Bulk Candy on the Cheap

Okay, so “on the cheap” might be a stretch here. If you’re gonna do a candy buffet at your wedding, you’re gonna spend a couple hundred dollars on it. Because our candy buffet is going to pull quadruple duty as favors/decor/activity/dessert (in addition to cake obvi), I’m okay with spending a bit on it. We also already factored it into our budget, so I was prepared to spend about $400 on it–that’s the projected cost of favors according to The Knot. We ended up spending more, but again, it’s more than just the favor!

Here’s what you need for a successful candy buffet:

  1. Candy: Duh. It’s a buffet of candy.
  2. Candy vessels. You can buy cute apothecary jars, use whatever your venue has, scour flea markets and thrift stores, glue candle sticks to dollar store containers, or some combination of these. I did a mockup months ago, but I’ve since added a few more containers to my arsenal:


    Personal pic

  3. Scoops: These are surprisingly cheap. We ordered ours from a website called Scoops-Scoops.com for about a dollar each!
  4. Candy bags: You can use paper bags, cellophane bags, Chinese take-out boxes, etc. Anything for your guests to collect candy in works! I showed you our polka dot bags with love quote labels already.


    Personal pic

  5. Decorations (optional): I’m making tablecloths out of the same fabric I used to make my engagement pics dress. We’re also using those adorable mini frames from Michaels to label each candy, and we’ll be adding some cupcake liner poof balls on candle sticks for added pizzazz.


    Image via Kara’s Party Ideas

  6. Backdrop (optional): Confession time–half the reason I wanted to do a candy buffet was so I could do a cool backdrop like these.

I recently set out to order the candy for the buffet. I had to decide what types of candy to get, how many different kinds, how many pounds of each kind, how much total to get, and where to order from. I did some exhaustive internet research one day, only to conclude that there are no hard and fast rules for how much candy to buy, and there is no single bulk candy supplier that is cheaper than all the others. I did hear that I should expect each guest to take about half a pound of candy, which would leave me needing about 100 pounds of sugary goodness. The size of your candy bags and scoops can dictate how much candy each guest takes. I also heard that you should base your candy purchase quantity on the size of your buffet table and number of candy vessels so that your buffet looks full and dramatic, not on how many guests you’ll have.

After finding a bunch of different bulk candy sources online, deciding what types of candy I wanted to get, and pricing them out at each supplier, I came up with this handy spreadsheet that I wanted to share with you all. Note: These prices are all approximate and will most likely change at some point, but it gives you an idea of the price range of each website and each type of candy.


Click to enlarge

The highlighted candy is the stuff I ended up buying (except the chocolate hearts. I’m so mad I somehow forgot to order those). I first figured out which store had the cheapest price for each candy. Then I quickly realized that shipping costs for 100 lbs of candy were going to be astronomical. Bulk Candy Store offers a flat shipping rate of $9.95, and they also had the best prices on many of the types of candy. For the candy that they didn’t have the best price for, they were still cheaper to use when you took shipping into account. I ended up using Candy Warehouse as well for some candies that Bulk Candy Store didn’t offer.


Screenshot from Bulk Candy Store

candy-w Screenshot from Candy Warehouse

And to save money, I signed up for their newsletters and liked them on Facebook. I ended up saving about $50 in coupon codes. Sweet. Literally.

We’re not allowed to open the bags of candy before the wedding, because then it becomes a liability for the venue to serve it, so unfortunately I’m not going to be able to play around with deciding which candy will go in which container and figuring out the layout of the containers on the table. At this point in the game, I’m not sure I even care. Maybe I’ll just leave it in the venue’s hands and tell them to have fun with it. We’ll see how the buffet ends up looking!

Are you having a candy buffet at your wedding? How much are you buying per guest? What candy would you love to see most at a candy buffet?


Mrs. Unicycle

Chicago, IL
Wedding Date:
June 2012
Proper Wedding Etiquette
Come at Me, Bro

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  1. Member
    futureMFG 283 posts, Helper bee @ 4:45 pm

    Whooaaaa how come M&Ms are so expensive? That’s sad :(

  2. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:48 pm

    Those are really cute!

  3. Member
    MusicBee76 662 posts, Busy bee @ 4:54 pm

    Great site for reasonably priced apothecary jars and other goodies for a a candy table!


  4. scepter Member
    scepter 333 posts, Helper bee @ 5:10 pm

    The candy you chose looks delicious! I can’t wait to see the photos!

  5. Member
    jema 177 posts, Blushing bee @ 5:35 pm

    Woah! I didn’t realize they were that expensive! I am planning to do one — in yellow, too! :) But the cost of it is making me kind of sad….

    We are doing a dessert buffet table, so I don’t think I’ll need as much candy, hopefully, since there will be pies, cakes, cookies, etc etc.. How many guests will you have?

