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10 alternate wedding dessert ideas

The wedding cake has, and will always be, an irreplaceable wedding icon. The size, shape and structure may change, but it will undeniably be a wedding symbol that cannot be switched out.

Nevertheless, more and more couples are choosing to look beyond the traditional wedding cake for their wedding dessert. The reasons are plenty—they may not like cake, they want something more budget-friendly, it could be to make it more unique, or simply because they want more than just cake.

Whatever be the reason, there are plenty of dessert options out there, and this is what we will look at today. Whether you want to use just these desserts at your reception, or add it to the dessert bar along with your wedding cake, we are sure they’ll be smashing successes. So, hop on and find out what your deliciously indulgent and sweet choices are.

1.Donuts

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They may be fried, they may be sweet, but everyone knows that donuts are a favorite in the world of desserts. Everyone from young children to teenagers and adults love donuts, and this is precisely why you should have this treat at your wedding. Whether you keep it simple, or dress it up and vary the mix, it will be a great addition to your dessert spread. You can also experiment with the size. While spongy soft, big donuts will be ideal as a snack or an edible party favor, the smaller dressed up versions drizzled with chocolate or sprinkled with colorful cake accessories are bite-sized treats that everyone will partake. For a more elegant finish, have the donuts glazed with frosting that matches the colors of your wedding palette and stack them up on a tiered cake rack to resemble a wedding cake. This way you can make them the stars of the show.

2. Bundt cakes

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Trade off the traditional tiered cake for individual Bundt cakes at each guest table. This will be a refreshing natural dessert that can be enjoyed by one and all. Without complicated details and frosting, all your guests will love to snack on at least a bite of it, post dinner. Not only is this an economical option, it is also easy to create. You can also have a single dessert spread with a number of Bundt cakes in different flavors, allowing your guests to pick slices from the lot. And, don’t forget to experiment with various flavors to find one that will match your wedding theme and personal flavor preferences. Flavors like lime and orange are right for the warmer months, while ginger, cinnamon and chocolate are great for autumn and winter. Bundt cakes are particularly good choices for outdoor weddings in gardens and backyards, as they look just right in with the natural surroundings. Consider serving a luscious spread of cream and fresh tropical fruit slices to complete this great dessert choice, if your wedding is a spring or summertime affair in the outdoors.

3.Pies

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There are many bakers who specialize in creating spectacular looking and delicious pies. Pies are wholesome and hearty food options. You can pack in various flavors to satisfy all your guests, whether they have a sweet tooth or prefer savory choices. If you want to replace the entire wedding cake with a pie bar, consider using pies of various dimensions and dressing up the arrangement using platters at different heights. Bite-sized pies can also double up as wedding favors for your guests to take home. Or, you can have a couture wedding cake and devote the rest of the dessert spread to various types of pies. Having pies as part of your reception dessert will save you money, as you can easily whip up stunning flavors using any seasonal or locally available items. Think of flavors like berries for spring and apple for winter, and you will have several options that cannot go wrong. Just make sure that your pies are extra luscious and buttery and have lavish doses of sweetness, crunch and cream to make them just perfect.

4.Cupcakes

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Our eternal favorite, cupcakes are a dessert that can liven up any wedding reception. They allow you to customize to the finest detail, so these delightful little treats are just perfect for your big celebration. Experiment with not just the flavors and frosting, but also with accessories like the cupcake toppers and pretty cupcake cases in patterns and prints, till you find the right mix that instantly adds a dash of personality to your sweet spread. Whether you choose to serve cupcakes at the guest tables, or have it as part of the dessert buffet, they are a fantastic treat that will be appreciated. You can even order extra, for edible party favors that your guests can take home and indulge in at leisure. When you place cupcakes in a tiered arrangement, they will resemble a wedding cake. By tying the design to the colors of your wedding and using suitable textures in the frosting, you can easily make it the focal element in your décor. Our love bird damask display cake tower featured in the picture here will allow you to create a stunning extravaganza with up to 75 cupcakes of your choice. To find out more about ordering it and also to look at the different beautiful cupcake cases we have in store, visit this link here.

