Did you know that traditional wedding cakes date back to the late 1600s? Those early confections were known as Banbury cakes, named after the town of Banbury, England, where they were first created.
While today’s wedding cakes are usually soft and fluffy, Banbury cakes were more akin to a flat pastry. They were filled with currants, rum, rose water and nutmeg and shaped in an oval design.
In the decades since, wedding cakes have transformed into the towering, white-toned treats that we’ve come to expect at every reception we attend.
While a conventional layer cake can be classic and elegant in their own right, are you considering trying on a new tradition? Wedding cupcake tiers offer a gorgeous spin on this custom! Not only are they unique and unexpected, they can be personalized to accommodate any wedding theme for a cohesive look.
Not sure where to start? That’s why we’re here! Today, we’re sharing 10 different types of wedding cupcakes that are perfect for your big day. We’ll also explore how our innovative cupcake towers can make your prep time and cleanup a breeze!
Why Choose Wedding Cupcake Tiers?
Are you on the fence about embracing the cupcake trend at your wedding reception? It’s no secret that cupcakes have been having a major moment for years, but are they an appropriate dessert for one of the biggest days of your life?
The answer is a resounding “yes”! Modern brides have long embraced alternatives to the expected sheet cake, looking for unique ways to put their own personal touch on their big day. In recent years, you’ve likely been to at least one reception that featured doughnuts, cake pops, or an ice cream sundae bar in lieu of the usual slices.
While these trends might come and go, there’s one culinary confection that will always be in style: cupcakes! While they might be miniscule, don’t let their small size fool you. These treats are rich, tasty and surprisingly filling, making them the perfect replacement (or addition) to a standard, three-tier wedding cake.
Let’s take a look at a few of the top reasons why it’s smart to consider swapping a sheet cake with these handheld alternatives.
- They’re Versatile
With cupcake tiers, you’re no longer limited to one or two flavors for your guests to enjoy. Rather, you’re free to mix it up as widely as you’d like! For instance, you might fill one tier with savory spice cakes, one with tart lemon cakes, and one with rich, dark chocolate!
As you decide which ones to include, you don’t have to worry about how each individual flavor will blend with the next. Each cupcake is an experience to enjoy on its own. Thus, while you may never request a single cake made with distinct layers of orange creamsicle, pistachio, and Nutella, you can certainly order these flavors for your separate cupcake tiers!
This way, you can give guests a bigger variety so hopefully, everyone can find a flavor they love!
If you still want to honor tradition with a sheet cake, you can always buy a smaller, one-tier cake to share with just your significant other. Or, you can get a bigger, multi-layer cake for your guests to enjoy at the reception, and bring out your cupcake tower for a final surprise as they head to leave.
Feel free to dress up each cupcake the way you’d like! The beauty of these desserts is that they easily lend themselves to customization, allowing you to add your personal touch.
- They’re Affordable
While there are no universal costs associated with a sheet cake vs. cupcakes, you can usually get a better and larger variety with the latter.
These pint-sized goodies are ideal for couples on a budget, or anyone wanting to take a more economical approach to their event. However, the final product tells a completely different story! Wedding cupcake tiers look impressive and eye-catching, and far more expensive than they are.
If you’re worried that cupcakes will lack the awe-inspiring factor that a towering layer cake would have, don’t be. Today, bakeries can create stunning cupcake towers that are as gorgeous and memorable as any other creation. You can truly create your dream design, from top to bottom.
- They’re Convenient
If everything goes according to plan, your guests won’t be sitting down for the entire duration of your reception. Rather, they’ll be mingling with one another, meeting new acquaintances, and hopefully, cutting a rug on the dance floor!
They can’t exactly move around comfortably while balancing a slide of cake on a plate. However, they do have free range of motion with a cupcake in their hand!
In addition, cupcakes are self-serve. You don’t have to set aside a time during your reception to pause the music (and the activity) so waiters can serve everyone at the same time. You can keep the celebration going unpaused, so you never miss a second to connect.
10 Themes for Your Wedding Cupcake Tiers
Convinced that wedding cupcakes are the way to go? Now, your next step is to decide which ones to order and how to arrange your creation.
This is where our cupcake towers come in handy!
Reusable and adjustable, these stands can be tailored to meet your exact needs. In our online shop, we offer both three-tier and five-tier stands. We also offer custom stands that can be configured to meet any requirement.
Will you opt for square-shaped tiers? What about round or flower-shaped designs? You can customize this product to your exact specifications, with adjustable factors that include:
- Tier shape
- Number of tiers
- Tier spacing
- Tier size
We offer cupcake tower stands with tiers that range all the way from seven inches (holding four to five cupcakes) to 24 inches (holding 34 to 38 cupcakes). Regardless of the size of your guest list, you can be confident that you’ll have enough space to fill their bellies.
