heritage dessert

To honor their family, some couples ask a family member to make a dessert that is steeped in their culture’s culinary history, says Krystyna Kapera, venue and events manager of Manzo’s Banquets, a Chicago-area caterer and event facility. Most nationalities have a beloved treat, such as Italian cannoli, Serbian torte, and Cuban tres leches cake. It’s a delicious and meaningful way to personalize the dessert course.

Ice cream bar

Put out gallons of basic flavors like vanilla and chocolate, or unexpected flavors like pumpkin cheesecake and hazelnut, plenty of toppings (rainbow sprinkles, gummy bears, fresh strawberries), and watch as a line of happy people forms, spoon at the ready.

Don’t think this dessert is only for summer weddings — pies (apple, cherry, pecan) are a year round delight. And always, always remember the whipped cream!

Candy bar

A fun alternative to baked goods, a candy bar offers a variety of sugary goodness. “It can be customized around a theme such as hearts, the wedding colors, or an ingredient like chocolate,” says Kapera. Get really personal and get your initials printed on M&Ms!

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