More couples saying I dont to traditional wedding cakes

The big, white wedding cake has gone stale for many couples who have tasted too much bad buttercream and seen too many slices left untouched on the table.

Instead, they’re trying to make their celebrations more personal with other sweet expressions of their union.

For Elena Flores and Jeff Breese, there was no question that their 250 wedding guests would be treated to their favorite dessert — gelato — which they eat together once or twice a week.

“Neither of us are cake eaters,” said Elena Flores Breese, 27. “In our opinion, wedding cake … sometimes it isn’t good.”

After guests finished a their meal at the couple’s September wedding in Phoenix, servers scooped four flavors of the Italian ice cream into martini glasses, and the bride and groom fed each other a spoonful.

The retreat from cake is part of a larger trend: Many couples are dropping wedding customs that don’t suit them and are adding personal touches instead.

Taking the place of the iconic cake is everything from pies, cheesecakes with sauces, fresh doughnuts with toppings, and cupcakes — lots and lots of cupcakes in different flavors and sizes, arranged in cascading tiers to look like, yes, a cake.

There are also desserts that guests create themselves: an ice cream sundae bar, candied or caramel apples with toppings, a fondue station or a candy table. Bite-size sweets — brownies, crème brûlée, cream puffs, cheesecake lollipops, and warm chocolate chip cookies and milk served in shot glasses — are also popular.

Some couples are keeping the cake for tradition’s sake but shrinking it to make room for different desserts.

“Most don’t like cake, and others are wanting to personalize the wedding experience a little bit more and are finding that dessert is the easiest way,” said Melissa Lee Sylvester of the Rincon Beach Club and Catering near Santa Barbara. She said about 40 percent of the weddings there are cakeless.

Although some couples may think an alternative dessert is less expensive than cake, that is not always the case. Planners say a cupcake that has to be individually decorated can cost the same as a slice of cake, while a candy table can cost less. Gelato is more expensive than a traditional buttercream-frosted cake with fresh flowers.

Sometimes the pressure to have a traditional cake is too much to resist. Michelle Olsen, for example, chose five flavors of mini cupcakes and a candy bar with sweets in her wedding colors of black, white and kelly green for her wedding in Los Angeles in October. But when the groom’s stepfather told her that wedding cake was the only reason he goes to weddings, they added a three-tiered cake in white buttercream with green trim.

“We didn’t want to offend anyone, so we figured we would have a small one,” Olsen said.

Another bride wanted only cotton candy and candy for her wedding last June.

“Once we informed the moms, they were not happy campers,” said Evora Alvarez-Deily, 35, of Florida. She added a wedding cake — blue icing with brown lacy swirls — to appease them.

Alvarez-Deily said her nontraditional choices were wildly successful, however.

“Everybody loved it and went crazy over it,” she said of the ring pops, candy necklaces and cotton candy. “I barely had any kids there. The adults were all over it.”