A Sort Of Alternative To The Candy Buffet?

Ah, that aroma of coffee brewing: we Petunias are suckers for it! I know in 2007, the candy buffet continues to be all the rage, but I can’t help to think than an alternative would also be also nice. One possibility we’re considering is offering our guests a coffee bar instead. True, you can’t take coffee drinks home with you like you can a bag of sweet treats, but as our reception is a morning/day one, we thought offering different types of coffees as an accompaniment to brunch food would be a nice additional touch.

Another minus to the coffee bar is that it’s a hard thing to DIY, unlike a candy buffet. I suppose it would be possible to do if you or someone you know owns a hard core, top-of-the-line coffee machine, but those puppies are expensive and I personally don’t know anyone who has one. You’d also have to know someone who’d be willing to work the machine throughout the entire reception, which is unlikely (who wants to make someone work at their wedding?).

There are also reception venues that may offer extensive coffee service as it is, but ours only offers regular coffee, decaf and regular tea.

For us, a coffee bar is an especially nice touch because the local South Florida ones make Cuban coffee, which many of my family members will looooove, and also Mr. Petunia works as a barista himself and is a bit of a coffee snob.

So, what do you get with a coffee bar?

Depending on whom you hire, you’ll get baristas that will make coffees to order, with regular or decaf coffee, regular or low fat milk (as well as herbal teas and hot chocolate, which the kids will especially like!). They can make cappuccinos, lattes, espressos, Americanos, etc. They can also make flavored coffees with Hazelnut, Amaretto, Caramel & Irish Cream and so on.

So, what is this going to cost you? Well, the companies I contacted quoted me between $400 and $500 for a 4 hour service. I was told, however, that for late night receptions, coffee bars are traditionally only hired for the last two hours or so. We’d be hiring them for the entire duration of our reception solely because of the fact that we are having a brunch one and expect people to drink more coffee throughout.

If you’re a coffee lover, too and need help finding a vendor in your area, I found my local ones through PartyPop.com by entering the term “Coffee” in the search engine. I got back about 18 pages worth of entries, so hopefully it should be easy to find a vendor in most parts of the country!

Certainly, this is just another expense and not something that is needed. $500 is $500 and could be well spent somewhere else. We ourselves have not entirely made the decision to go this route, but if we can find the extra money in our budget, we do feel it would be a nice touch and something that, as coffee lovers ourselves, would actually reflect on who we are as a couple.


Mrs. Petunia

Ft. Lauderdale
Wedding Date:
March 2008
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  1. hummingbird Member
    hummingbird 192 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:17 am

    This is an awesome idea. My FI is completely addicted to caffeine so I know he’d be totally into it.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    jen, Guest @ 11:28 am

    i was just at a wedding this weekend. the couple had a coffee bar. it was the most popular place to be besides the dance floor!

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    sally, Guest @ 11:31 am

    I went to a wedding with a coffee bar and it was absolutely repulsive. The coffee was nasty and it was just a bunch of sugar syrup flavourings poured in coffee. blugh. That said, i do think this could be very nice and work well, but please ensure the coffee is good and even better yes a barista to make latte, expresso etc. As for the candy buffet, they are cute but i am not having one (no kids at my wedding)

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    AMK, Guest @ 11:48 am

    I’m not a coffee drinker, but I’d be psyched to fill up on teas and fancy hot chocolate! Great idea.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Glamour This! by Kelly, Guest @ 11:50 am

    I love coffee… but I’m not sure I would splurge on a coffee buffet. Like Sally said… i would hate that it would be crap.
    I would definetly do a tasting before even considering this option!

    But hot chocolate…. thats different thing (how can you go wrong with hot coco…mmmm)
    Maybe you can even make your own version… could save money!

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    Moi, Guest @ 12:15 pm

    Love this!

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    BaghdadBride, Guest @ 12:15 pm

    I went to a wedding two weekends ago that had an adult coffee bar (coffee plus alcohol)…it was very popular and my fiance loved it. It was also good b/c it was slightly chilly outside. BUT just to second everyone else…I don’t drink coffee (it makes me sick) and I SO SO SO wish they had had hot chocolate also. Hot chocolate and baileys or amaretto…mmmm yummy.

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    Angel, Guest @ 12:15 pm

    I went to a wedding this summer that had a barista and espresso cart going for the entire reception. The coffee was great and the barista friendly. The only problem was that the hotel would not let an outside coffee vendor in. Not a big deal except for their cart had a special type of plug. The reception room had only one outlet for this type and it was already being used by the groom’s band.

    They had to put the cart out in the hall and around a corner. Sadly, very few people used it and the bride and groom were charged the same price. So I’d say if you go that route, just check to make sure there’s a compatible and useable outlet.

    There are some other great suggestions here! Tea (all tea drinkers rejoice) and hot cocoa (yummy chocolate).

    What about creating little goodie bags? I’m not a coffee drinker, but you could have miniature bags of your favorite varitites will ribbon and/or tag? That way they’d have something to take home with them.

    Or what about having a table set up with a hot beverage bar? One-third dedicated to teas, one for hot cocao, and one for coffee. True this means someone has to man it, but I can’t get over the image of a candy jar of mini marshmellows.

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    Lynn, Guest @ 12:46 pm

    I think this would be awesome for couples wanting a dry reception.

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Meg, Guest @ 1:18 pm

    We are having an espresso caterer come in for two hours during our reception. I have been at a couple of weddings with coffee carts, and they are always a big hit.

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    katya, Guest @ 1:47 pm

    I considered doing a make your own Smores buffet. The site wouldn’t let me, but I’m glad they didn’t.

    I considered a candy buffet but in the end, it just seemed like something else to spend money on that wouldn’t be noticed.

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    Linda, Guest @ 1:49 pm

    We’re having one of those too! I think it’ll be a hit! I’m excited!!!!

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    futuremrsrose, Guest @ 1:56 pm

    I think that’s a really good idea!

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Lauren, Guest @ 3:32 pm

    Great idea! I like adding hot cocoa and tea for non-coffee drinkers too.

    This would also be a hit at winter weddings (up North at least!).

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    tmt, Guest @ 4:34 pm

    We had a coffee bar, along with freshly baked warm cookies and chocolate covered bannanas and milk for a late night treat! We loved it and all the guests got goodies to take back to their rooms with them!

  16. Member
    princesskittyHI 402 posts, Helper bee @ 5:20 pm

    It’s not quite the same as having a barista + cart and the fancy equipment, but what about putting 2-4 French presses on each table (depending on how many people/table) and having the catering staff come around with a selection of coffees and hot water? Each table could select some coffees they’d like to try and brew it themselves. It doesn’t take *that* long for French press coffee to brew, and it’s sorta fun…or maybe my idea of fun is warped. You could order different kinds of coffees online from all over the world (if you’re eco concious, you can make sure to buy from small, ecogrowers, shade coffees, etc.) and even make favors out of them too. You won’t get lattes or anything, but if you’re really into coffee appreciation, savoring the different flavors is more important than putting tons of flavored syrups and creams in.

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    christine, Guest @ 6:24 pm

    i love this. another alternative would be to have waiters bring out the coffee in your favorite coffee shop (paper) cups instead of the typical mugs as a tribute to your love for coffee.

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    Cindy, Guest @ 8:36 pm

    A friend of mine did that and we’re still talking about it two years later! Don’t forget the soy milk!

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