In 2013, it’s rare not to know someone who needs to or chooses to avoid foods with gluten or animal byproducts. When planning your dessert menu for your reception, however, accommodating the dietary needs of all your guests may feel a little overwhelming. If you are worried a traditional wedding cake just might not work for you there are alternatives out there; here are a few to consider.


Photo by Lamb + Lark

Gluten Free or Vegan Wedding Cake: One alternative to a traditional cake is to find a Southwest Michigan bakery who can create a completely gluten free or vegan cake. A word of caution though, be sure to discuss your exact needs with the baker, especially if you choose a bakery that doesn’t have a completely gluten free or vegan kitchen.

Cupcakes: Another alternative or supplement to a traditional wedding cake is to do a table of cupcakes for your reception. One nice thing about this option is it allows you to have both gluten free, vegan, and traditional options for your guests. The cupcakes can be arranged on different tiers or trays with labels that say which options are gluten-free, vegan, or that list the different ingredients. Labels are a good way to prevent confusion or possible cross-contamination for your guests. You may also want to label any flavors that contain nuts.

Photos by Lamb + Lark

Photos by Lamb + Lark

Dessert Bar: Another option to consider is a dessert bar with small, finger-food sized desserts. This not only gives you the option to have a variety of delicious treats for your guests, but also gives you the option to have certain desserts specially made and labeled for all the different possible needs and wants of your guests. Keep in mind that there are alternatives options to almost every traditional type of dessert now including favorites like cake pops, cheesecakes, and pies.

Fresh Fruit: Adding fresh fruit to your dessert menu can be another option–especially in the summer months. The natural sugars in most fruits are often a safe alternative for many people with gluten allergies or vegan lifestyles to the ingredients in other baked goods.

No matter what option you chose for your wedding always be sure to taste test the different desserts or get a referral from a wedding planner, before you purchase them from a baker or caterer. If you’re in the St. Joseph area one local vendor to check out is Kat’s Hot Cakes in Bridgman, specializing in vegan baked goods.