How to Set Up a Buffet Candy Bar at Your Wedding


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How to Set Up a Buffet Candy Bar at Your Wedding

Candy Bar

Candy Bar

How to Set Up a Candy Bar

Setting up a candy bar at your wedding has become a very popular idea these last few years. I was inspired to do this at my own wedding after seeing so many beautiful pictures in online wedding blogs and magazines. While the idea wasn’t originally ours, we added elements to personalize it and make it our own—and so can you. This article includes pictures from the candy bar at my wedding.

So, Why a Candy Bar?

My husband and I decided on a candy bar for a few reasons. We originally wanted to give out fully functional pocket-sized reproduction antique gumball machines with tiny gumballs inside. This idea, although adorable, would have cost hundreds of dollars. So we did this as an alternative, and I much preferred it in the long run.

  • Our wedding was two days before Halloween, so it seemed like a festive addition.
  • Our wedding guest list included children, so this also seemed like a no-brainer.
  • It’s a great distraction/snack while waiting for the wedding party and then your meal.
  • It’s a great place for your photographer to take colorful and detail-focused shots.
  • We used the candy bar to tie together our wedding theme and the multiple motifs we had going on.
  • We purchased favor boxes for guests to fill with candy, so this enabled the candy to still be a favorite as we originally envisioned.

Make Sure to . . .

  • Buy enough candy: My mom and dad purchased all of the candy because they are sweethearts! We purchased A LOT! Having leftover candy days before Halloween was not an issue. However, if your wedding is during a different time of year, you may want to figure out how much candy to buy more logically than I did (grabbing what looked good and throwing it in a cart). See who has specials and buy them on sale.
  • Have someone set up the candy bar: Whether it’s your planner, your venue coordinator, venue staff, or a friend/family member… you need to have someone. Choose a friend or family member who has no other obligations that day. I chose my cousin, Charity because she is creative and knows exactly what I want. I explained to her briefly what I had in mind, gave her all of the supplies, and she created something aesthetically-wonderful that properly matched each candy with its most eye-pleasing container.
  • Have enough jars and dishes: You’ll need a lot of them to display everything, and containers of loose candies have tongs or scoops for serving. Some of these items I already had, and some we purchased especially for the candy bar. I’ll come back to this further down.
  • Provide favor boxes or some kind of container: This will allow guests to bring the unwrapped candy back to their seats. Favor boxes are also great to help get rid of leftover candy at the end of the reception. Make sure your guests know about the favor boxes. The restaurant manager forgot about ours, and the message I put on our programs had guests looking for little favor boxes that weren’t there for the first hour. Headache!


Try to offer a variety to your guests. Also, include at least one of your favorite candies. This personalizes the candy bar table a bit and your guests will take notice and enjoy the attention to detail. After all, this day is a celebration for you and your new spouse! Our wedding would have been incomplete if we didn’t include my husband’s Swedish fish!

Choosing Containers

We used a variety of containers and dishes.

Keeping with Halloween touches:
  • Two candy corn-shaped glitter plates from the Target dollar section. One plate held Halloween Oreos and the other held Nestle Crunch bars, starbursts, and mini Hershey bars.
  • Three glass pumpkins held different types of Hershey kisses. The clear one is my mother’s and reminds me of my childhood. The two amber glass pumpkins (one had a jack-o-lantern face and the other was plain) were purchased at K-mart on sale.
Keeping with the 1920s theme:
  • Three apothecary jars held rainbow Twizzlers, peppermints, and M&Ms, respectively. These were wedding gifts from my mother. She purchased them as a set which is easier on your wallet than buying them individually. Shop around because these can be expensive. These were a must-have for the 1920s wedding theme.
  • We purchased an antique blue bubblegum machine because we still liked our original mini gumball machine wedding favor idea. I sanitized the insides, and my husband removed the hardware necessary to allow guests to dispense candy without inserting coins.
  • A giant martini glass held skittles. This fit right into our Prohibition-era-themed wedding. This was a gift, and I’ve seen them carried at many craft and party stores.
Other dishes:
  • Two heart-shaped stoneware candy dishes held red Swedish fish. These were purchased online for about $5 each.
  • Three stoneware characters held M&Ms (purchased from the same online website with the two hearts), a J for Jason, an H for Heather, and an ampersand. You can purchase numbers and letters to spell out anything you want. We used our initials and ampersands in other decorations, so this was a recurring detail.

Try to have a variety of dishes. Mix up colors and textures. I purchased doilies from an antique store and used them at the candy table. An old Coke bottle held a few peacock feathers to match the rest of our DIY centerpieces in the lounge.

Heather Says

This idea worked out well for everyone because who doesn’t love candy? Our photographer and guests took some really neat pictures. I’m so happy we decided to do this. If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate this idea into your wedding theme, you could label the candies with colors or fonts that are recurring to your theme.

We toyed with the idea of incorporating prohibition and labeling them after bootleg whiskey names/flavors, but we simply ran out of time. Look for glassware everywhere you go, even in the grocery store or antique stores. Keep your receipts too! If you find the same piece (or a better one for less), take the other one back. When I was at the peak of my own wedding chaos, I was going to five different stores a day, and you better believe I was looking to see what kinds of glassware and containers every store had.

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Read the previous article: What Is a Wedding Venue?

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