Sweet Pieces…Elegant Dessert Table Displays on a Budget

Sweets…everyone loves them!  What wedding guests doesn’t visit the dessert table at least once?  And some of us make far more trips than is good for us. 

Let’s face it, we spend a LOT of money to have a beautiful wedding cake and/or other tasty treats.  The sweet’s table gets a lot of attention.

A large, well-decorated wedding cake is usually a work of art in and of itself.  A simple stand often sets them off to perfection.


 However, the trend seems to be away from cake alone.  More and more couples are choosing cookies, pies, donuts and a variety of other individual desserts.  You can just set those on plates on a table and they will be just as tasty but it takes little effort to create a display that looks as scrumptious to the eyes as it does to the palate.



AND IT DOESN’T NEED TO BREAK THE BUDGET.   I’m going to show you how to create some beautiful serving and display pieces you can not only use for your wedding but for holidays and special occasions your entire married life!

For any lovely display, you want to have different heights.  It’s also nice if the bulk of the pieces is different…some heavy looking, some light and airier.  While not as easy, it’s also nice to have different types of materials…. some glass, some metal, etc..

Just as I told you in “Inexpensive Table Décor”, start at your resale shops and sales…rummage, garage, estate and moving.  You can often find different pieces that together can create visual impact.   Personally, I LOVE estate sales, especially the last day when most stuff is marked down cheap, cheap, cheap!

I’m not going to go into here about how to arrange your displays; I want to show you several beautiful display pieces I made from secondhand odds and ends I picked up along the way and a tube of E6000 glue.

This is a fun, one-of-a-kind piece I made from the base of an old gaudy broken lamp and a large china plate. Total cost ~ $20 It provides a lot of “bulk” in a display without being heavy looking


This is a large depression glass platter (a very common one so usually less than $15) and an old “sherbet” dish I paid $2 for at a resale shop. 

Flip it over and it looks like this! 


This is a platter from one of the many “dollar stores” that are popping up everywhere.  I used a candlestick holder as the base.  You have to be very careful with these though.  Many candle holders are too lightweight and/or the base is too narrow and you risk tipping over.  This candlestick holder is both heavy and has a very wide base.  You can usually tell just by balancing the platter on top if it is going to be sturdy or not.  I don’t think this was more than $7 and it looks like a vintage cake stand.

But, BE CAREFUL – no one wants to be picking up cupcakes from the floor


I’m a little wary about this one.  The bottom is a tall, metal & plastic stand for a pillar candle.  It is NOT heavy.  It was very, very top-heavy.  The center was hollow so I glued as many heavy washers we had left over from when we used them as balloon weights.  While beautiful, it’s still not very sturdy and I’m pretty careful with it. 

The taller the base, the heavier it needs to be and the smaller the top.  This would have been a LOT better if the diameter of the bottom was bigger.  But I had the things so worth a try.  ~$10


I LOVE this one.  The bottom is the base of another lamp that I took apart.  The top is a gorgeous hand-painted plate from an antique store.  I don’t remember exactly but this can’t have been more than $20 and it is one of my favorite pieces.  I really like the look of the metal and china combination, especially since the plate has just the right touch of gold accents.



This is another one of my favorites.  It’s a beautiful, one-of-a-kind plate picked up at some sale for a few dollars and the “base” of some unknown thing I got at a resale shop for 50 cents.  I’m not sure what it came off originally but coupled with this pretty plate, it makes a sweet spot for sweets!

 Silverplate pieces are cheap, cheap, cheap.  No one seems to want them!   What you don’t see as often are silver goblets but I found these at a resale shop.  Total investment maybe $5?


Here is my latest one.  I took a run-of-the-mill vase and an inexpensive depression glass platter to make a piece that will give my display some height.  An added bonus is you can put something decorative in the vase to add some color! 

 As you can see, creating an elegant and beautiful display that will show off your pastries and sweets to perfection is easy and inexpensive!  Do NOT put these in the dishwasher.  The glue may be destroyed but also the harsh detergent can scratch or etch the crystal or china.  A quick handwash works wel!! Each piece takes about 5 minutes to make and will give a lifetime of birthday and anniversary cakes a home!


Prudy Barrett Nelson, aka, Stonegate’s Wedding Fairy Godmother, has been involved in countless weddings and other celebrations.  Besides Diet Coke, her vice is sugar.  She’s hung out and appreciated many a dessert table.  While she’s never met a sweets spread she didn’t like, she’s come to appreciate those which please the eye as well as the palate.