Wedding Cake or Dessert Table?



5 Reasons why you should opt for a dessert table instead of a traditional wedding cake?

How many weddings have you been to where you have actually eaten a slice of the wedding cake? More often than not, the traditional tiered wedding cake is a beautiful, stylish focal point which grabs people’s attention when it’s cut by the bride and groom, but then it’s either left on a tray and gets wasted or you get given a slice in a box to take home and you find it days later in your handbag when it’s too stale to eat. As a pastry chef, there is nothing more heartbreaking than knowing all your hard work has gone to waste.

Then there’s the very question about whether or not we need to follow wedding traditions, like ‘cutting the cake’ and saving the top tier for your baby’s christening? Surely as a bride, you want a day that is unique to you and your partner. You have been to friends and relatives weddings and seen how they have done it, you have created endless Pinterest boards full of inspiration but you are searching for that unique something that makes your guests go “Wow! That’s different, I love that idea!”

Personally, I think there will always be room for the traditions of a wedding day but where a couple takes that is open to interpretation…….you might feel you want a cake to cut at your wedding but who says this has to be a tiered, iced cake?

What if there was an alternative to the wedding cake that would be devoured and enjoyed by all? The dessert table is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to wedding cake. You can get anything from cupcakes to cake pops, macarons to doughnut walls and even towers or tables of patisserie, beautifully presented to fit the theme, style and colour palette of your wedding.

Here are 5 reasons why you should ditch the idea of a traditional tiered wedding cake and opt for a dessert table instead:
1. Choice

It offers you and your guests choice. Everyone loves to satisfy their sweet cravings and what better way than offering bite-sized pastries and desserts in a range of flavours and textures, catering for different tastes. It also allows you to cater for Aunt Mable’s nut allergy and Uncle Dave’s gluten intolerance or any other dietary needs.

2. Money Saving

If you are bringing in caterers for your big day, you might want to consider a dessert table as your wedding breakfast dessert and your cake rolled into one! Why not have your speeches after your main meal, then have that photo moment of cutting a ‘centrepiece’ cake and mark it as an opening of the dessert table. If you would like your dessert table to feature in your evening reception, different dessert options will allow for differing budgets, which could be more cost effective per head than an elaborate tiered wedding cake.

3. It’s social

I see dessert tables like sweet tapas! The perfect social way of sharing food. Inviting your guests to go to a dessert table and help themselves gets people excited, talking and interacting, at the same time as enjoying what’s on offer.

4. A unique feature to your day

Every Bride whether unconventional or traditional wants their wedding to be like no one else’s. You want your wedding to stand out as your special day, to be memorable for you and your guests. A dessert table offers just that, a special one of a kind offering that will have your guests talking about it for years to come.

5. Trend Setting

Dessert tables are definitely hitting the wedding scene by storm and are set to be the trend for the more non-traditional bride over the coming years. There are so many options when it comes to dessert tables, the possibilities are endless and so it will suit a multitude of brides. Whether you are a Boho chick wanting to rock an outdoor pastry and pie station, or a glamorous bride with dreams of perfect petit fours and macaron towers, there are an array of great pastry chefs out there ready to make your dessert dreams come true.

If I have convinced you that a dessert table is the way to go, here are few things that you should consider in going for this option:

  • Some desserts are not suitable for being displayed for long periods. There would be nothing worse than dreaming of devouring your favourite sugar laden doughnut only to find that its completely dried out and tastes stale. Similarly some patisserie contains fresh creams or pastry cream, this means they can’t be left on display for a whole day like an iced cake could, especially in the hot summer months, or you could find yourself with a melted heap of mush!! BUT……don’t let this put you off, a good dessert table supplier should offer you the right delivery and set up time for maximum freshness of what you have ordered. If your dessert table is part of your wedding breakfast, have them come when you are having your reception drinks and photos, or if it’s for your evening reception then a good time would be when your room is being turned around for your evening do.


  • How are you going to display your wonderful array of desserts? Obviously a traditional wedding cake only requires one stand to display it. If you have an array of desserts you will need a range of stands, plates and accessories to make the most of having a show-stopping dessert table. Again, any good supplier will offer styling as part of their service, taking any stress away from you, as the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about buying or hiring cake stands and props. Just as a wedding cake supplier would discuss design, delivery and set up with you, as should anyone supplying a dessert table.  If it’s done right, a dessert table can have so much more impact than a single cake.


  • Leave it to the experts. Whilst it may seem like a dessert table could be easily accomplished by getting your family and friends to adorn their aprons and whip up some home-baked goods, its actually a lot more complex than it looks. When you have spent a great deal of effort planning your wedding day to the nth degree so every little detail is perfect, don’t let the side down by cutting corners when it comes to your dessert table. Save yourself the headaches and family arguments and leave it to the professionals, who will give you something that extra bit special, after all, if you are marrying Mr Right you only get to do this once!!


So have I tempted you to ditch tradition and be different? Have these images got your mouth-watering?

Visit my weddings page to learn more about my Italian dessert tables and sweet canape tables.

Photo credits: Sara Hazeldine Photography, Rachael Connerton Photography, Kathryn Edwards Photography, Luna Photography

Dessert Tables and Cakes by Pasticceria Lorena


  • June 5, 2018


    Excellent article Lorena. Having seen and tasted one of your dessert tables at Giovanni’s wedding, I can vouch dessert tables are the way to go. Most weddings I’ve been to with “traditional cake” ends up in your hands as a slither of cake (that usually doesn’t taste great) and a wedge of sickly sweet icing! Those pasticci at Giovanni’s wedding were sooooo tasty!!

    If only you had your now “crazy good baking skills” at our wedding 23 years ago!!