Why mobile ice cream bars are our latest wedding obsession.
Photography: Courtesy of Jeni's1 of 7
First there were food trucks, and then came the bars on wheels. Our latest mobile-wedding obsession? Ice cream carts (or trucks or bikes) that elevate your wedding day dessert to new levels of delicious-ness. Plus, your guests—the adults and kids—will get a kick out of it. Here, just a few of our favorites from around the country.
Photography: Courtesy of Scoop PDX2 of 7
This small-batch ice cream shop makes every flavor from scratch using milk and cream from a nearby dairy farm, everything from strawberry balsamic to sage salted pecan. You won't find any artificial flavors or preservatives—and even its spoons are made with sustainable bamboo and treats are served in compostable cups. For your event, choose between two pushcarts—one is hand-painted by a local artist, while the other is a bit cleaner and bears the ScoopPDX logo. Both of them use cold-plate technology to keep the ice cream frozen without electricity, meaning you can place it wherever you want in the venue. There's also a fully restored 1978 Chevy ice cream truck.
Price: from $4 per person, includes six flavors.
Photography: Courtesy of Oddfellows3 of 7
Oddfellows Ice Cream Co.
New York City
James Beard award-winning chef Sam Mason is the man behind this classic shop, which has locations in Brooklyn and the East Village. This is the place to go for both quirky flavors—think black pepper fig, buttermilk honey blueberry, and matcha crunch—and creative takes on classics (red cedar vanilla, maple bacon pecan). They've got a cart for off-site parties in New York for up to 1,000 people.
Price: from $500 for three flavors and 1.5 hours (must book at least one month in advance)
Photography: Courtesy of McConnell's4 of 7
Santa Barbara and Los Angeles
A lot of small-batch ice cream companies these days champion all-natural, local, and sustainable ingredients, but this 67-year-old brand has been doing it since the beginning, when it was founded by World War II in Santa Barbara. (There's also a scoop shop in L.A.'s Grand Central Market, and another on the way in Studio City, CA.) Catering opens include both a turquoise blue truck and a small cart—we love the truck for maximum impact. Packages include three to six flavors, with seasonal topping and sauce add-ons like peppermint bark, piecrust, and salted caramel.
Price: from $950 for up to 100 people (includes three to six flavors, sprinkles, cups/cones)
Photography: Courtesy of Leopold's5 of 7
Three Greek immigrants founded this family-owned local institution in 1919. Today, modern-day couples can rent a retro cart—complete with a soda jerk (or two) to serve your guests. Flavors typically skew traditional, but they can create boozy options like peach champagne sorbet as well as a signature ice cream with ingredients that are personally meaningful to you. The company can bring the cart beyond Savannah, though travel fees may apply (last year took them to Chicago and New Orleans).
Price: from $5.50 per person, $150 cart rental fee plus set-up and labor fees.
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Photography: Courtesy of Jeni's6 of 7
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Catering available in and near Los Angeles, Nashville, and Columbus, Ohio
What began as a small company in 2002 in Columbus, Ohio, is now a full-blown ice cream empire dedicated to sustainable and local ingredients, with chef Jeni Britton Bauer at the helm. Booking with Jeni's means making a lot of decisions. First, you'll need to choose among their fleet of trucks, carts, and Bajajs—and in Los Angeles, even a mini-trailer, a vintage Corvair, and a Worksman cycle. Then, good luck narrowing down the flavors to your four favorites. Options have included everything from sweet potato pecan praline and churro to wildberry lavender.
Price: from $800 for two hours of service, up to 100 people.
Photography: Kathy Tran7 of 7
Catering available in and near Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas
The brainchild of Natasha Case and Freya Estreller, CoolHaus has earned widespread acclaim for its architecturally inspired ice-cream sandwiches, which have punny names like Norman Bananas Foster and IM Pei-Nut Butter. (The native Angelenos were speakers at last year's Martha Stewart American Made event, and you can learn some important business lessons from them here.) You can rent either a truck or a cart, and packages include your choice of five cookie and five ice cream flavors (for made-to-order sandwiches), plus hand-dipped bars and Stumptown coffee service. Sandwiches come wrapped in edible potato paper, and for a touch of personalization (and $1 per wrapper), couples can add monograms, quotes, and even photos in edible ink.
Price: from $1,000 per hour.