Creating Sweet Drama
It is all in the presentation.Simple, inexpensive desserts take on a level of sophistication when displayed with some "WOW" factor. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get drama is to group something small to make it seem more impressive.
Creating a Glass Dessert Tower
The catering service at the University where I work does an amazing job of this. They take a simple dessert that will feed a crowd, such as a mousse, and make it a focal point of the event.
Sometimes they serve the desserts on small white rectangular trays on the tables, but to me it doesn't work as well as the tower effect. The fact that the tiny desserts in the tower are served en masse gives them an impressive feel, yet there are other aspects to the design that sets this display apart.
They picked one material, glass, and stuck with it. Using glass shelves doubled the impact of the glass shot glasses. They also used glass blocks at the sides for more serving levels and sprinkled glass stones around for even more sparkle. And because they chose glass, the whole display seems to float. Drama!
This display was in the center of the room, yet because it was so airy it created a focal point without blocking the view. I also think it would have looked stunning against a backdrop of satin,velvet, or another fabric that reflects the light the way the glass does.
Cost saving tip: You don't have to spend a fortune on glassware to get this look. If you need a large number check into a restaurant supply company. You may also hit the jackpot at your local dollar store. Not all dollar stores are created equal, so stop in a couple. I have one near my house that has almost two full aisles of nothing but glassware.