the details, part five: desserts

You guys might already know I didn’t want a cake.

You guys might also already know I had sworn off DIY that involved dishes and glassware.

Well, in the end the no cake principle stood. The DIY dessert plates , well… let’s just say that my resolve crumbled. Kind of like a crumb cake. Because marriage has clearly dulled my edge, and now I cannot think of a more clever metaphor than that.

I turned back towards the dark side of DIY because honestly, it was going to be cheaper than buying new plates and stands on which to present the desserts at the wedding, even if they were very basic. And I figured that what had gone wrong with the first tiered dessert stand I made was the the stems of the glassware were probably too delicate to be supporting a number of heavy plates, hence the the snapping and the breaking. I also figured that I could get around that by:

  1. Limiting the dessert stands to just one layer; i.e., one plate and one glass.
  2. Using sturdier glasses.

So with that rough plan in mind, we set off to hunt the thrift stores. At the first two stores we didn’t have much luck. I didn’t really have a plan for what I wanted the damn dessert stands to look like, I just wanted them done. I mean, at this point we were three weeks from the wedding and we were drowning in our task list. So I’d go around the store, picking up any plate that didn’t sear my eyeballs or break my soul and holding it up for the beau to see. Eh? What about this? He’d always shrug: “I dunno.” So I’d sigh, and put it down. GOD. I JUST WANTED PLATES. WHY IS EVERYTHING ASSOCIATED WITH WEDDINGS SO INFERNALLY DIFFICULT?

But then! Then. The third store we went to, I saw these:

I got that look in my eye.

$5 later, I walked out of the thrift store with these plates, plus five glasses and a doily. And the next store? Dear lord, I hit the motherlode:

I loved these things. The beau? He wasn’t incredibly enthusiastic about them. But he didn’t hate them either. And at that point all it really took was for one of us to like something in order to sway the other. So with his blessing, I went about grabbing up every plate I liked. Besides the ones pictured above, I also picked up a plate of Hoover Tower on the campus of Stanford University, a plate of Santa Barbara City High School, a Jimmy Carter presidential plate, a plain plate with a green stripe, and so on. It didn’t matter whether or not it matched any of the other plates. It didn’t matter what color it was. It didn’t even matter what size. I just got what I liked.

And in retrospect I think that’s the thing that really worked for us about the wedding: we didn’t buy something unless we liked it. Sometimes this caused frustration, like all the times we went searching for something only to walk away empty handed. But when it worked, it really worked.

As for the glasses, I tried to get them in a variety of heights so that the dessert stands wouldn’t be all on the same level. I picked up old jars, old drinking glasses, decorative candy dishes, decorative ice cream dishes — anything that looked like it was durable and solid enough to support a plate.

I just winged it. I didn’t really know what I was getting, or how much of it to get. In addition to the plates and glasses, I ended up getting some basic serving trays at the thrift stores, too. We spent about $0.30 to $3.00 on each item.

Two days before the wedding, we broke out the Plumbers’ Goop and made an impromptu assembly line: I picked out which plate and glass went with each other, and the beau glued them together. It went pretty fast, I think. In all, it wasn’t that bad of a project.

Also, I want to just say that Fabio took such a keen liking to the Jimmy Carter presidential plate that I gave it to him the day after the wedding. Thanks for coming! Here’s your commemorative dessert stand.

Okay okay okay, and what about the desserts you actually put on them, you say? Well, I should tell you that we had five pies: two apple, one cherry, one pumpkin, and one mixed berry. We also had about four dozen peanut butter cookies, about six dozen miniature brownies sprinkled with powdered sugar, one dozen vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing, and one dozen vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing. Sounds like a lot, huh? Sounds like we got in way over our heads.

Well. We had 95 guests, and not one dessert was left by the end of the night. In fact, I only got to have a taste of apple pie, and one peanut butter cookie. The beau? He didn’t get to try anything. Yeah. All gone. And I’m not really sure what happened, here. I saw my uncle stuffing cookies in his pockets, and I heard a story recently about my aunt wrapping some in a napkin and putting them in her purse. And maybe some of the staff ate some? And I thought I heard something about my brigadier taking part of a pie, or maybe a whole pie? I don’t know all the details. All I know is that EVERYTHING WAS GONE. This was good, because we weren’t interested in toting loads of leftovers back home. But this was also bad because my family is still like, I NEVER GOT TO TRY THAT PIE. Sheesh. You can’t please everyone so you may as well not even try.

And with that I think I’ll leave you with some shots of the desserts in action, courtesy of our photographers:

Tell me about your dessert plan. What did you do, or plan to do?

Photos 1-7 by me, of what dessert stands we have left (I kept a lot… I couldn’t part with all of them). Photos 8 and 9 by Aaron Rosenblatt. Photos 10-14 by Christina Richards.

10 thoughts on “the details, part five: desserts”

  1. I love the look of this.. the glassware “stems” really make it. We’ll probably just be doing boring old cake, but you have me seriously reconsidering. Mostly because I love pie.

  2. Did you know that the part of the bread that isn’t the crust is called the crumb? No, really. The entire inside part of bread: crumb. Hence the term “crumbs.”


    Himself doesn’t like cake, so we didn’t have any, either. We did a key lime pie (which was ridiculously YUM) and then a bunch of different mini fruit tarts, all on a dessert table. I’m not even sure what all of the tarts were, although we heard they were delicious. Which kind of makes me pissed that everyone was going around, having delicious tarts and not giving me any. But whatever, they were probably afraid to approach me while I was shaking that thang on the dance floor. Anyhoo. Key lime pie and mini fruit tarts. Mmmm.

  3. Hubby does not like cake, so I wanted something we would both enjoy.
    So we had a tiered homemade ice cream cake. It was fantastic. A little reminiscent of wedding cake, but in shape only (and even that a stretch). Top layer was pistachio and the bottom was…cherry, maybe. I forget. My only request was for the pistachio so the bottom layer has fled my mind. Chocolate drippings all over. Mmm.

  4. Success! One of the glasses that you glued to a plate were the exact “crystal” dessert cups my mom had when I was a kid (I think they were wedding gifts).

    Funny story about relatives stuffing things in their sleeves: I had a great uncle who once managed to get mashed potatoes purposefully stuffed up his sleeve (saving it for later, naturally) at the dinner table with 12 of us present — and nobody saw him do it. Fifteen minutes later after we cleaned up the mashed potatoes, he had managed to stuff his cup up his sleeve.

    That man should have been banned from Furr’s Cafeteria. That is all.

  5. Ooh, I’m so glad I found you! We are having about the same amount of guests and a dessert table, and I was wondering how much pie and cookie-age we were going to need. Most helpful, thankyou so much! Also – we are having thrifted cake stands too, because I wanted levels and I wanted cheaps. I have pics if you are at all interested…

    I love yours, especially the navy blue and gold bordered one.

  6. wonderful! what great purchases & a super delicious looking spread! also, love the stamped cookies. the DIY cake stand is perpetually on my to make list. perhaps 2011 will be the year I finally make it!

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