5.Mixed dessert platter

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Instead of a single dessert, how about serving an assortment of fanciful treats for the last course? This way, your guests can choose the ones that they favor from the platter that is placed on the table. It also gives your chef the option to perfect each sweet treat in its own special way, and create a marvelous arrangement by assorting them. Your guests will appreciate the opportunity to pick the one they love from the convenience of where they are seated. Bite-sized treats like mini cheesecake slices, festive macaroons, creamy mini-donuts and frosted cookies are all suitable desserts for the purpose. Make sure that each platter will have different types of desserts in terms of flavors, textures, colors and sweetness. This way, there will be something to satisfy every one of your guests. Arrange to have more of the popular ones, so nobody misses the treat they like from the spread. With a little clever planning, you can have the whole thing done on a much smaller budget than the typical wedding cake would cost you. Despite this, the impact will be even more strong, as a yummy dessert course is often unforgettable.

6.Smore station

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Bring the fun of camping to your wedding with a s’more station as your key dessert feature. You can also arrange individual hibachis at the guests tables, if your venue allows it. Although it may involve a little effort for your guests to toast their own marshmallows, we are sure they’ll enjoy the experience, which is still quite uncommon. After all, who doesn’t love this campfire staple. Upgrade the humble snack by choosing different flavors like coconut and caramel for a different taste. You can also switch out the standard Graham crackers for biscuit thins and add a few extras like syrups and sauces, to make it a wholesome dessert.

7.Waffles

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Perfect for a wedding brunch, fresh and warm waffles are a great dessert choice. You can also consider adding this to your dessert spread, even when you host your reception in the evening. More suited to casual style weddings, waffles are a delicious treat that most of your guests will like. The best way to have waffles is when they are made to order. Consider setting up a number of waffle stations at your reception venue, so everyone gets their waffles without having to wait for long. Add extras like syrups, chocolate sprinkles, berries, fruits, cream and ice cream on the side, and let your guests help themselves to it. Think of how wonderful this dessert idea would be on a cold winter evening. So, if you have a winter wedding on the cards, this is one idea you should definitely consider. If you have a small wedding, you can have a waffle platter like the one shown here, with various flavors for your guests to choose from.

8.Cheese tier or platter

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Not really a dessert in the true sense, but we think cheese can end a meal on a beautiful and satisfying note. Some people are ready to switch out the sweet for a beautiful platter of rich cheese. If you belong to this group, the idea of a cheese platter or tiered cheese wheels may appeal to you. Make sure you choose from the best and most delicious cheeses you find, so you make a signature statement with your choice. Whether you serve cheese platters at the guest tables, or stack up cheese wheels to resemble the traditional tiered cake, it is entirely up to you. Nevertheless, remember that at least some guests will look forward to a sweet ending to the meal. So, don’t disappoint them. Add a small dessert to the spread, so that the focus still stays on the cheese, but everyone is happy.

9.Pancakes

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A close competitor to waffles, pancakes are now a trending dessert favorite. Particularly suited to reception brunches, when you want your guests to devour the warmest and fluffiest soul-stirring treats, pancakes add that casual and homey touch to any setting. Like waffles, pancakes too must be served warm to keep it fresh. It is a perfect dessert idea for casual weddings. Although a stack of pancakes may not be as grand as a wedding cake, these are the sweet little things that your guests will never say “No” to. Either serve up the thick breakfast variety, or go with rolled up crepes that are garnished and stuffed with sweet goodness. Add a dusting of castor sugar, or dress them up with syrup, cream, fruits and honey, or give your guests the honor of choosing the toppings themselves. You can also make these pancakes special by adding in flavors like banana, cinnamon or cream cheese, for extra taste.

