Cake…No, Macarons For All!

by admin on April 10, 2012

My fiance and I are getting married in October, and I couldn’t be more excited! We’re trying to stick within our budget and not ask our parents for help (my mom has already insisted on buying my dress and accessories, and even making me a jacket, which is more than generous). Both my fiance and I are major foodies who love gourmet desserts, and one thing we both love, but rarely eat, is cake. So one aspect of the wedding we were really excited about was the wedding cake. Unfortunately, as I got quotes from a variety of bakers, I began to realize that we could not afford a cake large enough for our number of guests, so I started to look for alternatives. We’ve found what we think could be a great alternative. A baker in our city can make a tower of macarons large enough to feed all our guests with a regular round cake as the base.

Now my question is this: how do we go about doing the ceremonial cake-cutting? I was thinking we would slice into the base, and then we would just eat the macarons at the actual wedding (it’ll be sitting on a big sweet table with other pastries and fruit as well), and then after the guests have left, my husband and I would slice up the cake quickly and distribute it to the wedding party and our parents, and take pieces for ourselves to eat on the way to the airport. But then I worry that it wouldn’t be very nice to draw attention to the cake if it won’t really be served, so maybe instead of cutting into it, we could just ceremoniously remove the first two macarons. Or is this whole thing just a bad idea?

Eagerly awaiting your sage advice. 0404-12


The important point to remember is to not create different tiers of guests and treat them differently with some getting one food (or a better one) while others are not so fortunate to be included in the “have” group.   What you serve at your reception should be served for all.  If the cake is something you’ve been looking forward to, I suggest serving it at the rehearsal dinner which I assume will have only immediate family and wedding party in attendance.   At the wedding reception, remove and eat the top two macarons.  You could save the cake base in the freezer for your one year anniversary but good cake doesn’t survive being frozen that long so why not forego the cake base entirely and have just the macarons tower as your “cake”.  On your anniversary you can then order a small cake like was served at the rehearsal dinner to enjoy.


{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Diana April 10, 2012 at 9:16 am

My husband and I did something similar for our wedding in 2006. Instead of having a traditional wedding cake, we had a krispy kreme doughnut cake. We rented a cake stand, and put doughnuts on each of the tiers, which someone we know decorated for us with flowers and such.
Instead of a cake cutting, my husband and I shared a doughnut, and then distributed the rest of the doughnuts to all of the guests, who all loved it.
On our anniversary every year, we go to Krispy Kreme and get a dozen doughnuts, which we share for dessert.


No Wedding April 10, 2012 at 9:59 am

Love that idea, Diana!


Jay April 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Now I’m hungry 🙁


Sarah Jane April 11, 2012 at 8:18 am

I saw that idea in a magazine and thought it was wonderful, especially if one has a morning wedding and brunch reception 🙂


Angela April 10, 2012 at 9:29 am

I love the idea of having something other than cake, which can be a little dry, and that can be served in small portions so that a person can get a little or a lot, without waste. Since you’re getting such a non-traditional “cake”, why dip into a tradition that doesn’t make a lot of sense to distribute it?


acr April 10, 2012 at 9:53 am

I love your macarroon idea! I also like the Ehell dame’s suggestion.

I would like to add that I think you and your groom should take the top maccaroon with one hand each, break it have and feed each other.


Bint April 10, 2012 at 9:59 am

I made my own wedding cake for about twenty quid.


GroceryGirl April 10, 2012 at 10:04 am

The macaroon tower may depend on the base for structural integrity so foregoing the base cake may not be possible.


Lucky April 10, 2012 at 10:17 am

What’s the dilemma? Instead of actually cutting, you each pick a macaron out of the stack and feed it to the other (or split and share a macaron, if they’re two-bites’ worth).


Butterfly April 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

@Diana – Brilliant idea, that sounds really sweet (metaphorically and literally!).


cattlekid April 10, 2012 at 11:04 am

Another option would be to get a small tiered cake and then sheet cakes decorated to match the tiered cake. The tiered cake is displayed and used for the cake cutting, then taken back into the kitchen. The tiered cake is sliced as well as the sheet cakes and then served to the guests. All the guests get cake and the cost is much less.

Just don’t do what happened at a wedding that DH stood up in a few years ago…only the head table and the parent tables got cake. Everyone else got small cups of cheap vanilla ice cream that was crystallized to the point of not being edible. We were one table away from a table that got cake and really felt slighted.


Cheryl April 10, 2012 at 11:16 am

Not sure what the OP’s budget is or if the HC has considered this but, what about a smaller wedding cake and then sheet cakes (kept in the kitchen of the hall) to be sliced/served with the wedding cake? As long as both are the same flavor and frosted the same color, is it really treating guests differently – who gets which?