  6. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 6:03 pm

    We did a candy buffet, but my ‘research’ consisted of going to Sam’s and picking out things that looked sweet and would fit in my candy vessels, so they didn’t match. Yours will be much cuter and sweeter!

  7. turkey Member
    turkey 654 posts, Busy bee @ 6:47 pm

    I cannot wait to see this all come together!

    And of course I love your spreadsheet ;)

  8. Member
    BluegrassBridetoBee 386 posts, Helper bee @ 6:59 pm

    We are doing one, and it is getting pricey! I’m still totally unsure of how much of everything we need. Does it look like the 5 lbs of things you got will fill up a jar?

    Thanks :)

  9. Member
    bridesmomma 467 posts, Helper bee @ 7:34 pm

    Can’t wait to see the photos of all this yumminess!

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    zcazarez, Guest @ 9:13 pm

    Found a place in downtown Los Angeles for candies… very good price.

  11. Member
    girlsnow 104 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:19 am

    My daughter isn’t doing a candy buffet, just sprinkling candy that is in wrappers (hershey kisses, etc.) down the center of each table. It was much cheaper (more than 50%) to just go to Walmart and get them, even when they weren’t on sale. Kisses are $9-10/lb on line….less than $4 at the store down the road.

  12. aardvark Member
    aardvark 1129 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:34 am

    I also used bulk candy store and they were great! I cannot wait to assemble the buffet and see how it all looks. YAY for sweets!

  13. Member
    FutureMrsSpencer 526 posts, Busy bee @ 6:36 am

    M&M’s are outrageous!!! I wanted a candy buffet but we decided against it when our venue offered us the viennese station. I would rather have a chocolate fountain any day!!

  14. Member
    Baker2Be 177 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:00 am

    M&M’s are outrageous, but I did notice while I’ve been doing my research, that there is a candy called lentils which are M&Ms without the M (basically). They are also significantly cheaper than M&Ms.

    You know what else is crazy expensive? Jelly Belly’s! We were considering adding Jelly Bellys, but it definitely wasn’t worth it, even with bulk prices.

  15. Member
    cnicker 90 posts, Worker bee @ 7:05 am

    THank you for this post!

  16. coyote Member
    coyote 1781 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:42 am

    YUMMMM. Can I come to your wedding please? Although I can’t promise that I’ll only take a half a pound of candy. ;)

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    Artcybabe, Guest @ 9:29 am

    Our colors are red and black so I stocked up on candy after valentines day 1/2 price. I also bought Jars at salvation army and goodwill. I spent about $100 on everything.

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    Abm1616, Guest @ 11:48 am

    Great post! I am doing a candy buffet as well and I made a spreadsheet very similar to yours.
    I found Sams to be one of the better prices but I am not doing one color so that could have more to do with the prices too.

    I can’t seem to find dark purple colored bags anywhere though so I might have to just use clear.

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    Amanda, Guest @ 1:06 pm

    Thanks for the great information in your post!

  20. Member
    Miss Ariel 83 posts, Worker bee @ 3:55 pm

    Theses tips are great! I’ve already pinned this so I can reference back to it as we get closer to finalizing ours.

  21. Member
    ms. headphone 290 posts, Helper bee @ 3:34 pm

    Saw these today and thought of you. If you’re still on the hunt for shoes, check these babies out. Hot pink with polka dots:

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    hollie, Guest @ 2:17 pm

    I am doing this a gift for a family member. I started after valentines day. Every one I have talked to has loved the idea of the candy buffet. I am having so much fun but I dont have to worry about the colors. Which has giving me more fun and not just stuck to a theme. for under 70 dollars I have over 100 lbs of candy.Dont be fixed on a color theme(which can be nice) just enjoy.

  23. Guest Icon Guest
    the candy store, Guest @ 3:25 pm

    It is worthwhile trying a few sites for your candy prices vary widely. Also you should be careful how big a bag you give out the bigger the bag the more your guests will take

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    Althea, Guest @ 6:04 am

    Great article. I have been contemplating writing an article like this, but I had a difficult time remaining impartial – considering I work for Bulk Candy Store. I am glad we are going to be a part of your special day.

  25. Member
    myoung3273 17 posts, Newbee @ 6:22 pm

    We are doing a sweet n savory one. We are having our nieces and nephews give us their 3 favorite items for the buffet and we will pick one and on the sign it will say whose favorite item it is.

  26. Guest Icon Guest
    Jonathan, Guest @ 2:35 pm

    When I was planning a buffet for my wedding coming up in 3 weeks now! I found candygalaxy had some fantastic resources for the planning process.

  27. Member
    tip_22 1 posts, Wannabee @ 8:58 am

    Thanks for the info. Very helpful!

  28. Guest Icon Guest
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