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The first step in creating a Candy Buffet is to decide how many different kinds of your favorite candy you want to have. For a guest count of 100, I recommend going with at least 5 different kinds of candy. If your guest count is more along the lines of 150, choose 7 to 9 different types of candy, keeping in mind it is always best to work in odd numbers. Next, consider whether you want to choose candies of a specific color or combination of colors or whether you just want a nice, colorful mix of candy. Whatever you decide, my advice is to support your local candy store by purchasing your candy there. Local vendors are a great resource and often very helpful when it comes to helping you find candy in your chosen color scheme, letting you know which candies are the most popular and determining how much candy you need to buy based on your final guest count. Member clubs such as Sam’s Club or BJ’s Wholesale are also great places to buy candy in bulk. Of course, there are many online options as well, but keep in mind that buying candy in bulk comes with the potential of expensive shipping costs. Depending on the time of year, you may need to expedite shipping (therefore more expensive) in order to get your candy in a timely manner and to make sure it is not going to melt in the heat.
When buying candy, purchase wrapped and unwrapped candies that come in different sizes, shapes and textures. It’s a great way to add visual appeal to your candy buffet. Wrapped candy will take up more room in your container, therefore you will not need to purchase as much as you would if you were purchasing jelly beans or chocolate lentils. In general, you can figure on at least 5 pounds of a wrapped candy and as much as 10 pounds for something like chocolate lentils or jelly beans. Make sure you add to the mix by offering a variety of hard and soft candies, a well as sweet and sour candy options. One suggestion; stay away from candies that will color your tongue and lips for photos!
One of my favorite candies to add to a candy buffet is rock candy on a wooden stick. It comes in nice, bright colors and is a fun addition to any candy buffet. Old fashioned favorites such as malted milk balls, root beer barrels, Mary Janes or Bit-O-Honey are always big hits. It is best to choose candies that are appropriate for the season, too. For instance, for an outdoor summer wedding you may want to stay away from chocolate as it will melt in the heat. Add an extra surprise for your guests when you personalize your candy with a photo, a favorite saying or your initials. Check out www.mymandms.com for more information about this idea.
Once you have decided on how many different types of candy you are going to offer you can have fun shopping for crystal or glass vases to put the candy in. Choose a variety of different heights, sizes and shapes and be sure to add pedestal vases with pretty glass tops to add visual interest to your candy buffet. The next step is to choose a scoop or tong for each vase. Again, support your local kitchen store to purchase these items. Scoops are available in a variety of price ranges depending on whether you decide to go with metal, stainless steel, wooden or plastic. If you are having a beach theme wedding, you could even use a plastic shovel as your scoop! After you have set up each container with candy, add the scoop, fill it with candy and you are all set to go.
Many options are available when it comes to choosing the gift container that your guests will have fun filling as their take home favor. Keep in mind that you should allow for at least a ¼ pound of candy per guest and provide a container to accommodate that quantity. Gift boxes or Chinese “take out” boxes are available in paper or plastic and come in different sizes. A less expensive alternative is a cellophane bag with built-in or separate gift ties. Get creative and make your own labels (a monogram perhaps) for the boxes or bags and consider labeling the candy vases or tying a ribbon or raffia around the top of each vase.
Now that you have your favorite candies, containers, scoops and a bag or box for each guest, you are ready to go! Incorporating a candy buffet into your wedding plans is a fun and interactive way for your guests to mix and mingle and reminisce about their favorite candy. It’s also something that will surprise and delight guests of all ages because, after all, there’s a little bit of sweet tooth in all of us!
Amy Piper is owner of Signature Events, a wedding, corporate and special event planning business based in Wolfeboro, NH. Amy can be reached through her website at www.signatureeventsnh.com.