Alternatives to the traditional wedding cake are more common and accepted now than they were a couple of decades ago. The cake used to be a big part of wedding receptions, yet more couples are opting for alternatives that don't cost as much and that offer more variety. Coupled with the knowledge that many cake caterers provide "fake" cakes for display (the slices that people eat come from a basic cake hidden in the food prep area), offering an alternative that does not require sleight of hand can stop a lot of questions in their tracks. One such alternative is a dessert display or buffet; another is an array of wedding cupcakes.
One big benefit to a dessert display is that it offers so much more choice. You can have cupcakes, fruit, mini-pies, petit fours, and more. While this might not seem as formal as a cake, remember that the slices of cake that people usually get at a wedding are tiny, thin slivers. Those squares and wedges of cake that you see in pictures in your scrapbooks are no longer the norm. So offering people the choice of less formal but more substantial desserts could lead to better memories of the food!
Even if you offer only cupcakes, you can still have more of a variety in terms of flavors and ingredients. Just remember to offer forks along with the cupcakes -- people aren't going to want to bite into a mound of frosting without a utensil.
Easier Management of Dietary Restrictions
Wedding caterers are very good about creating menus for people with dietary restrictions. This is one area where the "fake" display cake comes in handy because the caterer can have regular, gluten-free, egg-free, and other versions waiting in the food prep area. But if you'd rather avoid that production, a dessert display allows you to have more than one type of dessert and thus more items that would fit various food requirements. Cupcakes, too, allow you to have different batches for different dietary requirements.
One more thing to point out: Your dessert display can include savory items like cheese. So you can really create a dessert offering that anyone can choose from, even those who don't want sugary items.
Discuss this with the wedding caterers you're considering for your reception. Many may have dessert-display offerings already available, and others may be willing to create them for you.