In ancient Rome, weddings were celebrated by breaking a cake over the top of the bride’s head!  While smashing cake in the face of the person you just pledged to “love, honor and cherish” isn’t one of our favorite wedding “traditions” (thank goodness we are seeing it less and less), it sure beats walking around the remainder of the night with frosting in your hair.

Cake Traditions & “Cutting Cakes”

Though its meaning has evolved through the years, the cake-cutting remains a popular tradition.  Historically the cake was cut by the bride and marked the losing of her virginity.  I don’t know about you, but that is way TMI for me!  Now it remains a beautiful representation of the couple’s first act together.

Many couples are offering desserts other than cake.  According to the Knot , about 75% of couples include cake in their reception but two-thirds have desserts in addition to or in place of wedding cake or as a late-night snack.  Often times there is what I call a “cutting cake”…a very small cake to use just or traditional cake-cutting.  After the symbolic cut, these are typically whisked away to the kitchen for the couple to take to munch on after the wedding or to freeze for their first anniversary.

Special Dietary Needs

Some couples prefer other desserts.  Your wedding is a great time to have things your way!  Options other than cake make it easier to accommodate guests with special dietary needs…vegan, gluten-free, etc.  Many delicious desserts can be made without dairy, eggs, or gluten-based flours.

Dessert Alternatives

While other desserts might be a less expensive alternative, that is not always the case.  Individually portioned desserts…cheesecake, trifles, pies…can be somewhat pricey.  However, offering guests an array of choices, even just different flavors, can satisfy many a sweet tooth and create a stunning dessert table with different colors, textures, sizes, and shapes.  Ask you baker about individually crafted desserts and I think you will be amazed at the selection!

Donuts have become a wedding favorite! So many flavors to choose from and fun ways to display them.  The caterer at one memorable Fall reception at Stonegate made several hundred donuts fresh that day.  I am an avowed donut hater but I couldn’t get enough of those, they were amazing!  In addition, they had a caramel fountain with apple slices and lots of fun sprinkles, nuts, etc.  It was so unique and so amazingly delicious!

Save Money

How many times when talking about your wedding have people said, “Let me know if I can help you”?  But really, what can someone do?  One couple we know took advantage of those offers and it became a fun and easy way for their loved ones to participate in a way that was appreciated by all!

[A note – at Stonegate Manor & Gardens we do allow non-temperature dependent desserts to be prepared in non-commercial kitchens as long as it is okay with the caterer.  Not all venues do so make sure to check with the venue owner and the caterer.]

You know those special bar cookies Aunt Louise always brings to potlucks and they disappear before you can get back for a second?  Ask her if she would make a few dozen for you.  The same for other friends and family…do they have a favorite dessert recipe?  Bring it on!  Cookies, bars, truffle balls, pies..figure out a display you would like to have and ask for help.  People who love you will be happy to step up.  It costs them little, saves you lots and makes a meaningful memory.   One of our brides had very fond memories of eating sweets at her Grandma’s house when she was young.  Her aunts picked the ones they wanted to make.  It was a wonderful way to honor and remember a beloved Grandma.

Late Night Snack

Our fire pit is a great place to gather after dark.  At Stonegate Manor & Gardens, we offer a “Gourmet S’mores Bar” which is as amazing as it is fun.  Some unique late-night snack ideas we’ve had at Stonegate Manor & Gardens are home-made moon pies, fruit pizza, homemade popcorn balls.  I think the apples with caramel fountain would be a great late-night snack idea!

Don’t feel like you need to be cookie cutter.  Your wedding is a time to have fun, express yourself and have your own way.  Serve what YOU like, not what tradition says you should.

By: Prudy Barrett Nelson

As the manager of Stonegate Manor & Gardens, Prudy (aka The Stonegate Wedding Fairy Godmother), has helped guide many couples to some fantastic vendors and participated in some really fun weddings.