A cookie table is a wedding tradition said to originate in Southwestern Pennsylvania, where in place of or in addition to a wedding cake, a large table with different cookies is presented to guests at the wedding reception. Cookies are generally prepared by family members in advance of the reception. It is typically a Pittsburgh tradition.
Research has shown that the cookie table appears to have stronger ethnic or religious ties, although in some regions of the United States it is becoming more of a regional practice, primarily East Coast and industrial centers. Cookie tables are included in primarily Italian or Catholic wedding receptions. Other groups that also have cookie tables or cookie platters are the Greeks, Slovaks, Serbian Orthodox, Austrian/Hungarian, and Scandinavians. The inclusion of a cookie table is more widely known where those of Italian ancestry settled, and also in some cases, of the other groups mentioned above. Where a settlement did not consist of sizable numbers of Italian or Eastern European groups, the number of those who were familiar with cookie tables decreased. Cookie tables were better known in the east than in the mid-west, south, southwest or west.
Research by the Arms Family Museum of Local History in Youngstown, Ohio discovered the dominant areas for cookie tables were northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Cookie tables were also well known in West Virginia, Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Delaware. States where they were unknown or not present included Washington, California, Texas and Nevada.