Cat April 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

Or you could have the baker use an artificial plastic form decorated as a cake if it provides a more solid base. Alternatives are sheet cakes or cupcakes if family tradition demands cake.


Cymraes April 10, 2012 at 11:57 am

I’m not sure why the idea of a wedding cake is so important. Both my son and daughter in law loathe cake – but they love cheese. They didn’t want to spend out on a confectionary that neither of them would enjoy, so they opted to start the wedding reception with a cake formed out of various cheeses (brie, camembert, stilton and cheddar), served with a glass of white wine. Instead of “cutting the cake” they went round and personally served each guest with cheese and wine – crackers were available on the tables. It was a wonderful way of greeting each guest personally and thanking them for their presence at their wedding.

Why not do the same with the macaroons?


JesBelle April 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm

You could also get untraditional cakes. When I got married we bought a cake (a torte, really) that the local bakery made all the time. They had two sizes, so we placed the larger of the bottom of a tiered cake plate and the smaller on the top. Because they weren’t a special, one-of-a-kind order, they were much less expensive even though they were decidedly top shelf cakes. You could even have a little cake with the topper to slice into and then serve the other cakes to your guests. Most people will not feel slighted to be getting a raspberry torte or flourless chocolate cake rather than a plain white cake. Even a nice sheet cake is often tastier than a traditional wedding cake, which has to be baked days ahead of time in order for all of the decorating to be done. Just a thought, since the OP seems more interested in flavor than frosting.


Shoegal April 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Serving the cake later is a bad idea. I agree – if you can’t afford to have enough cake for all the guests then don’t serve it all and just have macarons. A good idea is to serve cake at the rehearsal dinner if you really want it 0r have the bottom cake frozen. I disagree with the admin on one point – good cake can freeze well if you do it right. I froze the top tier of my wedding cake and it was like the day it was made 1 year later.


Jenn50 April 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm

We did the same. It was delicious. The trick is to pack it airtight and with a rigid structure, and put it in the very bottom of the deep freeze where it isn’t prone to slight thawing and refreezing as it would be in a stand-up freezer with more surface area exposed when the door is open.

We spent about $200 Canadian for our wedding cake, made at the grocery store. It was a beautiful 3 tiered classic-looking wedding cake made of pound cake and frosted vanilla with a full slab (sheet) of the same cake to make sure we didn’t run out. We had enough to serve 150 guests and lots left over, even with the top tier saved for our anniversary. It really isn’t that hard or expensive to serve a beautiful and delicious cake to everyone, if you can get past the idea that it must come from a high-end bakery. Safeway did a gorgeous and tasty job of mine, for relatively inexpensive.


June April 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm

We are getting married in September, and decided to go with cake bites. They’re a little smaller than a doughnut hole. Best of all, they are encased in a hard layer of chocolate and are absolutely delicious! My fiance wants to do the ceremonial cake cutting, so we’re going to have a small two-tiered cake. But I don’t know if we’ll eat the cake at the reception. We have enough cake bites for everyone to have three, plus it’s supplemented by sugar cookies at the advice of the baker.
The baker is also standing by the dessert table to monitor the food, so sugar cookies will be by choice and not because everyone else ate the cake bites first.


Gracie C. May 17, 2012 at 2:37 pm

So, how will that work? Will the baker actually tell people to put them back if they take too many?


baby April 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm

my husband made a joke to his granny that he wanted twinkies for his grooms cake. so she baked his favorite german chocolate cake and surrounded the cake and the cake stand with twinkies! it was adorable. we honestly had no idea that she was going to do this, and now this story makes me wonder if there was enough grooms cake and/or twinkies to go around. you know how weddings go, i barely sat down for 3 bites of dinner, and the only cake i got was the bite of wedding cake my husband fed to me. i didn’t even notice if any of our guests were left out of that tasty treat. i hope not!


P April 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm

If you really wanted to do the cake cutting ceremony, could the baker perhaps make a larger macaron that you could cut?


Coralreef April 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I like the macarons idea. In fact, I like macarons 😀 . Admin’s suggestion sounds good to me. That tower of yum must be awsome.

What I suggested to my daughter, who is also budget limited for the cake, was to have a small “show cake” for the cutting and a sheet cake for serving. Same cake, just different shape.


Noora April 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm

A way to lower costs would be to order a smaller “wedding” cake, and then have sheet cake served out of the kitchen in the same flavors.


