Let them eat pie! (Or ice cream, or whatever!)

For me, nothing screams "WEDDING" more than a tiered cake. Even the silhouette, three stacked rectangles of decreasing size, is enough for most people to make the connection. For some couples, though, a traditional wedding cake reads as stale and old-fashioned. Modern weddings are all about standing apart from the crowd rather that adhering to tradition, and that multi-tiered cake just rubs some folks the wrong way.

Luckily, there are plenty of great alternative desserts out there. And if you're getting married in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area, you have access to a ton of amazing vendors who are happy to provide you with something other than a traditional wedding cake. Let's get into it!

First, the naked cake. (As you might imagine, you must be VERY CAREFUL if you Google "naked cake". Some of the results are a real horrorshow.) Naked cakes are, simply put, cakes without exterior frosting. They've still got filling or frosting between the cake layers, but the outside is uncovered. Naked cakes look especially awesome when they involve multiple flavors in contrasting colors! The filling edges can be swept smooth for a sophisticated look or left alone for a rustic, handcrafted appeal. This option is more of a twist on the traditional cake than a true alternative, but it's still quite a departure from what your grandparents served at their reception.

Photo by Al Gawlik Photography

Photo by Al Gawlik Photography

Photo by MKM Photography

Photo by MKM Photography

Photo by The Schultzes

Photo by The Schultzes

And then there is pie. "YES!" some of you are now screaming, "PIE! I LOVE PIE! TALK MORE ABOUT PIE!" (You pie people are really in a league of your own when it comes to dessert loyalty.) Anyway, pie is pretty terrific. It's usually cheaper per-guest than cake, it comes in a ton of different varieties, and the leftovers are very easy to take home. If you're into miniature foods, mini pies are adorable. And if you're into having signs and tiny chalkboards everywhere, the pie table is a great place to show them off. Pie is especially good for weddings designed to project Southern charm, or weddings with a shabby chic theme. A pie bar with  mismatched pie stands borrowed from all your relatives is a sweet way to do dessert!

Photo by Liz Banfield Photography

Photo by Liz Banfield Photography

Photo by Stephanie Lindsay Photography

Photo by Stephanie Lindsay Photography

Photo by Mary Basnight Photography

Photo by Mary Basnight Photography

When it comes to dessert, my personal favorite is ice cream. And it's becoming more popular for weddings all the time! Ice cream works both as a standalone dessert and as a way to supplement your cake or pie. It's also a terrific way to serve a dessert that accommodates the food sensitivities that more of our friends and neighbors seem to have these days. Italian ice or sorbet works for those avoiding dairy or those eating a vegan diet. Ice cream is gluten-free, as long as it doesn't contain ingredients like pretzel, brownie, or cookie bits. One of the best parts of serving a frozen dessert at your wedding is the lovely little carts or displays that often accompany them. Something about those vintage, wheeled carts just makes everything a little sweeter.

Photo by Katelyn James Photography

Photo by Katelyn James Photography

Photo by Shane Snider Photography

Photo by Shane Snider Photography

Photo by Swank Photo Studio

Photo by Swank Photo Studio

Would you give up cake at your wedding reception? What's your favorite non-cake? Let us know in the comments section!