I was recently contacted by a mother of a bride I’m working with who was puzzled when her daughter mentioned that she’d like a “candy bar” at her wedding reception. She was thinking, “What—Snickers or Milky Ways instead of the traditional mints or Jordan almonds?”

I explained that she should picture a salad bar that one might see at a restaurant, but in place of the lettuce and veggies on display, the table would be loaded with different varieties of candy.

Candy buffets and sweets tables are one of the latest trends at wedding receptions or other parties where there will be a number of guests. They provide an activity and a party favor all in one. A fun aspect is that guests can select as much or as little of any of the candies offered, without hurting anyone’s feelings if they choose to ignore something all together. (I personally boycott black licorice every time.)

The goodies are displayed in clear glass containers like the old-fashioned apothecary jars or cylinder vases, each with its own scoop for collecting them. Cellophane or drawstring cloth bags are also on the table for guests to fill and take home. These can be personalized, or not, it’s your choice. A nice touch is to label each container so that guests don’t have any unfortunate surprises when they pop in a bunch of what they thought were cherry drops, only to discover they have a big mouthful of cinnamon red hots.

An important thing to remember is that you need to have someone supervising the table and restocking the containers as they start to empty. After all, you don’t want the last guests to leave feeling like they’ve been shortchanged because all of the chocolate raisins are gone.

To carry out the décor for the wedding, candies and cookies can be provided in a limited number of colors to match the bridesmaid’s dresses. Imagine 10 containers of varying heights and sizes-5 with different kinds of pink candy and 5 with different kinds of red. Or, 5 blacks and 5 whites. It’s amazing how many different flavors of candy one can find that are all the same color. Of course there would be a lovely table cloth and perhaps a floral arrangement on the table as well. You want everybody to say, “WOW, look at that!” when they first walk in the room.