Elements of a Dessert Table

From elaborate engagement parties to sweet children's parties, dessert tables are popping up everywhere on the party scene. Create a designer-worthy display at your next gathering with our simple tips and tricks.
Related To:

Select a Theme

Once you decide on a theme or color scheme for your event, create a simple backdrop for your display. Fabric is the most popular choice, whether it's cut fabric, drapes, a shower curtain or tablecloth. If available, set up in front of a natural backdrop, like trees or flowers, or in front of an architectural element, like a beautiful brick wall. For this engagement dessert table, a floral fabric sets the scene for the yellow and gray color scheme.

Create Symmetry

The most striking and easiest dessert tables to style are symmetrical. Start by deciding on a centerpiece, like a simple layer cake set up high on a ruffled tiered cake stand, and then build out from there, creating balance with serving dishes and your desserts. A beautiful flower arrangement also makes for a stunning focal point.

Serve With White

If planning on creating various dessert tables for future events, purchase white cake stands, platters and plates. White is versatile and can be dressed up for any event. Get two of each item so that you can easily create symmetry on the table. Once you have the basics, add some fun pieces to your collection in various styles and colors.

An Array of Desserts

Delicious desserts are a must. Popular sweets right now are cupcakes, cake pops, designer chocolate-covered Oreos, French macaroons and mini donuts. There are many shops that sell online and ship baked goods nationwide. Stick with your theme and color scheme and you'll have a visually appealing presentation.

Cake Pops

Cake pops, a trend started by Bakerella, are appearing on dessert tables everywhere. A favorite of both kids and adults, cake pops are fun to eat and make for a stunning display. These gorgeous confections made by The Cake Pop Co. are as delicious as they are beautiful.

Edible Image Cookies

Bakers have the ability to print designs on edible paper to create matching cookies and treats. These turned out gorgeous with a simple circle design. Have the baker print a couple different designs, so you can alternate them on a platter to create visual interest.

Sunny Rock Candy

Candy is always a welcome addition to a sweets table. Rock candy is available in almost every color and adds a fun element to the table. Display it on a plate or upright in a bowl or glass.

Fabulous French Macaroons

Macaroons are a popular sweet for parties because of their delicate look and delicious taste. Available in an array of colors, they fit in seamlessly with any dessert table design. 

Fondant Flower

Skilled bakers can create lifelike flowers made of edible fondant, which are used to make a big impact on a simple cake.

Lemon Drop Cupcakes

Top mini vanilla cupcakes with small candy to coordinate with the theme. Lemon drops are the perfect size and color for the yellow and gray table design.

Paper Elements

Paper designs, including cupcake and cake toppers, dessert labels, favor tags, banners and signs, tie the theme and colors together. If you have a printer and paper cutter, using printable designs is inexpensive and adds a creative design element to the table.

Paper Cake Topper

A personalized cake topper printed on heavy paper and attached to a six-inch lollipop stick is simple to make and adds a unique detail to the cake.

Printable Dessert Labels

These customizable tent labels are fabulous for letting guests know what they are nibbling on. They add the perfect finishing touch to tie the theme together.

Extra Decorations

The sky is the limit on ideas for decorating the table, but I personally like to add a hanging element if possible. Tissue paper poms or medallions, paper lanterns, fabric bunting, paper garlands or ribbon all dress up the backdrop or front of the table. Tutorials are available online for crafting these items, or purchase them already made from resources.

Ribboned Candlesticks

Incorporate home decor items, like candlesticks, and dress them up by adding colorful ribbon, flowers or rhinestones.

Matching Martinis

Add a signature drink to the event for a fun element to serve along with the desserts. For the yellow-and-gray table, lemon drop martinis fit in seamlessly.

Yummy Favors

Mini takeout boxes, gable boxes, paper bags or individual cupcake boxes look fabulous lined up on a serving tray on the dessert table. Filled with candy, macaroons or cupcakes, your guests will be happy to have a treat for later. Top with a "thank you" tag that coordinates with the theme.

Shop This Look