It is a common misconception that wedding cake is inherently bad. We are here to tell you that that just isn’t true at all. If you are a believer, then you just haven’t had any of the fantastic creations from our DC area cake and dessert vendors! Sometimes though, a traditional cake just isn’t for you and your sweetie and that is just fine! There are so many other unique and fun desserts out there for you to choose from. We are no longer in the age of the traditional wedding cake as couples move toward modern desserts that fit their personalities. Obsessed with donuts? Do a doughnut cake! Not really into sweets? Do a cheese cake – and no, we don’t mean cheesecake, we mean actual wheels of cheese! The possibilities truly are endless. We have compiled a list of some of our favorite creative desserts for your wedding day that aren’t a traditional cake!


Tim Chambers via Black Pearl Tarts

1. Tarts
We are absolutely in love with the idea of tarts as a unique wedding dessert! As a lover of tarts myself, I fell head over heels for the creative design and yummy taste of Black Pearl Tarts! I think tarts are a wonderful and versatile dessert choice for weddings. Focusing on seasonal flavors and local produce, BPT combines unique taste with elegant technique to create a refreshing twist on a classic pastry. Guests love the individual size and unique flavors, and brides and grooms love expressing their personality and style through this wedding desert. Pastry Chef and Owner Christina Marie will collaborate with you to design tarts that fit your individual wedding style, with flavors that delight your palate.


(L) MegRuth Photo via Elizabeth Anne Designs (R) Kristen Gardner Photography

2. Doughnut

Doughnuts really are all the rage these days and we are so excited! It seems like donuts are a blank canvas – you can make them any flavor and they turn out wonderfully. And honestly, is there anything better than a fresh, warm doughnut? How about a cake made out of them! We love the idea of stacking donuts to create the illusion of a cake. The age old debate of doughnut vs doughnut hole still comes in to play here as you can create a beautiful masterpiece like the one above out of just the doughnut holes! Amazing!

Wedding Whoopie Piespumpkin-whoopie-pies-fall-wedding-desserts

(L) Marcella Treybig Photography (R) Maria Vicencio Photography

3. Whoopie Pies

What could be better than a sandwich comprised of two extra soft cookies and a frosting filling? These sweet treats after often seen in mini form at weddings and we think they are just darling! They come in any flavor under the sun and can be that extra jolt of sugar that guests need to keep up with you on the dance floor!

mini-wedding-desserts-maryland-wedding-Michelle Lindsay-Photography

Michelle Lindsay Photography

Washington DC Wedding Ice Cream Sundae Bar

Emily Clack Photography

4. Ice Cream

I don’t think there is a dessert on earth that I love more than ice cream, who’s with me? Now this delectable treat is two-fold as it can be a passed dessert or a stand alone dessert station. If you want your guests to have the freedom to customize their creations or if you desire a true sundae, a station is the way to go! If you are going for a cute and unique treat for guests but don’t want the party to stop, a pre-made passed cone may be for you. Either way, you can choose flavors that fit your taste or personality as a couple and trust me, no one will be disappointed in your choice for a post dinner treat. It’s also a great way to cool down after some intense dance floor action!

Rustic Maryland Wedding Birds of a Feather Photography Monogrammed Mini Piessummer-wedding-desserts-pie-with-bunting-abby-jiu-photography

(L) Birds of a Feather Photography (R) Abby Jiu

6. Pie

Pie is not just for rustic weddings anymore! It is an excellent substitution for the traditional wedding cake and can be done beautifully for all wedding styles. Do a pie cutting instead of a cake cutting or opt for mini pies that you and your love can link arms and enjoy in front of friends and family. There are tons of options for fillings from the traditional apple, cherry, or pumpkin to the non-traditional cookies n’ cream or strawberry lemonade. DC’s famous Pie Sisters bakes some of our favorites!


via Ted’s Bulletin

5. Poptarts

I once had a friend whose mom wouldn’t let poptarts in the house so she loved to come over to my house and raid our supply; honestly, I can’t blame her! Today, homemade poptarts are stealing the spotlight at dessert tables everywhere. These aren’t your normal poptarts – those thin ones that come in a box – but rather have fancy and flavorful fillings, buttery crusts, and fun and flirty designs! We are obsessed with the poptarts at Ted’s Bulletin – and they make for a great favor option as well if you don’t want to give up on a more traditional wedding dessert.

cheesecake-virginia-wedding-Camille-Catherine-photographyWedding Cheese Platter

(L) Camille Catherine Photography (R) Abby Jiu Photography

7. Cheese Cake

For those of you looking for a savory after dinner treat, look no further than a decadent cheese wheel cake! Not everyone has as intense a sweet tooth as I do so if you’re not craving sugar on your wedding day this is a great option for you. Pick your preferred cheese varieties and stack them on top of each other to create a whimsical impression of a traditional wedding cake or opt for a cheese table with cubes of all of your favorites!

Virginia Wedding Dessert Table

Rebekah J. Murray Photography

8. Dessert Bar

Should you have cake? Cookies? Pies? Ice cream? Having trouble deciding between all of the amazing choices out there? We can’t blame you! That’s where a dessert bar comes in. We are sure that your caterer knows how to make a wicked dessert bar full of your favorites! We don’t think you can have “too many options” when it comes to the sweet treats so mix and match until your heart’s content! Our friends at Fluffy Thoughts have a great selection of mini desserts that would go perfectly on a dessert bar. From eclairs and profiteroles to chocolate and creme brulee truffles, your guests can snack on decadent desserts until their heart’s content! Are you and your honey big into candy? A candy bar full of your favorites for guests to enjoy can be a great choice as well. Put some of the best goodies into glass jars to make a big statement!


 (L) Paul Vincent Photography via Style Me Pretty (R)  Freutcake via Style Me Pretty

9. Cotton Candy

This is one of our favorite non-traditional wedding desserts! If you are looking for a sugary treat, this is the ultimate and it is so versatile. Our friends at Fluffness do some amazing things with cotton candy and they can’t wait to share them with you! From a champagne and cotton candy toast, to an actual cotton candy machine, having this dessert at your wedding is not only delicious but also fun and interactive! You can choose from various flavors like chocolate, salted caramel, marshmallow or you can combine different flavors to make things like “queen bee” which is honey and rose or “tropicana” which is mango, papaya, and coconut. This confection would also make a great favor for guests or a late night treat! The ladies at Fluffness can make all of your cotton candy dreams come true!”

Popsicle DrinksBride with Popsicles

(L) Sugar & Cloth (R) Jason Tey Photography via Style Me Pretty

** BONUS: Popsicles

We adore the idea of a popsicle champagne bar where guests can pick out their favorite flavor and let it melt in their bubbly for some extra sweetness and flavor. Although you may not count this as a “dessert,” we couldn’t help but include it! They are too fun!

Looking for more DC area wedding inspiration? Check United with Love frequently, as we upload new content every day!

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