how to host a candy buffet

January 4 2012 |


Recently, a friend asked for some details about the candy buffet that Mr. Lovely and I had at our wedding reception.  I started laying out some information for her, and once I started, I couldn’t stop!  So I decided to share the info with you, too.  There’s a ton of information for you after the jump — I’m talking diagrams, spreadsheets, tips and tricks. 

We used three different online bulk food websites, depending on which item was cheapest on each site.  We were searching for particular colors, which is why we chose certain types of candy.  Some of them only came in really large sizes (like the licorice), so we ended up with more leftovers on those items.  But it made more sense to buy a large case rather than pay more by the pound, so we still saved money even though we had lots of those left over.  Some leftovers we gave away, some are still around being nibbled on slowly, some I’m using for projects, and so on.  Chocolate items are obviously the favorite but the most expensive; all of the chocolate we bought was eaten.  Also, because we were ordering during the summer, we also paid a couple of extra bucks for ice packs to be included with some of the items that might have melted.  We ordered candy about three weeks before the wedding.  Here’s our breakdown:

For jars and containers, we scoured garage sales and thrift stores.  We got an assortment of scoops and tongs at craft and home stores.  We bought glassine bags (4″ x 7.5″) for guests to put the candy in, and small kraft stickers to seal the bags (we printed “c + r” on the stickers).  It’s also important to label the jars so guests know what they’re getting — we typed the candy names on shipping labels and affixed them to the individual jars.

We found it pretty crucial to do a “dry run” candy bar, set up at home before the event.  We literally set everything out the way it would be, including filling the jars and then bagging that amount so that our wedding coordinator could just empty bags into jars with corresponding numbers.  See the photo below and the following list for amounts.  It’s hard to know what a pound of candy looks like, right?  Well, here ya go!

1.  Peach Rings.  We ordered 4 lbs.  This is about half of that.
2.  “F” Lollipops.  These were given to us as a gift before the wedding.  I think this is about 20.
3.  Cinnamon Bears.  We filled two jars with these.  We ordered 10 lbs.  This is about 4 lbs.
4.  Rock Candy Swizzle Sticks.  We ordered one box (72 sticks).  This is 22 sticks.
5.  Gummi Grapefruit.  We ordered 4 lbs.  This is about half of that.
6.  Root Beer Licorice.  We ordered 12 lbs.  This is about 3 lbs.
7.  Sixlets.  We ordered 5 lbs.  This is almost all of that.  (Two jars.)
8.  Strawberry Cheesecake Taffy.  We ordered 5 lbs.  This is about half of that.
9.  Lemon Drops.  We ordered 10 lbs.  This is about half of that.  (Two jars.)
10.  Watermelon Licorice.  We ordered 12 lbs.  This is about 4 lbs.
11.  Cream M&Ms.  We ordered 5 lbs.  This is about half of that.
12.  Yellow Candy Sticks.  We ordered one box (80 sticks).  This is about 20 sticks.

We ended up with approximately a half pound of candy per guest; there were about 125 people at our reception.  This was probably a little too much candy for eating, but part of hosting a candy buffet is the aesthetic, and fuller jars just look better — plain and simple.  We had a stash of labeled bags hidden underneath the table and our wedding coordinator was using them to refill the jars throughout the evening.

The bottom line is that a candy buffet can be a lot of work, but such a fun thing to have at a party.  It’s a fun way to get guests up and around and actively taking part in the festivities, and gets a little sugar high going as well — nothin’ wrong with that!  I really do hope all of this info can be of some use; if you’re in the planning stages and have questions about things I didn’t cover, don’t hesitate to leave a comment and ask.  xoxo

17 thoughts on “how to host a candy buffet”

  1. Thanks for showing pics of the set-up. It must have added a special touch to your beautiful day . . . so much thought and planning . . . memories to last a lifetime !!

  2. this is fantastic! id love to do the same! hoping to find decent suppliers from Ireland (where i am based!)
    Great blog!

  3. Chelsea, How much did this cost you (in total with jar expenses too), and when did you buy your candy?
    I am VERY VERY interested!!!

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