Ice cream bars for your guests can be a fun and different alternative to the standard cake and punch reception. However, the logistics of ice cream and messy toppings can be tricky. Here are some tips to help you present a wonderful ice cream dessert bar at your wedding.
The Ice Cream
You will need to decide if you want soft serve or traditional ice cream. Soft serve is easier but you may have a hard time finding someone in your area that rents soft serve machines. If you do find someone they may be pricey. Just remember they may be worth it. If you do decide to go with traditional ice cream you will need to hire someone (or convince a friend or family member) to do the dirty job of scooping ice cream. You will also need to keep the ice cream cold. You may be able to rent a freezer specifically for ice cream like you would find at an ice cream parlor. However any small storage freezer will do. They are a great purchase to have for your new house anyway.
You can find ice cream at warehouse stores in large buckets for fairly inexpensive. Vanilla and chocolate are the most popular but don’t be afraid of trying specialty flavors.
Toppings can all be displayed in little bowls with spoons for your guests to top their ice cream. Candy, sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts, coconut flakes, gummy bears and many other things can be used. Get creative and include your favorites.
You should include sauces for your guests to complete their sundaes. The easiest thing to do is buy chocolate, carmel, butterscotch and strawberry sauces and put them out on the table in their original squeeze bottles. However, if you want a more elegant display try gravy boats with ladles or small pitchers. Remember that if you are using anything with a pour spout that the opening should be small, you don’t want sauces spilling all over your tablecloths. You will probably end up with drips and spills anyway. It is a good idea to use an overlay tablecloth on your table and have a few backups for your helpers to switch out if the display becomes too messy.
Check with your local rental company to see what type of ice cream bowls or parfait glasses they offer. They may have something very pretty and unique. You don’t have to use standard bowls if you don’t want to. Stemmed margarita glasses or geometric cosmopolitan glasses will work well. If you are using smaller glasses or dishes consider using small espresso spoons instead of an unwieldy teaspoon.
Consider serving cookies or brownies on the side. Beverages can be simple such as ice water or punch. Don’t serve anything that will taste sour after the sweet ice cream like lemonade.
Don’t forget whipped cream and a cherry on top.