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. 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.

  2. 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!!!!

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

    I think that’s a really good idea!

  4. 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!).

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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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