Christine Busby
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Once the owner of wholesale pastry outfit Busby Bakes (she blogs about cooking and eating here), Christine Busby always has food on the brain. Her creative ideas helped make this party a hit, and she shared still more tips on how to wow your guests without becoming a slave to the kitchen:

1. Buy a tart or simple cake from the bakery, but make your own whipped cream—and add a little brandy to jazz things up. Serve with fresh berries.

2. Buy premade tart shells. Fill with chocolate ganache, jam, flavored whipped cream, or pudding.

3. Dip pretzel rods into chocolate ganache. Serve in tall Champagne flutes.

4. Make one “signature” dish, then assemble the rest of your menu from purchased items or potluck from your guests.

5. Set up a DIY dessert bar and let your guests create their own combinations (ice cream sundaes, cookie sandwiches, 101 things to put on pound cake, etc.).