Dessert Table 101
Dessert tables have become very popular in recent years, allowing wedding guests a choice in their dessert on your big day.
A dessert table is any offering other than the wedding and groom’s cake, and can range from a variety of cupcakes to a smorgasbord of treats. Popular goodies include, cookies, tarts, brownies, macarons, and cereal treats.
Well, the desserts are small, so a dessert table will cost less than a wedding cake, right? Not necessarily.
When at a buffet, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) sets in and you want to try it all. The same thing happens with a dessert table. A greater variety of desserts can lead to guests only taking a bite or two of more items than they would typically select.
Can't you hear it? "Of course I'm going to get a mini cupcake, but I can't pass up on a chocolate chip cookie. Is that a chocolate covered Oreo? Oh, lemon tarts!"
So how many desserts do you really need? If you are offering a full size dessert like a cupcake or a full size brownie, count on 1-2 per guest. With smaller desserts like cookies, macarons, bite size brownies, or mini tarts you can count on each guest taking 3 items from the various options.
Right now, people are ready to get out and party after missing all the events that were cancelled during the Covid pandemic. The event planners I work with tell me that about 80% of the guest list are coming to the wedding. Not everyone will have dessert though, and your wedding cake servings factor into the mix as well. If you invite 100 people to the wedding, you won’t need 100 servings of cake and 300 mini desserts – unless you like leftovers.
Ready for some math?
So for your 100 invited guests, let’s say 80 come to the wedding. Only 80-90% of those guests will have dessert, regardless of what you offer. It will be closer to the 90% with a dessert table (again, FOMO), so you need desserts for about 72 people. The smallest three tier cake I make is 56 servings, and if we remove the cake servings, we only need mini desserts for 16 people. At three desserts each, that’s only four dozen mini desserts.
If you want the look of that three tier cake, but want more dessert options for your guests, you can always incorporate a false tier into the wedding cake. The same size cake in the above calculation will look exactly the same but would only serve 24 if you replace the bottom tier with a fake one. Then you would need twelve dozen mini desserts to reach enough servings for those 72 people, which gives your dessert table a much fuller look.
The false tier is decorated in buttercream or fondant like the rest of the cake, so your guests won’t even be able to tell the difference. The only design a false tier will not work with is a naked or semi-iced cake. Can you pick out the false tier in this cake?
There are lots of options when it comes to dessert tables, and I’m always happy to walk through the details with my clients. If you would like to talk about a dessert table or wedding cake just fill out the contact form and we can get started.
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Hi! I'm Melisa.
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