The DIY Candy Buffet – Part I  {Getting Started}

Candy buffets have become extremely popular, not only for weddings, but also for bridal and baby showers, birthday parties, graduation parties, and more. While there are businesses out there that can help you create your candy buffet, the DIY version is definitely more affordable, and isn’t it more fun to plan your own buffet?!

I was thrilled with how my buffet came together, so I’ll take this opportunity to show it off. ;)

Photo by: Love By Serena

I’ve had a lot of people ask me for some tips on how I pulled mine together, and these are some of the tips I’ve shared with them. Hopefully my suggestions will help to keep you organized, and alleviate some stress during your planning!

{The Theme}

You should decide early on what you want your candy buffet to look like. Obviously, the theme of your buffet should tie in with the theme of your event. Here are some candy theme options you can consider:

  1. A one color candy buffet (i.e. all white candy) – great for a very elegant event!
  2. The most popular choice, a candy buffet that matches your wedding or event colors – this can be very elegant, but you can also find ways to keep it fun and playful (depending on what candy you choose). You could also use your colors but in many different shades.
  3. A buffet using fun bright colors – this would be great for a tropical or carnival themed wedding or event.
  4. A theme based on the type of candy, for example your current or childhood favorite candies (a great idea for a birthday party – selecting candy from different decades of the person’s life).
  5. A blue or pink themed candy buffet for a baby shower

There are endless possibilities, and the choice is up to you, but save yourself some stress down the road by deciding which direction you want to go in early on in your planning.

{The Logistics}

We didn’t have any issues at our wedding, but I’ve heard many stories of guests taking way more than their fair share, risking running out of candy. This obviously has to do with how you choose to run your candy buffet. There are a few choices here, and neither choice is wrong, as long as you are prepared either way!

  • Option 1 – A Larger Buffet: Buy tons of of candy (you can always get lots of the “penny” candy in bulk as this works well), give your guests larger bags (think small paper lunch bags), and allow them to go to town. This is great if you want to offer your guests lots of candy.  {You can serve the buffet before the meal (great for a wedding when you want to keep guests happy, and full, while they’re waiting for the bridal party to arrive at the reception), or you can serve the buffet after dinner when they’re getting ready to head home.}

Tips to be prepared for this type of buffet:
1. Leave the bags on the buffet table (keep in mind that some people will take more than one bag, and others may only take one bag per couple/group).
2. Have someone ready to refill the jars when they get low (keep extra candy under the table for easy access).
3. Buy lots of candy!
4. Keep in mind that it may be hard to keep to a color theme with “penny” candy.

  • Option 2 – A “Smaller” Buffet: Buy less candy, and give your guests smaller bags to fill. This is what I opted to do for our wedding because I didn’t want to spend a fortune on candy.

Tips to be prepared for this type of buffet:
1. Serve the candy after the meal so guests are already full and less likely to take as much candy. This is a great way to say “thank you” at the end of the event, and you won’t have to buy as much candy.
2. If you choose to serve the candy after the meal, make it clear that it won’t be open until after the meal. I kept ours covered with tulle until we were ready to open it up to people, but I’ve heard of others keeping it hidden in another room and bringing it out when it’s time.
3. Give one bag to each guest and leave it at their place setting, this way they know they only get 1 bag. You can always include a cute poem on the bag as a polite way of saying, “please wait until after dinner.” *
4. Buy lots of candy (but not as much as the larger buffet)

*Like the idea of using the poem and favor tag on your bags? Check out this listing in our Etsy Shop!

{The Jars}

As soon as you decide you want to have a candy buffet at your wedding or event, I would begin looking for great deals on jars. I found some beautiful jars at places like Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s for $5-$10 a piece (you can always sell them after the event). Certain vases (so long as the opening is large enough) will work well, and you can always find vases at the dollar store. Another option is to ask friends and family members if they have any you could borrow. Over half the jars used in my candy buffet were ones I borrowed from family members, so don’t be afraid to ask around! {Some around the house jars that work well: truffle bowls, bowls used for candles or centerpieces, and of course, vases! Keep a look out for jars around your home that could work for you!}

However you find your jars, make sure you think about how people will get the candy out of them. If the opening is too narrow, your guests may need tongs to get the candy out, or it may not work at all. Also, make sure to pick a variety of sizes to create a more interesting look on your table (too many like-sized jars will make it difficult to see and access all of the candy).

Keep in mind that there are alternatives to glass jars that could be much cheaper, and a better fit for your theme. Here are a few suggestions:
-Baskets (great for a country or rustic theme)
-Buckets (also great for a country or rustic theme)
-Pails (great for a beach or tropical theme)
-Flower pots
-Boxes wrapped in wrapping paper – without lids, or course (great for a seasonal theme) {Just make sure to think about decorating the inside of the box with wrapping paper or felt, you still want it to look pretty once the candy is being taken out!}

The possibilities are endless, so get creative!

Since there are many details involved in creating your own candy buffet, I’m breaking this topic up into several posts, so stay tuned for parts II and III!

Up Next: The DIY Candy Buffet – Part II {Building Your Buffet}!