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Dessert Buffet Table Décor Ideas | Black and White Party

Updated on August 31, 2017

Dessert Buffet Table Ideas -- Black and White Parties are Classic

Party & event hosts are very creative creatures. They search all over the internet for dessert buffet table décor ideas to use as inspiration for their own event. Photos can trigger that "great idea" you have been waiting for in designing and building a beautiful dessert table -- or buffetscape.

A black and white party is timeless, classic. It's versatile enough to be very vintage in its vibe, traditional or very hip and modern feeling. Lots of brides and hosts of parties ranging from birthdays to showers to fundraisers are choosing to use a black and white color scheme.

Here, you will find 2 in-depth examples with décor ideas for your dessert buffet table in the black and white theme. One modern and one more traditional in design but both are a great jumping off point, whatever your design preference.

Image Credit: Mandee Sears/DecoratingforEvents

dessert table décor black and white
dessert table décor black and white

If Food is the Star of the Dessert Buffet...

then the décor/set-up is the supporting cast...

Some buffets are gorgeous but aren't functional for guests-- not easy for guests to navigate or don't provide necessary elements because they aren't "pretty". Others are very functional but lack beauty -- think school cafeteria or Army chow line. Yuck!

Buffets should be the perfect marriage of beauty and function. It's not hard, really! Planning ahead will make all the difference in the look, feel and taste of your buffet.

Image Credit:
Mandee Sears/DecoratingforEvents

Live a little! Put some thought into a color scheme or theme you can translate onto your buffet. Be different from the boring buffets with no style. Let's get started!

Did You Know...

while candles with a live flame are pretty, they can be dangerous on a buffet table. Consider using l.e.d. candles instead. You don't want to burn anyone!

Modern Style Black & White Dessert Buffet Table Ideas

All photos by Mandee Sears

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Zebra accented Modern Dessert TableLeft side - black bottle w/ black & white striped feather ball stem on riser, pedestal platter with cupcakes, flat square platter with strawberriesRight side -- mirrored set up of left sidefront featurs white marble loaf cake on a double pedestal rectangle platter, 2 square platters with dipped fortune cookies & white chocolate trufflesCenter Back -- black and white feather topiary as a centerpiece, "Love" plaque on plate stand, milk glass vase with fanned nettingOn last overall look of the table
Zebra accented Modern Dessert Table
Zebra accented Modern Dessert Table
Left side - black bottle w/ black & white striped feather ball stem on riser, pedestal platter with cupcakes, flat square platter with strawberries
Left side - black bottle w/ black & white striped feather ball stem on riser, pedestal platter with cupcakes, flat square platter with strawberries
Right side -- mirrored set up of left side
Right side -- mirrored set up of left side
front featurs white marble loaf cake on a double pedestal rectangle platter, 2 square platters with dipped fortune cookies & white chocolate truffles
front featurs white marble loaf cake on a double pedestal rectangle platter, 2 square platters with dipped fortune cookies & white chocolate truffles
Center Back -- black and white feather topiary as a centerpiece, "Love" plaque on plate stand, milk glass vase with fanned netting
Center Back -- black and white feather topiary as a centerpiece, "Love" plaque on plate stand, milk glass vase with fanned netting
On last overall look of the table
On last overall look of the table
sample modern dessert buffet layout
sample modern dessert buffet layout

What is a Modern Style Dessert Buffet Set-Up?

Dessert Table -- Modern Style

A modern style dessert buffet is all about clean lines, color and symmetry (most of the time).

Common elements would include: white dishes, platters and stands, square and rectangle shaped dishes and a "mirrored" or "symmetrical" design. Different heights of serving pieces is still important so that guests can reach everything as well as the heights giving the design interest.

A "less is more" philosophy is used for a more modern look. You won't see a lot of frou-frou fabrics or extra decor. Decor for a modern buffet is kept to a minimum but what is used makes a statement.

A "mirrored" or "symmetrical" set up is often used. A two color design -- like the black and white above -- is very popular. This is especially true when you use a funky pattern like the zebra stripe. Other two color designs that have a modern look include, hot pink and black, lime green and Caribbean blue, purple and white, orange and blue, apple red and apple green.

Amy Atlas and Shauna Younge are famous for their modern style dessert buffets. Check out their portfolios for more modern designs by clicking their names above.

