Dessert is an essential feature to any celebration – especially one where you’ll likely be serving a meal. Wedding cakes are symbolic of the big day, but aside from the standard confection, one of the most popular ways to include sweets is by providing a dessert station or similar specialty area. Some stations are kept more minimal and only feature one type of dessert, whereas others offer guests a variety of candies, chocolates, cookies, and pastries.
If you and your groom are mad about donuts, consider having a spread of various types and flavors. You both love ice cream sundaes? Family and friends will have fun creating their own concoction from a dedicated table of ice cream and toppings. You fell in love in Paris? Then a macaron station might be the right fit. We’ve seen couples offer mini pies, collections of cheesecake bites, chocolate fountains, and so much more – a dessert bar is truly one great way to customize your wedding to represent the two of you.
Guests of all ages will enjoy being able to serve themselves at any time throughout the reception festivities, and also are able to select what flavor they want or how small – or large – of a helping they’d like.
On the other hand, not everyone has a sweet tooth or desires dessert beyond the cake, so if you don’t think your loved ones will be excited by the extra choices and would rather be on the dance floor all night, then maybe the money would be better allocated to a live band or a great DJ for an after-party. If jaw-dropping florals are what you’re really after, then certainly don’t feel pressured to follow the dessert bar trend, and go with what feels right for you.
If a dessert station is something you have in mind for your reception, there are a few things to consider before finalizing your decision:
1. Create a spending limit for the station.
Money can be an overwhelming factor for some couples planning their wedding, so a budget will clarify if a candy bar is even affordable for you. Some desserts are more expensive than others, so take time to look into which kinds of sweets you want to showcase on the big day. Also consider that you will need additional linens, trays, serving dishes, napkins, utensils, and flowers or some other décor element to complete the look of a dessert table.
2. Decide on how many desserts you want.
Do you want guests to have more than enough sweets to take home, or would you prefer no leftovers? Do you want to provide small bags for candy or tiny boxes for pastries? It’s a nice gesture to offer a carrying case of some sort; however, guests may take it as a cue that it’s okay to leave for the night and if you’re hoping for a party that goes into the wee hours then steering clear of a take-home option might be the best bet.
3. Think about the party favors.
Look at what the guests will already be receiving to find if a dessert bar is necessary. Some party favors include sweets, so you might feel that a station, along with the cake, is more than enough to provide a sugar fix. If you are not planning on giving wedding favors, the station is a great substitution.
4. Consider your guests’ preferences.
Maybe the majority of your guests are addicted to chocolate, or maybe they prefer semi-sweet pastries. If you are unsure about specific preferences, get creative and feature multiple types of desserts. It is easy to want to star your favorite dessert, but think about whether or not everyone will enjoy the same treat, especially if you plan on ordering a large quantity. Another great idea if you’d like to keep it personal is to have the baker of the family create small versions of the “famous family chocolate cake” and guests can enjoy these miniature versions at their seats or in take-home boxes.
5. Expect that not every attendee will have desserts.
As delicious as your treats will be, some guests just might not want any. It is impossible to please everyone, so do not feel discouraged if there are some unexpected leftovers.
These suggestions can help narrow your decision about this element of your wedding. Dessert stations are a wonderful addition to any reception, but your special day will still be beautiful with or without it. For more inspiration, view these dessert towers and stations, and discover 21 nearly guilt-free wedding desserts.
Opening photo by Paul Barnett Photography