Why just have a cone when you can have an entire ice cream sundae bar? Building it is half the fun, which is why an ice cream bar will take your average party into terrific territory. A few decorations and a lot of toppings will make your guests so happy, they’ll scream for ice cream! Read on for some fun and whimisical ideas.

photo: Cosmo Dudley via flickr

Italian Gelato Bar 
Set up your own mini gelateria right on the counter: you can buy gelato at the store but to make the gelato bar seem autentico, scoop it into the mini cups and garnish with a mini Italian flag. Be sure to have fresh fruit, mint and small cones or wafers for garnish, too.

ice-cream-bar-pastel Photo: courtesy Entertain Decorate Celebrate Magazine

Pastel Palette
A cheerful color palette is a perfect compliment to an ice cream party. The pastel-hued tablecloth, honeycombs and paper goods are darling and a simple way to amp up your party décor. Even the scoops match the color palette at this ice cream social. We especially dig the pink waffle cone-style cups. So smart!

Classically CutePhoto: courtesy Pocket Full of Parties

Classically Cute
This old-fashioned-themed sundae bar by event planner Pocket Full of Parties makes us as happy as a kid in an ice cream shop. The chalkboard, color scheme and vintage objects add to the charm, while the display of sauces and toppings is sweet and simple.

Rustic CharmPhoto: courtesy The Inspired Room

Rustic Charm
We love the casual, homespun feel of this sundae set up. The wooden spool table and a cart found at the flea market make a great showcase for the ice cream and toppings. The use of buckets, crates, chalkboards and mismatched dishes fit in perfectly, creating a cute and cohesive party style.

I'm So FancyPhoto: courtesy Eat Drink Chic

I’m So Fancy
For a more sophisticated setup, this display from Eat Drink Chic is fabulously fun. Glass sundae dishes, custom labels and a pink candy box with a silver scoop elevate an average ice cream party to a girly girl’s dream. We love the way the toppings are displayed—maraschino cherries have never looked so chic!

ice-cream-bar-mason-jarsPhoto: courtesy Baked Bree

By the Jar
For no-fuss presentation and cleanup, mason jars are a great resource. Those sprinkles, candies and cookie crumbs look extra appetizing in little glass jars, and it’s a great way to store leftovers. We love the use of jars over on Baked Bree.

Put a Stick in ItPhoto: courtesy Pretty Mayhem

Put a Stick in It
This idea is so simple, we’re kicking ourselves for not already thinking of it. Use a marker and popsicle sticks to label your toppings. It’s a quick and easy way to make your party look more pulled-together.

On a ShelfPhoto: courtesy A Lovely Place to Land

On a Shelf
Why not use a piece of furniture to display your sundae bar? This charming yellow bookshelf spotted on A Lovely Place to Land provides a perfect backdrop for ice cream, toppings and serveware at a Curious George-themed ice cream social.

ice-cream-sandwichesPhoto: courtesy Yellow Bliss Road

Cookies and Cream
What’s more fun to eat than ice cream? An ice cream sandwich! Offer a selection of ice cream flavors, a variety of cookies, sprinkles and mini chocolate chips. Let guests choose their own adventure! Find other delicious ice cream sandwich inspirations on Yellow Bliss Road.

Just Add SodaPhoto: courtesy Celebrations at Home

Just Add Soda
If you’re looking for another twist on the ice cream theme, bring soda into the mix. There’s an old-fashioned appeal to ice cream floats, and so many options available when it comes to glass bottles of soda. Kids and grownups will love trying out different flavor combinations. This colorful party has a great soda-filled setup.

Sweet SelectionPhoto: courtesy The Mamanista

Sweet Selection
If you want to serve sweets along with ice cream, there are plenty of inspired options. Cake pops in cones and ice cream-shaped cookies make adorable and delicious additions to this darling party.

Scoop AheadPhoto courtesy of Kojo Designs

Scoop Ahead
We’re always on the hunt for hints to make our parties look a little more seamless. This clever tip comes from Kojo Designs. Scoop your ice cream in advance and put it back in the freezer until it’s party time. It makes for a delectable display, and you’ll get to spend time with your guests rather than the ice cream scoop.

ice-cream-bar-pintPhoto courtesy of Kiss My Cakes

A Pint To Go
When it’s time for guests to leave, send them home with a pint for the road. It’s a perfect parting gift, so you can make sure they got their fill of ice cream. We spotted these pints with custom labels over on Kiss My Cakes.

What’s your favorite topping on an ice cream sundae? Share with us in the comments!

— Natalie Broulette