10.Fruit tarts

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Deliciously summery and refreshingly sweet, fruit tarts are like little drops of heaven after a heavy wedding meal. They are loved by everyone. Rustic and organic looking, everyone will instantly take to this dessert, and a fruity tart adds the perfect finishing touches to a grand wedding meal. While it isn’t too sweet or sticky, it still has the power to satisfy that sweet craving your guests will have at the end of a meal. Find a baker who can create some drama by whipping up the tart topping so it looks interesting and isn’t something your guests would expect to see. You can also set up a display of tarts in different fruit flavors, so all your guests have the option to dip into the one that they love most. This way you can bring together the sweetness of apple with the citrusy freshness of orange and the punch of berries, all to your dessert table. The other option is to have individual bite-sized mini tarts in a range of flavors, and add it to your dessert buffet as the masterpiece. Be lavish with the spread of cream, fruits and drizzles of sweet syrups, and your choice will be one that your guests will always remember.

This brings us to the end of some of the alternate wedding desserts you may like to consider for your big celebration. Which of these did you like? And can you think of any more that you would love to have at your wedding, in place of the tiered traditional wedding cake? If so, do let us know in the comments below.

For the latest trends, ideas and advice on everything wedding related, don’t forget to keep checking back here. Also visit our online wedding shop at Best for Bride for everything you need for your big day, from your wedding dress to accessories and outfits for the entire bridal party.

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10 questions you must ask your wedding caterer

Good food is a very important factor in making your wedding memorable. However detailed and unique your wedding décor may be, or how beautiful you look on your wedding day, all this becomes insignificant if your wedding menu is not up to the mark.

Food lovers are aplenty, and there will be more than just few at your wedding. So, you are responsible for providing hearty and interesting fare, that will appeal to them. Only then will they go home happy, and consider your wedding a total success.

The responsibility of serving delicious food and creating an interesting menu, lay with your wedding caterer. With a reliable and talented caterer on your side, it will be easy to satisfy your guests and even exceed their expectations, where food is concerned.

How do you find the right person to cater to your wedding? Find out for your self, by asking the following ten questions to potential candidates.

1.What are your service charges, and what does it include?

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Everything in a wedding is closely tied to the wedding budget. To choose a caterer, you have to first obtain quotes from caterers you wish to consider. This helps you to decide if the charges will be within your budget, and you can proceed with further discussions. Caterers do not just supply the food for the wedding, they also provide the associated services. These may or may not include setting up, serving the food, clean-up after service, cake slicing and serving etc.

The services included in the quotes may differ from one vendor to another. So, you should ask for what is included specifically, as this not only contributes to the experience, but will also impact your budget. If the caterer provides only the food, you have to spend extra on the staff for the service. When collecting quotes, ask for a detailed break-up of what is included in it. This will help you compare caterers and find the best option that works within your budget, after considering all the extras that you have to arrange separately.

2.How many staff will be present at the venue?

This is obviously tied to your guest count and type of food service. This cheat sheet on Wedding planning for dummies gives an apt representation for different types of services.  The ideal staff to guest ratio can vary from 1 or 2 waiters for up to 12 guests at a formal sit-down style meal to 1 for 25 guests at a buffet meal service. However, not all vendors use the same server-to-guest ratio.

It is important to obtain this detail, as this will affect the quality of service at your wedding. You should also consider details like what other jobs the waiters will simultaneously be handling, to determine if the count works for you. Whether the staff will be refilling glasses at the tables itself, or whether guests will be collecting their beverages from a station, can alter the required number count. Take the numbers and your wedding menu style into consideration, before deciding whether a caterer’s staff count will work for you. If there is more self-service happening at the wedding, you can afford to have fewer waiters.

3.How do you obtain your ingredients?

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Local and seasonal ingredients are always cheaper. If you are looking for some help with your budget, ask your caterer how they source ingredients. While comparing rates, you should take this factor into account. When you have to pay more for quality ingredients, it is likely that the food will also taste better. So, it is basically a compromise you have to make between the price and quality. If you consider it important to serve organic or reliably sourced food, you will have to pay more for caterers who can handle this requirement.

4.Will there be any extra charges that you will have to bear, apart from what is quoted?

