The Look for Less: Candy Buffets vs. Dessert Tables

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Hey party peeps! Today’s post is one of my most popular series — “The Look for Less” where I share with you some ways to achieve a high-end looking event for less by using my tips. Today’s post is all about Candy Buffets versus Dessert Tables and how you can save hundreds of dollars by creating a fabulous looking Candy Buffet for your next event. Here I designed a Beach Bridal theme showing both a candy table and a dessert table for 85 guests. Be sure to scroll down to the end of the post to see a detailed budget on both tables and see the savings.

Sweet City Candy is a hassle-free online candy vendor that I used to purchase all of the candy shown on the candy table. Their selection is great and super easy to order with their option to search for candy by color! Not only do they have some of the most affordable candy online right now, but now they offer free shipping for orders over $65! This is HUGE considering candy is very heavy and most candy companies charge shipping based on weight which can sometimes blow your budget!


Beach Bride Candy Table

This candy table features all-white candy from Sweet City Candy including gummy bears, jelly beans, malt balls, gumballs, rock candy, sixlets, chocolate covered pretzels and hershey kisses. The all-white candy pops off all the gold decor. Displaying the candy in clear glass containers including apothecary jars from Koyal Wholesale and stemmed hurricanes makes sure the color of the candy shows through. For a high end, modern look, add in small touches of beach themed decor like these coral placecard holders and ceramic sand dollar coasters from Kate Aspen along with white starfish which were sleek and modern. Don’t go overboard with your beach decor. Of course, a bridal shower has got to have some sparkle so I anchored the table with sparkly gold sequin backdrop and table linen, a fabulous rhinestone sun wall piece and gold rhinestone candy scoops.














Candy Buffet Budget Breakdown: $378.05

To accomodate 85 guests, I ordered 40 pounds of candy. Sweet City Candy’s general rule for ordering enough candy is to order 1/2 pound or 8 ounces of candy per person. Here is the list of the candy ordered and how much of each.

gumballs white (7 lbs) $68.04

gummy bears white – strawberry/banana (5 lbs) $14.90

jelly beans white – coconut (5 lbs) $25.55

malt balls white (5 lbs) $38.60

rock candy white (120 count) $93.60

sixlets white (10 lbs) $49.50

hershey kisses silver (6 lbs) $28.21

white chocolate covered pretzels (5 lbs) $52.00



Tip: Use Your Bridal Shower Favors In Your Decor

For bridal showers, here is an idea for a favor that you can actually use as part of your decor. Here I used a few of the “Seashell” Gel Tealight Holders from Kate Aspen on the Candy Table to add a touch of beach themed decor. I suggest you display the rest of the favors in their pretty packaging on a separate smaller table for guests to take with them when they leave.



Beach Bride Dessert Table

For dessert tables, figuring out how much to order is not based on weight. As an event planner, my general rule is to order 3 pieces of dessert items for each guest. Using that rule, I had to order at least 255 desserts for 85 guests. Since most dessert items come in dozens, I ordered a little bit more. Dessert tables are a fabulous alternative to candy buffets and are a hot new trend at weddings. They are a bit pricier but the gorgeousness of these custom desserts made by today’s most sought after dessert designers is undeniable.  You can work with them to get just the right custom look you’re going for. If you have the budget…go for it!









Dessert Table Budget Breakdown: $659

Here is the list of the desserts ordered and how much of each. (Full quantities of the desserts are not shown on the table. Due to the amounts of each, dessert tables usually require refilling)

– rice crispy treats (3 dozen @ $20 per dozen) $60
– chocolate seashell lollipops (3 dozen @ $18 per dozen) $54
– chocolate seashells (2 dozen @ $12 per dozen) $24
– gold glittered cake pops (3 dozen @ $32 per dozen) $96
– iced starfish cookies (3 dozen @ $24 per dozen) $72
– white seashell cake pops (3 dozen @ $30/dozen) $90
– meringue kisses (24 @ $15 per 2 dozen) $15
– bridal heart iced cookies (3 dozen @ $38 per dozen) $114
– chocolate covered oreos (3 dozen @ $22 per dozen) $66


Tip: Use Dessert Items In Your Decor

To add some fabulous decor to the table, I added 7 fondant topped cupcakes surrounding the gorgeous centerpiece. Ordering 85 of these would have skyrocketed my budget, so instead I only placed a few on the table that added to the decor.



Tip: Use Custom Bridal Shower Favors for your Bridesmaids In Your Decor

The ultimate Bridesmaid’s Favor are these custom lollipops by LolliPics! Here I had 3 of the happy couple’s photos from their engagement shoot placed on these lollipops for each of the bridesmaids. They are completely edible and gorgeous!






Like what you see?  You can now easily shop this look by clicking over to my Pinterest board for a virtual shopping list of most of the items I used in this party’s design along with prices and links to purchase them.

