The Cookie Table: DIY Reception Ideas


Move over candy buffet, there’s a new reception idea in town and it’s just as sweet: the cookie table.

Actually, the cookie table has been a wedding tradition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for quite some time, but it seems to be catching on in other parts of the U.S and Canada.

The NY Times wrote an article about it in December, and I’ve been seeing cookie tables pop up on other blogs.

According to the NY times, the cookie table is a longstanding tradition in PA. that possibly had it’s origins during the Depression, when elaborate cakes were not as common. Cookies filled the need because everyone could chip in, instead of one family sharing all of the expense. At least that’s one of the the theories.

“For as long as anyone here can remember, wedding receptions in Pittsburgh have featured cookie tables, laden with dozens of homemade old-fashioned offerings like lady locks, pizzelles and buckeyes. For weeks ahead — sometimes months — mothers and aunts and grandmas and in-laws hunker down in the kitchen baking and freezing. Then, on the big day, hungry guests ravage the buffet, piling plates high and packing more in takeout containers so they can have them for breakfast the next day,” says the NY times article.

The cookie is so important to some that it would be bordering on sacrilege to do without it.

Cookie tables are also big in Ohio, and some claim that is where they originated.

What surprises me is that this idea didn’t catch on sooner in other parts of  the continent. I mean, who doesn’t love homemade cookies?

Here are a few photos of cookie tables that just might inspire you to have your own cookie table!

wedding cookie table pitsburg cookie table cookie table wedding cookie table

Photo One: Mr. and Mrs. Happily Ever After; Photo Two: Adam Lowes Photography; Photo Three: Christina Montemurro Photography; Photo Four: Project Wedding; Photo Five: The McWoods

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11 Comments  |  Filed Under: DIY Food & Drink, DIY Wedding, Wedding Reception

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  1. Posted by Dognbird on March 2nd, 2010 at 5:36pm

    I love this!
  2. Posted by Brittiny on March 2nd, 2010 at 8:00pm

    I think we're going to do a mix of a cookie and candy buffet at our wedding because well we both love sweets and it's the perfect way to incorporate both of us...
  3. Posted by Fri @ Wedding Nouveau on March 2nd, 2010 at 8:05pm

    Beautiful, just beautiful.
  4. Posted by Christina on March 2nd, 2010 at 9:52pm

    Brittiny, that sounds decadent. Your guests are in for a treat:)
  5. Posted by Tara on March 2nd, 2010 at 11:46pm

    Delicious! I have never heard of this before. Cookies never last long in my house... I am probably related to Cookie Monster... will definitely be remembering this idea!
  6. Posted by Amanda on March 3rd, 2010 at 11:08am

    I AM FROM PITTSBURGH! It still blows my mind to think that cookie tables are a new idea for weddings outside PA. Cookie tables are serious stuff here. Like if you don't have a cookie table - you become "that wedding" where the guests are all telling their friends the next day "and they didn't have a cookie table!" Cookie tables have been a must have for so long that we in PA actually believe that weddings worldwide have them. Not having a cookie table to us is the equivalent having the bride trapped in Antarctica and just phone in her vows while we all sit in the church staring at the groom on his cell phone. Try it! Everybody likes cookies!
  7. Posted by Christina on March 3rd, 2010 at 12:08pm

    LOL Amanda!!! Now, if only I could get invited to a wedding in Pittsburgh!
  8. Posted by Christina on March 3rd, 2010 at 12:20pm

    This comment from Vicki landed in the wrong spot:

    Great article! We shot a great wedding in Pittsburgh and the cookies were fantastic. (and the family generous – they filled boxes for us to take home!) But cookie tables are a tradition in many places – the Cleveland area for one. I think anywhere there was a large immigrant population it is mainstay at any celebration. All the aunts, friends, cousins will make their specialty cookies in huge quantities and bring them to the event.
  9. Posted by Roma_bride on March 24th, 2010 at 4:09pm

    I am an American living in Rome, where I will be getting married next year. In Italy, the cookie table has been a tradition for centuries. All the women on both sides of the family would bake for days, and then pile the cookies high, to resemble a cake (that most couples could not afford). They even have a cookie dance (kind of like a conga line) in which you must dance up to the cookie table in order to get your cookies. If you don't dance, you have to wait til the end to get your cookies! I will be incorperating this tradition, and I can't wait!
  10. Posted by Christina on March 24th, 2010 at 8:30pm

    Hi Roma-bride! I had no idea this was a tradition in Rome. Very cool! I love how they make the guests earn their cookies:)
  11. Posted by Alyson Cooper on June 9th, 2013 at 7:09am

    Dear Lord, I am in HEAVEN! I have only just found your blog, and am smitten with everything on here! Thankyou for opening the Aussie's eyes a bit further! You can do whatever you choose to! Love your sight, keep up the great work! :D
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