Allotting one cupcake per person, consider how many tiers you need, as well as how big you need each tier to be. Then, we’ll get to work creating the perfect tower!
In the meantime, you can start brainstorming the types of cupcakes you’ll order! Whether you order the treats from a local bakery or make them yourself, it’s important to get a plan in place. Next, let’s take a look at 10 themes that are surefire crowd pleasers.
- Rustic, Nature-Inspired Cupcakes
Whether you’re getting married in a field, a backyard, or an outdoor pavilion, nothing beats exchanging vows as the sun sets. In recent years, outdoor weddings (barn weddings, in particular) have exploded in popularity, and for good reason. They can easily be both relaxed and refined, taking some of the pressure off the idea of perfection.
Even if this type of event isn’t your preference, you can always replicate the outdoorsy feeling with the right touches!
When designing your cupcake tiers, opt for rustic, natural-toned treats that are understated, yet delicious. To bring in elements of nature, try sprinkling vanilla-topped cupcakes with bacon bits to resemble tree bark! Or, you can use icing in shades of deep orange, sage green, and crimson red to tie in the gorgeous colors all around you.
Of course, no cupcake tower would be complete without the right garnishes and accessories! Nature lovers can add in fresh wildflowers and sprigs of greenery among the cakes for a whimsical and bucolic touch.
- Pint-Sized and Supersized Cupcakes
You may not have a specific theme in mind for your wedding day. However, you do have a color scheme in mind!
If this is the case, it’s best to stick to the basics.
Start by frosting your cupcakes in colors that coordinate with your bridal party’s attire to tie everything together. You may choose to frost all of the cakes on one tier the same color, and then switch gears on the next. Or, you can mix and match the cakes on each individual tier.
Then, it’s time for the big finale. On the very top tier, rather than adding a few separate cupcakes, why not place one giant cupcake as a special topper? A bakery can easily handle this request, or you can make your own at home by following this tutorial.
To help create a seamless look, arrange the cupcakes on the tower with matching tier liners underneath! If your colors are yellow and green, for instance, you can add our Yellow Fabric Tier Liners to your tower. This is an easy and inexpensive way to add depth and dimension to your display.
- White-Out Cupcakes
Simple and timeless, an all-white wedding cake is a symbol of purity and new beginnings. In other words, it’s a great way to commemorate your new life together with your spouse!
If you want to pay homage to this tradition, you can simply swap the white layer cake with vanilla cupcakes! Top each one with a creamy buttercream frosting and you’ve got a quick-grab snack that everyone will enjoy and appreciate.
Looking for a sweet touch to help these stand out? Consider covering each tier with liners made of paper lace. Or, you can use pieces of beautiful white fabric handed down through the generations. This is a special way to incorporate “something borrowed” into your dessert table!
Add a few pieces of cascading, transparent ribbon that flow from the top tier to the bottom one, and the result is a one-of-a-kind, romantic creation.
- Flower Cupcakes
Are you planning a spring wedding? Between the birds chirping, the air warming, and the days lengthening, this is one of the most beautiful seasons for a ceremony!
The springtime also finds us enjoying another simple delight: the opening of new flower blossoms! As you notice the daisies, roses and daffodils sprouting up all around, you why not create a cupcake tower that equally blooms?
You can add an edible floral design to the top of each cake by creating small, fondant flowers. Add a single one on top or create a border of small flowers depending on the look you want to create! Tiny pearl details add the perfect soft touch.
You can also pipe the icing directly onto each cupcake in a flower design. Alternate between different soft, pastel colors for a watercolor garden effect.
Sprinkle fresh flowers around each of the tiers, taking time to find ones that coordinate with the colors you chose.
- Lace-Designed Cupcakes
From your train to your long sleeves, does your wedding gown have a lace design anywhere on it? While Victorian-inspired dresses might have given way to sleeker, more modern looks, there has been a slow but gradual return to tradition.
Now, many brides are looking for retro-inspired looks that call to mind images of classic, old Hollywood stunners tying the knot. From knee-length frocks swathed in lace to billowing, full-body gowns, you’ll find styles that range from Mad Men to Woodstock.
You can continue this theme with your cupcakes, too! You can easily pipe white icing into an intricate lace design for a look that’s as sophisticated as it is sweet. To go the extra mile, consider sharing a picture of the lace on your dress with your bakery, so they can replicate the swirls and loops as closely as possible.
Again, paper lace makes a striking addition as a tier liner, although we also love how soft our Nude Fabric Tier Liners look against a lace design!
- Mix and Match Cupcakes
Who says that all of the cupcakes on your tiers have to be the same size? You can create a custom look by incorporating both standard-sized and miniature-sized cupcakes on yours!