Follow Soiree Event Design’s board Beach Bridal Shower on Pinterest.


– Styling & photography: Soiree Event Design

– All candy: Sweet City Candy

– White seashell cake pops, meringue kisses, iced starfish cookies: Petits Plaisirs Chocolata Treats

– Gold cake pops, chocolate oreos, chocolate seashell lollipops, rice krispie treats, chocolate seashells: Autumn Lynn’s Chocolate Sins

– Iced heart cookies: Sweet C’s Bake Shop

– Fondant flowers cupcake toppers: Evie and Mallow

– LolliPics custom lollipops: LolliPics

– Apothecary jars, gold sequin table linen, gold mini cupcake stands, gold Flora glass chargers, starfish: Koyal Wholesale

– Glitter gold cupcake wrappers: Dress My Cupcake

– “Seashell” tealight candle favors, sand dollar coasters, coral placecard holders: Kate Aspen

– Gold rhinestone candy scoops: Talia’s Creative Printing

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  1. Jaime White says:

    Great article. 2 beautiful displays. This comparison was well needed.

    • Thanks Jaime! I think these posts are helpful especially for people who want those gorgeous Pinterest candy and dessert tables and have no idea how much they cost!

  2. Both tables are fabulous…I love how you placed the shell cake pops in the shot glasses so cute and clever 🙂

    • Thanks Blanca. I am a mini dessert fanatic! Anytime I can find a way to use these mini dessert glasses, I’m game!

  3. Beautiful as always! I love how you combined some gold accents with an all white table.

  4. Stunning! Love the white and gold details!

  5. I LOVE this dessert table! The gold and white are amazing!

  6. Gorgeous work and the comparisons were really helpful for people to realize! I love the Lollipics and think that is such a wonderful idea!

    • Thanks Laura. Yes, those LolliPics are just fabulous and the company is even more wonderful to work with!

  7. Gorgeous! Love the price breakdown!

  8. Beautiful! I love both displays and the gold and white is fabulous. Thanks for the tips!

  9. I love these ideas and the dessert table. So helpful to have a price breakdown. I also love the different fondant cupcake toppers. Beautiful! 🙂

  10. Wow! This is gorgeous! I always thought candy buffets would be a lot more than a dessert table but I had never sat down to figure it out. Thank you for the tips! I absolutely love all the glitter! I’ve done a lot of pinning in the post because there are so many ideas I want to remember for future parties.

    • Thanks Cheryl. Pin away! LOVE THAT! Next I’m going to do a Look for Less dessert table post showing how much money you could save using all store bought desserts! Stay tuned 😉

  11. LOVE how beautiful this all is!

  12. So creative and visually appealling. Tonya is a great talent with enjoyable flair for all !

  13. This is simply gorgeous…. I look forward to seeing what you will do next!!!!!! You never disappoint!!! And I love how you break everything down as far as cost!!!! So creative

  14. I think sometimes people avoid great ideas because they assume it will cost too much. Thanks so much for the breakdown…. Beautiful ideas!

  15. Sharon McZeal says:

    You are extremely talented! Love all of your creations! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Love both tables and the breakdown is perfect.

  17. This is simply wonderful! Your creativity is endless. I love that superb can be achieved without breaking the bank.

  18. Lisa Walters says:

    Your attention to detail is amazing. Love the design!

  19. Absolutely stunning. Who knew a candy bar could look so luxurious?!?! I love it!!!

  20. Very very interesting and love that you did the comparison for me LOL I was just thinking of dessert vs candy for my son’s upcoming bday. I guess candy it is haha! I’ll make the few desserts that I can on my own. You rock girly!

  21. Absolutely beautiful!!!!

  22. Great design and great article. I have gone and checked out most of the vendors you featured! Love all the new resources.

  23. Tonya, this turned out so beautiful! Thank you for making our candy look so gorgeous! XOXO

  24. Stunning! I love the seashell lollipops in the sand shooters, such a fun way to display them!

  25. Vicki Stull says:

    Simply gorgeous work. Wow!! You are as talented as you are beautiful!

  26. Both set ups are beautiful! Love how you did a contrast/compare. The lollipics are awesome!

  27. Toni Thomason says:


  28. Beautiful as usual Tonya! I love how you completed the look down to the smallest details. Great info too on the costs, where to shop, and how to put it all together. Great job!

  29. I love this!! It all looks so beautiful and elegant. I love how you use sea shells and star fish. My favorite are the candle holder. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Natasha Khan says:

    Hi Tanya thank you for this post, but I noticed that a designer’s fee wasn’t in the breakdown. Was this included or would be added later? Thanks in advance

    • Hi Natasha! No, the designer fee was NOT included. The total for both tables does not include the cost of linens, backdrops, decor, containers or the designer’s fee. This was a breakdown cost comparison of candy vs. desserts only. Thanks for stopping by!


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