Seasonal Wedding Menus and Sweets

Capture the season’s best ingredients, brightest flavors, and most memorable combinations on your big day.

Lisa Marie Hart Weddings

After an outdoor ceremony at Indian Canyons Golf Resort, guests walk steps away to the event center for a sumptumous meal.

No matter your wedding date, it’s easy to incorporate the season’s freshest flavors when you know where to look. Of course, this delicious stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s offers a special abundance of comfort foods, traditional dishes, beloved family recipes, and festive confections to choose from.

“Capturing the season of your wedding is a great way to celebrate,” says Trish Jones, designer and planner at The Walk Down the Aisle, serving Greater Palm Springs and the High Desert. “Especially for couples whose guests are traveling to sunny Palm Springs from cold winter environments.”

Jones recently coordinated a wedding with a fall-into-winter menu at Palm Desert’s Ironwood Country Club. Highlights by Ironwood Chef Mark Sickenberger included marinated grilled vegetables finished with garlic and herb oil; roasted garlic-pancetta penne pasta with a baked parmesan crust; seared California striped bass with cracked olive-tomato relish; a prime rib carving station; and assorted cupcakes including chocolate and red velvet.

Avalon Hotel Palm Springs

Those gathering with loved ones to celebrate their unions and share a meal at Avalon Palm Springs are in for a feast. In addition to preparing sentimental dishes the couple shares a fondness for, “we create custom menus for all of our clients based on seasonality and trends,” says Director of Special Events Olivia Prescott.

Salads to share made of fresh, seasonal ingredients change with the trends and the time of year at Avalon Hotel Palm Springs.

“This season evokes savory and earthy flavors along with family-style service of large platters and bowls to be shared and passed among guests.” New highlights by Chef Jason Moffitt feature the best of seasonal produce while still maintaining a light California style — with a heavy emphasis on nutrient-dense ingredients. Bring your appetite for:

Shareable Salads
• Seeds + Sprouts: organic red kale, sprouted peas, alfalfa, cranberries pumpkin seeds, toasted flax seed, roasted garlic-miso dressing
• Kale Salad: Tuscan kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, vinegar-infused raisins, puffed brown rice, hemp seed, chili, local lemon, olive oil

Family-Style Entrees
• Mary’s Organic Roasted Chicken: sunchoke puree, wild mushroom, toasted barley chicken jus
• Slow-Braised Beef Cheeks: organic beet and celery slaw, drunken raisins, celery root, pistachio, braising jus
• Loch Duarte Salmon: charred radicchio, crispy quinoa tabbouleh, pickled shallot, cucumber Greek yogurt

415 S. Belardo Road

Palm Springs; 760-320-4117

Indian Canyons Golf Resort

Set on the golf course with a view of the mountains and a fountain that sprays day-to-night in a glistening lake, the affordable Indian Canyons Golf Resort Event Center is a crowd-pleaser year-round. On the buffet this season, couples and their guests enjoy these specialties among others:

• French Green Beans Almondine
• Zucchini Provencal
• Wild Rice Pilaf
• Herb and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
• Roasted Boneless Breast of Chicken with Sauce Dijonnaise
• Baked Salmon with Firecracker Sauce
• Sliced Tenderloin of Beef with a Mushroom Sauce

Many choose to add a carving station of ham, turkey, or beef striploin and perhaps the dramatic Baked Wheel of Brie in Puff Pastry served with candied walnuts and Asian pear chutney. This warm cheese wheel feeds up to 40 guests!

1097 Murray Canyon Drive
Palm Springs; 760-833-8711

A rustic naked cake by Over the Rainbow complements the theme at this mountaintop celebration at Makerville.

Over the Rainbow Cupcakes & Desserts

Apple Toffee Pecan Crunch Cake? Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake? Why choose? Dessert tables are a gift to your guests, and the perfect way to sample the bounty of this sweet season.

Roman Blas, co-owner and pastry chef of Over the Rainbow Cupcakes & Desserts, dreamed up these goodies for his upcoming winter weddings:

• Red and silver shimmer cranberry champagne macarons (which will also be available at the bakery)
• Toasted Coconut Rum Cake, Maple Pear Cake, and Brown Butter Walnut Cake with local date filling
• A unique Christmas tree cake, fashioned from stacked layers of red and green cakes decorated like a Christmas tree
• White Chocolate Peppermint Blondies and Red Velvet Retro Snowballs

“Many couples ask for ‘winter wonderland’ touches — lots of metallic gold, silver, and white shimmer,” says Blas. “We will also have classics like Buche de Noel, Black Forest Cake, and cupcakes such as Brown Butter Pumpkin Spice and Spiced Carrot Cake.”

Smoke Tree Village
1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, #150

Palm Springs; 760-322-2253

The Pastry
Swan Bakery

“Most of our cakes right now for weddings include seasonal flavors such as spice, carrot, apple cinnamon, and pumpkin,” says Deborah Quinn-Buchanan of Pastry Swan Bakery. “Designs are leaning toward more gold and ivory” in line with festive wedding decor.

Cake isn’t cake without a decadent filling. This season, rich mousses like dark chocolate, mocha, and pumpkin are laying on an added boost of fall-winter flavor between the layers.

Spice cake, apple cinnamon, carrot, and pumpkin are popular flavors for The Pastry Swan Bakery’s fall and winter tiers.

Orders for specialty cakes and desserts run the gamut from Flourless Chocolate Cake, German Chocolate Cake, and Buche de Noel to Tiramisu and the Pecan Tart.

68444 Perez Road, #C
Cathedral City; 760-202-1213

Late night wedding donuts and coffee at a Cree Estate wedding.

Fun & toasty treats for winter weddings:

“Even when our desert days are bright and warm, winter evening temperatures dip down to the ’60s or lower, welcoming a warm treat — maybe even by the fire,” Jones says. She and her business partner, Stacey Jones, are looking forward to a New Year’s Eve wedding they designed at Indian Wells Golf Resort.

“The couple opted for a nighttime ceremony with festivities in the Pavillion stretching into the late-night hours,” she says. After an elegant dinner that features seared diver scallops with pink peppercorn sauce, New Zealand half-rack of lamb with roasted grape cabernet sauce, and slow-roasted prime rib with rosemary au jus and horseradish cream, guests will hope they saved room for a fiery dessert. At the Bananas Fosters station, bananas are sautéed with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and banana liquor then flambéed with ignited dark rum and served with vanilla ice cream.

Weddings will keep their team busy through high season, so Jones is staying atop the trends for chilly wedding nights. Her top picks:

• Hot coffee with donuts or donut lollipops
• Hot chocolate bar with self-service fixings: whipped cream, jimmies, caramel sauce, Baileys Irish Cream, etc.
• Warm chocolate shots: dark, white, and milk chocolate!
• Firelight s’mores stations using Sternos
• Hot popcorn in individual bags customized with a wedding logo or monogram
• Churros with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces

Trish Jones and Stacey Jones
Designers and planners at The Walk Down the Aisle
760-880-0870 or 808-283-4697

Lisa Marie Hart has been writing about weddings since serving as an editor at Bridal Guide magazine in New York City in 1999. Since 2006, she has been editor of the annual Palm Springs Life Weddings & Honeymoon Planner. Away from the laptop, she creates tiered cupcake stands for weddings and celebrations at