One of the biggest "non-practical" elements of our wedding was our candy buffet. (It's also one of the only things featured in wedding magazines that I fell in love with. What can I say? I'm not completely impervious to pretty pictures.) I'm sure that we could have come up with a less expensive cost-per-guest party favor, but I figured that people had earned their sugar comas after all the dancing at our reception!
We had 9 different containers in our buffet: 3 apothecary jars & 2 decorative plates, all snagged at Ross. (I started looking very early in our planning process, in order to take advantage of post-Christmas sales. I basically grabbed anything white or metallic I could get my hands on.) I got creative when I found 2 big mercury class candle holders at Target (I just covered the pointy thing in the bottom with tissue paper), and I made a cake stand from a tutorial on OnceWed.com. At the last minute, I found a giant clear-glass vase that I already owned -- score!
For the candy, I realized pretty quickly that while lots of websites out there offer "discount bulk candy", the overnight shipping required to get it to Southern California in the summer, hopefully without melting, was a potential budget-buster. I got as much of it as I could at a local warehouse in downtown L.A.
10 lbs. each grapefruit sour gummies, butterscotch & Hershey's kisses = $68.88.
I got the rest from 2 online resources, and went for the 2-day shipping in protective packaging (still cheaper than overnighting it) just before temps soared for the summer.
10 lbs. each 7-up jelly bellies & white jordan almonds from bulkfoods.com = $99.56 + approx. $60 shipping.
10 lbs. "milkies" (like M&M's, but without the "M" so cheaper) & 5 lbs. champagne bubbles from Groovy Candies = $115.85 + approx. $40 shipping.
I also got 5 lbs. of white mints from Smart & Final for about $10. And somehow I got it into my head that I'd have a) the time, and b) the skill to make a thing or two. Yeah, I know ... overly ambitious = me. Fortunately, after my test run turned out poorly, I found these at Target:
White Oreos! Who knew?! (I didn't.) About $10 for 3 bags.
I made the signs for each container with leftover cardstock from our invitations -- printed at Kinko's -- and attached it with ribbon I found on sale. Instead of buying pricey labels from some online site, I printed some using Word on my home computer:
They seemed to get what I wanted to say across ... and I already had those labels, so they were free.
We decorated the table with the leftover bubble liquid bottles from our ceremony, and some matchbook notebooks that I made. I used the cardstock samples I'd bought when looking for our invitation paper, plus stamps that were in the set used on our invitations & plain computer paper. The upside to doing things yourself = re-purposing your leftovers!
I found the big scoops at a local party supply store (about $10) & decorated them with the same ribbon as on the container signs, and got the bags through a wholesale company. (I ended up with twice the amount I needed, so after selling the extras on Craigslist, they cost a net $13.)
Altogether, the candy buffet cost us about $545. Admittedly, it was kind of an extravagance, and I might have changed my mind if I'd known about the extra $100 in shipping charges from the beginning ... but it turned out beautifully, our guests loved it, and I was really proud of myself for pulling it off. So if anyone out there is planning something similar, I hope you find this useful!