Dessert-Only Receptions

By Laura Keller

There’s a new trend among sweet-toothed brides: dessert-only receptions. Rather than doling out money for a huge meal and attempting to satisfy all your guests’ taste preferences, consider serving only an assortment of delicious after-dinner sweets.

By skipping straight to the best part of the meal, you actually expand your options. Since guests won’t be stuffed from a three-course dinner, they’ll have more room to satisfy their sweet tooth and try a variety of desserts. And since you won’t be paying the high cost of feeding your guests an entire meal, you have more of a budget to splurge on sweets.

Most dessert-only receptions provide guests with an array of artfully displayed, bite-sized confections. To ensure variety and creativity, consider flavor, texture, and size of your desserts. Including chocolate, fruit, nut, and vanilla options will cover all your flavor bases, while mixing up the textures to include crunchy, chewy, and creamy will surely give everyone something to enjoy. And in this case, smaller is better. You can easily serve bite-size portions, rather than large slices, of your favorite cakes, brownies, cookies and cheesecakes. Pie fillings can simply be baked in turnover form for easy eating. By creatively thinking about how to prepare your favorite sweets, you can bring nearly anything to the wedding dessert table.

Truffles, cookies, cannolis, macaroons, tarts, brownies, fudge, caramels, cheesecakes, turnovers, puddings, candies, doughnuts, shortbreads – nothing is off limits, as long as it’s sweet and delicious!

Choosing desserts in your color scheme adds even more fun to this sweet idea!


Use serving platters of different styles and materials for a vintage, eclectic look.

For inspiration on how to design and arrange the main course of your dessert-only reception, take a look at some of the beautiful dessert bars event planner Amy Atlas has put together.


First Photo: Vegan Bride, Second and Third Photo: Happiness in a Bite, Fourth Photo: Lily Jane, Fifth Photo: New England Fine Living, Sixth Photo: Bridal Inquirer, Seventh Photo: Amy Atlas

Laura Keller is a 20-something living in Baltimore, MD. Some of her favorite things include crafts, cooking, and culture, which she shares on her blog Radiator Tunes.

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4 Comments  |  Filed Under: Small Wedding Ideas, Wedding Planning, Wedding Reception

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  1. Posted by Lizzie on October 19th, 2010 at 11:25am

    This is beautiful...I love this idea.
  2. Posted by Dorothy on June 12th, 2012 at 8:06am

    This is MY kind of reception! What could be better than all those sweet goodies?!
  3. Posted by Vikki on August 27th, 2012 at 12:08pm

    I think dessert-only receptions only really work for late afternoon weddings with evening receptions where your guests have already had chance to eat earlier in the day. I, for example, am getting married at 12 noon so for my guests to only have desserts all day would be pretty difficult!! Maybe you could also serve a selection of sandwiches as part of the buffet.
  4. Posted by Colette on July 11th, 2014 at 4:36pm

    I love this idea. Its is far from traditional!! Since we have been married more than once, having a full buffet or a sit down dinner is a bit too formal. I still have time to plan and experiment on different baked goods. I am not getting married until May 2015. A couple of things I would include would be fruit salad and different cheeses. I would also bake some bagets(sp) to go with real butter and honey butter. We can't afford catering so this will be a DYI. I love the idea of bite size servings. Less clean up to do afterwards too!!!! After halloween is a good time to pick up a bunch of baking goods that are on sale. This is going to be more fun than planning a full blown menu.
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