Dessert is one way newlyweds can encapsulate the sweetness of their wedding day, but they’re no longer limited to the standard tiered cake and traditional cookie tables.
Jessica Transue, owner of Jessica Elyse Events, says she has noticed a dramatic increase of people going against the grain, opting for custom dessert bars that speak to who they are as a couple, where guests can mingle or quickly swing by mid-dance to satisfy their sweet tooth.
“A lot of my couples I’m seeing are doing mini-pies and mini-cakes, getting an assortment of different desserts that anyone can grab a slice off of and try on their own,” she says.
Transue shares that large wedding cakes create a lot of waste as many guests don’t end up indulging in a slice, and cookie tables can create unexpected hassle as it is difficult to coordinate the number of cookies needed.
At their Oct. 1, 2022, reception at the Energy Innovation Center, Jake Wood and Aubrey Simpson enjoyed custom-made signature donuts from Valencia Donut Company.
“Neither of us really like cake, that’s really not our thing,” says Jake. “So instead of spending all that money on a wedding cake that neither of us are really going to eat, we wanted to find something different.”
Both Aubrey and Jake chose blueberry as the base of their signature donuts, with Aubrey topping hers with lemon icing and Jake with a maple glaze. Attendees could indulge in their signatures or have the choice of traditional favorites such as glaze or Boston cream. Jake’s mother arranged the donuts to mimic the shape of a wedding cake.
“A lot of people really loved the donuts. And people said they liked it too because they were smaller donuts,” Jake says. “They were excited that they could kind of grab one of each [and] didn’t have to commit to a big giant donut. They can try them all and not feel bad for taking one of each.”
Chelsie Arvizu and Mark Kubera, married on May 21, 2022 on the Gateway Clipper, wanted to find a way to connect with their guests through their offered sweets.
“I’ve always had an affinity for candy,” says Chelsie. “We were trying to do something that was local. We just kind of went back in time and asked the family what their favorite candy was growing up and seeing which brands were still around. That kind of brought into fruition, the full candy array from new to old Pennsylvania candy.”
Their candy cart station, crafted by Olive & Rose Events owner Kimberly Allera, contained retro candies such as Mallo Cups, Peanut Chews and Clark Bars. Chelsie says that most of the candies were so dated that she was only able to find them on Amazon. Guests who wanted a quick treat could head over to the cart, grab a baggie and fill it up with nostalgia.
Samantha Seroka, who married Ryan Wessel on Jan. 14, 2023, at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, says that food allergies played a big role in the alternative dessert they picked for their wedding.
“My husband has celiac disease and I have a dairy allergy, so that makes cake very hard to do. We wanted something we could share with all of our guests, not just make them eat sad gluten- and dairy-free cake,” she says.
Pittsburgh-based Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream came to their rescue with a sundae bar containing all-gluten-free ice cream as well as several dairy-free flavors, including mint chip, mango sorbet, vanilla and chocolate brownie.
“It was kind of a one-stop shop,” Samantha says.
Aimee Lucot, events and truck manager for Millie’s Truck Pittsburgh, says that there has been an uptick in weekend wedding orders of ice cream bars — the Woods even had one in addition to their donuts.
Customers have the option to do full service and pay based on a cup count or do all-you-can-eat based on the number of guests. Newlyweds get the choice of four flavors to serve at the wedding based on the current offerings Millie’s has available at the time.
“We’ve elevated it to where you have a full-on sundae bar and people just love it,” says Lucot. “It is always well-received and people are excited. It’s something different and new and [it’s] really fun to be there.”