The Elf April 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm

It feels terrible to be in the “macaroon” group when everyone else is eating cake (even when you really love macaroons like I do). You just feel like you don’t quite rate. I think Admin’s idea is best – serve the cake at rehearsal, serve the macaroons at the wedding. Alternatively, you can package the base cake layer to take back with you and have it for a lovely post-wedding treat, just the two of you. Why not cake for breakfast the next day? Or take it with you on your honeymoon (if you’re going someplace right away) and treat yourself then.


chechina April 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Just adding my $0.02 to agree that having a separate cake for the wedding party and the parents would make the macaroons seem like second best. And they’re not, they’re a great idea.

I would also add that you and your fiancee could splurge on two slices of gourmet cake for your ride to the airport. It wouldn’t be as expensive, you could still have the experience of sharing cake on your wedding day, and it would probably taste better than wedding cake.


kristen April 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I work as a part time wedding photographer–I’ve eaten a lot of wedding cake in my time. It is usually dry and disgusting, because they have to bake it a few days in advance to give enough time to put fancy expensive frosting on it. 95% of the wedding cake I’ve eaten is not worth the money and could be better served with a more interesting dessert. We had an ice cream sundae bar at our wedding. Other friends ordered several small cakes from the local bakery that were baked and frosted recently enough to be delicious, and each cake cost something like $20 or $30. Another friend had a pie bar. All this to say: cake is not a critical part of the wedding celebration, and delicious and delightful cost-saving methods abound. And I agree with the Dame–everyone should eat the same thing.

The macaroon tower is a bit like the French croquembouche–perfect for weddings, beautiful, creative, and something your guests can enjoy and remember. And I love the suggestions for how to have a ceremony for sharing the dessert.


JackManifesto April 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Theoretically, if the bride and groom really wanted a cute cake for themselves, they could have a small “top tier” sized cake set to the side for them to cut into and eat/freeze, while the actual wedding ‘cake’ is the tower of maccaroons. I’ve seen this done with good results, especially since it clearly indicates that the small piece of cake is for ceremony and for the bride and groom to take home. At other weddings even with a large cake, this idea has been used so the bride and groom can mangle the smaller cake while cutting into it and feeding it to each other, and allows the staff to carefully slice up and distribute the rest.


Kate April 11, 2012 at 2:31 am

My fiance and I are going with a cupcake tower, with one cupcake per guest (we’ll do the ‘cake cutting’ by cutting through a cupcake). As others have said, as long as you don’t appear to have two ‘tiers’ of guest, you should be fine.


Lou April 11, 2012 at 4:25 am

Most weddings with cupcake wedding cakes have a small wedding cake at the top which is cut by the bride and groom.
I do not see an issue with the small wedding cake being cut, and then discreatly removed, with a couple of slices being packaged for the happy couple, and the rest of the cake being given to the mother of the bride or groom after the reception ends, to take home and distribute the next day?

I can hardly see guests wasting time wondering what happened to a small cake.

Though feeding cake to each other is not really done in the UK, I do not know how that would factor in?


Lambzig April 11, 2012 at 6:22 am

My sister had little cup cakes placed on a big three tier cake stand (quite popular here in the UK now for weddings). It looked so pretty as the cup cakes were in her wedding colours. There was enough for one each and I seem to remember it was much much cheaper than a traditional wedding cake. I remember thinking that I could have made them for her if she had wanted.


Lolina April 11, 2012 at 8:45 am

My niece had a small cake decorated with edible photo transfers of her and the groom while they were dating. This was surrounded by several tiers of cupcakes, decorated to match the color scheme of the wedding. The plan was for them to cut the main cake and then let guests serve themselves, so no one was tasked with cutting and serving.
At the last minute, they decided to just share a cupcake and save the small cake. They just celebrated their first anniversary and said the cake was delicious!
Another bonus was that with the cupcakes being ‘self serve’ was that we had several elderly persons there that had to leave prior ‘official cake cutting’ and they were able to take a small dessert home with them. That may have violated and etiquette rule, but it was nice that they could still have a taste of the ‘wedding cake’


emwithme April 11, 2012 at 11:44 am

My fiance and I are getting married in September. We’re having a Cheese “Cake” (not a cheesecake, but a “cake” made from tiers of different cheeses) and serving this with an iced fruit cake (from a supermarket). We were looking at various wedding cakes (from traditional to croquembouche to cupcake towers) but this way we get fancy cheeses, there’s fruit cake (which goes so well with cheese) which will please older relatives, and best of all, we’re saving money. Doing it this way, and not serving dessert, means we’re saving about £20 per head – which over 80 guests is a lot of money that can be spent on other things – such as wine and beer for the reception.


Enna April 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I think Admin’s suggestion is best.


jen a. April 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Okay, this has nothing to do with etiquette, but can I just say that I dream of being able to taste a macaron? They look so pretty and delicious. I love their colours and the idea of them seems delicious, but no one sells them where I live. I’ve never, ever seen or tasted one. I wish some of the weddings I’ve gone to would have given out macarons instead of boring cake…..


