Hey party peeps! You guys know that I LOVE a candy buffet (I like to call them “Candy Bars”). In fact, I have them in almost All of my party designs. I get lots of questions on How To Set Up A Candy Buffet so today I’m sharing with you how I do it complete with a candy guide to show you how much candy you will need AND I’ll answer that taboo question: How much does a candy buffet cost?
Yup, I’m talking money and not ashamed to do it! Hopefully this budget breakdown will shed some light on how much a candy table actually costs, so that when you pin that fabulous candy buffet you’re dying to have at your next event, you will atleast have a frame of reference for how much it will actually cost to recreate it on your own! Pinterest photos do come with price tags!
Today’s post is WAY OVERDUE! I originally posted this as a Trend Alert on HWTM when I was a guest contributor and it’s still one of my most popular posts! Today, I’m finally posting this on my blog to share with you guys along with more photos and my signature Girlfriend Tips!
HOW TO SET UP A CANDY BUFFET IN 6 STEPS!
Candy buffets are my all-time favorite party trend. When I first started designing them, I had so many questions, like how to figure out how much candy I would need. I had no idea how many jelly beans are in a 10 lb bag or how many M&M’s would fill an apothecary jar! So, after trial and error, I have come up with 6 steps along with my signature GIRLFRIEND TIPS to help you set up your next candy buffet with little guess work.
STEP 1: Decide on a theme, colors & matching decor!
The first thing I do when deciding on a theme is pick my printables first. That way I can design everything else around those colors. Here I chose my “Girly Baby” baby shower printable collection and decided on an all pink and white color palette for the candy. When your guests enter your party space, the candy buffet should be a WOW-FACTOR! The first things they will see is the tablecloth, backdrop & centerpiece so make sure those three things are show-stoppers! Pretty sure that gorgeous blush sequin table linen fits that bill!
GIRLFRIEND TIP: This vinyl printed backdrop comes with a top rod pocket for easy setup on a backdrop stand. If you don’t have a backdrop stand you can also use it on a curtain rod, but make sure it’s atleast 6′ long to hold the 6′ backdrop.
The centerpiece will be one of the first things people see on your table, so make sure it is FABULOUS and matches your party’s theme. My signature “bling bear” cupcake tower centerpieces are a super cute way to bring a girly baby shower theme to the table. To add the needed height to the centerpieces, I use clear acrylic plates and tubes from Koyal Wholesale to showcase the bears high above the table to ensure it is visually powerful and not blocked by the candy jars. The bears are dressed in rhinestone studded “baby girl” t-shirts, pink bows and are holding silver rattles and crystal pacifiers. So posh!
The cupcake tower gives the middle of the table height and is a great way to use a centerpiece as a way to add additional sweets to your table. This acrylic 5-tier cupcake stand and glitter cupcake wrappers from Koyal Wholesale are two of my all-time favorite party supplies! The stand sets up in minutes, displays up to 48 standard sized cupcakes and the inside clear tube can be filled with colored acrylic gems to match your colors. Then I display store-bought cupcakes and give them a designer touch by wrapping them with glitter cupcake wrappers and topping them with pink pearl sprinkles and printable cupcake toppers from Soiree Event Design Shop.
STEP 2: Display 4 different categories of candy!
There are so many types of candy to choose from. To make it easier, I separate candy into 4 categories:
Bulk loose candy: sold by the pound
Individually packaged candy: offer one per guest
Designer candy/sweets: offer one per guest
Display candy: used for decoration & filler
I like to use a mix of all 4 types of candy so I can display them in a variety of different containers and to ensure there is a mix of individual items guests can just take and bulk candy where they fill candy bags with a few scoops of a variety of candy.
Candy Warehouse is my go-to resource for candy as they are reliable and have high-quality candy in a wide variety of colors. They even have a handy tool on their website called a Candy Buffet Builder that will allow you to search for candy by a specific type or even more fabulous…by the color you are looking for. This makes this step of picking out the types of candy to match your color-coordinated candy buffet a breeze!
