“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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  1. Linda Fanelli says

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

  2. marci says

    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?

    • Chris says

      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.