When planning my wedding, I was smitten with the idea of having not just one wedding cake but an entire wedding dessert table. Why have one cake when you could eat two? Or several? Here at Complete Wedding Sydney I see a lot of wedding photos, and whenever thereâ€™s a sweets table involved â€” the photos of it â€” well, they always take the cake. Pictures of trestle tables covered in sweet morsels of different colours, shapes, sizes and textures, bite-sized squares of sponge mixed with fruity puds, creamy layer cakes, chocolatey logs and cupcakes laden with inch-thick icingâ€¦ give me a dessert table over a single wedding cake any day.
Since my own wedding had a slightly vintage theme, I fell in love with images of cake tables with a vintage feel. But I quickly realised that putting together the ultimate vintage dessert table wasnâ€™t just a matter of dishing up a few good-looking sweeties. The table had to have soul, not to mention tasty offerings. A little bit of research revealed a few tricks to making the ultimate vintage wedding cake table:
More the merrier: Choose a minimum of five different cake/sweet options. You can make the table look greater than the sum of its parts by dividing the cakes up onto double the number of plates.
- Height matters: Collect plates and cake stands of different heights to create levels, giving a more dramatic visual impact.
- Theme and variations: Donâ€™t be limited by your wedding colour scheme when choosing your sweets. Follow your cravings, choose your favourite flavours and if you can mix your wedding colours into the overall look, thatâ€™s a bonus.
Centrepiece: Try incorporating a centrepiece cake or feature sweet into the spread â€” not only will it create a visual anchor for the display but it will also nod to tradition, and give you the opportunity to get that classic â€ścutting the cakeâ€ť shot.
- Tell a story: Choose sweets that have significance for you as a couple. Perhaps you ate sticky date pudding on your first date, or feasted on Portuguese tarts when you got engaged. And if desserts donâ€™t feature in your relationship back-story, choose your cakes and sweets based on what you love, not because you think theyâ€™re expected or traditional.
Plan of attack: As with any good exhibition, reception venue staff and any helpers will need to be informed about how youâ€™d like the table arranged and cakes cut in advance of your wedding day. Include any instructions in your â€śrunning sheetâ€ť â€” your schedule that outlines the order of events and who is responsible for what on your wedding day.
- Dessert is served: Ensure guests are informed about when they can help themselves to the table, or how the desserts will be served. You donâ€™t want people pinching slices of cake before everyone has had a chance to admire its beauty, or before the photographer has snapped it. Indicate the table opening time with a sign or label, or ask your Master of Ceremonies to make an announcement about it during their introduction.
- Help yourself: Consider whether guests will serve themselves or if a waiter will do the honours. If itâ€™s a self-serve table, ensure there are enough serving implements, plates, crockery and serviettes available for guests. Also consider traffic flow â€” is the table positioned in an easily accessible space?
- Sign me up: People like to know what theyâ€™re eating, so be sure to create labels or offer a menu that indicates what each sweet is and whether it takes into account any dietary requirements (gluten or nut-free, for example). Creating labels is your opportunity to fine-tune the table to suite your theme. Pick up some place card holders from a hospitality store for individual labels, or scribble down the menu â€” cafĂ© style â€” on a propped-up blackboard.
- Decoration: Intersperse your sweets with flowers, frames, cushions, candlesticks or any ornaments that add colour and interest to the table. You donâ€™t want the table to look sparse. Remember guests will be eating this with their eyes first, so it needs to look spectacular.
- Backdrop: Youâ€™ll notice some of the best dessert tables have a backdrop of some kind, whether itâ€™s a cut of fabric, a frame or feature wall â€” something to add depth to the presentation.
- Please, Sir: Make sure you check with your venue co-ordinator whether a dessert table will be possible before you book your venue. Some venues have strict rules regarding what can be supplied externally and what must be made in-house. Also check if there will be any extra costs involved with setting up the table or serving cake.
- Eat up: Youâ€™ve put so much effort into creating this masterpiece of flavour and flamboyance â€” now donâ€™t forget to enjoy it! Tell your venue or events manager to set aside a piece or two of your favourite cakes to ensure you get to savour the fruits of your labour.
Are you considering a dessert table for your wedding?Â Share your ideas or tips…Â Â
An Editorâ€™s Wedding is a series of blog posts written by the editor of Complete Wedding Sydney, Jodie McLeod, who is currently also planning her own wedding. Find out more here.