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Wedding Cake Alternatives to Make Your Wedding More Special

Wedding Cake Alternatives to Make Your Wedding More Special

different pies displayed on a table at an outdoor wedding

The bride and groom may be the stars of their wedding, but come reception time, all eyes will be on another highlight – the wedding cake! For years, wedding cakes have been present at traditional weddings. In today’s modern world, some couples may want to spice things up a little to make their wedding more unforgettable.

If you are looking to find inspirations for wedding cake alternatives, look no further! Below are some delightful food ideas if you want to serve something different to your guests, even to those who have special preferences.

camera focused on wedding cake with ms and mrs sign

What Are Wedding Cakes For?

Historically, newly-wed couples in Ancient Rome would eat barley cake together as a symbol of their union. For good luck, the wedding guests would then have a share of the leftovers.

By the medieval period, the English began stacking spiced buns, scones, and cookies – which the bride and groom would try to kiss over without toppling the makeshift cake. This was said to bring good fortune, and later on, tiered cakes would become status symbols of wealth.

Cutting the cake itself is another wedding cake tradition – it symbolizes the couple’s first activity together right after marriage. Moreover, feeding each other a slice of cake represents their commitment to each other.

Is It Ok to Not Have a Wedding Cake?

Couples choose a wedding cake for it to become a symbol of their marriage ceremony, but there’s also nothing wrong if the bride and groom decide not to have one. The history of wedding cakes is rooted in wedding traditions, so it’s up to you – the couple – if you still want to follow these.

You might opt to not have a wedding cake because of financial reasons too. After all, planning the wedding ceremony on its own can be costly. This is a perfectly acceptable reason to prefer a cheaper alternative to a wedding cake.

Other couples may not be fond of cakes at all, or sweets, in general. Additionally, either the bride or the groom may be lactose-intolerant or diabetic.

There are many different reasons to look for wedding cake replacements and the good news is that there are several selections for you to choose from instead!

What Can I Serve Instead of Cake?

Sweets as Wedding Cake Alternatives

If you’d like to stick to baked goods, here are some cheaper alternatives to wedding cake:

red velvet wedding cupcakes tower

Cupcake or Cookie Tower

Choosing a cupcake or cookie tower is one easy alternative. Perhaps your wedding cake baker also offers a cupcake version of your original cake design!

As an added bonus, you can pack the cupcakes into individual boxes after the reception so that it doubles as your wedding giveaway. This completes your obligation to give tokens to your guests, and at the same time, avoids expenses for separate souvenirs.

pink donuts on wall at a wedding

Doughnut Wall

Finally, you can have a doughnut wall as a special way to share desserts with your guests. Because of its unique design, guests will surely line up for a photo op with it as well!

Sapin-sapin Crêpe

Put a twist on the classic Filipino delicacy, sapin-sapin! This sapin-sapin crêpe recipe combines kutsinta, ube, and langka to create a beautiful, multi-colored dessert with a combination of all-time favorite Pinoy delicacies.

Homemade gingerbread house and decorated gingerbread hearts for wedding

Gingerbread House

If your wedding is happening during the Christmas season, why not combine two beloved occasions in one? Having a gingerbread house designed in a wedding motif is a delightful way to welcome a new chapter in your life with Christmas cheer.

Dessert table for a wedding party

Dessert Table

If you can’t decide on a single type of dessert, why not have them all? In place of a wedding cake, you can have a dessert buffet table. It’s a terrific way for you and your guests to taste different kinds of dessert, all in one place.

Savory Wedding Cake Replacements

If you don’t like sweets, or if you want to avoid sweets altogether, why not opt for more savory wedding cake substitutes?

stack of cheese wheels at a wedding

Cheese Wheels

For example, you can still resemble a tiered wedding cake by stacking cheese wheels of different flavors on top of each other. This is perfect if you’ll be serving wine at the wedding; you can have a wine-tasting activity at the reception!

different savory pies on table

Savory Pies

Serving pork pies is another savory alternative wedding cake idea. You can place them on top of each other, or serve them in smaller sizes so that it’s easier for guests to get their share. If you don’t want to have pork, then you can decide on a different filling, such as chicken, potatoes, or eggs.

Chicago Style Deep Dish Cheese Pizza with Tomato Sauce

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Deep-Dish Pizza

Everyone loves pizza; it’s one of the world’s most popular foods! If you really want to go against the norm, go for a pizza wedding “cake” with different toppings for every layer. Choose deep-dish pizzas, which have additional stuffing and extra-thick crust for easier handling.

Vegetarian and Vegan Wedding Cake Alternatives

Couples who want a vegetarian or vegan wedding can have their own version of a wedding cake, too! Since vegan recipes avoid dairy products, these wedding cake substitutes can be equally enjoyed by couples and guests who are lactose-intolerant.

a slice of homemade cherry pie

Fruit Pies

Fruit pies are a nutritious and vegetarian wedding cake alternative which you can stack to create tiers, or serve in smaller sizes. Consider serving the classic Filipino buko pie at your wedding for dessert! If you follow a vegan lifestyle instead, you can choose to share this fruit pie recipe with your baker if they need a reference that’s PETA-approved.

glasses of chocolate puddings


Yes, pudding can be vegan too! There are numerous recipes online, but here’s a cacao chia pudding recipe that’s not only vegan but dairy-free as well, which is just perfect for couples and guests with lactose intolerance. 

As long as vegan chocolate chips are used, you can dig into this dessert without compromising your diet. Serve the pudding in glass cups and arrange them on a stand to make for a beautiful dessert display.

close up on carrot cupcakes

Low-Carb Carrot Cupcakes

For vegetarians or vegans who also want a low-carb or keto wedding cake replacement, here’s a recipe for carrot cupcakes that can satisfy your needs. Additionally, this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free, so any guests that may have allergies or special dietary requirements can still enjoy this guilt-free.

Make Your Day Memorable With Wedding Cake Substitutes

There’s lots of things you can do to make your special day unique and replacing wedding cakes for something unexpected is one of them! These substitute wedding cake ideas are sure to make a lasting impression on you and your guests, but as always, pick the option that you want best as the marrying couple.

Once you’ve decided on your choice, don’t forget to speak with your wedding caterer so that they can take note of your preferences and make your wedding day go as smoothly as possible. Be sure to also check out this compilation of fun and unique wedding cake toppers which you can use to put the finishing touches on your alternative wedding cake.

Feel free to browse through for more helpful wedding advice.

Anjenica Durana
Author: Anjenica Durana

Anjenica's biggest dream in life is to go on a great adventure. While still waiting for a tall wizard to knock at her door, or for a fairy to fly through her window, or for her grandmother to reveal their royal lineage (any time now), she works undercover as a writer who pretends to enjoy playing badminton.

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