wedding macarons

Photo: Limelight Photography

Dessert menus at weddings this year are filled with a wide range of yummy options for guests to enjoy. “Wedding cakes are still the number one wedding dessert,” says Brenton Schumacher of Pink Avocado Catering in Austin, Texas. “However, we're seeing more and more people adding a medley of other desserts to complement the cake.” A range of sugary delights are a sweet surprise for guests who are expecting traditional vanilla wedding cake. French pastries, fruit-flavored pies, and creme brûlée are some of the delicious desserts being served at reception tables. Or for couples who would prefer that their guests stay on the dance floor, the last hour of the reception may offer sweets served cocktail-hour style with waiters passing bite-sized desserts and after-dinner cocktails.

We interviewed caterers to find out what they’re serving up for dessert today. Discover the hot (and frozen) new wedding dessert trends here:

Opt for Seasonal Favorites

While almost everyone will enjoy a chocolate dessert any day of the year, there are some desserts that are best served during certain seasons. “We see lighter flavors like lemon and key lime in summer months,” explains Brenton. “Spring and summer are all about citrus and stone fruit.” Dina Silnicky of Catering by Seasons in Maryland recommends ice cream, sorbets and fruit bars for summer weddings too.

For fall and winter months, Brenton tells WeddingWire that their dessert menu features richer and heavier desserts with warm spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. “Warm desserts like cobblers, crisps, pie, cookies and brownies or fall pies made with autumn fruits are on the menu during the cooler weather,” adds Dina.

key lime desserts

Photo: The Kama Photography

Pass Desserts During Dancing

If you expect your friends and family to spend the night on the dance floor, don’t let the party end by having them return to their seats for dessert. “Passing bite-sized desserts while your guests are on the dance floor keeps the party moving and is a fun and welcome surprise!” explains Glynis Keith of Catering By Seasons. Make sure that passed desserts can be eaten in one or two bites max, and doesn’t require a utensil. Some bite-sized desserts you may want to pass at your wedding include miniature versions of fruit pies, cheesecake and fruit tarts, mini brownies, doughnut holes, tiny cupcakes, and churro bites.

Pies In All Shapes and Flavors

Some couples favor a slice of pie over cake for their wedding dessert, and all the caterers WeddingWire interviewed shared that pies are very popular in all sorts of sizes and flavors. Pie options include micro pies, pie pops and a buffet of pies for guests to choose between five or six flavors. “Adding the option to add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream is always a hit,” says Brenton.

ice cream

Photo: Cameron Reynolds Photography

Ice Cream on the Go

The hot new wedding dessert is everyone’s favorite frozen treat! As guests mingle around the room have waiters pass mini ice cream cones, or tiny scoops in aperitif glasses. And couples are looking for beyond the classic vanilla and chocolate flavors, Dina shares. “We get requests for unique flavors, such as avocado ice cream with wasabi sprinkles, as well as the classics.” Another option is to serve frozen treats from an old-fashioned boardwalk ice cream cart.

New Flavors to Consider

In addition to herb-infused dessert cocktails, Dina explains that herbs are now the go-to ingredients for a variety of desserts. “Herbs such as Thai basil, lavender and verbena are now commonplace.” Alcohol and liquors are also enhancing dessert flavors in fillings, frostings and custards.”

fruit tarts

Photo: Tracy Shoopman Photography

Fruit Flavors In Several Yummy Ways

Pies, sorbets and fruity fillings are some of the fruit-flavored desserts being requested at weddings. “Blood orange and compressed fruits are popping up more and are really fun to play with in new ways,” explains Brenton.

Fresh fruit can be served on its own or as a garnish to a richer dessert, such as crème anglaise and mixed berries or a slice of pie complemented with a seasonal fruit. For something more refreshing, a frozen fruit popsicle can be passed around to cool off on a hot night. Gayle Orth of Gayle Orth Catering in Tacoma, Washington tells WeddingWire that some fruit flavors couples may want to consider for their dessert menu include: key lime, lemon with blackberry filling and strawberry.

Toast with Dessert Cocktails

You don’t have to limit signature drinks to just the cocktail hour and dinner. Pick a specialty cocktail or two to serve only during dessert. “We create cocktails that parallel the fare of the evening,” explains Gayle, “as well as the personal likes and dislikes of the couple.” You can go with classics such as a Grasshopper, White Russian, and Chocolate Espresso Martini, suggests Brenton. Or pick a cocktail that matches your wedding’s color palette or theme. You can also make specialty ice cubes by freezing fruit or fruit juices, or herbs.

Serve a Medley at the Table

If you want to offer more than one dessert, but want guests to be served at the reception table, then offer a dessert medley. A medley is where two different desserts are served, one to every other person, so couples seated together can try both, eating from each other’s plate. Another version is to serve two small dessert portions on the same plate so each person can try both items.