Not Cake: Wedding Dessert Table & Bar Ideas

September 12th, 2022 Wedding Ideas, Tips and Inspiration

Photos Courtesy of The Knot

4 Delicious Dessert Bar Ideas for Weddings

These days, wedding desserts are just as much of a culinary adventure as the reception food and drinks! 

If you’re not into traditional wedding cakes, it’s no longer unusual to skip it completely and offer different types of desserts that are more your style. It’s also an option to include a small cake for the ceremonial “cake cutting” while impressing your guests with a spectacular wedding dessert table that’ll please any sweet tooth. We’ve put together a list of the best wedding dessert bar ideas to consider for your big day.

Wedding Candy Bar

Candy tables popped onto the wedding scene a few years ago and continue to be a popular choice. Perhaps because they can double as wedding favors that guests can take home and savor later, and they are an easier DIY option. A sweets table would certainly be exciting for younger guests who will happily create their own custom dessert bag of goodies. When planning yours, here are a few wedding candy bar ideas to chew on:

  • Choose a color:  An easy way to get started is by choosing candy colors that will fit your wedding theme. You won’t have to get all the candy in that color, but make sure you have a few that will match your decor to really make your dessert table stand out. You can also use your wedding colors for the dessert table linens, flowers and signage. Be sure to include some neutral colors: white or dark chocolate-covered candy, for example. Gold or silver-wrapped candy is another neutral option. Color consistency is key in creating a cohesive look.

  • Consider dietary needs: You don’t want to leave out diabetic guests or those who don’t have a strong sweet tooth. Nuts, or chocolate-covered nuts, may be a less-sugary choice. Gluten-free pretzels are another option. 

It’s a good idea to include labels or signs to inform guests what’s in each sweet treat. A candy table could be a wild card for guests with allergies.

Donut Bar Table

Donuts are another trendy wedding dessert. The doughy donut could be seen as a modern twist on cake. Couples love being whimsical with their desserts, so offering a variety of donuts is a delicious way for a couple to express their favorite flavors, the season, or their creative personalities. While a plain or powdered donut is always a crowd-pleaser, why not include fun options for guests to sample: s’mores, green tea, brownie or pumpkin spice?

The presentation of a donut bar can be as creative as the flavors. Which one of these dessert display styles would best fit the style of your wedding decor?:

  1. Donut wall

  2. Tiered tower of donuts

  3. Scattered cake stands of donuts

  4. Donut table centerpieces

  5. Donut place cards

Who said a dessert bar needs to be boring? A donut bar (or wall, centerpiece, or tower) can instantly add a fun vibe to any wedding celebration.

Cookie Bar

There’s something comforting about a dessert station with cookies at a wedding. It feels like childhood. But don’t let the cozy feeling of a cookie trick you into thinking this type of dessert can’t be fancy. To dress up your cookie dessert table, you could serve a shot glass of milk with a cookie placed on top. Or perhaps serve milk in a martini glass with a cookie wedged on the rim.

When you’re calculating the right amount of cookies to buy for your guests, a safe rule to use is to have 3 to 4 cookies per guest. Considering not everyone eats dessert, it’s a good amount of cookies to make sure everyone enjoys themselves and satisfies their sweet tooth. Consider ordering more if there are going to be more children at the reception.

Origins of the cookie table: It’s rumored to have originated in Pennsylvania where a large table of cookies is offered to wedding guests made by family and friends. Some also say that cookie bars may also be common in Ohio or may have been part of traditional Catholic, Italian or Eastern European wedding receptions.

S’mores Bar Dessert Table

A s’mores bar adds a fun, interactive element to a reception. You may want to consider this a stand-alone dessert bar because it’s a lighter snack and may be too much effort for some guests. A s’mores bar can work as an additional option to a wedding cake or provided as a late-night reception snack.

This traditional campfire treat is usually a fire-roasted marshmallow and chocolate between two pieces of graham cracker. But for weddings, this gooey goodness might include decadent options such as peanut butter, salted caramel, mint marshmallows, strawberries, almonds, or other ingredients. 

Choosing Something for Your Sweets Table

These are only a few of today’s popular wedding dessert table ideas! Your modern cake table could include a one-tier cake or other items like cake pops, cupcakes and cheesecake. A pie bar may also be a delicious idea for a fall or a winter wedding. An ice cream truck could be refreshing for a summer celebration. If you’re looking for treats that will bring elegance to your reception, macarons, eclairs or a towering croquembouche are all great options.

Do you have any favorite wedding desserts? Let us know in the comments below!

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