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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

A Successfully Gluten-Free Wedding Reception!

This past December, I spent two weeks at my parents and nana's house whipping together a dessert-themed wedding reception for my brother Mike and his lovely bride Amanda.  They had a small ceremony and luncheon with family and bridesmaids/groomsmen, and then had a larger reception/party in the evening.  There were 150-200 guests that attended the reception!  In terms of food-prep time, I averaged about 5 hours of cooking each day to put together this event.  Everything was homemade and everything was gluten-free! Two days before the event, I had help frosting the sugar cookies from my aunt Jeanette.  The day before the wedding, I had help from a family friend (and superwoman!) Marcy Albrecht and my awesome aunt Jeanette to frost the (over 160 - I lost count) cupcakes, the two smaller cakes, and the three-tiered wedding cake.
Three-tiered Chocolate Gluten-Free Wedding Cake! Flowers were added shortly after this picture was taken, but this was just before the arrival of all the guests. 
Table #1 - full of delicious gluten-free treats! Chocolates, caramels, cupcakes, cookies, and fruit were served.
The wedding desserts were a big success!  We had three tables with a variety of desserts and one water/drink table.  The wedding cake was presented on its own table.  In addition to desserts, we served fresh fruit (strawberries, grapes, and clementines) on each of the three dessert tables.  And we had two large water servers with lemon and lime in one and cranberries and oranges in the other.  Very elegant and yet easy!
 Notice how the weather cooperated - providing a perfect dusting of fresh snow for a lovely winter wedding backdrop. Here, table #2 was topped with a variety of desserts and fresh fruit (though we put strawberries in the large bowl instead of clementines just before the start of the reception).
Dessert table #3, topped with cake, cupcakes, chocolates, cookies and fresh fruit!
The books ended up being covered in cream cloths, but I rather liked the look, which helped raise the water up higher to avoid spills.  Homemade candied orange peel and homemade peppermint bark were served between the waters. 

***For those recipes that I've not yet posted on my blog, I'll continue posting and linking here to all my recipe and ideas to make the perfect gluten-free wedding reception!***


Wedding Cake: 
The three-tiered wedding cake was made from a delicious, moist chocolate cake with different fillings in each tier.  Each tier was topped with dark chocolate ganache, then semi-sweet ganache to create a smooth layer.  The cakes were then decorated with white chocolate ganache piping and a semi-sweet chocolate ganache scalloped edging.  Fresh flowers decorated the cake.
Bottom Tier - three fillings
1. Raspberry Jam
2. Raspberry Dark Chocolate Ganache
3. Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting
Middle Tier - three fillings (with mint-infused chocolate cake in this tier)
1. Dark Chocolate Mint Ganache
2. Crushed peppermint candy
3. Mint flavored Marshmallow Fluff Frosting
Top tier: - three fillings
1. Dark Chocolate Ganache
2. Milk Chocolate Ganache
3. Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting
Wedding cake with fresh flowers to decorate, with a photobomb by my 10 month old daughter

Custard/pudding Dessert cups:
Pudding was made a day in advance, then strained (for eggnog pudding) and served just before the start of the reception.  Extra dessert cups were kept refrigerated until being served.  The typed served were:
Homemade Eggnog Pudding with Snowflake Gingerbread Cookies
Homemade Vanilla Pudding with Fresh Strawberry and Heart-shaped Sugar Cookie
Homemade Eggnog Pudding with Gingerbread Cookie Desserts

Cupcakes & Cakes:
A wide variety of cupcakes and cakes filled tiered platters on each of the three dessert tables.  Cupcakes and cakes were made in advance, cooled, then frozen in ziplocs (cakes were wrapped thoroughly in first plastic wrap, then foil). They were removed the day before, allowed to sit for 10 minutes before removing from bags and then frosted.  They were stored in a cold room after being frosted since some frosting included cream cheese or ganache.

The cupcake and cake varieties included:
Chocolate Homemade Caramel-Filled Cupcakes
Mini Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Chocolate Frosting and Candied Orange Peel
Peppermint Chocolate Cupcakes
Strawberry-Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Filling
Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting and Candied Lemon Peel
Vanilla Cupcakes with a variety of frostings
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Peppermint Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting
Lemon Cake with White Chocolate Ganache Frosting and Candied Lemon Peel
Cupcakes on tiered stands spaced throughout the three dessert tables added elegance and interest.  Here you see lemon cupcakes with lemon frosting and a candied lemon peel topper.  Behind are chocolate cupcakes with caramel filling, and farther back are mini peppermint cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes.
Alternating on two side-by-side tiers were strawberry-lemon cupcakes and chocolate caramel-filled cupcakes.

Chocolates and Candies:
A wide variety of chocolates and candies were spaced artistically on platters throughout each of the three dessert tables and on the water table.

Chocolates and candy varieties included:
Candied Orange Peel
Candied Orange Peel dipped in Chocolate
White Chocolate dipped Homemade Caramels
Milk Chocolate dipped Homemade Caramels
Dark Chocolate dipped Homemade Caramels
Molded (Tempered) Chocolate - Dark Chocolate Truffles
Molded (Tempered) Chocolate - Gingerbread Chocolate Truffles
Snowflake Peppermint Bark
Peppermint Bark
Chocolate Angels with Silver Dusting
Dark Chocolate Truffles with Gingerbread Ganache Filling. Yum!

Cookies were made, filled (milanos), cooled, and then bagged in freezer ziplocs and frozen (no more than 2 weeks in advance to maximize freshness).  They were removed from the freezer just a couple hours before the reception and plated.  Gluten-free cookies freeze very well, and taste wonderfully fresh if served this way.
Mint Milano Cookies
Peppermint Mint Milano Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Chocolate Drizzle
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Triple Chocolate Cookies
Mint Triple Chocolate Cookies
Sugar Cookies with Marshmallow Frosting
Chewy Gingersnap Cookies
Heart-imprinted Chewy Gingersnap Cookies
Snowflake Gingerbread Cookies
A wide variety of fancy cookies added color and interest throughout the tables - not to mention they tasted delicious.
My three year old, ready to start taste-testing the desserts.


  1. It was all amazing and looked great too. Hard to believe that the cupcakes were gluten-free. I had to taste all, except the chocolate stuff. The lemon peel was not at all bitter

    1. Thanks! So glad you liked it all! It was such a fun night.

  2. Wow!! Gluten free wedding reception. Thanks dear for posting this blog. I am amazed to see how beautifully you have managed homemade and gluten free desserts for 500 people. Can you tell me from where I can book gluten free cookies and cake for my wedding at reception halls in Atlanta. Please share.

    1. You're so welcome. I'm not familiar with what would be available in Atlanta, as I did this myself. Ideally, I'd recommend having someone who doesn't mind being given the recipes to use, since most bakery GF I have tasted I haven't liked. The best bet would be to ask around if anyone knows of those who can cater to gluten free, and then do some taste-testing. Good luck!