Sweet Parties: Southern Heirloom Dessert Table Garden Party

"Now isn't this better than sitting at a table? A girl hasn't got but two sides to her at the table." - Scarlett O'Hara, Gone With the Wind

We'd like to take you through our process of creation, step-by-step by discussing how we came up with our theme and inspiration, to what we chose to serve and how we chose to serve it, to the little detail decor that helped bring everything together. Let's get started!

Sweetly ladylike and classically southern, our Southern Heirloom theme draws inspiration from family generations and antiquities passed down. Using my great-grandmother's Noritake "Azelea Pattern" China and my grandmother's Fostoria "American Pattern" Crystal and a combination their vintage lace tablecloths, handkercheifs and antique furniture, we created an intimate garden party for true southern belles. The color palette was chosen first, drawing from the feminine pink and muted greens of the china pattern. Then we incorporated quite a bit of ivory/off-white as a neutral color because we already knew we wanted to hold this little soiree outside. It also helped to tie in the ivory color of the vintage lace tablecloths we used as well.

Decor decor, where did all that pretty stuff come from? Well we already talked about all of the heirloom pieces you see, but what we didn't talk about were the little touches. We used silk (gasp) flowers to decorate here and there throughout the display. Pretty delicate pink blooms with green/blue leaves adorn two of the cakes and are featured under a cloche purely for asthetics. We found them half off at AC Moore back in April and saved them for future use because they were just that pretty we knew we would find something to do with them eventually. The pink grosgrain ribbon was acquired from (another gasp) Dollar Tree. They had a huge box of all different shades both grosgrain and satin and we snagged several rolls for that bargain price and held on to them for the future as well. The small green and pink bottles were found at the good ole DG Store, another favorite place to spot the occasional awesome item. The little green paper flags on our smooth iced layer cake were a homemade touch using a tutorial we found at The Yuppie Lifestyle Blog. The frilly fluffy ivory garland in the background was homemade DIY Ruffle Garland crafted from crepe paper streamers.

It is so super easy to make your own ruffled crepe paper garland. Find out how to make it in our new blog section Sweet DIY Projects.

Fun Fact: The lace swag you see above was actually my grandmother's wedding veil! She kept a hope chest of all her most prized possesions, which I explored and discovered this most beautiful and delicate lace piece that had to be displayed somewhere, somehow! It found a perfect home draped casually over the side of the smaller table.

What to serve, what to serve! We chose to have several of our tall layer cakes (ruffled and smooth), whoopie pies and a little mom inspired powdered doughnut cake. (Powdered doughtnuts are one of my mother's favorite treats.) We found inspiration for our ruffle cake from the Sweet and Saucy Blog, who seems to excel at all things vintage and delicious and outdoors. You may remember a previous post featuring a powdered doughnut cake (here) which we spotted on the HGTV website a while back and promptly pinned to our Pinterest Board! We included it for several reasons, first of all it is really super cute and sweet and secondly this table was meant as a tribute to the women in my family and as I mentioned before, mom likes them. Our whoopie pies were strawberry, sweet and pink and perfect for our theme, plus it is strawberry season and we already had farm fresh strawberries ready at hand. The fluffy pink spun sugar added a touch of whimsy and was an impulse inclusion since our local grocery store had a huge display of hard to resist bags front and center. We also chose a sprakling Shirley Temple to drink because... (pause for dramatic effect) it's pink! Not really too hard to guess why on that one lol.

What did we use to display all of those pretty little cakes and doughnuts? Custom cake stands of course! Remember how we mentioned that beautiful vintage cake stands cost an arm and a leg (here)? Well we have pretty much decided that making our own is the way to go from here on out. (That is unless we ever make boat loads of money and can actually afford to collect some of those beautiful pieces. (*File it under Someday*) 

Jason was the mastermind once again for the creation of our cake stands. He used his handy-dandy woodworking skills to fashion several stands for the table that were different but also looked nice together too. He chose a three color palette for the stands to match the china as well and continue the color scheme of pink, green and ivory. Incedentaly the off-white color he chose is actually called Heirloom White and is made by Rustoleum.

Another bonus to creating your own stands is having several them to use again and again in the future for more dessert tables. All they may need is a coat of a new color paint and they are ready to use. Visit our DIY post here for more information on how to make your own cake stands.

Side note: Other companies (like Amy Atlas) are located in urban areas that have awesome places called "Prop Houses." These buildings of wonder and amazement are actually in the business of renting out vessels and serving pieces and just about anything you could ever need for a Dessert Table. This eliminates the need to create your own stuff or hunt endlessly to find super bargains here or there in order to pull off a table without breaking the bank. So it should be noted that taking this route is a commendable feat to do-it-yourself party planners that do not have access to rentals :)

We chose to place the pink spun sugar in the delicate Noritake china tea cups that belonged to my great-grandmother. At first it seemed cute and whimsical, not the average choice for styling, but then it melted. Quickly. In fact it melted so quickly we had to replace it several times before we were even able to take photos. Even then it still melted a little on the edges. Nice thing about spun sugar though, it's still sugar no matter what form its in and tastes just as sweet! 


We are now referring to this cake as the Ruffled Southern Belle cake. Southern belles like Scarlett always had mounds of ruffles on them somewhere and this cake follows suit. We topped it off with a beautiful delicate flower with even more pink and green.

My grandmother was a true southern hostess. Her mid-20th century Fostoria American Crystal collection was the centerpiece of her serve ware. Delicate cut crystal cake stands, goblets, punch bowl and sherbet pieces all sitting awaiting special company or a holiday. Anyone who planned to spend time at my grandmother's home for a special occasion could expect to see a perfect display of traditional party foods awaiting them on delicate serving pieces like the one above. She took great care to make everything "just so," just as we have taken great care to make this Dessert Table "just so." We hope you enjoyed this theme!