The EVL Events  Journal

Dessert Displays for Your Big Day

Tradition for a wedding cake would point to something fancy and classic standing tall on a display table all by itself waiting for its dedicated special time at the reception. After dinner, the bride and groom would cut and then share it with their guests. Tradition still stands, but there can be a twist put on a wedding cake itself or the entire idea of serving dessert to wedding guests. Many couples are choosing to add fun alternatives to the wedding cake, including ideas such as a candy bar, pie bar, macaroons, cake pops, etc. The list is endless.

We asked Marisa Battaglia, owner of B Sweet Designs in Buffalo, NY about some dessert tables she has created. She noted that she loves when her couples mix things up and really get creative with dessert options. Marisa said, “Some of our more popular items right now include cupcakes, cake pops, cakesicles, doughnuts, truffles, chocolate covered Oreos, custom sugar cookies and French macarons, to name a few! It’s always fun when we can add custom backdrops, balloon garland or even floral installations behind our dessert tables. We’ve even built our dessert tables on top of some incredible, luxe velvet linens and pieces of furniture such as wooden harvest tables, antique dressers, even hutches and shelving! I think that’s the beauty of dessert tables, there really are no rules.”

It is common for faux cakes to be included in weddings to incorporate the ceremonial aspect of cake cutting. Couples traditionally cut a piece of their wedding cake and then share it with each other to symbolize their union and that they will always provide for one another. Battaglia mentioned that if her clients have wanted to go a different direction with their dessert display, but still wanted the cake cutting for ceremonial purposes, she has often made faux cakes and inserted a small piece for the couple to cut. This way, the ceremonial aspect is still included for pictures, and a tall-tiered cake or even just a simple one-layer is still the focal point.

Marisa believes that what the desserts are displayed on is just as important as how the desserts look themselves. The entire dessert table is designed from top to bottom! “I like to use a mix of neutral, contemporary, high-end stands, bowls, trays, etc., which are not only beautiful on their own, but they really do let the desserts do the talking. I also have a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces I’ve picked up throughout my travels that I love to integrate into my designs based on my couples’ themes/color palettes and preferences! I’m always on the hunt for new pieces, especially when it’s something I know will take a particular dessert table I’m working on to the next level! My serve-ware inventory truly is ever-evolving!”

Marisa has extensive experience designing displays that are unique to each and every one of her couples. Her work has been featured in several magazines, including Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2018 Edition. From talking to her and seeing pictures of the works she’s created, you can easily tell this is her passion, and she is so excited to keep going and making her clients’ celebrations something special!

Annie Coe, owner of Cupcaked Bakery in Ellicottville, NY officially opened for business in the Spring of 2017, but had been baking and creating long before that. We asked Annie why couples are switching to non-traditional desserts for their weddings in lieu of cake. She suggested, “To be honest, most people getting married these days are in the 22 to 38 age range, and they are not too keen on sitting down at a specific table and eating with a fork and plate. They would much rather be up dancing and hanging out, popping little bite-sized desserts into their mouth and continuing on with their night.” This way, the celebrations can ensue while guests can return to a dessert table whenever sugar or sweet cravings hit throughout the night.

Coe agreed that it is typical to have a ceremonial cake to cut at the reception, even though other desserts are now trending. For dessert displays, she said, “My favorite displays are ones that utilize a lot of vibrant colors. Cake pops, cupcakes and macarons are so great because they really personalize your dessert table and use your wedding color pallet.” We agree because as wedding planners, we are always looking for ways to incorporate or compliment the wedding theme and color suite to add to the overall atmosphere of the event. Dessert display are the perfect way to do just that. Coe mentioned that the most practical alternative for a dessert display would be any self-serve, miniature dessert.

Some things to keep in mind when designing a dessert display are guest count, pricing of individual desserts, time of year and whether desserts will be displayed outside or indoors and integrating the couples’ backgrounds or favorite desserts. Guest count is perhaps the most important element and really hinges on the dessert budget. Annie suggested the dessert to guest ratio for individual bite-sized desserts, is to have 2.5 pieces per guest. This way, each guest can try a little of each dessert option. By working with your bakery who has vast experience with weddings, they can help you design your display and work to get you the best options in your budget.

Dessert tables really add another element to be able to personalize a wedding. By thinking outside the box, a couple can really take their wedding to another level by adding in a splash of color, incorporating family backgrounds by serving desserts traditional to the couples’ nationalities, or by simply giving your guests options for a late night treat. Pinterest can jumpstart your thinking, but also remember to personalize. My sister and her new husband incorporated baklava as a dessert for their guests to pay tribute to her Lebanese heritage. They cut a three-layered red velvet cake during their reception as it was both their favorite cake to include for pictures and sharing with each other. Whatever the vision, sit down with the bakery you are looking to hire for your wedding or celebration, and brainstorm ideas with them to make your dessert station come to life.

Marissa, Annie and both of their teams love to create beautiful, unique dessert displays for weddings, as well as other special events. This blog incorporates pictures of work both bakeries have created; we think their work is out of this world! To see more of their portfolios and for contact information, please visit them below.


Marisa Battaglia, owner of B Sweet Designs in Buffalo, NY // // 716-445-6044

Annie Coe, owner of Cupcaked Bakery in Ellicottville, NY // // 716-378-8850