Weddings: Alternative Wedding Cake Ideas | Knoxville Wedding Photographer

Hi friends!

I don’t know about you, but this time of year always has me craving sweet treats! From peppermint mocha creamer in my morning coffee to a spicy apple cider as I wind down with my family, I love how the holidays encourage us to indulge just a little bit more because it feels good for the soul.

Which brings me to this week’s topic: cake. It’s one of the oldest wedding reception traditions out there, and lots of folks have very strong feelings about it. But you know what? You aren’t obligated to showcase this tiered confection on your wedding day if you and your partner really aren’t cake fans.

In fact, many creative chefs and bakers have helped to reimagine wedding cake trends in amazing ways — so much so that many of them have nothing to do with cake! Yet, their show-stopping dessert displays make that first shared bite just as special as tradition insists. 

Below are a few of my favorite alternative wedding cake ideas that might help the anti-cake couples in the crowd find their ideal sweet treat for their wedding day.

knoxville wedding planning photography sarah keenan westland farms studio the queen and the key

Mini Pies & Tarts

Handcrafted with love, each piece is perfectly sized for your guests, and if you opt for an assortment of styles and flavors, you pretty much guarantee that everyone will get a chance to enjoy one of their favorite flavors. Not to mention, they can be beautifully styled across several cake stand tiers to create an epic (and quite photogenic) dessert table.

Mason Jars

You can’t go wrong with a little Southern charm — especially when it’s full of sugar. Mason jars provide pretty ways to display pre-portioned parfaits, mousses, and even sets of milk and cookies for all of your guests. They can be hand-delivered to each table setting, or the fully stocked table can await your guests at the edge of the dance floor as they work up an appetite.


Artisanal doughnuts are here to stay, friends! They come in all shapes, sizes, flavors, textures… the sky’s the limit. And they can be stacked to make a cake-like tower, arranged on pretty tiered plates — whatever your heart desires. As long as they are fresh, a little crispy on the outside, and super soft on the inside, they’ll be an absolute hit with your guests!

A Candy Bar

Take inspiration from all of your favorite candy store confections and design a playful candy bar. Enlist the help of a candy maker to create from-scratch peanut butter cups, caramels, and a fresh version of your favorite fruity candy, and pair the sweets with cake pops or doughnut holes for the perfect grab-and-go-back-to-the-dance-floor dessert experience. 

A Literal Cheese Cake

For those who really don’t have a sweet tooth at all, follow dinner with savory bites from an artful stack of cheese wheels! You can create the illusion of traditional cake without going anywhere near buttercream frosting. Better yet, you can decorate with other delicious edibles like grapes, figs, and olives. If wine is the focal point of your wedding bar, this cheese cake will be the perfect complement.

Are you thinking about veering from wedding cake tradition? I love to hear where your imagination is taking you. Share your dessert inspo in the comments below!

With Grit & Grace~
Sarah Keenan, Wedding Photographer
Boudoir Studio Knoxville

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meet sarah


I have an affinity to all things light and airy.  I love color, sunshine, romance, and laughter.  I love inspirational quotes, meeting new people, flowers, and the idea of finishing a great book.  My go-to drink is coffee.  My outlet is dance.  And, aallllll of my free time is spent with my crew, including our German Shepherd, Gaia.   

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Hi there!  I am Real Estate Photographer, Sarah Keenan.  Raised in East Tennessee and a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and all that offers runs deep for this gal.  Having worked in photography for over 14 years, I am excited to be back home and working along side folks like you.

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