GIRLFRIEND TIP: To display swirl lollipops, RE-USE the cardboard trays that the swirl lollipops were shipped in by wrapping them with wrapping paper, embellish with a ribbon, add a printable circle, then re-insert the lollipops into the pre-punched holes. YOU’RE WELCOME FOR THAT ONE!
STEP 3: Set up the table in 3 zones with appropriate containers!
Divide your table into 3 horizontal zones and use height appropriate containers in each zone. I always set up my table first with all the empty containers to see how much space I actually have to work with before I order the candy. This way I can order just the amount of candy I need to fill the containers that can be displayed on a 6′ (for smaller events as shown here) or 8′ (for larger events) table without having to refill it during the event.
GIRLFRIEND TIP: When designing a color-coordinated candy table, always use clear containers so the color of the candy shows through. If you offer bulk loose candy, be sure to use containers with a large enough opening for a scoop to fit in and short enough that guests can actually reach to the bottom. There’s nothing worse than spending lots of money on candy that your guests can’t even get out of the containers!
USE TALLER CONTAINERS IN THE BACK ZONE!
Use taller containers or use photo boxes or acrylic stands/boxes to elevate your containers in this zone. Make sure the containers are not too tall so your guests can reach the candy inside them and avoid tipping them over. Test this in advance to avoid this. I usually don’t use bulk candy containers in the middle back of this zone because it is difficult to reach and scoop out bulk candy in tall containers at the back of the table especially when the candy starts to get low. I did use 2 glass jars with lids to hold the bulk marshmallow poles in this zone but had the containers sitting low enough and close to the edge of the table so guests could walk to the side of the table to get to them.
GIRLFRIEND TIP: I used sugar pearl candy balls in the bottoms of the 4 stemmed hurricanes to make the rock candy sticks sit higher in the container so they are easier for guests to get to. Without the sugar pearls to raise the rock candy, guests would have to reach way down in the tall jars and may tip them over trying to reach the candy inside.
USE JARS WITH BULK CANDY IN THE MIDDLE ZONE!
The middle area of the table is where I display bulk candy in 2 sets of apothecary jars to balance the table design with 3 jars on each side of the table for a more balanced look. Using 6 jars allows you to display a lot of candy here without taking up too much of the table space. In this zone I used 6 apothecary jars to hold all the bulk candy—M&M’s, gumballs and chocolate balls.
GIRLFRIEND TIP: These apothecary jars from Koyal Wholesale are some of my favorite containers to display candy. They have wide openings and serve bulk candy perfectly! They have a fabulous set of 3 for $39.98 that are affordable and a must-have in your collection as they hold lots of bulk candy, can be used in almost all party themes and weddings and take up minimal table space. The set (shown here) includes (1) 14″ tall with 6″ opening diameter, (1) 13.75″ tall with 5.6″ opening diameter and (1)12″ tall with 5.3″ opening diameter.
USE TRAYS IN THE FRONT ZONE!
The front of the table is where I use trays or shorter containers to display individually-portioned candy like cotton candy bags, ribbon candy, swirl lollipops and jumbo marshmallows on sticks!
STEP 4: Figure out how much candy you will need to order!
Candy Warehouse’s general rule of thumb is to order 8 ounces of candy per guest. Most of their candy is sold in 5 lb bags which equals 80 ounces. This candy table is setup for 24 guests, so I would need 192 ounces of candy or 15 lbs of candy. For larger guest counts I order more bulk candy and less individually portioned items.