There are factors to consider, such as the rental charges of the cutlery, glassware and tableware that will be used at your wedding. Do these come with the venue, does your caterer provide it along with the food service, or will you have to arrange for this on your own? Clarify this upfront, so there is no confusion after you place your order. Some caterers will add the rental charges to their total quote, while others will assume you will take care of this part. So, make sure you know what you are paying for.

Apart from this, you should also check whether the final bill will include any additional or overhead charges like transportation or clearing up charges. Or, is what is mentioned on the bill, the final price you have to pay?

5.How will the food be prepared prior to service?

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You should be concerned about whether the food will be ready-to-serve when it arrives, or whether the caterer will be doing the finishing touches on-site? The right option depends on the menu you choose. Some items have to be prepared right before service, as this is the only way they will taste good and look appetizing. Crisp and fried food are examples.

On the other hand, you can afford to have other items prepared early and simply transferred to the serving dishes at the time of service. Cold salads and dips fall into this category. It is likely that you will have at least one or more dishes that require assembling or finishing, just prior to service. Ask your caterer how this will be handled. If the lower quote is associated with food that isn’t served in the best way it should be, you should either replace the dish with another option, or be prepared to pay more for a caterer who will do it on-site.

6.Have you worked in a similar venue before?

The venue where your wedding is held, has a huge role in determining the appropriate type of service. If your caterer has already hosted a service at the same venue, consider yourself in luck. Otherwise, you should identify whether the vendor is capable of arranging a good service in the given conditions.

If you have shortlisted vendors you to choose from, you can take them to the site and ask them about how they intend to work with it. An experienced caterer will immediately recognize if the type of meal that you suggest—plated or buffet—will be practical in a certain venue. They will also offer suggestions on how the service can be streamlined to progress smoothly. This is usually based on their previous experience in catering to weddings of similar scale and in similar venues, if not the same one. This brings us to the next important point; the experience of each vendor you consider for the job.

7.How experienced are you at handling weddings on a similar scale?

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Weddings are usually huge events, and very different from regular restaurant services that most caterers are used to. Experience in handling weddings is a definite advantage. However, it isn’t necessary that the most experienced caterer will be the best for you. This depends on whether their experience includes weddings of a similar nature as yours. If your experienced caterer has only done different styles, or entirely different menus, the less experienced candidate may be a better choice.

The scale of the wedding is also a concern. If your wedding caterer has always done smaller weddings, make sure he has the equipment and staff to cater to your wedding before you confirm your booking. Ask for the additional adjustments they will make to accommodate your wedding needs. Are you convinced they will be able to pull it off? Or do you foresee a disaster? Take a call accordingly.

8.What suggestions do you have for my wedding?

Rather than telling your caterer everything he has to do, you can welcome his suggestions too. As experienced professionals, who have tended to several weddings, they will have ideas you may never have considered. Run your caterer through your wedding vision, the theme and what factors you want focus on. Then ask him for his suggestions. Similarly, gather feedback for your suggestions.

At times, a caterer may not be enthusiastic about a certain idea you suggested. If this is the case, ask him for his reasons. If he thinks it is impractical due to the logistics involved or unavailability of ingredients, you may benefit with following his inputs than forcing him to agree to do it. Your vendor may also have suggestions to make certain dishes more interesting, or suggest substitutes that may better match the meal style. Take these into consideration. When comparing vendors, look at how enthusiastic the different candidates are about your wedding. It is always better to go with someone who is more excited about cooking for you, than someone who is totally bored with your ideas.

9.How many weddings will you be handling simultaneously?

While it is not reasonable to expect your caterer to entirely dedicate his services to your wedding alone, you should be wary of vendors who take on more orders than they can handle. This will affect the quality of service at your wedding. It is even more important to know how many more weddings they will be handling on the same day as yours. If it is only yours, you can expect a more personal service. The preparation for the dishes will also be better, as they wouldn’t be shuffling orders. Communication will be better and there is smaller chance for confusion.

