Believe it or not, not every wedding cake is enjoyed by guests at the end of the night. But you can have your cake and eat it too! There are countless dessert options for a wedding reception, from dessert displays to cupcakes to dramatic tiered cakes, just make sure you discuss your wishes with your caterer up front and that you understand the costs.

Heather Hammer, pastry chef at Cookie, says more and more couples are opting for a smaller, two-tiered wedding cake that gets sliced and added to a dessert station along with a variety of sweets.

Ask any caterer and they’ll tell you that cutting and serving a wedding cake takes skill and time. Be aware that you’ll be charged a cutting fee for asking your caterer to do this. You can trim your costs by asking your pastry chef to prepare back-up sheet cakes that are easily sliced and added to the dessert station. Some of Heather’s favorite additions to your indulgent display include cannoli, bite-sized desserts, cookies and chocolate-covered strawberries.

If budget is a concern, Heather says cupcakes are your least expensive option, followed by a small presentation cake and sheet cakes for serving. A spread of different desserts, while more expensive, creates a beautiful display and offers variety to you and your guests.

You’re probably too young to remember this, but there was a time when the wedding cake was the centerpiece of the wedding celebration. It was displayed during long receptions as a multi-tiered symbol of sweet love. This was when fondant became popular because it could seal-in freshness and allow the cake to endure the day. In those days, the cake was sliced, individually boxed and sent home with guests as a favor.

While the trend toward informal receptions drove away the large, dramatic wedding cake tradition, Heather thinks it’s only a matter of time before it too sees its revival.

“Everything old is new again, and vintage weddings are on-trend so I don’t think it will be long before couples find their way back to this tradition of gifting the wedding cake,” said Heather.

Speaking of edible favors, Heather shares some of her favorite ways to send guests home with something sweet to remember the day.

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