Today marks my ONE MONTH wedding anniversary!
It's true what all brides say: Planning a wedding is hard work! It's especially difficult when you're a baker and you want your dessert table to be perfect.
I decided that I wanted to do a dessert table because I love variety and who doesn't love mini desserts?! I originally thought I would be able to handle making these desserts on my own, but as the days went on, the stress piled and I knew I had to give myself a reality check and keep my sanity by delegating the baking to other people.
Here are my main tips for planning your own dessert bar:
- Make sure your venue allows outside catering so that you can bring your own desserts! Many venues are strict and require you to use vendors from a specific or preferred list.
- You can definitely have your cake and eat it too - I made my own cake for pictures/cake cutting. I did a 2 tiered cake: a 6" on top, and 8" on the bottom. My secret? Use styrofoam cakes! The 6" cake was real so that we had something to actually cut into and eat, but I used 2 8" styrofoam cakes on the bottom to add height and a little something unique to the cake with asymmetrical tiers. I kept it simple with smooth white buttercream, and then had my florist decorate it with flowers on site. (If you would like more info on how I made this, leave a comment below!)
- The rule for dessert bars: each guest should get 2-3 pieces of dessert (even if you do end up serving cake as well, people eat with their eyes first and will still grab more than 1 piece of dessert from your bar!).
- Have a designated time (and sign) when the dessert bar will open, and if possible, have someone "guard" the area to make sure no one sneaks by to grab them!
- DELEGATE! Don't attempt to bake the desserts by yourself. I am very grateful that my cousins/bridesmaids helped me. You'll think that you'll have time, but many last minute tasks will pop up and you don't want to overwhelm yourself.
- Choose your desserts wisely: When it comes to baking desserts for a large event, you want to think about items that will keep well not only for a couple days, but at room temperature too since the dessert bar will be out for a couple hours. I would recommend baking at least a week or two before, and then freezing the desserts until the wedding day. We ended up choosing coconut macaroons, peppermint bark, and Russian tea cakes as part of our dessert bar because these were easy to make and they kept very well in the freezer! Some other examples would be: mini cheesecakes, any type of cookie, mini pies, cake pops, and truffles to name a few. Keep in mind the season of your wedding, and choose desserts based on that and also the weather of that day as well - my wedding had an evening reception and was held inside so I didn't have to worry about anything melting. (I also hired I Love Brulee to create the most delicious assortment of mini creme brulees, and because of my obsession with boba, I also had Boba Guys at my reception passing out mini 8 oz. cups of boba in 3 flavors: strawberry, classic milk, and thai tea!)
- Make sure to have place cards for each dessert so guests know what they are! This is especially important if anything contains nuts or other ingredients that people may be allergic to.
- Figuring out how to display and arrange your desserts is a crucial step as well. Ideally, dessert bars should be on long rectangular tables so that there is enough space to display all your desserts. Don't worry about fitting everything on there though - designate at least one person to restock the desserts. Using a couple tiered platters in addition to cake stands and other serving plates will help save space, and create a visually dynamic look as well. You can keep the rest of the decor pretty simple because the main focus should be on the desserts and/or cake. A simple garland, or some vases of floral arrangements is always a great idea.
- Plan in advance. Unless you have a coordinator helping you plan from start to finish, you should have a document shared with everyone helping you with the dessert table so that everyone is on the same page. The exact amount of desserts being made should be listed, as well as where the items will be stored, which desserts will be on which platters, and who will deliver to the venue and who will set up. The last thing you want is people asking you what is going on the day of your wedding.
- My last advice is: Keep it simple! I put a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted my dessert table to be perfect. The truth is, people will be happy with any dessert, as long as there is something sweet to eat! I was thinking about putting edible gold leaf, and other fancy decor on the desserts but with almost 300 guests, I knew that was not going to be feasible. Get advice and comments from trusted individuals while planning, and be flexible because your dessert bar may not turn out the exact way you want it to.
I hope this helps if you are planning on doing your own dessert bar! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to comment below or send me an email :)