Stylish Ways to Display Your Food & Drinks

Up your wedding’s wow factor with an artful, celebratory display.

wedding candy buffet
Photo Credit: Gemma Comas

It’s all about DIY, says Amy Atlas. “I’ve seen make-your-own pizza topping bars, mashed potato and French fry bars and pancake bars for the day-after brunch. On the dessert side, I’ve seen milkshake bars, popcorn bars, gelato and donut bars, and for drinks mimosa bars and end-of- the-night juice bars and coffee bars.”

Bar Design Basics

► Use fabulous furniture. Set your food or drinks on a gorgeous vintage dresser, a gleaming grand piano or on a rustic table to add a dazzling sense of design to your venue.

► Plan strategically to avoid lines. Brian Worley suggests positioning bars where lines will not extend onto the dance floor or around corners; working with your venue manager will help determine the best bar placement.

► Create a great backdrop. It might be an oversized sign for your signature dessert bar, a chandelier hung above your beverage bar or a dramatic picture window behind a grand vintage table.

► "Bars are a form of functional décor,” says Mark Kingsdorf, director of business development for bar rental company “They are a place for social interaction,” so place them creatively around your venue, indoors and out, keeping them out of the corners of your space.

► Create theme-inspired ID signs to let guests know what the food, drink or dessert is, using print motifs like flourishes and chevrons that match your reception decor.

► “Pick both tall and low vessels to show off your food and to make the table visually interesting,” recommends Amy Atlas.

► "Make sure your serveware pieces fit the sensibility of the theme. If the the event has a vintage look, choose milk-glass or hobnail vessels. If the event has a modern sensibility, choose vessels that are angular with clean lines.”

► “Select flat serving pieces for food items that can’t be piled up (like cupcakes) and choose compotes and bowls for food items that can be piled high (like macarons and truffles).”

► Bring in a big focal point behind the bar. “A printed backdrop is a great idea, but if you are not planning on printing a backdrop, you can use fabric bun- ting, poms, or hanging strips of fabric or yarn.”

Amy Atlas's Dos and Don'ts

  • Don’t place your bar in an area where waiters can’t get to it to replenish.
  • Don’t place the bar too far away from the kitchen.
  • Do allow enough space for there to be good flow around the table.
  • Do label anything containing nuts. 
  • Do choose vessels with wide enough openings; don’t pick a container for candy that guests can’t get their scoop into!
  • Do provide enough scoops and tongs.
  • Do hire enough staff to replenish bar fare.

Next: How to Serve Your Main Course ►