BFF wanted a shabby-chic shower with soft pinks and greens, so I immediately set out to find candies in those shades. Pink was easy. Green was... less easy. I ended up finding candy in all sorts of places - from Target to Walmart to Ollies (which is a rough-and-tumble discount store) to the Dollar Tree to local amazing grocery store Wegmans. My biggest challenge, other than finding green candy, was balancing the need for large amounts of candy to make a nice, full display, with balancing the budget. Candy buffets can get real expensive real quick. Here were some of my strategies to keep costs down and impact up.
Get off your high horse: I'll admit it - I'm kind of snooty about eating food from the Dollar Store. I just don't like to do it. But I will say that I had some of my best finds there. Pretty green butter mints and marshmallow twists in soft pink and green. They looked great, tasted good, and didn't break the bank. Don't be afraid to go outside your comfort zone a little bit.
Keep an eye out everywhere you go: So I went to the Dollar Store looking for containers and scoops and ended up finding some of my prettiest and most unexpected candies. This was a great lesson for me and thereafter, I made it a point to look for candy at every store I entered.
Don't be snobby about your choices: I really like chocolate and I really couldn't care less about any other kind of candy. But this buffet isn't about me and just because I don't like lollipops doesn't mean that they shouldn't make an appearance. So don't let your preferences hold you back! I had plenty of chocolate, but I also had dum-dums, jolly ranchers, and watermelon sours and they were all eaten. Your pass-up is someone else's favorite, I guarantee it.
It's OK if you can't afford to make it perfect: I know that there are some amazing, perfect parties out there. That's not really what I do. I live in the real world and have a budget, which means that I have finite resources. This means that I have to make trade-offs. I tend to err on the side of taste, as in it has to taste good. So that means that more money goes to the food and there's less left over for containers and table coverings. To that end, I had to compromise and use things that I all ready had, like glass casserole dishes, or things that were cheap, like plastic tablecloths. I couldn't afford linens long enough to reach the floor, so I used dollar store plastic tablecloths on the bottom and put a short length of clearance fabric over the top. Had I covered the whole table in fabric, I would have spent $20. Using my low-brow method, It cost me $5. And it did the job. So don't beat yourself up because your stuff isn't perfect. I don't think that most people are thinking, "Ugh, is that a plastic tablecloth?" They are most likely thinking, "CANDY" and are focused on trying to get to the swirly lollipops before they are gone.
It came together really well and was a lot of fun to work on. I look forward to doing another one some day!
And some bonus pics for you - I can't take credit for this part, but the other girls working on the shower had the idea to decorate the ceiling with individually hand-decorated Chinese paper umbrellas. It was so pretty and creative. Kudos, G., A., S., and L.!