Tonya Coleman here from Soireé Event Design, and I’m back with the “Trend Alert” where I share with you some of the hottest trends in party planning!
You are watching: How To Set Up A Candy Bar
This candy buffet trend is still going strong…in fact it has become a staple in most parties these days from small parties and baby showers to large weddings.
In today’s guest post I’m sharing How To Set Up A Candy Buffet In 6 EASY Steps! And be sure to scroll down for access to the full budget breakdown and Pinterest board with links to most of the items I used in this table design.
Candy buffets are my all-time favorite party trend and are always featured in any party that I plan. 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 I need to fill an apothecary jar!
So, after trial and error, I have come up with 6 steps that I always use along with tips to help you set up your next candy buffet. Let’s take a look at this Baby Shower Candy Buffet table for 24 guests completely finished and then I’ll show you step-by-step how I did it.
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6 Steps to Setting Up A Candy Buffet!
Step 1: Decide on a theme & colors
Candy buffets are all the rage in Baby Showers! They are taking the place of giving out traditional party favors. They are interactive, fun and a definite wow factor to the decor of any party. 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 and the table’s decor elements. Now, where can you find all pink and white candy?
Step 2: Pick out the types of candy you want
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 one of each of some of the candy for each guest and then bulk loose candy that guests help themselves to a scoop or two.
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!
TIP: If you have a candy request from the guest of honor that is not available in your colors, like Skittles for example, simply divide the candy into favor sized portions and package them up in individual color coordinated favor boxes or bags so the guest of honor’s favorite candy is on the table and still matches your color palette.
Step 3: Setup the table in 3 zones with appropriate containers
I always set up my table first 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.
When doing a color coordinated candy table, always use clear containers so the color of the candy shows through.
Remember to use containers that will properly display the types of candy you chose in Step 2. If you offer bulk loose candy, be sure that you use containers with a large enough opening for a scoop to fit in and short enough that guests can actually reach to the bottom. If after setting up your table, you may realize you don’t have enough space to display 100 individually packaged candy like swirl lollipops for example, you will have to adjust your choices to include more bulk candy instead that can be displayed in one large jar which takes up less table space.
Setup your table in 3 zones! Divide your table into 3 horizontal zones and use height appropriate containers in each zone.
Back Zone: Use taller containers or use photo boxes or glass jars 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 used sixlets 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. I also used 2 glass jars with lids to hold the marshmallow poles in this zone but had the containers lowers to allow for better reach.
TIP: I don’t use bulk candy containers in 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.
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, gum balls and chocolate balls. Apothecary jars from Koyal Wholesale are some of my favorite containers to display candy. 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.
TIP: For larger guest counts (50 or more), I suggest having 4 sets so you have 12 large vessels to hold bulk candy which serves more people with minimal table space.
Front Zone: The front of the table is where I use trays or shorter containers to display individually portioned items like cotton candy bags, ribbon candy, swirl lollipops and jumbo marshmallows embellished with Sparkle Sticks!
TIP: To display swirl lollipops, re-use the cardboard trays that the swirl lollipops were shipped in by wrapping them with paper, embellish with a ribbon and printable circle, then reinsert the lollipops into the pre-punched holes.
Step 4: Figure out how much candy you will need
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 10 lbs of jelly beans 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 coral-beachresortsharjah.com)
Designer candy: – ribbon candy (4 boxes) – jumbo marshmallows (1 bag)
Display candy: – sixlets 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.
TIP: When shipping candy in the summer months, it’s a good idea to use faster shipping options for only the items that may melt and then use a more economical ground shipping option for the rest. That way you don’t have to pay rush shipping on your entire order!
Step 5: Design your table with a wow-factor tablecloth, backdrop & centerpiece
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.
Matching backdrop: Here I used a fabulous vinyl pink tufted backdrop from Bubblegum Backdrops that perfectly sets the scene for the table—it’s girly and matches our color palette perfectly. The backdrop comes with a top rod pocket for easy setup on a backdrop stand. They have a huge selection of backdrop designs to choose from to match any party theme.
Show-stopper table linen: For a huge touch of girly sparkle, I covered the table with a gorgeous blush colored sequin tablecloth from Candy Crush Events that is breathtaking! These come in other colors and are a show-stopper touch!
Themed centerpiece: The centerpiece should be one of the first things people will 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 eFavor Mart to showcase the bears high above the table to ensure it is visually powerful. 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 add additional sweets to your table. This acrylic 5-tier cupcake stand from eFavor Mart is my all-time favorite party supply! It sets up in minutes, displays up to 48 standard sized cupcakes and the inside clear tube can be filled with colored acrylic ice gems to match your colors. Once set up, I display store-bought cupcakes and give them a designer touch with glitter cupcake wrappers from Koyal Wholesale, pink shimmery pink pearl sprinkles and printable cupcake toppers from Soiree Event Design Shop.
Step 6: 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 used these items to pull the Girly Baby Shower theme together:
Themed party 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!
Add a little bling! What is a girly candy table without a little bling! 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 and containers 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.
Decorate with candy! How fabulous are these BABY letter ceramic dishes from The Tomkat Studio Shop! 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.
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.
Want to know how much this candy table really cost? Click here for the full cost breakdown and check out my Pinterest board here for a list of most of the items I used in this table design along with prices and links to purchase them.