(Closed) Logistics of a dessert reception?

posted 3 years ago in Food
Post # 2
3407 posts
Sugar bee

I would suggest you serve dinner: go with simple, comfort food so the stars are the desserts. You might also consider setting up the desserts in a beautiful manner to give them prominence:

Post # 3
3990 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

Plenty of people eat dinner around 8, so I don’t know that your reception time is late enough to justify a dessert only reception. For the record I would personally love it because I have a huge sweet tooth, but you already said people will be drinking and dancing, so they’ll need something more substantial. Even the bread and cheese isn’t enough honestly.  I’d come up with a few heavier appetizer style finger foods that people can nibble on when they first arrive at the reception.  Then you can make a huge ordeal about the dessert presentation. 

Post # 4
3376 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

View original reply
elburr :  I love dessert, but I can only eat so much sweet plus booze before I NEED SALTY. I’d suggest having some salty and savory snacks along with the dessert (cheese, crackers, popcorn, salted nuts, chips, etc) and then bringing in a food truck. Because after drinking people will want food. Not dessert. But that way it keeps the focus on dessert and you get the whole dessert before dinner is fun thing. 

Post # 5
860 posts
Busy bee

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elburr :  because its starting to late i’d normally say go for your dessert dream but because you want an actual party with drinking and dancing I think you do need to have something more substantial. It doesnt have to be full on dinner and the main option could still be dessert but unless you want everyone leaving early or having to sit down because of tummy aches then I would add some extras in with your bread and cheese table.

If it were me I would do lot of cheese, bread, crackers, a few selections of meat for those non-vegetarians (it wouldnt even have to be hot meat… you could do slices of hard salami and pepperoni to go with the cheese and crackers) and then i would add some hot vegetarian friendly apps. 

Here some links to things i would like/think others would like:





Post # 6
5780 posts
Bee Keeper

View original reply
elburr :  Several suggestions for you here:

First off, as a bit of side advice, you should try to avoid criticizing ‘prom-y plated dinners’ and ‘Christmas at Aunt Martha’s’ buffets’, both on message boards and in person, you don’t want a discusion about what you DO want for your own wedding to be sidelined by debates about other types of weddings and your comments may hurt some people’s feelings (more so in person than on a message board because a friend or relative whose wedding you attended might think you’re putting down their wedding choices). Simply state that you and your FI  have always wanted a dessert wedding and leave it at that.

I think an 8pm reception time is late enough not to have a dinner so long as people know in advance. I wouldn’t mind this, we’d simply have a late &/ or larger than usual lunch around 4ish or an early dinner.

I love the seasonal suggestions you mention, warm pumpkin bread & chai cupcakes, October is a great month to do seasonal stuff with.

Speaking of chai- this may sound odd, but my daughter got me to try this last autumn and it’s delicious and dessert-y:  white hot chocolate with a chai tea bag steeped in it. It’s an unusual, slightly exotic and sweet taste, loved it.

Regarding your ideas:

#1. I woudln’t go with Idea 1, as people could end up away from the wedding for an hour or more at a time and it would distract from the ambiance you’re creating. Even if your guests are night owls, 8pm til midnight is only 4 hours, they’ll want to spend it AT the wedding. IMO open houses are better suited to family gatherings, long weekend bbqs etc than a once-in-a-lifetime for you event.

#2. This idea could work, so long as it gives you and your groom/ wedding party enough time to get ready in between.

#3. I like this idea too. Dessert then late night food may not be the usual order but this could add to the unique-ness and focus on dessert. And I love the idea of food trucks for weddings in general.

#4. This is also a good idea. You could have a pizza station that featured both vegetarian pizza options and dessert pizza. There are lots of great vegetarian pizza options (spinach and olives with feta/ margherita pizza, bruschetta pizza, giardano (sauteed onions zucchini tomatoes etc), 3 cheese blend, vegan pizza) and dessert pizza (strawberries with chocolate drizzle, s’mores pizza, caramel nut pizza) would be a novelty for many people.

If you’re giving out wedding favours, you could give little bags of retro candies/chocolates etc or if you’re not doing favours, you could set up a retro-candy bar. These make great conversation pieces/ ice breakers too as people tend to get excited/ nostalgic omg remember these? I haven’t seen these since I was a kid. Many areas have retro candy stores (especially if you’re near a tourist area) but if there isn’t one close to you, you can also order online.

Post # 7
8034 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I would also make sure that the invites clearly say “dessert reception to follow”.

“We have a family tradition of doing dessert potlucks for events so I thought that originally eliminated our need for a caterer”

Please dont make guests bring their own food to your wedding. If you’re hosting them, you really should be providing the food yourself.

Post # 9
47430 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think 8 pm is late enough to have the dessert reception you have “dreamt of since you were little”. Be sure that your invitations say “dessert reception to follow” so your guests know that you do not intend to host them with a meal. They will then be supplied with the information they need to decide if they want to drive 8 hours for your wedding.

Post # 10
1597 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

I think as long as you specify that it is dessert only on the invitation, then it’s okay. I will be honest though, I would likely end up leaving early from this to get something more substantial to eat, just because if I eat an early dinner (5 pm ish) then get ready for and travel to your ceremony (5:30-7) and then sit through the ceremony (7-8) and then eat a bunch of sweets and alcohol (8-9), I’m going to need something real to eat since its now been 4 hours since my dinner or else I’m going to feel sick.

Post # 11
1603 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

You’re going to need more substantial food. You want a party with alcohol and dancing, but you only want to provide sugary carbs? You’re going to have alot of hangry and crashing people! Go with something simple and light – chicken or fish with veggies. Would not go pasta route or a whole lot of sides. Late night bites? Like more unhealthy stuff? Seriously, people are going to get hangry if you’re only feeding them carbs.

Post # 13
10548 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

If you’re serving alcohol I think you need more to offer than just desserts. And as great as desserts are, most people won’t be thrilled to go to a wedding with nothing but sugary sweet stuff to eat. Especially people who may be dieting or have some sort of health restrictions.

ETA: Your update sounds way better!

Post # 14
5780 posts
Bee Keeper

View original reply
elburr :  Your update sounds awesome. I think people will love these ideas and the uniqueness of a dessert reception.

Post # 15
35 posts

I’ve never heard of a dessert only reception but I think it’s an awesome and unique idea. Like PP have said, I’d just make sure it’s very clear to people that they aren’t getting a dinner at your wedding so that they can eat ahead of time. At least where I live, 8 oclock would definitely be late enough to only serve dessert. I typically eat dinner at like 530 anyway. Maybe you could somehow suggest some of your favorite restaurants around town to guests to try out prior to the wedding? That way they will definitely have had a substantial meal prior to the ceremony but would also get to enjoy trying out a new place that is one of your favorites, especially since you have people coming from out of town who wouldn’t necessarily know the best places to eat. I also really like the late night food truck idea. I think it pairs well with the dessert. I also agree with the PP who mentioned having some salty snacks available. I love sweets but can only eat so much before I crave something salty to balance it out a bit. 

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