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How to Create a Dreamy Rustic Wedding Dessert Table and Tablescape

Updated on August 31, 2020
Anna Kristel Javier profile image

Amateur relationship advice guru, just speaking from experience!

Ideas for a romantic, rustic dessert table and guest table decorations

Rustic Dessert Buffet Set Up

Rustic Dessert Buffet Set Up
Rustic Dessert Buffet Set Up

Themed dessert table, where to begin.

I have been creating themed tables and venues for more than a decade and I follow a formula every time. Here are a few guide questions if you are planning your own party.

  • What is your theme?
  • Will that theme fit or look good in the venue?
  • How many people will attend the party? It will mean how many people will be eating the desserts you will prepare.
  • Have you made a floor plan? This will determine how long you can make your dessert buffet table. I usually make mine a minimum of 12 feet long. I have made one in the past that was 50 feet in length.
  • What is the budget set for the dessert table and its contents?
  • Can you get props for this table, rent them or ask someone to make these for you?
  • Do you have a baker that can make these desserts and have you picked out which desserts you want to have?
  • Do you have someone to set this up for you on the day of the event since everyone will be busy. Can this task be given to the coordinator or the caterer or maybe a friend?

Setting the mood

I sewed a burlap sack frilled skirt for the table and used dead twigs as background accent. By hanging mason jars and string lights, I was able to create that rustic mood and feel. This was particularly beautiful when all the lights of the venue were dimmed and the only lights that were lit came from the dessert table. It was quite romantic!

Some sweet suggestions:

Here are a few easy to source desserts you can consider to have for the dessert table.

  • round cakes - these can be easily bought at any bakeshop.
  • cupcakes- it gives guests a lot of choices in terms of flavors
  • cake pops- these are easy to eat and come in a variety of shapes and colors
  • cookies- these are meant for people who don't particularly fancy cakes but would like to have cookies or biscuits, usually our older or senior guests prefer these
  • assorted candies and chocolates
  • fruits

I don't recommend setting up a chocolate fountain as it tends to be very messy. You would want to have a prestine table even after the cakes and other sweets are gone. At least the linen will still be clean.

Determine the kind of desserts you want

Specific orders from the bride

The bride in this case was sure to remind me that she wanted a not so overly colorful table. The desserts have to be a bit muted in color, predominantly white and chocolate or brown colors. A bit of blush or pink but everything should look like they were all meant to be placed with each other.

Cupcakes is always a good bet

Cake in a Jar

Recipe for the chocolate cake in a jar

We included this in the set up because they look good standing in one corner. We chose a short jar and inserted a thank you card and a wooden spoon. This particular dessert was prepared by our friend and was kind enough to share the recipe.

Chocolate cake recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

Chocolate Icing:

  • 1 1/2 cups salted butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixer, adding ingredients slowly.
  • Add wet ingredients. Beat on a medium speed until smooth. Mix well for about 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure to evenly mix everything well.
  • Pour the mixture into muffin tins lined with cupcake paper, about 3/4 way.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until the cupcakes meet the toothpick test .
  • Make the frosting by beating butter until fluffy using a hand mixer. Add in cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Beat until combined. Beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.
  • Once the cupcake cools, remove the paper on each cupcake and insert into the jars
  • Place the frosting in a piping bag and pipe the icing on top of the cake inside the jar

Round cakes, cheesecakes in cups,cake pops assorted cookies and candies

Monogram cookies

Create something special by making monogram cookies, this can double as party souvenirs as well.

Monogram cookies

Materials I used for the decorations


Burlap table cover- I usually make use of old burlap sacks, sewing them together to really get a rustic looking table cover. But for this one, I needed to layer it to make it look like a frilled akirt. So I bought a few yards of burlap material and sewed everything together.

Twigs- My team and I were able to find some large twigs and branches. We had to make a stand for it so that it could stand on its own. For this project, I made 4 separate twig trees and distributed them over the length of the table.


  • natural twine
  • lace
  • wooden wine boxes - I used these as risers for the cakes and containers
  • glass cake risers and jars
  • mason jars
  • string lights

Add accents

Add jars with lace, books, lamps, logs or driftwood and lots of accent pieces together with the flower centerpieces to complete that romantic rustic look.

Floral centerpieces

Guest Table decorations

Faux books to use as risers

Faux Leather Book Boxes (Set Of 3), Blue
Faux Leather Book Boxes (Set Of 3), Blue
I always make different props for all my parties. From personalized table runners to photo op walls and signages to souvenirs. I can not emphasize enough that the small details are what makes the entire theme come to life. I would normally make things from scratch. These books are already made and you get get them and just decorate any way you want. But, if you are on a tight budget, you can also make your own. For the body of the book, you can use an old box of cereal or flour or cake mix. Be sure to stuff the inside with newspaper. Do not let any part of the box bulge because if you use it as a riser, whatever you place on top will likely topple over. With a thicker board, make the outer cover. Make it at least a half inch bigger all around. Cover the outer book cover with faux leather or paper.If you are able to find wrapping paper with an embossed crocodile pattern, you can consider to use that. Your book will turn out quite nice and will look like a real book. These kinds of wrapping paper come in different colors as well. I suggest to print on card stock paper, some lines to simulate book pages and run it around the edges of the book. This way, it will look real. You can make these in different colors and sizes. For it to create an impact, it would be great to make quite a few of them. Stacking them on top of each other will be good since you want people to notice them. For the ribs of the book, I usually use a gold or silver transfer or temporary tattoo. It transfers nicely on to the wrapping paper and gives the ribs of the books a nice vintage feel. You can keep these to use for other themes as well.

Decorations for the long tables

For the rest of the guest tables, It is always a good idea to keep to white or ecru color for a rustic themed set up. It will always look elegant and clean. For this particular set up, the flowers used were:

  • carnations
  • succulents
  • hydrangea
  • paper roses
  • roses
  • baby's breath

Accessories that were custom made

  • faux books- books were made to be used not only as accents but also as risers for the jars and lanterns. You can also use real books but in this instance, we wanted to make the books with the same faux leather cover
  • lanterns- tea candles were placed inside
  • green bottles and clear jars- decorated with lace and twine
  • drift wood or logs
  • fabric ceiling swags

Decorate other areas of the venue with the same aesthetic

By decorating other areas of the venue using the same color palette, accessories, "hand made" decors, it will tie everything together and make the design look cohesive.

Entrance Wall

Other things that can be customized

Suggestions for other areas of the venue or party:

  • Make arrows or signs pointing to where the party is and other areas of the venue
  • make bathroom signs using driftwood , planks or similar materials
  • decorate the gift table with the same flower arrangements or accessories that can be found on other tables
  • create a photo wall with the same theme, maybe add ribbon curtains, picture frames and lanterns

Can I create a dreamy rustic dessert buffet setup on a budget?

Yes! Setting up a rustic wedding dessert buffet setup on a budget is doable as long as you identify which desserts you want. Plan how many of each kind you will get, maybe ask a friend to bake for you. You can rent or borrow your props for the table.


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