A: Any time you invite people to be with you during a customary mealtime, you've got to feed them something substantial. A dessert-only reception should be held only in the late afternoon (before 4:00) or in the late evening (after 9:00). If you want to have a dessert party to save money, adjust your timing. If you want to have one because you love sweets, think about serving a three-course (instead of five-course) meal, and have a tempting dessert buffet. You could also have a sundae bar or a crème brûlée station with fruit and other toppings.