Double down on dessert by making it more of a standalone event than a final dinner course. Swap out your statement cake for one of these tempting ideas or keep it in the mix for a truly indulgent experience. See, you really can have your cake and eat it too!
Related article: Expert advice: Reception food and drink
The dessert buffet or bar
Does your sweet tooth extend waaaay past cake… to pies and pastries, tarts and trifle, cookies and croquembouche? Then a dessert buffet or bar is perfect for you! Add an eye-catching backdrop and luxe linens to a round or rectangular table and you have an Insta-ready reception hot spot. You can even include the leftovers in your late-night snacking menu: think tiramisu stirred through ice cream, or Kahlua-spiked milk served with homemade cookies.
Work with your caterer to create a mouthwatering menu or shine a light on homemade favourites by asking your family members to whip up a treasured recipe. A serve-yourself policy will keep things relaxed, although having a waiter to help can be useful – those lemon meringue pies get messy! Watching your guests catch up and chat as they sample Nanna’s famous apple pie is a pretty special way to do dessert.
For a chic cocktail reception, petite desserts are the perfect finishing touch. Mini your menu with pint-sized parfaits, cute-as caramel tarts, tiny macarons, chocolate-dipped strawberries, individual cheesecakes, and fruit-based petit fours. Just ensure they look absolutely irresistible and can be devoured in one or two bites.
If you want to get really fancy, consider a small but beautifully finished ‘cutting cake’ with miniature versions on hand to distribute to guests. Request roving waiters armed with silver platters to weave their way through the crowds or display your elegant morsels buffet-style on a dressed table. Added bonus? Opting for grab-and-go portions encourages mingling, lounging and dancing. Party on!
The cake table
Take your cue from Meghan and Harry (who presented three cakes at their reception) and tone down the tiers. Choosing a variety of smaller cakes in different sizes rather than one extravagant tower gives you plenty of opportunities to enjoy your favourite flavours and finishes and take care of any dietary requirements. You’ll also have a better chance of successfully cutting your cake!
Worried your collection won’t look cohesive? Opt for a uniform colour palette but mix up the finishes. This will create a sense of harmony while still giving each cake its own personality. If you’re not sure where to start with finish options, look out for our current faves – chocolate or salted caramel drip, textured buttercream, embossed or painted fondant, and (of course) fresh flowers.
We’ve always had a soft spot for brunch weddings. Just think: you save buckets on a venue and the after party can go on and on – and on! To pull off a memorable daytime celebration you’ll need a dessert to suit.
The home of brunch, New York City, knows how to do mornings right. Channel the Big Apple with piles of pancakes, crispy waffles served with cream and fresh fruit, and a donut stand or wall. Yes, a WALL of donuts where guests pick their own flavours from your gourmet (and possibly even gluten-free or vegan) selection. This style also works brilliantly for a post-wedding brunch, a trend showing no signs of slowing down in 2019. Did we mention the donuts? We are so there.
Ice cream vans & coffee trucks
For an outdoor event, food trucks are fun, interactive and low-maintenance. They simply rock up and start dishing out the good stuff. There’s no clean-up required and they also create a super-cute backdrop for bridal party and guest photos.
Ice cream and gelato vans are ideal for relaxed summer soirées and retro-themed weddings. Look for classic styling and a custom menu of traditional flavours and modern gourmet incarnations (including dairy-free). Sure, the kids will love it – but the adults might just love it more! Call in a barista coffee cart or truck, especially if it serves up a local coffee brand, and you’ll keep the festive mood kicking on into the night.
Sweet bonus tip
Where space allows, include stylish signage for each dish (writing cookie flavours on cookie jars is a classic space-saving idea). Personalise a simple description with a fun detail, such as “Made by Aunty Betty” or “Bride’s favourite pie”.
Looking for a cake artist? Find amazing local vendors here…