Candy Buffets and Cookie Bars
One of our favorite wedding trends of recent years is the Candy Buffet or Cookie Bar. What could be better than a table full of yummy goodness in the form of candy coated chocolate, brightly colored sugar, or comforting chocolate chip cookies? We love how candy buffets can add splashes of color to the reception (whether in your wedding colors or an array of bright colors), how they can serve as dessert or a favor and how they appeal to guests of all ages! The downside of this beautiful and delicious wedding detail? The cost can often be quite expensive. Read the tips below to create a gorgeous, professional looking candy buffet or cookie bar on a budget!
1. Get your containers at a discount. Since these buffets display candy and cookies in containers of many shapes and sizes, you can piece together mismatched serving dishes to create the overall effect. To assemble this collection on a budget, first ask family members if you can borrow glass cookie jars, cake stands, canisters and other containers to save on costs. There are many ways to personalize these dishes without permanently altering them, so you can return them to Grandma good as new. Still need more? Hit up yard sales and flea markets to find dishes that will work. There is always an overabundance of these kinds of jars and containers at yard sales, so you and your team of wedding helpers should be able to find plenty. And you can’t beat the yard sale prices of a couple of dollars for each. If these don’t work, or you are looking or one or two specific kinds of containers, check out your local Dollar Tree or our standbys of A.C. Moore, Michael’s, Joann’s, and Hobby Lobby, coupons in hand.
2. Get that candy! Pull out all the stops when trying to score that candy for cheap. Identify one or two must-haves and some of the colors or looks of candy or cookies that you want to go after. Then, start clipping those coupons and get ready for sales…
3. Hit up those after holiday sales! Have you noticed how basically every holiday has themed candy that comes with it? That means that chances are at some point in the year there is candy in your wedding colors! Take advantage of this by grabbing all leftover candy in the after-holiday sale of your choice. Of course, be sure to check those expiration dates, but most candy has a long shelf life. By waiting until after the holiday, you can score all of the M&Ms, Hershey kisses, peanut butter cups, peppermint patties, etc. that your heart desires (and in colors that will match or complement your wedding) for 50-90% off. Score!
4. Go with the homemade trend. Homemade by you and your family that is. One of our favorite ways of putting together a cookie bar or candy buffet is to ask family members and friends to each make a few dozen cookies, bars, or homemade candy to include in the buffet. Then display each variety with a label identifying its baker, like Aunt Sandy’s Kiss Cookies, Grandma’s Peanut Butter Eggs, Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, Uncle Dan’s Gingersnaps, etc. This approach gives a personalized charm that beats out any manufactured dessert and is always a huge hit with guests, since they will recognize some of the contributors. Many family members looooooooooooove being asked to make something to contribute, and this is a way to have various relatives and future in-laws play a part in the wedding. And besides all of the warm fuzzies that this approach will give you, your wallet will enjoy it too—homemade cookies and candy by relatives= a free gift to you.
5. Don’t get fancy with the goodies. There’s really no need to have gourmet chocolate, hand decorated personalized cookies, or elaborate candied apples in your cookie or candy bar- dessert is dessert! Although adorable, resist the urge to have that caricature of you hand painted on a cookie, and go with your more affordable and classic options.
6. Decorate! The secret to all of those designer candy buffets and cookie bars? Well-placed decoration! Use your mass of containers strategically to best display the kinds of goodies at your table and then personalize with decorations to match your wedding theme and atmosphere. Some of our favorite low-cost ways to decorate? Spray paint your jars! Or hot glue ribbon to the outside of the container, personalize with wedding labels, place color marbles in the base of some containers, or have some well-placed candles and flowers around the table. And don’t forget that the candy and cookies themselves are decorations! Select at least one or two eyecatching (but affordable) desserts to make everyone drool and make those your focal points!
7. Grab some cute treat bags. If you want to make the cookie bar or candy buffet a favor of sorts and have your guests fill up a bag to take home with them, you’ll need some cute but inexpensive treat bags. Check out some good options at Oriental Trading, Michael’s, Joann’s, Hobby Lobby, and A.C. Moore. Remember to use your coupons and coupon codes for an extra discount! And keep those oh so cute treat bags on the small side, or you’ll run out of goodies fast!
8. Finish the look with a personalized seal. We can’t help it- we just love wedding labels! Another perfect use for a monogrammed sticker is to seal your treat bag. Or you could have special ones made for the occasion with a cutesy saying like “love is sweet” or “sweets for the sweet”. This could look like a splurge, but really this precious detail will only set you back a few bucks.
And Voila! You have a gorgeous, yummy, inexpensive cookie bar or candy buffet with all of your personal touches that every guest can dig in to!