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A Dessert Buffet Reception

So many decisions need to be made when planning a wedding and just what kind of reception to choose seems to be at the forefront of most couple’s minds when pondering just what will happen on their special day. For most brides and grooms, an opportunity to provide a pleasant social gathering for their guests is so important. The reception is also the most costly part of a wedding and the type of reception you choose will depend on your budget.

More and more, the trends are tending towards smaller affairs that aren’t so cost prohibitive, especially with couples that are paying for their own wedding, which is happening more often as the age of couples marrying for the first time climbs. A recent trend that is always a hit with guests is the dessert buffet reception, an event that features a variety of sweet, tasty goodies and usually coffee and tea and perhaps wine or champagne, or in some cases, an open bar. 

The dessert reception can be quite an elegant affair and is especially suitable after an evening wedding. Or for a more casual mid-afternoon wedding, this kind of reception is ideal and is perfect for this time slot, when providing a meal for guests isn’t necessary. However, the reception invitation should clearly state that the party will be of this variety so that guests do not expect to be served a full meal after the ceremony.

The Advantages of a Dessert Buffet

Clearly, a dessert buffet reception will cost much less than a traditional buffet meal or a sit-down formal dinner. For many, this is the first reason to consider this kind of party.

Space also figures into the equation. If the reception venue is small and cannot easily accommodate the tables a dinner reception demands, this kind of event is ideal. Usually, desserts are set up on one main table or at different “stations” and guests remain standing, mingling with each other while enjoying the food. A few chairs are provided for those who must sit, but generally a dessert reception requires much less space. 

Nearly everyone loves dessert and this type of reception provides the opportunity to offer a wide variety of goodies rather than just the traditional wedding cake, which many people tend not to eat. This way, the bride and groom can invest in a smaller cake – or no cake at all – and may even choose to include a few different kinds of their favorite cakes instead of just one.

While many dessert receptions feature fancy confections from local bakeries or candy makers, this can indeed be a do-it-yourself kind of affair, especially if the couple or someone close to them is a talented baker. Making your own desserts helps cut costs significantly. However, you’ll need to check with the venue to be sure you can bring in your own food. Some demand that you use their caterer for any food served at their facility.

Dessert Buffet Themes

While it’s not necessary to have a theme for your dessert table, many couples do indeed go in that direction when it comes to organizing the offerings for their reception.

For a formal affair, even a black-tie wedding, chocolate-themed dessert buffets are quite popular. Desserts that are brown and white look quite elegant and can be arranged on fancy platters or on plates/stands that sit at a variety of different heights. Even the wedding cake can follow the same theme. It might be covered with chocolate frosting, trimmed with brown scrollwork or filigree, or might simply we all white. A chocolate- or chocolate-and-cream-themed table might also include mini desserts such as cream puffs or éclairs, truffles, small cups of mousse, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate-chip cookies, a fluffy white coconut cake, and assorted chocolate candies.

Some couples choose to match their dessert buffet to their color scheme. Sometimes, this is difficult, especially if the color is unusual. However, it’s very simple with colors like red or pink, where you can incorporate lots of berries. Remember, however, that your desserts don’t necessarily need to be the same color as the dresses or decorations. Instead, the platters and table linens can reflect the color scheme, and you can always include M&Ms, jelly beans, lollipops, and other small items that match.

If you’re going for a more whimsical look, entertaining guru Martha Stewart recommends a carnival-type display, complete with a striped awning, caramel apples, funnel cake, peanut bark, fudge, and even sno-cones!