You have the perfect dress, flowers and first dance song. You’ve selected the cake, but your wedding needs something more. A DIY candy bar is just the thing to add a fun, whimsical element to your wedding reception.
A candy buffet is a wedding element you can easily do on your own, but it does require some planning to pull off a coordinated look with enough candy to satisfy the sweet tooth of each guest. Check out our candy bar ideas to put together your own amazing display of sweet treats for your wedding guests.
A DIY candy bar is simple to create, but you do need a few specific supplies to make the sweet buffet run smoothly. Many of the supplies are relatively inexpensive, but the finished design makes a big impression on guests.
Before creating a candy bar buffet for wedding guests, you need:
It’s tempting to start loading up on candy now, but don’t indulge in a sugar rush just yet. Having a clear plan on how to make a candy buffet results in a polished, beautiful display that will make all your guests drool.
Starting with a theme helps you pull together all of the elements. Choose a general theme based on color or a particular pattern, or get very specific with a fun theme. Here are a few candy bar theme ideas to get you started:
With your theme in mind, start planning the details of the candy bar. One key element is the location of the candy buffet. Choose a location that is easily accessible yet out of the way. Candy buffets are often located near other desserts and food tables. Leave enough space around the table to allow for a good traffic flow.
The shape of the table is another consideration. A round table encourages guests to choose candy from all sides, while a rectangular table works well if you want to push the candy buffet against a wall.
Determine if you will have the candy buffet open all night or just for a portion of the evening. If you let guests munch on sweets from the time they arrive, you may find your supplies low by the end of the evening. Holding off until the end of dinner or the end of the reception creates a more controlled environment. Simply post a kindly worded sign letting guests know when the candy buffet opens.
The candy itself plays the starring role in your DIY wedding candy bar, so take some time to choose the candy carefully. When you think about how to prepare a candy bar, you need to determine the amount of candy necessary to keep your guests happy. If you get too little candy, many guests may leave empty-handed. Order too much, and you’ll have more leftovers than you could possibly use.
A general rule of thumb is to supply around ¼ to ½ pound of candy for each guest. That translates to 25 to 50 pounds of candy for every 100 guests. This takes into account the people who might take a little more and the guests who will take less.
The size of your take-home containers may influence this amount. Expect guests to fill the containers to the top. Stock extra candy for the buffet if you plan to provide large take-home containers.
Another consideration is the size of your serving containers. If you have a huge apothecary jar and you’re filling it with M&Ms, you’ll need a lot to make the jar look full and pretty. For this reason, smaller containers that an attendant refills throughout the night often look better on the table.
You’re ready to choose your candy. Let the fun begin! The great thing about a DIY candy bar for wedding guests is that anything goes, so have fun picking your favorite candies.
While you aren’t limited to a certain type of candy, these candy selection tips help you narrow down the options:
Now that you have some basic ground rules in mind, start choosing your candy. If you’re still not sure what to include, consider these wedding candy ideas:
Because the candy bar idea is flexible, you can weave in other goodies to shake things up. Nuts, cookies, chocolate-dipped fruit, mini cupcakes, cake balls and other small snacks work well to round out the candy offerings on the table.
The containers serve a key role in your candy bar. They not only hold the candy, they become a part of the décor on the table. For this reason, you should choose containers that are pretty and fitting for your theme. Glass containers are popular because they let the candy show.
Consider these traits about the containers when putting together your candy bar:
Glass containers aren’t the only options for candy bar containers. Trays and cake stands offer a different way to display candies. Place gourmet chocolates or wrapped candies on the trays for a fun display. Find letter-shaped dishes to spell out the word “Love” or your initials. For a rustic wedding, fill metal buckets with candy. A cloth liner keeps unwrapped candies clean. Wicker baskets also work well for wrapped candies.
Instead of spending a lot of money, dig through your cupboards to see what kind of containers you already have that might work. A dollar store is good place to score inexpensive glass containers if your own kitchen leaves you short on containers. Other container store options include restaurant supply stores, secondhand stores, discount retailers and craft stores.
Several items need to fit on the candy bar table while leaving enough room for guests to reach and fill their bags. Having an arrangement plan saves you time and stress on your wedding day.
Leave space for the following items:
When arranging your wedding candy bar, consider the different elements and how they play off each other. A varied display often looks better than uniform lines or rows of candy bowls. Put containers of different heights next to one another. Offset the positioning of the containers so they don’t look like soldiers in a row.
Place boxes, books or other items on the table to elevate some of the containers for more pronounced height differences. Place a tablecloth or pieces of fabric over the entire display to hide the props that add height. Position some containers on the boxes and others directly on the table to create attention-grabbing height variations.
When arranging the containers, consider how well guests can reach. Positioning most of the containers toward the front of the table allows guests to reach everything easily. While varying the heights creates interest, it makes sense to put most of the taller containers toward the back with the shorter containers in front. This keeps everything visible and makes it easier for guests to dig in and reach the candy.
Place the take-home containers where they are easily accessible. Offer containers in multiple spots if guests can approach the table from any side. Arrange boxes in neat, short stacks to conserve space. If you’re using bags, place them inside a small basket or similar container to keep them neat and organized. Don’t forget ribbons or twist ties to use as closures!
One of the best ways to determine your arrangement is to do a dry run. Find a table or countertop approximately the same size as the actual table you will use at the wedding. Gather all of your containers and decorations, including your tablecloth. Try out several different arrangements of the containers. Grab some friends to help you decide on an arrangement. If you find one you like, snap a photo so you can recreate it at the wedding reception.
If you don’t have the time or space to do a dry run, sketch out your candy buffet before your wedding day. Draw in the different containers and items that will go on the table so you have an idea of how it will fit together.
Start with a backdrop behind the candy bar to draw attention to the sweet treats. Large pieces of fabric, gathered tulle, burlap or similar materials work well to cover the wall.
Dress up the background material with fun decorations that coordinate with other reception décor. Ideas include garland, banners, strings of lights, photos of the happy couple or artwork.
Add a fun sign related to the sweet theme of the table. One idea is “Love is sweet.”
If your wedding candy buffet needs something extra, consider adding more decorations. Choose items related to your theme to help the candy buffet fit with the rest of the reception. Don’t add too many decorations. They can quickly take over the whole setup, making it seem cluttered and letting the candy get lost in the shuffle.
Some ideas for candy buffet decorations include:
Another option is to carry the general table décor to your candy bar. Use some of the same centerpieces from the guest tables on the sweet buffet. This ties the look together with the rest of the reception décor.
The candy buffet looks beautiful. Sparkling wrappers, shiny candies and whimsical lollipops fill the table. Nevertheless, how do you keep the table looking great once your guests start digging in to the sweet treats?
A candy buffet attendant is a simple way to keep things running smoothly. Work with your reception venue or caterer to determine if they can supply a staff member to monitor the candy bar. You can also enlist the help of a friend or relative to handle the job.
The attendant handles several tasks including:
Is your sweet tooth itching for sugary confections to make your wedding special? At Warrell, we have a wide range of candy capabilities, including chocolate enrobing, chocolate panning, caramels, brittles and taffy. Find out more about our products and how they fit in with your wedding candy bar ideas.