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DIY Wedding: The Candy Bar

Updated on November 28, 2012

So you want a candy bar or sweets table at your wedding? Why not? Everyone else is doing it. Guests love picking and choosing their own personal grab bags and it's an easy way to provide wedding favors without spending money on some chintzy bottles of bubbles or personalized tissue packets that people will just throw away after the reception anyway.

Be advised, you may run into some snags when planning or executing your candy bar or sweets table. You'll see from the pictures from my own wedding that not everything goes as planned. When you're dealing with something like candy, though, and you're supplying guests with a constant sugar rush, you can rarely go wrong. Below are some helpful tips for brides and grooms as they venture down that sweet, sweet path.

Know Your Budget and Stick To It

It almost goes without saying, especially for DIY brides, but this tip is the most important thing to remember as linens are chosen, flowers are ordered, and other wedding costs mount up. My husband and I aren't millionaires but we were prepared to allocate a good chunk of money to what would be one of the most complimented and enjoyed aspects of our entire wedding. Here are some places to start for good deals:

Smart and Final: Seventy-five percent of our purchases were picked up here and the bulk candy selection can't be beat - even by Costco.

For treats that require peak freshness, contact local candy shops and suppliers. We picked up our popcorn and candy apples from California Snack Foods in El Monte. If you're from the Los Angeles area and are planning an event, they are definitely worth a look.

Pick Your Candy Wisely and Thoughtfully

  • Don't go too cheap: Nothing kills a candy bar or sweets table quicker than bad treats. Those candies that you skipped over in your Halloween bag as a kid shouldn't find their way into your wedding decades later. Just remember, whatever people don't take at the end of the night goes back home with you. With your pre-wedding diet over, wouldn't you prefer indulging in some quality candy rather than sucking on hard butterscotch the whole way to your honeymoon destination? Consider: is it better to skip the candy bar altogether or to waste money on stuff people, including you, don't even like?
  • Consider your theme and colors: The candy bar is a perfect way to express your vision more fully when treats are chosen wisely. For our own wedding, my husband and I chose to go with candy that fit our theme: vintage carnival. Here's the candy bar list: Hershey's kisses, Good & Plenty, Riesen, Rolos, Reeses miniatures, Toblerone, the ever-present Jordan almonds, gummy worms, Chunky bars, marshmallow cones, ring pops, hard candy sticks, saltwater taffy, Pixy Stix, Lemonheads, Cow Tales, and lollipops of various sizes. And here's what we laid out on the sweets table (positioned on the other side of the venue for good balance): full size Hershey bars, candy buttons, rice krispies, candy apples, popcorn, and individually wrapped cotton candy poofs.
  • Imagine the day: With just a little foresight you can avoid annoyances later. For instance, we didn't want the venue littered with wrappers and trash as a result of our treat stations so my husband and I unwrapped most of the candy and delivered it to the venue in clearly marked Ziplock bags. If you choose candy that comes individually wrapped, reign in some of those bridesmaids or your helpful husband-to-be, grab a bottle of wine, and make a night of the sweet little chore.

Have a Vision

Don't expect wedding coordinators or venue managers to know what you'll like. Browse wedding websites and blogs to get a good idea of how you want your candy bar to look and relay that information to whoever will be setting up your wedding. For me, a simple Google image search provided me with enough ideas to get started. Explore until something speaks to you.

Do note that unpredictable stuff can happen when you put things into someone else's hands so the more communication you have with the people you're working with the better. That's something I learned the hard way. Unfortunately for me, even with picture in hand, the wedding coordinator still missed the mark. Below is what I wanted:

The inspiration. Beautiful isn't it?
The inspiration. Beautiful isn't it? | Source

This is what I got:

Yes, those Jordan almonds are labeled "Riesen." Stuff happens when you leave things in other people's hands.
Yes, those Jordan almonds are labeled "Riesen." Stuff happens when you leave things in other people's hands.

The upside of this hiccup was that the candy was good and plentiful (no pun intended) and no one was the wiser except for me. The sweets table, fortunately, met my specifications exactly.

Include Some Personal Touches

The proper amount of personalization at a wedding can be difficult to determine. While you may want to splash your new married name across ever surface of the venue, the candy bar offers a subtler and less expensive way to remind your guests whose wedding they're at than beaming your initials up on a wall or plastering a garish decal on the dance floor. Stickers are inexpensive to order and easy to apply to the goodie bags supplied at your treat stations. We ordered ours from

You can also order personalized napkins or create a tasteful sign or banner to decorate your candy bar. With the amount of traffic going through there, no one will be able to miss your efforts and creativity.

Get to Work!

I hope these tips help you as you plan your own wedding. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section and I will try to respond promptly. Happy planning!


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    • ExpectGreatThings profile image

      ExpectGreatThings 5 years ago from Illinois

      Nice! Three of the 6 weddings we went to this year had candy bars. And the other 3 had favors that I can't even remember :) I love this idea, and I think yours turned out lovely even if it wasn't exactly what you had envisioned. The "riesen" label is odd, though.