The Trend in Dessert Bars — Is Chocolate the New Wedding Cake? Why You Can Eat Your Cake and Creme Brulee Too!

Hi Everybody!

I’m back on Vieques after a week in the big bad COLD north — and it’s nice to be here!  It was 85 degrees and breezy today and tonight’s another night we don’t need air-conditioning.  Yay!  I love this time of year in the Caribbean.  So obviously I was tied to my desk today, trapped inside, working to get caught up on everything I missed by taking a travel day.  While I was working, I wrote three wedding reception catering contracts that included huge dessert bars in lieu of the traditional wedding cake.  It’s a trend I’ve noticed over the past year, and it’s time to blog about it!

I’ve noticed we’re doing more and more dessert bars these days.  Some are in addition to the cake — sometimes instead of the cake.  Some include a small non-wedding cake (we’ve done cheesecake, carrot cake, molten lava chocolate cakes) that the bride and groom cut for picture purposes only.

Martha Stewart and all the other doyennes of all things wedding related have helped to push this trend into popularity with extensive photo spreads of creative dessert bars month after month in magazines.  I’ve seen candy bars, chocolate bars, make-your-own-sundae bars, and just about anything and everything else you can think of.  The sky is the limit — or rather, you are limited only by your imagination and your budget.

As a general rule, dessert bars are at least as expensive as cake.  Some are more expensive — depends how many different kinds of dessert you choose, and how fancy they are.  Mini cheesecakes, individual strawberry shortcakes, champagne flutes of chocolate mousse, personal creme brulees, key lime pie martinis, banana-nut caramel spring rolls, butter cookies and tembleque are just some of the fabulous offerings that our local Vieques caterers have put on display at weddings I’ve coordinated.  We’ve even done chocolate fondue dipping buffets, despite the numerous challenges presented by the humidity in the Caribbean.

Should you do both a cake and a dessert bar?  If you want to and your budget can handle it.  You might do a smaller wedding cake.  I wouldn’t suggest doing cupcakes in addition to a dessert bar unless they’re the bite-sized ones (speaking of which, has anybody tasted the chocolate peanut butter mini cupcakes at Starbucks right now?  Freakin unbelievable!).

Fruit buffets can be fun, with papaya, kiwi, mango, banana and strawberries for dipping in chocolate, caramel, powdered sugar, creme fresh, yogurt, and anything else you can imagine.  Make-your-own-sundae buffets must be done inside if you’re getting married in the Caribbean.  And even inside, be prepared for a literal meltdown.  You’ll have to have service staff act as scoopers because nothing can be scooped ahead of time.  On a super hot day, it’s an incredibly refreshing treat.  You can always do an ice cream bar in addition to wedding cake — that’s one of the few instances when you’ll find that people tend to eat both.

Whether or not you have a cake — full size, with multiple tiers or just a small cutting cake — should be determined by whether or not it’s important to you to have the traditional cake-cutting pictures.  Do you want to feed each other cake?

If you’re doing a dessert bar, you can have some fun with the presentation, using different kinds of cake plates and stands and towers.  It’s a great way to incorporate your graphics and logos if you’re a graphic-heavy decor.

If you want to do a candy bar, that can be a great reception favor to offer your guests on the way out.  That doesn’t mean it can’t be open from after dinner through the remainder of the evening.  As long as you provide some cute containers and appropriate signage so that guests understand they should help themselves and take some with them.

I promise to blog about another wedding next time — I still need to finish catching you up on the ones you missed.  I might go out of order because I’m dying to write about Shari and Chris’s February 26th extravaganza… but we’ll see.

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!


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