I've been planning and supplying wedding dessert tables professionally for the past nine years. In that time I've come up with some tips that should take the worry and guesswork out of wedding dessert planning and make the event as fun as it should be.
The most popular concept in the last few years is to fill your dessert table with an assortment of mini-desserts and have a small- to medium-sized tiered wedding cake, which will be the centerpiece for your cake-cutting photos.
Currently the most popular mini-desserts for wedding tables in Colorado are:
- Mini-Cheesecakes With Berries.
- Mini-Cupcakes: Carrot, Chocolate, Lemon, Red Velvet, and Vanilla.
- Chocolate Mousse Petites.
- Strawberry Trifle Petites.
- Brownie Bites.
- Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries.
- Jam-Filled Linzer Cookies. These are very popular both on the dessert table and individually wrapped as take-home treats. They can be placed at each table setting.
Here are few things to think about when deciding how many mini-desserts you'll need:
- Are you serving a large dinner as well? If so, I suggest 1½-2 minis per person.
- Dessert late in the evening after drinks will cut down on numbers needed: figure 1½ minis per person.
- If you're not serving dinner, just appetizers, drinks, and dessert: 2-3 minis per person. Or if you know you're inviting big dessert eaters: 3 per person.
- For health-conscious guests: 1-1½ minis per person.
Full-Size Wedding Cakes:
The most popular flavors for wedding cakes in Colorado are:
- Chocolate Fudge or German Chocolate
- Red Velvet
- White or Yellow with Fresh Sliced Strawberries or Raspberry Filling
A three-tiered wedding cake with four layers in each tier, the tiers measuring 8", 10", and 12", will serve approximately 120 guests.
For big weddings, 200 guests or more, many couples are choosing to have a Bride's cake and a Groom's cake.
You can have three different flavors of cake and fillings on a three-tiered cake. To make the tiers match, ice all three in a similar top coat.
Cake toppers, wooden or porcelain, are back in style. A good source for these is Etsy. For most toppers, your cake—or the top tier of it—should be eight inches across. Smaller cakes can look overwhelmed by the topper.
Using ribbon to accent your cakes is also popular. Make sure to use a high-quality satin ribbon so the icing won't bleed through. A great source for satin ribbon is Ribbon Bazaar.
Two thoughts on using floral cake decorations: Make sure the flowers will be safe to use with your cake and icing: you don't want plant stems dripping into your cake, and the stamens of lilies, if left on, will drop pollen all over your icing. And think about the size of your cake. You don't want it overshadowed by the flowers. Flowers should be an accent, not the main attraction
Your Wedding Dessert Table:
I can't stress this enough:
A sturdy table
Sturdy dessert stands
A table full of mini-desserts and stands and one or two large tiered wedding cakes is heavy. The desserts need solid support under them.
I've found that a variety of stand heights not only adds to the beauty and interest of the dessert table, it also allows you to fit many more desserts in a small space, such as the nooks that are popular in many venues.
Keeping Your Desserts Fresh and Safe:
- Avoid placing a dessert table in front of a window with direct sunlight. The sun can soften or melt many desserts, and bright backlighting can make photography challenging.
- Avoid placing desserts near heat sources, such as fireplaces, hot spotlights, and chafing dishes.
- I recommend ice baskets under dessert platters holding fragile custard desserts.
- Remember the sun. Set up your dessert table in a shaded or covered area to keep your desserts from melting.
- Wind dries out delicate desserts fast, and sends plates and napkins flying. Try to find an area with a wind block.
- Use Ice baskets under delicate desserts.
- Desserts in glasses or cups can sometimes be stabilized in cardboard boxes with cutouts.
A Final Word:
Be kind to your elderly guests.
Think of your grandparents when choosing a venue with stairs to climb. Try to keep things on as close to one level as possible.
Plan to have your cake cutting and dessert service before the dancing and before the party gets loud. Elderly guests (and guests with young children) may wish to leave early, but not before dessert.