Tuesday, January 17, 2012

5 Unique Wedding Cake Alternatives

Much of my research, price points, and images in this post came from the Sweet and Saucy Shop located in Long Beach, CA, the Lovely Layers Cakery in Chico, CA, and the Tin Roof Bakery in Chico, CA.

I mentioned in my Cake post from last week that I had some great ideas for Wedding Cake Alternatives.  I know many of you have been waiting on the edge of your seat to find out what these are, so wait no more!  Here is that post.  :)

For the record, since I have already discussed using cupcakes instead of regular cakes in my last post you will not be seeing that suggestion here.  It's a great alternative to wedding cakes, but this post is about UNIQUE cake alternatives and, let's face it, cupcakes are getting more and more mainstream every year!

1) Cheesecake

Lovely Layers Cakery in Chico, CA
My brother and sister in law were married in 2005 and at their reception they decided to skip the plain old wedding cake and instead opted for a variety of cheesecakes as their dessert of choice.  This decision went over extremely well with their guests (myself included)!  They offered about 6 varieties of cheesecake to choose from and I sampled all but two of them.  They were delicious!

They still did their traditional cake cutting and feeding of the cake and I believe they even saved a slice to freeze and eat at their first anniversary as per tradition.  So this is a great alternative if you want something different but don't want to sacrifice traditions.

Price wise, you're going to spend about the same on this that you will on a traditional cake (between $2-4 per serving).  This idea won't save you much green, but if you are not a fan of cake and would rather not serve it at your wedding this is a great alternative.

2) Ice Cream Bar

Brilliant Bash
The thought of an ice cream bar is just making my mouth water!  At my high school graduation party I opted for an Ice Cream Bar instead of your traditional finger foods.  For a pretty small price my parents picked up strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream by the gallon along with all the fixings to make a delicious Sundae.  It was an idea I realized could translate easily into a wedding!

Give you guests some cute dishes (possible favor ideas?) and a spoon and let them go to town with fresh fruit toppings, sprinkles, nuts, and other goodies.  With Yogurt Bars growing in popularity I'm sure this is a dessert that would be universally appreciated by most of yours guests.  (Maybe throw in an option for an lactose intolerant guests.)  And since many of these ingredients can be found at large bulk grocery stores, like Costco, it will likely leave a lot of green in your pocket at the end of the day!

On a related note, why not also pick up a root beer keg and throw some root beer floats into the mix!?

3) Dessert Shooters

Sweet and Saucy Shop in Long Beach
I got this idea while visiting Applebees one day.  They have these little deserts in a cup about the size of a shot glass.  You can choose from multiple types of cake like strawberry shortcake, chocolate mousse, and hot fudge sundae.  Then throw in a few more like key lime pie, lemon raspberry, banana cream pie, chocolate peanut butter, and vanilla latte, and you have a dessert that guests will be talking about for years to come!

In my research I found many places now offering dessert shooters and the prices seemed to range from $2-3 per shooter, so this idea won't really save you a lot of green.  But if creativity and uniqueness is your goal, this is definitely a way to accomplish it!

4) S'mores Bar

I actually saw this at a bridal show last weekend and though the idea was fantastic, especially for a backyard wedding.  Just buy some traditional s'mores items, such as graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate, and set up a s'mores bar!  If you are having a back yard or park wedding that allows camp fires, start up a fire for your guests to roast them the old fashion way!  If that's not allowed, many caterers are now offering flame options for s'more roasting!

Want to spice it up a bit?  Throw in some non-traditional s'more items, like caramel, vanilla drizzle, cinnamon sugar graham crackers, dried fruit, and nuts so your guests can create truly unique and memorable s'mores.

Since many s'mores ingredients can be found at large bulk grocery stores, like Costco, a s'mores bar may end up saving you hundreds on your dessert bill!

5) A Pastry Bar

Tin Roof Bakey in Chico, CA
Have you ever walked into a high end pastry shop, looked around and thought "Man, I wish I could try so many of these!".  Well, imagine walking into a wedding reception only to be greeted by a virtual donut shop on the dessert table!

At a wedding I worked at in 2010 the bride worked at a locally bakery that donated her favorite treats for the wedding.  Items like individual little pies, brownies, eclairs, cheesecake bites, and mini tarts.  It looked AMAZING!  Sadly, the table was eaten up by the time we got over there, but I imagine it was delicious!

I did some research and found a few places and if you buy each item individually you will spend between $1-4 per item.  However many places will make bulk orders for you, with enough advanced warning, for a small discount.  This idea could save you some money, but also please the various pallets of your guests!

Of course there are many variations of each of these, such as the donut tower cake and mini pie bar.  And many more alternatives to wedding cakes that will make your guests happy they were invited to your fabulous wedding!

Have a wedding cake alternative of your own?  I'd love to hear about it!  Please comment below to tell me what you did, plan to do, or would like to see as a wedding dessert!

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