The DIY Candy Buffet – Part II {Building Your Buffet}

Now that you’ve gotten started, it’s time to get down to all of the fun (well, sort of) logistical “stuff”…

{The Candy}

It’s never too early to start looking for candy that you want to include, but be careful to think about the shelf life of the candy so that it is fresh for your event. Check out this article to get an idea of the shelf life of different candies. Keep an eye out in the bulk section of local grocery stores, or a member-only retail warehouse, and don’t be afraid to look online. Keep in mind that all online orders should be placed at least a month before the event to make sure the candy arrives in time!

These are the online stores I used, and I highly recommend them! They are also great for finding candy in specific colors.

Always comparison shop to make sure you are getting the best deals! I found many things were cheaper in the grocery store than they were online. ;) You can also find some great deals on candy right after holidays!

If you are including chocolate candy in your buffet, be careful ordering it online (especially in the summer months, or if you live in a warmer climate). I bought all of my chocolate candies in the store so I wouldn’t have to stress about them melting. It’s your choice, but if you do order them online you may have to include an icepack in shipping.

If you’re having an outdoor event where/when it will be warm, you may even want to steer away from chocolate completely so it doesn’t melt during the event! The same could also happen if the candy is kept inside in direct sunlight, so be careful where you put the buffet table!

{How Much to Buy}

This is a tough question, and it all depends on how much candy you want to give your guests. In my previous post I discussed having a larger buffet where guests can go all out, or a smaller buffet where guests can only take one small bag, so the answer to this question varies on how you decide to run the buffet.

I chose to do the smaller buffet and leave the bags at guests’ place setting, offering one bag per person. We had around 120 guests, and I bought around 30-35 lbs of candy total (roughly ¼ pound per guest), and I had plenty of candy! It also depends on the types of candy you provide. We didn’t buy as many rock candy sticks as we did Hershey Kisses because the rock candy was more expensive, and the rock candy went quickly! If you’re doing the smaller buffet, I would recommend estimating around ¼ – ½ a pound of candy per guest, adding up the total pounds of all the candy you buy.

If you choose to do the larger buffet and provide unlimited large bags on the buffet table, you’ll need to buy a lot more candy. Obviously it depends on how many guests you’re having, but I would recommend at least 10-20 lbs of each type of candy for a large event.

There’s no real formula for figuring out how much candy to buy, but use your best judgment and take into consideration the size of your bags, how many bags guests are allowed to take, and most importantly how many guests are attending your event!

{Getting the Candy Out}

Along with buying containers, you will also need to think about how guests are going to get the candy out of the containers. The rule is that if a candy is wrapped you don’t need a scoop or tongs, but if I candy is unwrapped then you must offer them a scoop or tongs. Make sure you have a separate scoop or tong for every candy that needs one.  Like the containers, it’s never too early to start looking deals on scoops and tongs!

{Make sure you tune in for my 3rd post about the DIY Candy Buffet where I’ll be giving some tips on how to decorate your scoops. ;) }

Photo By: Love By Serena

{The Bags}

Don’t forget that your guests will need something to keep their candy in after they’ve gone to the candy buffet. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Mesh favor bags (the ones you see at a lot of weddings). This is what we used, and I found them here. I recommend getting the larger bags (at least 4×6 inch) and not the typical 3×4, as they won’t hold much candy at all. We used the 4×6, and they worked perfectly!
  2. White favor bags (similar to small white lunch bags).
  3. Tin tie bags are also great, and similar to the white paper lunch bags. You can find them here.
  4. Small favor boxes, found here and here.
  5. I’ve also seen people who use the small take-out boxes, found here.

This is also a great resource for finding all types of favor bags and boxes.

Keep in mind that all these options, except the mesh bags, can be dressed up with a small sticker, or paper decal attached with glue, or even a stamp! If you choose the mesh bags, you can always attach a piece paper to the ribbon.

{Remember, we have favor tag options available at our Etsy Shop, so feel free to check them out!}

{Creating the Layout}

Once you’ve started accumulating jars, baskets, buckets, pails, or whatever you are using, I would begin to lay them out on a table and see how they look together. Start playing around with different arrangements, and make sure all of the containers are accessible. The best way to do this is to keep shorter containers in the front, and taller ones toward the back. You should also begin to consider what types of candy will go in each jar. If the candy is unwrapped and needs a scoop, make sure there is enough room to actually scoop out of the jar. If the candy is unwrapped and guests can use their hands, make sure the opening isn’t so tight that they don’t be able to get their hand back out!

Having a general idea of which type of candy will go best in each jar will definitely help once you start purchasing the candy. Take into consideration the size of the candy and how many pounds of the candy it will take to fill the jar. *When ordering your candy, keep in mind that a pound of one candy may not fill the same amount of a container as a pound of another candy. I found this video extremely helpful when ordering my candy!

Once it gets closer to your event, and you’ve bought your candy, you should do another trial run with the candy. Doing this a week or two before your event allows you to plan out where the candy will go, and what candy fits best in each container (and hopefully you won’t discover that you need to buy more!). I even opened some of the pictures of my jars (that I took earlier on in my planning) into the Paint program on my computer and typed out which candy I was putting in each jar, creating a map of my buffet before I did this trial run with candy {I know, I’m a geek ;)}

Also, be sure to start thinking about where the table with your candy buffet is going to be set up in your venue. If your venue has a planner that is assisting you, I’m sure they will have some great suggestions!

That’s all for today, next time it’s our final segment on this topic, The DIY Candy Buffet – Part III {The Details}. I can’t wait to share this one! :)