Image Credit: Mandee Sears/DecoratingforEvents


Martha Stewart Modern Festive Medium Pom-Poms

A trend with modern dessert buffets is to set the table up in front of a blank wall or a window with curtains. With a blank wall, you can hang garland, paper pennant bunting, signs or more decor that goes along with your theme.



3' x 6' Iridescent Faux Crystal Beaded Curtain

For a table set up in front of a curtained window, add hanging paper lanterns, tissue paper poms or fans or hang an acrylic crystal curtain on the rod in front of your existing curtains. This adds just the right about of bling. Alternatively, you could use any designed string, bead, bamboo door curtain(s) that will match your theme or decor.

You could go more DIY with your backdrop, too. Find things you already own that would work as a backdrop. A grouping of picture frames (empty or filled with photos), a tablecloth, blanket or throw in a complementary pattern, butcher paper, construction paper, scrapbooking paper -- the possibilities are endless.

Whichever method you choose, a backdrop for your table will make it beautiful in person as well as in photos.

White Dishes for a Buffet Table - Must have for Black and White Party

White dishes are perfect for a modern style buffet. They are neutral and crisp. Stick with linear shapes like rectangles and squares for a more modern feel.

Traditional Style Black & White Dessert Buffet Table Ideas

All photos by Mandee Sears

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Traditional Dessert Table in Black and White (Paris Theme). All the serving dishes are my mom's Fostoria American pattern glass dishes.Triple plate holder with dipped fortune cookies, dipped strawberries platter on riserCenter -- Elegant Fostoria square cake stand & Maitre'd take residence flanked by 2 fleur de lis, 2 platters on risers, an elegant bowl of muffins.Right- Black and white Eiffel Tower on top of a damask hat box, a jolly French Chef, some greenery  and a white marble cake on a Fosteria platter.Middle Right - truffles platter on a riser covered in black fabric and the fleur de lis on white satin & the jolly chef, & Eiffel Tower.Close up of maitre'd and cupcakesOne last look at the traditionally set up dessert table
Traditional Dessert Table in Black and White (Paris Theme). All the serving dishes are my mom's Fostoria American pattern glass dishes.
Traditional Dessert Table in Black and White (Paris Theme). All the serving dishes are my mom's Fostoria American pattern glass dishes.
Triple plate holder with dipped fortune cookies, dipped strawberries platter on riser
Triple plate holder with dipped fortune cookies, dipped strawberries platter on riser
Center -- Elegant Fostoria square cake stand & Maitre'd take residence flanked by 2 fleur de lis, 2 platters on risers, an elegant bowl of muffins.
Center -- Elegant Fostoria square cake stand & Maitre'd take residence flanked by 2 fleur de lis, 2 platters on risers, an elegant bowl of muffins.
Right- Black and white Eiffel Tower on top of a damask hat box, a jolly French Chef, some greenery  and a white marble cake on a Fosteria platter.
Right- Black and white Eiffel Tower on top of a damask hat box, a jolly French Chef, some greenery and a white marble cake on a Fosteria platter.
Middle Right - truffles platter on a riser covered in black fabric and the fleur de lis on white satin & the jolly chef, & Eiffel Tower.
Middle Right - truffles platter on a riser covered in black fabric and the fleur de lis on white satin & the jolly chef, & Eiffel Tower.
Close up of maitre'd and cupcakes
Close up of maitre'd and cupcakes
One last look at the traditionally set up dessert table
One last look at the traditionally set up dessert table
traditional dessert table layout
traditional dessert table layout

What is a Traditional Style Dessert Buffet?

Dessert Table -- Traditional Style

A traditional style dessert buffet uses, greenery, florals, risers, fabrics (in addition to table linens) and decor pieces. They can be a bit frou-frou but what better place to go a bit over the top than at weddings, anniversaries and other formal events.

Typically, the table is covered in a floor length cloth or a cloth and a table skirt. This is the base you will build from. You add your utilitarian risers (to elevate the food) and then cover them with more fabrics. This creates peaks and valleys for food and decor. You might place fresh ivy or flowers in a valley between two peaks or at the base of a plate or cake stand.

Traditional style dessert buffets mix lots of textures and layers to add depth to the design as well as making use of most of the surface of the table. If you have ever been on a cruise ship, this is close to the same style, without all the fancy Chef fruit and vegetable carvings.

