Let’s talk sweets at your wedding. Most couples are offering options for desserts, mixed hand pop-able sweets plus a cutting cake are always a hit. Some just do cupcakes and a cutting cake, or just pie or just cake. Whatever you do, here are some tips:
1. Your Guests Like Variety
Most of your guests will be up and mingling or dancing by the time you cut your cake. We have found people love it if you have a centrally located sweets table where anyone can grab a hand sized single-serving treat, after the cake cutting, and move along. The larger your crowd, the more diverse your treats table should be. Favorites are cupcakes, donuts, tarts, mini pies, cake pops, macrons or other cookies, bars, brownies, mini cupcakes, and on hot days boozy pops or ice cream stations/carts.
2. A Small Dessert Display
On a similar note, if you are having a very large wedding (150+ guests) don’t do one sweets table. Instead, place a small dessert display sweets table with your cake next to your sweetheart or head table, and then either have desserts served (if you are doing plated service), served family style by table, or have your caterer set out slices of cake and other desserts on the buffet table. You don’t have to place all of your sweets on your sweets table. It can get too crowded or awkward for large receptions.
3. When Serving Everyone Cake
If you will have a large cake to serve all of your guests (or a wedding cake and hidden sheet cake), here are a few pointers. Plan to cut your cake, then do toasts or bouquet toss or a game or something special to distract your guests as your caterer cuts and serves, or plates and sets out your cake slices at your buffet table. Do not cut and serve your own cake, unless you really want to.
If you have more than 150 guests, you do not have to display a cake large enough to feed all, you can have sheets of matching cake prepared by your baker and in the kitchen with your caterer.
4. Things You See On Pinterest Guests Don’t Tend To Actually Enjoy
- Cake. No seriously, a lot of people hate cake. See point 1. It’s not everyone’s favorite.
- S’mores. Even if you have a fire pit, maybe ten people actually want a s’more when they are tipsy and dressed up. Don’t worry about an ornate set up, instead pass some sticks (store bought kind) to those by the fire, either pass a tray with a bag of marshmallows and a box of graham crackers and some right sized chocolate, individually wrapped Ghiradelli Squares. That’s plenty. If you want to be super fancy have a very small table, a serving bowl with the marshmallows, a serving plate of stacked and still wrapped Ghiradelli Squares, and a serving plate of Graham Crackers broken in squares. Have enough set up for about 1/4 of your guests and task a friend or your planner to replenish if needed.
- Donuts served on a wall. Nobody seems to want to peel donuts off a wall. It’s not even as aesthetically appealing as a nice platter of donuts. Donut holes or round donuts are easier to eat while mingling. Jelly filled is kind of mean if your cousin is tipsy in a pretty dress.
- Cheese cake in summer. As a mom of older kids, I remember those horrible days of cleaning up after a sick child. Cheesecake goes bad in the heat while sitting out. Serve it at your rehearsal if it’s your favorite. Desserts may be out for hours at your wedding, stick with all the desserts that won’t get icky.
- Poisonous flowers and berries on the cake. Even when prepped with a barrier, as pros will do, don’t order poisonous plants to be set on or poked in to your cake. Those Pins and insta pics you’ve seen are from styled shoots. Nobody ate that cake. We hope.
5. Finally, Delivery vs. Set Up
If you order flowers or desserts or cake to be delivered, that is different from having a dessert table installed or set up. If you do not have a planner, or even if you do, please make sure you know the difference. As a seasoned planner and designer I know the difference well. I check the contracts. But many venue Day Of coordinators, or bakery shops, or florists do not plan to decorate your dessert table. Don’t assume they will.
Wedding specific dessert specialists typically include display tray rentals and platters, as well as set up, in your quote. Many floral designers, just deliver extra flowers for your baker that aren’t prepped or necessarily food safe, which is totally fine if your baker is setting up and decorating the cake. It’s not ok if a novice, or friend, or who knows? is setting up your cake.
As a wedding floral designer, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a wedding venue “delivering” flowers, when a bakery delivery is dropped off. Nobody knows who should do what. There is no planner, what am I not going to do – leave without setting up the desserts!
Make sure, if you don’t have a planner, or even if you do, that you know who is doing what. Somebody has to set up your desserts! Somebody has to decorate the cake. Nobody is going to do this if you don’t pay them to. And somebody may jump in to save the day who doesn’t know what they are doing.