Set Up a Decadent Dessert Table in 5 Steps

A dessert table is a great addition to any party or event. They’re a staple of wedding receptions, baby showers, graduation parties and more. If you want to indulge your guests with some sweet treats, have a look at our how-to below for setting up a cute and delicious dessert table.


Start with a Theme
Before you do anything, you’ll need a theme to coordinate the look of your dessert table around. Depending on your event, this can be easy: holidays, for example, are a no-brainer when it comes to visual themes.  Come up with a colour palette for your table linen and serveware (for example, whites and blues). For a stunning display, your desserts should also fit the colour theme you’ve chosen.


Set the Menu
It goes without saying that what you serve is the most important element of your dessert table, so carefully consider what you’ll offer. Cupcakes and cake pops are trendy desserts that are quite easy to make. You can easily decorate them to match your theme. Because French macaroons and rock candy also come in lots of colours, you can fit them into your theme as well.

And of course, cookies are a safe bet for a dessert display. They also provide the opportunity for variety: you can bake batches of different types, then arrange artfully on the table.

Sweets are all fun and good, but don’t forget to offer healthier alternatives for those on a diet. Chilled fruit is healthy and tasty. We recommend strawberries, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, apple, pineapple and cantaloupe. Offer some of your favorites and let your guests mix and match!


A Drink for Everyone’s Taste
You can’t enjoy dessert without coffee, tea or hot cocoa. If possible, offer all three to accommodate your guests’ tastes. These drinks should also be customizable, so offer things like sugar or whipped cream that people can add in. If you’re serving hot cocoa, get even more adventurous by offering cinnamon, crushed peppermints and caramel.

For those who don’t want caffeine (or if it’s just too hot out), offer a cold glass of milk. Milk goes hand-in-hand with any dessert!


Let Them Do It Themselves
A DIY station is a great way to add fun to the event, allowing guests to get creative and build their own concoctions. Set aside some space to leave out ingredients for DIY desserts. Here are some ideas of things you can prompt your guests to make:

  • Shortcakes (offer small cakes that they can top with fruit of their choice and whipped cream)
  • Sundaes (with a selection of ice cream and different toppings)
  • Popcorn mix (offer sweet kettle corn and a variety of candies, pretzels and other treats people can mix in)

Add the Finishing Touches
When placing your desserts, use stands at different heights to add a little drama and ensure that no dessert gets lost in the shuffle. Props like candle sticks, lanterns or other tchotchkes can add some more visual flair to the display.

For a cute touch, add labels to your desserts and tiny flags that commemorate the event. You can find all sorts of labels and papercraft flags online to print out, so it’s easy to use one that fits your theme.

Finally, consider stringing party banners on the ball behind the table to bring the entire look together. Again, keep this colour coordinated with the rest of the table and event. Once you’re done, it’s time to dig in!

author

Joe Sutton

Joe is a freelance writer and poet. A total homebody with a love for design, he loves brainstorming ways to transform a space. When not writing or tending to his bonsai, he’s probably decorating in The Sims. You can find him on Twitter at @joesutton.

View all articles by Joe Sutton