Jones April 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Our official wedding cake, with a small fountain and tiers? The one that looks so wonderful in all my wedding photos?

It was made of *styrofoam*. The guests ate sheet cakes, we had a beautiful decoration, and it was a gift from some friends of my mother. They didn’t want it to fall apart or go stale before the big day, so they just decorated the styrofoam the week prior and it looked great.


doodlemor April 11, 2012 at 11:46 pm

I saw a wonderful a*wedding cake* idea on line, which I think I actually found by following links from this website.

The bride got busy ahead of time and baked a number of flourless chocolate cakes. She wrapped them tightly and froze them in clean pizza boxes. On the day of the wedding the catering staff put a real rose on top of each when they put the cakes out on plates. The picture she posted looked quite elegant.

If the OP, or anyone else is interested in this idea, here is a link to my favorite flourless chocolate cake recipe. It is quite easy. In fact, it takes longer to prepare the pan than it does to whisk together the cake.


Liz April 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm

We love all kinds of cake, so we’re ordering 5 or 6 different ones… my fiance didn’t want cupcakes and we couldn’t agree on a single flavor (and tasting all of these is way more fun anyway!).


OP April 13, 2012 at 7:06 am

Hi everyone, OP here, and thank you for the advice!

My fiancé and I actually opted to forgo the cake and just get the macaron tower (and to jen a.: macarons are godly in their deliciousness. I wish I could send you one!). So problem solved, no cake issue.

But thanks for all the help!


Tallulah April 19, 2012 at 7:43 am

If there is a “kitchen” cake or sheet cake, it absolutely must match the “show cake” i.e. have the same filling, etc. I make wedding cakes, and I charge almost as much per serving for sheet cakes as for the wedding cake. If there is a filling in the “show cake”, and two layers, there must be the same in the kitchen cake, which is why I charge almost as much. I will not do a wedding cake if there are going to be sheet cakes from another source. I take great pride in my cakes, and everyone says they are delicious as well as beautiful. The difference in the quality of the frosting between mine and the grocery bakery is very noticible, because I use real butter in my frosting, and the grocery bakery’s is made from shortening and comes from a 5 gallon bucket. I would be very unhappy for a guest to think I had made the inferior cake, as my professional reputation would be harmed. I never understand a bride wanting only the best she can afford for everything, but trying to cut corners on the wedding cake, which is usually the showpiece of the reception. As a side note, I sometimes make wedding cakes for family and close friends as a gift, but have yet to receive a thank you!


Rosyln April 19, 2012 at 8:06 pm

I too am a professional Baker and I make many wedding cakes. They are not all dry and tasteless, many baker’s take great pride in making their cakes taste as delicious as they look!

Shop around, they are out there.

I personally don’t charge the same amount of money for a kitchen cake as I do the wedding cake. I can do the layered sheet cakes with my eyes closed and score the tops, but the wedding cakes need more care, so they come with a higher price.


wiesoauchimmer April 23, 2012 at 10:11 am

in my husband’s family there is a tradition of having a cake buffet provided by the couples closer friends and relatives, so that’s what we had as well. we had around 20 home baked cakes of all different flavours and the smallest tiered cake the bakery could make as an official cutting ceremony cake. every guest got at the very least one piece of cake if not more, and they were able to choose which flavour they liked best, plus it didn’t cost a fortune, and our friends and relatives were happy to help out.


Judy K May 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm

One of my sons had Ice Cream cake for all the guests and then had a very small carrot cake as their wedding cake to cut. I have never seen so many people trying to find a server to get a piece of “cake” at a wedding. Everyone loved it and the cake did not go to waste. We had the leftover carrot cake the next day at a lunch for all the relatives still there.


Mabel May 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Whoa, what a great idea. We can’t get macarons around here, but they look so pretty and delicious. It’s YOUR wedding; do exactly as you like! 🙂


Kelly July 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I was at a wedding where they had a tower of sticky buns with plenty of sticky buns surrounding. They were made that day and delicious!


Kimberly July 27, 2012 at 9:26 pm

I did not read all posts, but saw tons of great ideas from what I did read. This idea might already be mentioned.

You could do a small cake similar to those that are now the rage for children’s first birthday parties. It is not a big cake, but would be just enough for you and your dh to cut into and serve each other a slice and could be decorated as you desire.


LadyV November 15, 2014 at 9:02 pm

I knew I would go crazy reading the comments on this, and I was right. Just to be clear: there is a vast difference between “macarons” and “macaroons”. Macarons are the brightly colored, somewhat “whoopie pie” looking pastries shown in the photo with the original posting. Macaroons are cookies – normally coconut ones.


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