How To Create a Dessert Buffet. - Pretty Real

How To Create a Dessert Buffet.

9:23 PM

I didn't get a photo with the refrigerated desserts but you get the idea!
I'm no Amy Atlas but I've done a few dessert buffets in my day and I've learned a thing or two that   I wanted to share.  I'm all about you learning from my mistakes!  I recently created one for Thrive- Shiloh's women's conference, which is what prompted this post.  It was the first time I created one for something other than my own kids' parties.  I was a bit nervous but it came out great!  So here's what I've learned:

- Choose a theme or color scheme and stick to it!  Don't be tempted to do every cool thing you've seen on Pinterest or the big blog world. I've done pink/vintage princess, pumpkin themed, pink & brown (i.e. chocolate) [picture at the end], and bright and summery [pictured]. Also check out Megan's beautiful (and delicious) pink and yellow buffet from Grace's sunshine party!

- Keep it simple.  This advice varies depending on your budget, taste, and style.  You may have the budget to hire the best confectioners and bakers in your town and if so, go for it! However even if you do have the budget you still want to streamline the table so that it's not overwhelming.  I made the mistake of doing a bit too much for Genevieve's first birthday (the photo in the blog post doesn't even show all the desserts-they wouldn't fit on one table!) and realized for her 2nd birthday that a little goes a long way.  You don't want all your cute and tasty creations not to get the 'play,' they deserve because there's too much going on.

-Create a menu comprised of store bought, semi-homemade, and homemade items.  Obviously you can do all of any of those mentioned but in my experience the mix mentioned above helps with three things: 1. the dessert bar is "special" because you included some homemade treats that people can't just go buy at the store.  2. You don't drive yourself insane making every little thing from scratch. 3. It saves money. (The one exception is if you are doing a dessert bar comprised of candy only.  If you are Willy Wonka you can go crazy making candy but there are so many cool bulk candy sources that sell beautiful, tasty, and color coordinated candy)! Which brings me to my next point:

- Know your audience.  In my experience adults don't eat a ton of hard candy, so although it's easy AND gorgeous AND super easy to color coordinate to your party, you may end up with tons of leftovers.  Kids eat candy but kids also have parents who are sure to try to limit their sugar intake.  The exception is chocolate--both kids and adults love chocolate.  BUT it's also pricey.  (I guess this isn't advice so much as something to keep in mind...

- Use various heights to create a balanced display.  Cake plates, platters, cupcake stands, footed plates/bowls, etc.  Get creative here...(and see this post for a DIY cake/cupcake stand). I've also made these which were so easy and pretty!

-Use a pretty backdrop if at all possible.  I've used: banners, balloons, drapes, and poms, but have also seen streamers, chalkboards, fabric pennants, paper pinwheels, etc...Also paper products go a long way! Tent cards/labels not only make everything pretty but saves you from answering 'what is this?' questions over and over again!

- Map out which desserts will go in which dishes ahead of time.  Double check any details ahead of time.  For the thrive conference I realized at the very last minute that the foam I bought for my cake pops wasn't thick enough and they wouldn't stand up in it!  I was trying not to panic as a few of my friends (and attendees of the conference) helped me come up with something cute that would work for the table set up.  Phew!! Love you Jill, Danielle, and Melissa!! ;)

"Curious Cami's 3rd Birthday" image from here.

 "Modern Rainbow" printables.  Image from here.

"Little Pink Birdie" Baby Shower Image from here.

and though not nearly as beautiful, my first ever candy buffet back in 2008:

Your turn: What helpful hints do you have for creating tempting dessert buffets?!

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