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Picks on Paper - Dessert Bar Must-Haves Wednesday, October 5, 2011 ~ 11:21 a.m.

Hi guys! Today, we're going extra SWEET with my top five must-haves when building your sweets table, dessert bar, candy bar...whatever you want to call your wedding reception. I went with an all pink theme today, but keep in mind that the best sweets tables tend to use one or two bright colors, whether that be pink, yellow, aqua, red or blue. In my opinion, this is your chance to go all out with the FUN - candy shop style! While you do want to try to select sweets that are eye catching, I think this is also a great opportunity to integrate some real personal touches into your wedding day. If you grew up on your mother's chocolate chip cookies, as her to bake them. Have a favorite Little Debbie snack? Head to Costco and get some! There aren't many rules as to what you can include, but I encourage you to really think about how you can personalize it.

I've pulled together some examples of dessert bars, as well as a buying guide of sorts to help you get started in building a fabulous sweets setup that is just as pretty as it is delicious :)

Ingredient #1 - CANDY!

Here's your chance to integrate a ton of color and fun into your sweets bar! Keep in mind that you'll want to include a good variety of candies, which can be displayed in different ways.

  • Loose candy like jelly beans, Mike & Ike's, Skittles, gumballs, mints, M&M's, gummy bears, Reese's Pieces, peach rings, Swedish Fish, Sweethearts, Dots, Lemon Drops and Jujyfruits.
  • Wrapped candy like Smarties, salt water taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Laffy Taffy, Jolly Ranchers, peppermints, Snickers, Reese's and other hard candies.
  • Put it on a stick to add some height to your table with candies like lollipops, rock candy, licorice, candied apples, suckers, cotton candy, candy canes and cake pops.
  • Salty snacks like pretzels, popcorn, Pirate's Booty, almonds and Cracker Jacks.

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Ingredient #2 - Signage & Backdrops

This is an easy thing to forget with all of the yummy sweets you'll be thinking about! Make sure that you have signs labeling all of the candies, baked goods and other desserts on the table. It's also a good idea to have at least one larger sign or banner with a cute saying like, "Love is sweet," "Candy bar," or Sweet love." My favorite find is this shabby chic engraved wooden box by Bragging Bags! Too cute, and it'll add some height to your table setup! Some other suggestions include this burlap banner is adorable, a chalkboard sign, large wooden letters or simply DIY by printing out a sign and putting it in a little frame like this one.

As for backdrops, think about fabric, paper garlands and banners, streamers, of the images I've included below uses feather boas!

Signage and backdrops
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Ingredient #3 - Homemade Sweets & Baked Goods

Here's an easy way to integrate something sweet, personal and homemade into your dessert bar. Really think about what your family and friends, or even you, could bring to the table. Ask your loved ones to bring a platter or two of your favorite brownies, cookies, muffins, cakes, pies, tarts and more! The more people you can ask to contribute, the better, since you probably don't want to have to ask your aunt to make 5 pies to feed all 200 of your guests!

It's also a good idea to get a few extra pretty decorated desserts from your favorite bakery. Little cakess covered in sugar flowers, brightly frosted cupcakes, pretty pink cake pops, rainbow sprinkled doughnuts...the sky's the limit! Also think about any other baked goods that have a special place in yours and your groom's heart, such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Oatmeal Creme Pies (my favorite!), Krispy Kreme's, McDonald's apple pies, Pinkberry, banana pudding...any guilty pleasure, really ;)

Homemade sweets
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Ingredient #4 - Dishes & Takeaways

This is an obvious one, but will probably take the most time to collect! Once you've planned out what exactly you'd like to include on your sweets table, you'll need to decide how you'll display them!

  • Glass apothecary jars like these are great for any of your taller candies like suckers, licorice, cotton candy, rock candies, etc.
  • Glass jars for loose candies.
  • Cake stands are kind of a must, in my opinion. I'm loving these sweet and feminine ceramic ones by Jeanette Zeis Ceramics, these chic chevron printed cake stands and plates by Aedriel Originals and this "Sweet" etched cake plate with a pretty glass dome cover.
  • Lettered dishes like these by Romantic Planet are one of my FAVORITES! Functional and totally adorable. A must-have, in my opinion! :)
  • Favor takeaways are going to be a necessity so your guests can take advantage of your beautiful dessert bar! These can be as simple as little brown paper bags stamped with your monogram, to custom made canvas bags like these and these, to these more elaborate and totally pretty burlap and lace pouches by Wedding For You.

Dishes and packaging
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Ingredient #5 - Well...CAKE, of course!

This is where I think you should also place your wedding cake, in my opinion. It seems to really round out the dessert bar nicely, and serves as a great center focal point for the entire setup.

Wedding cakes
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Insert Comment | View Comments (8)




Elizabeth {Bridal Musings} (United Kingdom)

Oct 5, 2011 11:51 AM

Gorgeous inspiration and great ideas! It can seem daunting looking at amazing dessert bars but breaking it down like this makes it seem much more manageable. Fab post xx

Miriam Corona (Los Angeles)

Oct 5, 2011 1:17 PM

I've coordinated weddings with and without candy/dessert bars, but guests love them and it adds such a personal touch to the event! Great tips and inspiration!!

WrappedCouture (Metro Atlanta, USA)

Oct 5, 2011 7:40 PM

I love a great dessert bar or candy bar and these were some great tips and photos! Thanks!!

Christina (Austin, TX)

Oct 6, 2011 6:32 AM

Ooooo what beautiful and yummy round-up. I wish hubby and I could get married again and use some of those ideas!! xo

Sandra @ Sandra Downie Event Designs (CT)

Oct 6, 2011 6:54 AM

OMG. this is all so lovely. Totally swooning over the last picture!

erin (South Carolina)

Oct 6, 2011 8:16 AM

this is THE perfect dessert post. great job!

Stephanie Elizabeth {Fab You Bliss} (California)

Oct 6, 2011 9:17 AM

All of this sweet stuff looks so pretty!

Mel {The Oceanside Bride} (Florida)

Oct 6, 2011 12:11 PM

Love, love, love this round up! Omg- everything looks divine. And such pretty pics! xo