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5 Frugal Dessert Options for Your Wedding

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Zina Kumok

If you’re not a fan of wedding cakes or only want to get a small one to cut, finding frugal dessert options for your guests can be a challenge. Thankfully most of your guests will be happy to have something different besides cake. If you need help finding inspiration, read the list below to see what you and your loved ones like.


For the people in your life who don’t like cakes, a selection of cookies is a great way to feed people with varying tastes. One wedding I went to had goodie bags so you could eat the cookies at the reception and take a few home too. It was an easy favor, didn’t require extra set up and everyone found something they liked.

You can include brownies and other small treats – even hard candies, gummy bears and lollipops. If you put them in cute vases, they can double as cheap and colorful decorations.


Pies can be a great way to have dessert while providing lots of variety. You can offer fruit pies, chocolate pies or even pie-inspired desserts like crisps and cobblers. If you’re worried about feeding people whose sweet tooths don’t lean toward cake, pies are a great substitute.

If you want to make it personal, some bakers can make a family recipe and serve it at your wedding. You could also have mini pies as favors to take home.

Be careful, though. Some pies are pricey and can cost more than a wedding cake. Have them slice it beforehand so you get as many servings out of it as possible.

Ice Cream Sundaes

An ice cream sundae bar, complete with topping stations, is a unique and fun way to liven up the typical wedding cake. You can offer a few standard ice cream flavors and have a variety of toppings for people to choose from. You can also offer root beer floats, ice cream sandwiches and milkshakes.

If your city has a renowned ice cream store, this can be a great way to show your out-of-town guests some local character while drumming up business for your local guests.

I’ve been to a wedding where they had a popsicle stand serving people after the ceremony. It was a hot day and the cool treats provided refreshment while we waited for the happy couple to emerge. Having one at your wedding so people can cool off in between dancing is another great idea.

Cheese and fruit

If you’ve got family members that are gluten-free, vegan or lactose-intolerant, finding ways to feed them dessert can be a challenge. A simple fruit plate can be an easy way to offer them something to eat after dinner without blowing your budget or making it obvious that they’re left out. You can also offer cheese for your other guests to nibble on, making it a simple, yet elegant dessert option.

Whatever dessert option you choose, know that anyone at your wedding will be so happy for you, they won’t mind that you’ve skipped the wedding cake.

Zina Kumok

writes about paying off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years at Debt Free After Three. She has been featured in DailyWorth, LifeHacker and Time.