The standard cakes are ideal for the adult guests at your reception, while the smaller ones are perfect for any children in attendance. They can also appease anyone who got a little too full at the dinner buffet and now has a small appetite!
To bring some cohesion to the design, stick with the same flavor on each tier. This way, each guest will know where to head when it’s time for something sweet.
- Red, White and Blue Cupcakes
Studies show that May through October is the most popular time of year to get married. While the week of July 4 might be filled with family events and cookouts, are you still planning to say “I do” some time that month?
If so, a patriotic cupcake tower can be ideal! Creating this one is fairly easy, but the final result packs a powerful, memorable punch.
For the red cupcakes, stick to a red velvet cake recipe that you love. Then, vanilla cupcakes are just right for the white. That just leaves you with the blue tier!
Did you know with a little blue food coloring you can transform a red velvet cake into a gorgeous cobalt creation? This easy recipe is a great place to start, and can easily be scaled up to make enough for a crowd! Try topping these blue beauties with a swirl of white frosting and a single slice of strawberry for a treat that incorporates all three colors in one.
Keeping it simple and creating single-colored nibbles? You can still achieve a drastic effect by choosing your tiers carefully.
Start with an all-red layer, and then add a layer of white cupcakes, followed by a layer of all-blue. Our colored tier liners make it easy for guests to visually grasp the differences between each.
- Winter Wonderland Cupcakes
Wedding season doesn’t end when the temperatures dip and the days get shorter. In fact, these are some of the most gorgeous, breathtaking ceremonies and receptions.
WIll you wear a faux fur coat on your way to the limo? Will your venue be flocked in fake snow and icicles? Will the DJ play all of the beloved holiday classics? There are a ton of fun decisions to make, and decorating your wedding cupcake tiers should be one of them!
While all-white cupcakes are a trend, you can also weave in other cool-toned treats. For instance, top some with cool, light blue frosting or shimmering silver fondant. Edible pearls, sugar snowflakes, and fresh raspberries all make beautiful, winter-themed toppers.
Pull-apart, cotton “snow” is a natural addition between each tier, as are strings of white and silver beads. You can even find sparkly silver sprinkles to shake across the entire creation for a “dusted” look that resembles a fresh snowfall!
- Tropical, Luau-Inspired Cupcakes
Throwing a destination wedding by the crystal clear seashore? Perhaps instead of jet-setting your guests off to paradise, you simply want to recreate an island theme at your reception.
Either way, this is a great way to celebrate a summer wedding! The colors and flavors of a tropical getaway are second to none, and are as festive as they come.
For this kind of wedding cupcake tower, why not pull inspiration from the tropical fruits that grow so plentifully in warmer climates? From bright red cherries and sweet pineapple slices to zesty kiwis and papaya chunks, there are many different toppers to choose from!
Cut each one up into small pieces and use them to decorate the top of a simple, all-white cupcake. The colors of the fruit will pop against the stark background and offer a surprisingly juicy touch to each cake!
You can also incorporate tropical flavors into your icing or the cupcake itself! These moist Pineapple Cupcakes are buttery, soft and filled with crushed pineapple for a treat that will transport you in seconds.
All around and between the tiers, add a bevy of tropical flowers for a full-on theme. A few of the most vibrant ones include passion flowers, birds of paradise, hibiscus, and jasmine. If you can’t find any in season, faux flowers can be just as gorgeous and they’ll last forever!
- Gold Leaf Cupcakes
Are you aiming to throw a modern, sophisticated ceremony? You can still embrace simple, classic style with a cupcake tower.
The key here is to keep the adornments minimal and let the gorgeous design of each cupcake speak for itself. Some of the most elegant toppers include single mint leaves, edible gold pearls, or one of our favorites: gold leaf!
Entirely edible and strikingly beautiful, gold leaf is one of those dainty touches that can transform an otherwise plain cake in an instant. Placed strategically and intricately on each cupcake, it makes the entire display look like a shimmering, glistening creation from afar.
Everything You Need to Create the Perfect Wedding Cupcake Tiers
There’s no such thing as a conventional bride. Each one is special, unique and different in her own way. The same goes for weddings.
While there are some trends that have dominated the space for a while, the door is constantly revolving. However, as fads come and go, the universal appeal of cupcakes is an undeniable constant.
These 10 themes can help inspire your own wedding cupcake tiers, but there are far more to choose from. Use your imagination to create a design that you’ll love to remember for the rest of your life.
When you’re ready to get started, we have everything you need. From cupcake stands and tier liners to accessories and replacement parts, you’ll find it all in our online shop.
Feel free to browse the full collection, including our Perfect Parchment sheets that make baking a breeze! If you have any questions along the way, reach out to our team.