It’s hard to resist a dessert buffet. A beautifully styled table stacked with yummy cakes, pies, cookies, pastries and candy can be the highlight of a reception, and both complement or replace the wedding cake itself.
Amy Atlas, also known as “The Sweets Stylist,” started the dessert buffet trend a few years ago. Today, it’s very common to see these stunning tables and delicious treats at the end of a wedding reception or at the start of the after party.
After all the attention to detail you’ve spent on every other part of your wedding, you don’t want to simply throw together a dessert table at the end of the night. It’s important that your dessert buffet coordinates with your wedding’s theme and colour palette—from the linens to the signage to the sweets! To help you create the perfect look and menu for your table Amy has written Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It—a must-read guide for styling, crafting and baking (though we recommend ordering) a dessert bar for your wedding.
Amy shared some of her top design and styling tips for how to create a sweet ending to your wedding. Here they are along with some beautiful images from the book to inspire you!
- Your table should always have a focal point.
- Take something that inspires you and create your dessert table around it.
- When picking a palette, choose between one and three colours.
- Pick unique colour palettes with patterns that are unexpected.
- Create a beautiful backdrop for your dessert table. Striking décor elements complete the look of a dessert table, and a fabulous backdrop is the perfect way to incorporate artistry.
- Keep in mind the location and weather when setting up your dessert bar. If it’s summer and your event is outdoors, then an all chocolate buffet is probably not the best option.
- Pick beautiful linens and unique vessels. Since your sweets will be the star, the linens and vessels should have a coordinated, tailored look.
- Introduce a vertical element. It could be flowers, a big cake or candlesticks, but adding some height and dimension helps to give the table a strong focal point.
- Go shopping at home. I am a big fan of repurposing everyday items. A beautiful bowl can be attached to a candlestick with sticky tack to create a new cake stand.
- No need to get new vases to match your event—use castoff fabric and wrap it around your vases to give them a new look.
- Use vessels of varying heights. Also, think outside the “vessel” and use fun containers that tie into your theme.
- Incorporate some type of signage to dress up the dessert table. This will show your guests how personal it is to you. Ask your stationer to create personalised tags.
- Keep tags to less than three inches. You don’t want them to overpower the display of confections.
- Bakery boxes and cello bags make great favour bags.
- Incorporate six to eight different types of treats on your table. Anticipate that each guest will taste at least four of the desserts.
- Have a nice balance of both candy and desserts.
- When purchasing candy for your dessert bar, keep in mind that six ounces per person is ideal, but get enough so that you can fill up your vessels and make a visual impact on the table as well.
- Use flat vessels for desserts and deep bowls or containers for candy. Containers with wide openings are the most practical so guests can easily access the candy with scoops.
- Always sample your dessert vendors before using them for your event. A beautiful cake is not always the best tasting cake! The key is to find the right balance. Pick desserts that not only look good together, but provide a balance for your guests’ palates.
- Provide goody bags as take-home desserts. It is always a treat to give your guests something to take home to remind them of how sweet the day was.