Traditional dessert tables can be symmetrical or asymmetrical or just eye pleasing -- no rules -- whatever looks good to you!

Image Credit: Mandee Sears/DecoratingforEvents

Did You Know...

for a traditional style dessert buffet, it is a wonderful touch to use family collections of serving pieces. Think pink Depression glass, Fostoria, Jewel Tea, patterned glass and more. Wouldn't grandma be touched and happy to share some pieces from her beloved collection?

A fun way to add texture and color (and possibly height too) to your traditional dessert table is to make edible centerpieces. Using fruits like strawberries and pineapples you can make some easy edible centerpieces to accent your dessert table. You can also make candy trees that are edible or just for decor, it's up to you.

Try something new -- make a centerpiece out of brownie bites or mini muffins, a bouquet out of cupcakes or cookies. Serving traditional desserts in a non-traditional manner is half the fun of a dessert table buffet!

Here are a few edible/non-edible dessert centerpiece tutorials:

Donut Hole Tree

It calls it a Christmas tree but I think it could be used for almost any occasion!

Candy Kisses Topiary Tree

This is great for Easter, Spring, Summer, Christmas, Halloween, Weddings, Showers -- you name it! Just make sure you get the holiday colors you want when available -- even if you don't make it until later in the year.

Button Cookie Bouquet

This is perfect for a vintage theme!

Image Credit: Mandee Sears/DecoratingforEvents

Edible Party Bouquets - by Fox Chapel Publishing (Peg Couch, Editor)

This is a wonderful book, really! The ideas are simple but stunning as a centerpiece for your next buffet. There are 40 different centerpieces made from appetizers, desserts and fruit/vegetables. The book has step by step instructions so you won't miss a thing.

No matter the type of buffet you are hosting, one of these centerpieces ideas is bound to be perfect.

What do you prefer?

After looking at the photo galleries above...

Do you prefer the look of a Modern or Tradition Buffet Table & Why?

Did You Know...

Single and small portion desserts are best for a dessert buffet. Guests like to sample a little bit of everything.

Planning Your Dessert Table Ideas Ahead... - Saves Time and Aggravation in the Long Run

You plan your menu ahead, right? You buy the ingredients, bake and cook as much as you can ahead of time because you can't make everything at the last minute.

It's the same idea with your buffet design plan. Having a "dry run" of your buffet table can help you foresee possible problems with your design and decor ideas while you still have time to fix them. Or, it can help you decide what you really like so you can put your best foot forward at your event.

Start by gathering all the elements you are going to use for your buffet -- serving dishes, utensils, flatware, plates, etc...

Label each serving dish with the food you plan to serve in/on it . Gather your decor items and linens. Set up the table the exact way you will for your buffet. Then, pretend you are a guest and move through the buffet as they would.

Pay particular attention to things like:

  1. Can you reach each of the dishes without knocking over another dish or piece of decor?
  2. Is there a designated place (on or off the buffet) for guests to get napkins, flatware, drinks or plates?
  3. If you are using candles, they must be up high like a tall candelabra. Guests reaching over to get food can catch a sleeve on fire or get burned.

    Contained candles work better. Use a hurricane globe or other open ended glass to cover the flame.

    The best idea is to use l.e.d. candles. They come in tea lights, votives, pillars and tapers. No chance of some getting hurt plus the beauty of a real flickering candle.

    Image Credit: Mandee Sears/DecoratingforEvents

Image Credit: Mandee Sears/DecoratingforEvents

  1. I hate a buffet with pre-plated desserts set out. Reminds me of my college cafeteria. The desserts get dried out in a hurry and you can't really make it pretty with so many plates.

    I have found that the table presentation is much better if I cut cakes, pies, tortes and cheesecakes into small servings but leave them intact. I also like to use individual desserts like:

    shot glass or mini martini glass chocolate mousse

    brownie bites

    cake pops

    mini muffins

    cupcakes

    decorated cookies

    Try adding a large trifle bowl with grandma's banana pudding where guest can spoon out a small serving themselves.

    This allows guests to sample a bit of everything with little waste due to the small portions. Full servings of desserts pre-plated, makes for a lot of waste. Guests love to be able to have a little taste of everything instead of having to choose only one dessert. If they want more of one item, that can take an extra piece. Win-Win!

