How to Create a Dessert Table
Dessert tables are a great addition to any party or special event. Not only do they provide yummy treats for your guests, but they can also be an excellent opportunity for you to express yourself. To create the perfect dessert table, plan your table, prepare the desserts, and decorate the table. Pretty soon, you’ll be delighting your guests with tasty treats.
Designing the Table
Choose a theme.Your desserts and decorations will both center around your theme. For example, a wedding-themed table may include fancy dishes that focus around the wedding cake, while a Halloween-themed dessert table might include kitschy desserts like a faux graveyard made out of crumbled brownies and gummy worms.
- Match your theme to the occasion, such a birthday, wedding, or holiday.
- Christmas parties might have a present theme, winter theme, or Santa’s workshop theme.
- A birthday party could have a pastel theme, superhero theme, or candy theme.
- A wedding could have a rustic theme, polished theme, or DIY theme.
Choose a color scheme that works with your theme.Color schemes can be as simple as two-tone or mono-tone, or you can create an elaborate color scheme. Most people base their color scheme off of the type of event or whom the party is for. For example, holidays have traditional colors that you could draw from, and birthdays often reflect the favorite colors of the person having the birthday.
- You might include a variety of pastel colors for a birthday or Easter-egg party.
- A dessert table for a wedding might incorporate your wedding colors.
- A Halloween dessert table might feature colors like orange and black or purple, green, and black.
- A Christmas dessert table might be red and green, or you could opt for winter white.
Design a background.Your background can include a banner, wreath, or wall hanging. Some people combine several background decorations. For example, you could hang a banner that says “Merry Christmas,” along with a faux snow-dusted holiday wreath.
- Place your table near a wall so that you can easily decorate behind the table.
Gather platters, plates, stands, and containers.Displays should fit the treats you plan to make. For example, a cake will need a stand or platter large enough to fit it, while candy will require an attractive way to display it.
- Consider jars and apothecary containers for candy.
- Plan to include various heights in your display.
Make your printables if you plan to use them.Printables can be an attractive addition to your table and can help establish your theme. For example, you can label Halloween dishes with fun names like “graveyard dirt,” “voodoo dolls,” and “cobweb cookies.” Choose a glossy paper or a cute print that fits your theme.
- You can find templates online with a Google search of your theme, or you can make your own. Some craft stores sell pre-printed items that you can use for your table, especially if you have a common theme such as a holiday or wedding.
Arranging Your Table
Create layers with your dishes and platters.Different heights create visual interest, so don’t just lay out plates of desserts. You can always place items on top of other dishes, such as a plate on top of a candlestick or vase.
- A cupcake tower can be a great way to add a focal piece to your table that creates visual interest.
- Set plates on sturdy vases and other upturned containers, such as a cute planter. Consider gluing your plate or platter to a candlestick or vase to add some stability.
Make the largest dish the focal point.If you have a dish like a cake or cupcake tower, place it at the center of your table, then arrange the smaller desserts around it. You can also place it to the side if you have a wide variety of dessert sizes.
Add table decorations.Use items like flowers, candles, trinkets, and other small items. Your items should reflect your theme.
- A wedding might include photos of the bride and groom, floral bouquets, and items that reflect the couple, such as old books wrapped in lace.
- A child’s birthday party might include character toys, like superhero figurines or My Little Pony dolls.
- A Christmas table might include decorations like ornaments or poinsettias.
- If you use a table cloth on an outdoor table, tape it down if it's windy.
Include labels for each treat if you’d like.Simple desserts like chocolate chip cookies, cake, and red vines may not need labels, but creative desserts like cobweb cookies or tarts may not be easily recognizable for your guests. You can print your labels or hand-write them.
Providing the Desserts
Decide on the types of desserts you will serve.Good options include cakes, cupcakes, brownies, cookies, candies, donuts, and other baked goods. Desserts should fit into your theme and suit your guests. A formal party should have sleek treats, while a child’s party might have a more DIY feel.
- Consider if you will include all mini desserts or one large dessert, such as a cake, surrounded by mini desserts.
- Think about what your guests will enjoy, as well as who your guests are. For example, kids may enjoy different dishes than adults.
Determine how many treats you need.Plan for about three desserts per person and about five or six different dessert options. Most people will want to sample more than one treat, so make sure that you have enough food for everyone to take multiple servings.
- Since they will eat multiple servings, your servings can be smaller. For example, cut cake into smaller pieces, make mini cupcakes, and bake bite-sized cookies rather than large ones.
Make your desserts.Bake or assemble your treats the day before your event. If you must prepare your desserts on the day of the event, plan enough time to allow for a backup plan in case you get behind or a treat doesn't turn out right. Consider how much you can make at one time when deciding whether or not to order some of your dishes.
- You may want to buy some of the treats and prepare others. For example, you might order the main cake and a few candies, but then bake cookies and cupcakes.
Order or buy pre-made desserts.It's best to order the most complicated desserts or the one you'll use as your focal piece. You can order from a stand-alone bakery, or you can pick up items from a grocery store bakery. Items like candy will also need to be purchased if you plan to include them.
Ask family and friends to bring a treat.Potluck-style dessert tables might not work with certain themes, such as a formal wedding, but they can be a great way to fill out your table.
- Get your guests to sign up for what they will bring so that you don’t have duplicates.
- You can also tell guests what they should bring.
- If you plan to purchase treats, have your guests bring those. For example, candies can easily be brought by guests who want to contribute.
Store the treats until it’s time for the party.Treats like cake, cupcakes, and homemade candies can be stored in the refrigerator, while other treats like cookies are best stored in airtight containers. Store-bought treats can be left in their original containers.
Put out the food before your guests arrive.Give yourself plenty of time to arrange the treats on your platters.
- If people are bringing dishes to the table, place them on the table as they arrive.
Video: DIY EASY DESSERT TABLE | Marie Jay
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