Knowing how to set up a snack or candy bar for a wedding reception can help couples offer delicious treats to their guests no matter what the size of their wedding budget. From simple bars to elaborate snack, candy, or dessert buffets, these casual meals and appetizers are becoming more and more popular for many couples.
Why Choose a Bar
Bar setups aren't just for drinks: many couples are choosing bar serving areas as part of their wedding reception not only to save money on servers but also to offer a wider selection of appetizers or treats to their guests. There are many reasons to choose a bar setup, including…
- Cost: A snack or candy bar can be cheaper to offer than more elaborate appetizers or expensive wedding favors.
- Variety: Instead of choosing just one or two offerings, a bar allows guests to select from a wider range of choices and can give the couple a better way to share their own favorites.
- Uniqueness: Many couples offer a snack bar during a cocktail hour before the reception or may have a dessert bar in lieu of a traditional wedding cake. Candy bars are a fun way to allow guests to put together their own wedding favors instead of choosing trinkets that not everyone may appreciate.
No matter which type of bar setup you choose for your wedding reception, some organization and planning is necessary so it will look as lovely as the rest of your reception decorations.
Types of Bars
There are three basic types of snack bars that couples can choose for their wedding reception.
- Snack Bar: These bars are generally available either before a seated meal or in lieu of one. They can also be a great choice during a cocktail hour or before the bridal party arrives at the reception.
- Candy Bar: These sweet bars often substitute for wedding favors. This is also a fun option for weddings with many children.
- Dessert Bar: These are generally a bit more elaborate than candy bars and will either be available at the end of a meal or in lieu of a larger meal. Some couples will use dessert bars instead of a wedding cake.
Tips for How to Set Up a Snack or Candy Bar for a Wedding Reception
Setting up a snack or candy bar takes more than a few bowls and an assortment of goodies. For a practical yet beautiful bar, consider…
- Tables: One long, thin table can be used for the bar, or several smaller, round tables can be used to offer different selections and alleviate congestion in the serving area.
- Dishes: Matching dishes can present an elegant feel to the bar, while coordinating yet mismatched dishes can be a whimsical and unusual option. Tiered dishes are convenient for a large array of items.
- Serving Tools: If the snacks or desserts are already plated and available in single servings, the couple can more easily control the quantity that guests may take at once. If the guests will choose their own items such as with a candy bar, be sure the scoops or tongs can easily reach the bottom of their associated dishes.
- Table Decorations: While the treats themselves may be beautiful, don't neglect table decorations. Colored linens, centerpieces, and scattered embellishments can turn an ordinary serving table into an elegant decoration.
- Theme: Consider your wedding theme when choosing the items to be part of your bar. A beach wedding, for example, may include a candy bar with chocolate shells, salt water taffy, and different types of fudge, while a snack bar for a garden wedding may have mixed nuts, dipped pretzels, and fruit trays.
- Color: If your snack or candy bar will have many different items to choose from, coordinate them by color to add to the elegance of the table's design. White treats are popular for weddings, or match candy and treat colors to your wedding color choices.
- Labels: If you will be offering several different treats, be sure each one is clearly labeled in a lovely wedding font. Labels are particularly important when items may be sugar free or will contain nuts, as these can be critical considerations for guests' diets.
Wedding Bar Menu Ideas
What you serve at a snack, candy, or dessert bar depends on many things, including the theme of your wedding, your budget, and the tastes and dietary needs of your guests. Be sure to include items for a wide range of tastes, and have suitable quantities on hand so all guests will be able to enjoy the bar.
A snack bar usually offers an assortment of munchies either before a meal, during a cocktail hour, or as part of a casual afternoon reception. Popular options include:
- Mixed nuts
- Fruit and cheese trays
- Finger sandwiches
- Shrimp cocktail or sushi
- Dipped pretzels
- Vegetables and dip
Candy bars are often accompanied by personalized wedding favor boxes or organza bags so guests can assemble their own wedding favors based on the treats they prefer. Popular choices include:
- Personalized chocolate candies
- Pillow mints
- Wedding truffles
- Candy hearts
- Chocolate kisses or lips
- Retro candy treats
- Taffy or toffee
A wedding dessert bar can have a simple selection or more elaborate dishes, particularly if it will take the place of a wedding cake. Delicious choices include:
- Petit fours
- Chocolate mousse
- Wedding cupcakes
- A chocolate fondue fountain
- Chocolate covered strawberries
- Gelatin dishes
- Pies, cookies, and brownies
- Miniature tarts
Knowing how to set up a snack or candy bar for a wedding reception isn't difficult, but it can be a fun way to personalize your reception menu and offer a wider range of delicious treats for your guests. Bon appétit!