You should also confirm who will be in-charge of your wedding. It is inconvenient if the person who deals with your order changes mid-way, or if new orders will cause the planning associated with your order to be changed. If you attended a tasting session that you loved, you can also clarify whether the same team will be preparing the dishes for the actual wedding. This brings us to the importance of having a tasting session prior to the wedding, so you can see what you will actually get on the day and how you can accommodate any changes that may be necessary.

10.Is the dish at the tasting session final?

Like this article on the Brides blog suggests, every couple should have a tasting session before they finalize a caterer.  This is because you cannot guarantee the quality of service, based on what you see on paper. You have to actually try it out for yourself, to know. So, ask for a tasting session with your shortlisted caterer, before you finalize your order. When attending it, look at the quality of food that is served. Are the vegetables fresh and bright? Is the food served at the right temperature? If it is a buffet, check to see if the food is being replenished in a timely fashion.

It may be a good idea to include a third person with you, when you go tasting. This should be someone who can give you an unbiased and frank opinion on whether they think the food is good or not. You can assess the caterer’s attention to detail and reliability, based on the service you are offered. If you like what you taste, but would like certain modifications, check with the caterer on whether they can customize the dish as per your taste. A good caterer wouldn’t hesitate to take on your suggestions, unless it means overhauling the entire dish.

With these tips, you have all the information you need to successfully choose your wedding caterer. You will find plenty of helpful tips on deciding your wedding menu in our previous posts here and here. Apart from the food, you should also pay attention to the beverages served on the day, and the china that is used for the service. It is only when all these come together in tandem, that your overall meal planning will be a be a total success. Continue visiting us at Best for Bride, your one-stop bridal destination, for more valuable tips, advice and inputs on planning the perfect wedding.

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5 Tips to help you plan a big wedding

So, you’ve begun the challenging job of cutting your 300+ something guest list short, and it doesn’t look like most of the people are going out of it. What do you do?

You have a big wedding!

Well, it wouldn’t be true if I said that it was no big deal, but throwing a big wedding isn’t as impossible as it may seem. All you need are a few tips to start you off, and you will be soaring forward with your wedding plans in no time. So, what are you waiting for. It’s time to plan that big wedding you want, with this important advice.

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#1 Start with the guest list and plan your budget, and not the other way around

For a small wedding, the ideal approach is to fix your budget and then decide how much money goes where. Forget this for a big wedding. First plan your guest list. Then look at affordable venues that can accommodate this head count, and caterers who will serve a decent meal, without breaking your bank. Do your calculations along the way, and see what you end up with. If it is more than what you can afford, it may be time to look at vendors who charge less, or think again about what you want.

#2 Hire a professional planner

Small weddings are stressful enough, imagine perfecting the details for a large one! Unless you are a super-organized, cool-headed, planning perfectionist, planning the details of a big wedding can be huge stress. Hire a professional to take on the task, and it will be money well-spent.

#3 Ditch all that which isn’t necessary

Check out this wedding at A Practical Wedding Blog.  The sensible couple left out centerpieces, by opting for an informal buffet style reception. With this arrangement, there was no need for elaborate floral arrangements on the tables. Instead, they splurged on the caterer who supplied a delicious spread and also hired an amazing band that kept the huge wedding party on their toes.

#4 Make sure you hire an experienced vendor

Don’t sign a contract unless your vendor has previously worked with a party just as big as yours. The same goes for the venue you choose. Can it accommodate so many people? Do they have enough bathrooms, so your guests won’t spend all day in a queue to the loo? Check out these details before confirming.

#5 Keep your calm and let some things go

It may seem impossible at times, but just remember that all this is definitely worth the effort. You will be surrounded by everyone you always wanted at your wedding. So, who cares if you couldn’t gift them personalized favor bags, or you had to make do with a simple cake with no fancy flavoring! Everyone’s had a bash in the end, and your memory will forever be remembered. Isn’t that worth it?

Find a splendid wedding dress for your big wedding at Best for Bride, and also look through our services for affordable options that will help you sort out your wedding shopping at an affordable price.