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6 Steps to Setting Up A Candy Buffet!

6 Steps to Setting Up A Candy Buffet!

Step 1:  Decide on a theme & colors

Candy buffets are all the rage in any party!  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.  

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.

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— like the m&m’s, gum balls and chocolate balls. 

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

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

The rule of thumb is to order 8 ounces of candy per guest.  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? 

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

Thanks Tonay Colmen for the writing