“Keys To Success” Dessert Table

shabby chic dessert table - Graduation party "keys to success" theme

Here’s part 2 of my Anthropologie-inspired “Keys to Success” graduation party, and it’s everyone’s favorite – the keys to success dessert table!

As with most of my dessert tables, it’s filled with homemade sweets, a few special garnishes, and a sprinkling of store-bought items to round out the selection. The styling was actually a lot of fun to do as I knew I wanted to work with the 2 wooden post-finials, and the tiny metal frames as food markers. I think it all came together the way I envisioned, and I love the way the golden yellow pops against the neutrals of brown and cream/white.

shabby chic dessert table - Graduation party "keys to success" theme

Get the “Keys to Success” dessert table look:

  • I used the gold fabric to as a base for the table to add color and to tie in to the rest of the party spaces. No sewing required when you use pinking shears to cut the fabric as it helps prevent frayed edges.
  • I found the tall wood finials at HomeGoods a while back and couldn’t wait to use them somewhere. They created a great focal point to the table when I strung a mini rag swag between them. I used a mix of patterned fabric, lace ribbon, printed ribbon, and textured trim to make this swag which acts as a backdrop to the open space.
  • Homemade desserts consisted of chocolate chip spice cupcakes topped with mini white chocolate keys, “diploma” chocolate pastry rolls, large white chocolate key molds, and an orange glazed cake baked in a fluted pan to add interest. To round out the table I added chocolate donuts, macarons, and yellow m&m’s from the grocer.
  • I used a key-shaped candy mold to make the chocolate keys, and added edible gold dust to give them a textural/aged look. I simply coated the mold forms with gold dust before pouring in the melted chocolate. The chocolate pastry rolls are simply tied with gold ribbon to mimic diplomas for our graduation celebration.
  • Food markers were made using small metal frames from the scrapbook section {on clearance!}. I added long chains {from jewelry section} to 2 of them so they would hang from the jar lids. The others were applied to the dishes using Glue Dots.

  • Plain white dishes are used to display food, and vintage-style paper liners from Cake were used to line platters. These printed papers coordinate with our place mats from the seated table.
  • I think flowers are a necessity at almost every party and I used the same style arrangements as the seated table, this time using brown vases for contrast.
  • An open drawer provides the perfect home for a large hydrangea and babies breath, as well as house numbers to represent the “class of” year. House numbers from Lowes were applied to long wooden skewers using Glue Dots and inserted into a foam block covered with green moss. Another printed pennant was also added to the arrangement.
  • Finally, embellishments were added to the orange cake with a small pennant and ribbon flag.

I Hope you gather some ideas and inspiration from this dessert table, and see how easy it is to pull together something pretty without a ton of money. For even more ideas see the rest of this party design here: “Keys To Success” party


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About Chris

Chris Nease is a party stylist and home entertaining expert with over 15 years of experience. In addition to her work as founding editor of Celebrations At Home, Chris is an editorial stylist and has contributed to Homes.com, SheKnows, and countless other websites. Most recently she was featured in Celebrate magazine, and her work has been published in Woman's World, Ocala Style, Yum Food & Fun for Kids, and Cottages & Bungalows.


  1. Wow Chris I love this beautiful I will pin on pinterest. I saw part one and love the table setting, the colors. Amazing job.
    Best wishes

  2. Chris this is just wonderful! The details as ALWAYS are beautiful! XO

  3. Thank you ladies! I appreciate your sweet comments ; )

  4. Love this classy setup. I haven’t ever seen the wood finial idea and I LOVE it. Genius. Seriously.

  5. Linda Fanelli says:

    I am interested in receiving information on becoming an event planner.

  6. Amazinggggggggggg decoration 😉

  7. Just found your blog and have been loving going through all the great ideas! Awesome creativity and oh, so pinworthy! :)

  8. I have searched high and low for finials/posts like the ones pictured here. I want to duplicate them and have run out of ideas. Any suggestions of where I can find something similar?

    • Hi Marci, have you tried Home Depot or Lowes? ….of maybe substituting tall pillar candle holders? I found these as HomeGoods a few years ago.


  1. […] seated table, which for me is always a great place to get my creative juices flowing.  To see the coordinating “Keys to Success” dessert table visit the […]

  2. […] made these chocolate pastry rolls for my graduation dessert table, and they were so yummy I thought I’d share the recipe. They’re super simple with only […]

  3. […] Our final table display for the Anthropologie-inspired graduation party is totally “themed-out” and reinforces our idea more than any. I set up a “Keys to Success” guest table where they could write notes to the graduate, and pick up party favors. It all comes together with the addition of a Key display that’s framed and placed prominently.  You can see the coordinating seated table and dessert table here. […]

  4. […] used 2 different methods to add embellishments to simple frosted cupcakes. On the left I used chocolate molds to form keys and place on top. The cupcake on the right has a free form chocolate embellishment {see how to make […]

  5. […] the Spring/ Summer issue of Bird’s Party Magazine.  The features three separate displays a Dessert Table, a Dining Table and a Favor Table and each element of the party incorporates the modern yet vintage […]

  6. […] “Keys To Success” Dessert Table — Celebrations at Home says: May 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm […]

  7. […] Keys to Success Themed Graduation Party Comment (0) […]

  8. […] Servers   If you love setting up buffets or dessert tables, you can’t be without white serving dishes and platters. I used to collect different colors and patterns for bowls, platters, and serving dishes but that […]

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