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How to Make a Dessert Table

Dessert tables at parties  have been all the rage the last several years (I blame Amy Atlas for blowing them up!) I love dessert tables but they can be tricky to get just right. If you aren’t careful they can end up looking a little sad. The first one I ever made I spent a lot of time and effort and the table came out looking flat and sparse. I eventually figured out the trick and today I’m going to give you my favorite tips for a successful dessert table.

How to Make a Dessert Table | Oh Happy Day! How to Make a Dessert Table | Oh Happy Day! How to Make a Dessert Table | Oh Happy Day!

The first thing to consider is the theme and the types of food you will be serving. We chose a white winter theme and decided to serve all white desserts. Once the theme and food is figured out, it’s time to assemble the dessert table. Usually the biggest rookie mistake people make is not getting enough height on the table. There are lots of ways to get the varied heights, but here is how we do it:

Step 1: Hang a backdrop. For this dessert table we hung up white honeycomb decorations in different sizes. They look like snowflakes! See more backdrop ideas here. You can add height through a backdrop or even hang a banner or wallpaper behind the table. This is key!
Step 2: Add a Landscape. The next important step is to get serving platters in various heights. Cakeplates, Bowls, Trays, etc. I’ve even turned a nice box lid from a gift as a platform for a serving tray to give it a little extra boost. Arrange the serving platters and candlesticks in varying heights across the table. Again, the varying heights is super important.
Step 3: Decorate. Add candles and extra items that fit the theme of your party. For this table, we arranged miniature trees, ornaments, and  candlesticks. We love the candlesticks because they are so tall and the trees add lots of heights and layers to the table.
Step 4: Set out the food. Last step! We chose white desserts to keep with our theme (cupcakes, cake, powdered donuts, etc) Et voila! You’ve got a pretty and special dessert table.

How to Make a Dessert Table | Oh Happy Day!How to Make a Dessert Table | Oh Happy Day! How to Make a Dessert Table | Oh Happy Day!How to Make a Dessert Table | Oh Happy Day!

This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Décor for modern luxury made easy.

Sources: White Honeycomb Fans, Cake Stand, 2 Tiered Dessert Server, Serving Bowls, Bottle Brush Trees, Candle Holders

Photos by Pei Ketron

  1. Maryam in Marrakesh

    November 18, 2014

    Love this! I want to try this with Moroccan pottery stands. Thank you!

  2. maggie

    November 18, 2014

    How did you know I needed this tutorial? My roommate and I throw a kitschy Christmas party every year and we always like to WOW our guests with a nice spread of sweets. Thanks for the tips – we will definitely be stopping by Target.


  3. Kara

    November 18, 2014

    This is awesome! Can’t wait to try this out!!

  4. Sofia Garrido

    November 18, 2014

    I love the colour scheme of this dessert table! These are very helpful and inspiring tips! 🙂


    Blog: Frames and High Heels

  5. kernedtightly

    November 18, 2014

    oh my gosh, so gorgeous! I love it!

  6. Erin

    November 18, 2014

    Beautiful-but how does one add a backdrop in an open concept situation? Our dining room is surrounded by full length windows on two sides, the kitchen to one side and the living room to the other-which is where we have a buffet table backed by a couch as a partition. I usually set up my dessert table on that buffet-but never get to use the fun backgrounds 🙁

      • jordan
      • November 18, 2014

      Hi Erin! That kind of set up is a little trickier but you could still hang things from the ceiling (or use balloons.)

  7. Rebekah @ Ritzy Reba

    November 18, 2014

    I loooove bottlebrush trees. Definitely going to have to use them in my Christmas decorating this year. For my wedding, which was more open-concept, we hung pom poms from the ceiling at varying heights to create a backdrop.

  8. Monique | WritingMonique

    November 19, 2014

    Amazing! I love dessert tables!

  9. Anne's Scribbles and Doodles

    November 19, 2014

    This looks so festive and oh so perfect for Christmas!

  10. Lindsay

    November 19, 2014

    Wow, that’s pretty! Too bad we’re in the process of packing up our home and moving. All my “stuff” is sitting in the dark in a storage unit. (Arg) But I’ll bookmark these great ideas for when we’re settled.

  11. Anita

    November 19, 2014

    Love this helpful tutorial! I can’t wait to make my next dessert table. One question: how do you hang things for the backdrop without making it look ugly? Washi tape? Clear tape?

  12. Jessica

    November 19, 2014

    Look at that! This is perfect x

  13. Rebecca

    November 19, 2014

    @Erin, I’ve also set up dessert tables in an open background situation by using garlands or tissue paper fringe strung between two wooden dowels. I anchor the dowels in tin cans full of beans (or something similar), that I’ve wrapped with paper or fabric to look cute. You might need to do a few to get the entire stretch of a long table, but it’d work.

  14. heidi @ a week from thursday

    November 20, 2014

    Beautiful styling. I would love to wow my friends with this tasty setup.

  15. Joyce

    November 20, 2014

    This IS a beautiful setting, but because of all the snow we already have here (we had our first snow–it has stuck around–on Oct. 25, 2014), plus the hospital I work in has a LOT of white walls, we’d be using cheerful, warming colors. Some of the nurses, for things such as Nurses Week, tape hanging things to the huge windows in our ICU break room, and then put down disposable coordinated table covers.

    Again, because of all the white around us, we all tend to use bright colors, or at least bright pastels. We have a large number of male staff, so we do try to keep it enjoyable for them, too–no baby pastels!

    Someone in this particular post has very elegant taste, I can see that; perhaps we’ll try such a setting in a few weeks, but using more gold and reds to psychologically warm up the break room.

  16. Laura Mayes

    November 21, 2014

    I just want you to know that this post is 100% responsible for my immediate Target trip which resulted in my spending a frillion dollars on Holiday goods. Including that bowl and cake stand. And a fringy garland Christmas tree. And lots of other glitter things. Thanks, Jordan.

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