  2. Pound cakes, zucchini bread, pumpkin rolls and the like look on a rectangle platter. Place them on the platter and then cut down the middle of the cake (lengthwise) first. Go back and cut into slices (width of cake loaf). This makes more pieces to go around and with the cake leaning on itself it will be less likely to dry out as quickly as a slab on a plate.
  3. Choose one color for your servingware/dishes. This will give a uniform look and let the food be the star of the show.
  4. Consider using mini martini glasses, shot glasses, or cordial glasses for some of your individual desserts. They look very classy when filled with mousse, pudding, chiffon and other tasty treats. Top each glass with a sprig of mint, a cherry or some whipped cream.
  5. Use fruits, vegetables, greenery and/or florals to garnish your food offerings and decorate you buffet. They can add an elegant touch!

Cupcakes on dessert table
Cupcakes on dessert table

Try Making Your Own Dessert Table

for your next party or event

Choose your colors/theme and set about making a plan for your dessert table (or any party buffet). Take a bit of time in pre-planning and it will all come together better at your event.

Using a separate, small table for napkins, flatware and plates allows the dessert table set up to be much prettier. Play around with colors and decor until you decide what works best for your event. It's fun and your guests will love to see what you come up with for your dessert table!

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Buffet/Dessert Table Decor Ideas

for a Black and White Party

The examples within this article are for a black and white party, but the same basic elements work for any colors or theme. Have fun with your next dessert table set up!

Did You Find Any Dessert Buffet Table Decor Ideas You Like? - A Black and White Party Rocks!

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    • Rachel Field profile image

      Rachel Field 5 years ago

      Very classy!

    • peggygallyot profile image

      peggygallyot 5 years ago

      Nice modern look

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Cute! Very nice lens! Thank you for this. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Excellent stuff!

    • winter aconite profile image

      winter aconite 5 years ago

      love it! I'm having a party in a couple of weeks and will go for the modern black and white!!!!Gorgeous idea!

    • wcjohnston profile image

      wcjohnston 5 years ago

      very smart use of black and white

    • profile image

      tssfacts 5 years ago

      I am not really a fan of the color black, by itself, but with the color white it just fits. I never really noticed before how many different LED candles were available today. I enjoyed reading your "did you know" sections :-)

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      I absolutely LOVE a gorgeous table and am totally going to be entertaining a lot when I love to my new place! I'm so excited! Blessed!

    • profile image

      seemarahate 5 years ago

      Thanks for this great tip

    • profile image

      ClaireDavids 5 years ago

      Yup, I particularly like your info about using LED light on the tables rather than live flame which can be dangerous. And I like your tips on organizing the table well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Again, great lense- black and white is always a hit.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 5 years ago

      Classic - great lens

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 5 years ago

      Very well done and very beautifully designed displays.

    • microfarmproject profile image

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      Thank you for the ideas! I will put them to use soon.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You certainly shine here in every direction in displaying your desserts beautifully. I agree about the school cafeteria thing, adults are perfectly able to dish up for themselves and the table doesn't get cluttered...and you get to use your beautiful platters with the sliced desserts Your black and white Virtual Jenga party rocks!

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 5 years ago

      Wow, a really slick and elegant look for table decor! And beautifully presented too, love it!

    • MerandaJade profile image

      MerandaJade 5 years ago

      So many great ideas! I do a lot of entertaining, so i know the value of a well-done buffet table. This was very interesting.

    • DecoratingEvents profile image
      Author

      DecoratingEvents 5 years ago

      Thanks for the visits, comments, likes and blessings as well as your kind words ladies! Very much appreciated. ;D

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      I like all the ideas, but I'd relegate the beaded curtain to history :-)

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      As usual, Mandy, you have done an exception lens full of wonderful inspiring ideas. You are a true expert in catering. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2. Hugs.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 5 years ago

      Such elegant settings. You always have a great idea for decorating.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      This is, of course, exceptionally well presented and easy to understand. I love black and white decor, but I don't recall having ever prepared a table in black and white. What a wonderful idea. I also love the l.e.d. candles. You know, if I lit real candles, it would be disastrous. LOL

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 5 years ago

      You had me from the word "dessert!" This is a rocking page. You have created several somethings beautiful with only 2 colors and I love it! Awesome job.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

      Very nice, I like black and white and if I had an event, I'd certainly consider it.

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      Love this dessert buffet article! Great job, simply the best!