The Candy Buffet Table: White Hot!
It's what you need to know about how to design and execute a gorgeous candy table! (expert advice)
We've put together a follow up article about how to design and execute a gorgeous candy table for your wedding or bridal shower. Taking some cues from our previous article (Candy Buffet Table 101), we put together a delicious spread of sweets and documented the process step by step! Here is a sweet snapshot of the finished product:
So where to start?
Before you begin working out the logistics of the candy table, think about how you want to present it, and what kind of vibe you want to give off. If your wedding is elegant with classic style, you may want a spread that is visually impressive, or you may want to go for a monochromatic look that will complement your color palette. If you just want something fun, light-hearted and focused on the tasty treats, a variety of colors and flavors can bring some candy shop nostalgia to your night.
Either way, consider your wedding color scheme and what kind of look and feel would play well with where the table will be. In honor of the lush, warm weather, we went with colors that reminded us of sunny spring days -- whites, peaches, yellows and pinks. We wanted to keep the table bright yet still soft and delicate, so we made sure to maintain that theme in all our choices.
Selecting the Sweets
With a holistic goal in mind, it's time for the fun part -- picking the candy! The candy you choose and how they will be displayed go hand in hand. Typical candy tables attempt to recreate the endless rows of jars in a candy shop, and these can help produce some stunning displays. However, it takes a lot of candy to fill those jars! Although vast amounts of white gumballs may look impressive, consider how much will actually be eaten. It's unlikely you'll find brides that are willing to buy used and opened leftover candy, so unless you prepare for a morning after candy fest in place of the usual brunch, plan to buy amounts that your guests can actually eat.
For our table, we chose sweets that would fit in with our color scheme but were still tasty and more than just for looks. We mixed some specialty British hard candy from Fiona's Sweet Shoppe with handmade chocolate truffles to elevate the table's presence and add some sophistication. By using normal candy bars purchased at a local grocery store, we added a personalized touch with customized wrappers in various patterns matching the color scheme. This can easily be done with some basic computer skills, or by collaborating with your invitations vendor to complement your already established wedding graphics.
Don't be afraid to think outside the candy box! Thin cookie sticks dipped in white chocolate added a vertical component to our arrangement, and could be found at a local Chinese grocery store. We also used some homemade, tiny little cakes molded into adorable shapes to expand the variety of textures. Delectable kettle corn also served as a great space filler, and was no doubt a favored snack by all. Adding some salted or spiced almonds would also be a nice addition to cut through the sugar and bring some savory to the sweet.
Containers and Things
Once all the candy is taken care of, it's time to think about where it's going to go! Apothecary jars have become the standard, and if you have a large amount of candy, you can surely create a beautiful display with those alone that evokes childhood memories. Simple vases and glassware of various shapes and sizes can be more cost-effective, and more easily found at your local furniture stores, arts and crafts shops, or even thrift and second-hand stores.
Don't be afraid to mix and match different types of serving pieces. For our table, we used a variety of white porcelain, glass and crystal serving ware. From cake stands to flat platters, cubic vases to mini espresso cups, we accumulated a wide variety of containers to diversify the collection. It's good to think big, but small touches of candy here and there can make your table feel fuller. For the guests to access the goods, we also found some inexpensive clear plastic scoops and tongs at a local restaurant supply store to match the glassware.
Presentation and Details
The easiest way to tie in your table with the rest of your wedding is by using consistent centerpieces and flowers. We chose some crisp, white hydrangeas for an elegant touch, and bunched some peach and pink roses together to introduce some bolder colors. Fillers like tea light candles can also set the mood and add a little romance. Labels for each serving piece can be tied with some matching ribbon, and you can even line platters with patterned paper to further embellish with details.
Make sure you know what kind of tablecloth will be used, and what kind of background the table will be standing against, or if it will be free-standing. We chose a formal white floral tablecloth to add texture to the white porcelain serving pieces, and propped the table against a light pink wall for some subtle color contrast to our mostly white spread.
Embrace experimentation and test out various display layouts to play with height and depth. Mixing stacked cake stands with medium jars and trays on top of a flat tablecloth can create very simple and clean lines. However, if you don't have enough tall jars or stackable serving pieces, height can be achieved through other means. You can use boxes or phone books to create height underneath your tablecloth, which will sweep and cascade around the candy. Be careful with this approach though, because having too few containers can leave the table looking sparse and messy with all the draping.
Another simple way to gain height is to leave the tablecloth flat, with the boxes on top. Wrapping a few boxes with some heavy paper might take a bit more time, but it will be well worth the wait when you see the chic result. Choose good quality paper that won't distract the eye away from the center of attention (the candy). Whatever method you choose, make sure your tablecloth is ironed! Creases and wrinkles can ruin otherwise beautiful photos!
Once you have your display set and ready, don't forget about the purpose of the table -- treating your guests! Cute little paper goodie bags can be fun for them to fill and save for later, while small plates provided by your reception venue may be a more eco-friendly option. To keep costs low, you can even consider using simple clear plastic cups, or little white take-out boxes that can be found at just about any wedding favor site. With just some customized stickers or tags, your guests will leave your wedding with some sweet memories.
Although candy tables can truly be a visual delight, don't forget about what's most important: having fun! Your guests will ultimately have a great time eating any kind of sugary treat, no matter how it looks. As long as you stay true to who you are and keep things simple, your candy table will be a sweet and lovely reflection of your special day!
Hard candy (sours, mints, and signature "flying saucers") provided by Fiona's Sweet Shoppe, a boutique specializing in all-natural British sweets and located in downtown San Francisco.
Flowers courtesy of Nancy Liu Chin Designs
Photos by Michael Bautista