For individually packaged candy, I always order one per guest, that part is easy! But what do you do when you go to order loose candy and it’s all sold by the pound! OH NO! How do you figure out how much 5 lbs of M&M’s actually looks like and would it be enough to fill one or more of my fabulous apothecary jars? Here’s a breakdown of the candy used on this table and a visual reference of how the candy fit in the apothecary jars. I also showed you the candy in 1 gallon freezer bags so you can see how much candy it actually is:
Bulk loose candy:
– M&M’s (5 lb bag)
– gumballs (box of 850)
– puffy poles jumbo marshmallow twists (1 bag)
– foil wrapped chocolate balls (5 lb bag)
Individually packaged candy:
– swirl lollipops (24)
– rock candy sticks (38)
– cotton candy (24 bags purchased from Soiree-EventDesignShop.com)
– ribbon candy (4 boxes)
– jumbo marshmallows (1 bag)
– sugar candy beads (5 lb bag)
– jelly beans (10 lb box)
Candy Warehouse also has a great video here that shows how some of their most popular bulk candy fits inside a standard 1 gallon glass jar so you don’t have to wonder how much you will need to order. You can also click here for a handy Candy Shelf Life Chart that will help you figure out how far in advance you need to order the candy so it is fresh for your event.
GIRLFRIEND TIP: Once you set up your table with the containers you want to use, you may realize you don’t have enough space to display 100 individually packaged candy like swirl lollipops,for example, if you have a 100-person guest count like a wedding. In this case, you can adjust your candy choices to include more bulk candy, like jelly beans, instead that can be displayed in one large jar which takes up less table space and feeds a lot more people.
STEP 5: Personalize your table with matching printables!
This “Girly Baby” printable collection from my shop was the perfect addition to add a modern, girly look to the table. I used the cupcake toppers, Lolli-tag™ sticks with bows, table sign and labels to add a personalized touch to celebrate the coming of Baby Kori!
GIRLFRIEND TIP: You can order any of our printable collections as DIY printables and as Ready-to-Use printables that come printed and delivered to you ready to go.
STEP 6: Add the finishing touches!
This is my favorite part…adding the details! Once you have all the candy to match your color palette, the last thing to do is add all the finishing touches to enhance the theme of the table. Check out how I enhanced the table with these finishing touches:
Decorate with candy!
How fabulous are these BABY letter ceramic dishes from The TomKat Studio! They come in every letter so you can create any word you like! For this baby shower table, the word BABY was perfect and allowed for a cute decorative display for the jelly beans.
GIRLFRIEND TIP: For baby showers, I use candy as game prizes all the time and these square plastic bottles with lids are perfect for that. Simply fill them with jelly beans, place a stick with a printable down in them and place them on your table to add a decorative element to the table until game time. Keep the lids nearby so the winner can close the jars to take them home.
Add a little bling!
What’s a girly candy table without a little bling, right? These fabulous bling tongs & scoops from Talia’s Creative Printing adds just that bit of sparkle detailing that will have your guests talking! The bling Sparkle Sticks™ from Made By A Princess is the perfect addition to really glam up simple jumbo marshmallows!
Embellish with bows & ribbon!
Glam up the candy, containers and printable sticks with bows and ribbon. Here I added black ribbon to the swirl lollipops and decorated their display cartons with wrapping paper, ribbon and printable circle.
Give personalized candy favors!
I love giving candy as party favors and these cotton candy bags with custom labels from my shop here are perfect for adding a personalized touch to your party favors. You don’t have to deal with the mess of making cotton candy and the labels match your theme and look amazing! You could even tie a personalized circle that comes in the “Girly Baby” printable collection around the tops of these plastic tubes to add a personal touch to these gumball party favors.
HOW MUCH DOES THIS CANDY BUFFET COST?
CLICK HERE for the full cost breakdown.
WHERE DID SHE GET THAT?
– Styling & photography: Soiree Event Design
– Printables: Soiree Event Design Shop
– Cotton Candy with custom labels: Soiree Event Design Shop
– Candy: Candy Warehouse
– Apothecary jars, white mini cupcake stands & glitter cupcake wrappers, acrylic cupcake stand and sequin tablecloths: Koyal Wholesale
– BABY ceramic letter dishes, square plastic milk bottles, plastic gumball tubes: TomKat Studio Shop
– Bling tongs & scoops: Talia’s Creative Printing
– Sparkle sticks: Made By A Princess
– Vinyl backdrop: Bubblegum Backdrops