Suggestions from Today's Bride:
Dessert bar, s'mores buffets and pie pops. Having never met a pie pop, I went on a quick Google hunt. Behold:
And this suggestion, I can't pronounce, let alone define: croquembouche. But another hunt reveals that it's puffs galore:
Other suggestions and insights: Pie, period. Cake pops. Cheesecake. Candy and ice cream bars. The yummy, yet messy, chocolate fountain. Centerpiece cakes on each table. A tiered cake for that cake-cutting moment, but sheet cakes (kept discreetly out of sight) served to guests to cut costs. When ordering, remember that not every guest will eat cake, so order fewer slices than people invited. One sorority sister of mine also reminded me that venues will charge a cake-cutting fee. Couple that fee with the price per slice, and you easily could pay $10 a slice. No cake ever tastes that good, she argued.
Flat-out recommendations: Reeves Cake Shop. Cake Loft. Create-A-Cake.Topics to broach with any baker, per my Facebook friends: Some people don't like the taste of fondant, so make sure you do. Otherwise, ask the baker to stick with frosting.
Now, if like me, you like the idea of cupcakes, I found this to be something to remember: If you've refrigerated the treats and they don't return to room temperature by the time guests are biting into them, the frosting tastes solid.
Here's a few rustic cupcake-related ideas I've found: