Lucky In Love: Let Them Eat Sweets

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One of our “must haves” at the very beginning of planning was a candy bar

…and then we changed our minds. Maybe it wasn’t that big of a deal. Maybe we’d skip it. And then a few weeks before the wedding, we decided to go for it (excellent planning, Clover). I meant to write this post up before the wedding, but better late than never!

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I’ll get into details below if you’re interested in doing the same. I definitely overthought this a lot—I couldn’t figure out how much candy to buy. I didn’t want to have buckets left over, but I also didn’t want to run out right away (lame). Hive members had posted on the boards about one person filling seven bags of candy and the whole thing being picked clean before cocktail hour had ended and others took most of the candy home with them. Do I put bags on the candy table? One per seat with the place settings? How much will people take?

Finally, Shamrock and Crafty talked me down. Shamrock pointed out we know of several guests that carry their own Ziploc bags (true story) and if they wanted to take a ton of candy, whether or not I provided little cello bags wasn’t going to change it. The funniest was Crafty though…when I told her my worries, she laughed. And then she said, “Then let them take too much candy. Think of the joy it would bring to those greedy people.” And it would. And also, no one actually did.

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We had TONS of stuff. MIL Clover does nothing halfway, I was worried about it looking empty or running out, and we ended up with enough for a wedding twice the size of ours. In fact, at the end of the night Clover Dad & his wife were tasked with packing up and taking care of the candy bar. They both have quite the sweet tooth, and Wife’s condition was that NONE of the candy come home with her. So she spent the last 20 minutes frantically stuffing candy into bags and thrusting them at people. She managed to get rid of a good amount, but we definitely brought a candy stash on our honeymoon!

Now for the details:

MIL Clover was tasked with buying 2-3 cute lidded glass jars (I already had or borrowed the rest), and I started a spreadsheet to track items, what they would be served on, utensils needed, where we’d get them from and who was responsible for actually getting them. Shamrock wanted to make sure the candy bar could be used not only take-home fun, but that people would also have something sweet to snack on during the reception. In addition to small tongs & scoops (plastic and from the Dollar Store—metal can chip the glass!) I bought small plastic plates and cocktail napkins (Dollar store), and then small cello bags from Michaels (with coupons). I have a ton of plastic plates & napkins left over. Wedding colors for ever.

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I read Mrs. Stiletto’s posts about her Candy Bar (that wasn’t) and looked into pricing at Candy Warehouse, Sweet City Candy and Oriental Trading Company. These companies all let you sort by color, so it was easy to figure out what we would want. But shipping on candy, especially for a summer wedding, is EXPENSIVE. On to Plan B. MIL Clover lives near Albanese Candy Co, and I googled every bulk candy place I could find. Some were really more candy shops (with crazy high pricing to match) but there was one on the Northwest side (Superior Nut & Candy) that was a true bulk candy place–no frills, in a little strip-business-park, with great prices.

So my plan switched to “find all the blue, green and white candy I can locally and figure out what I need to supplement”. Here’s what was included in the Clover candy bar (sources in parentheses):

  • Hershey’s Kisses (after Easter sales, I picked out the pink ones and used them for my Bachelorette thank you’s. We used to do the same thing in college around our sorority initiation)
  • Cupcakes (won in a contest from Amazing Creations Bakeshop—my former student!)
  • Cake pops (ordered from Amazing Creations)
  • Cookies (MIL ordered them—she really wanted to, I didn’t think it was really necessary, but whatever makes you happy. And then she ordered six DOZEN. And they were delicious, actually.)
  • Salt Water Taffy (Jewel—local grocery)
  • White chocolate covered pretzels & raisins (Albanese)
  • Custom color M & Ms (M&M Groupon, terrible service brought you by UPS who left them outside a random address 3 blocks from my mom on a hot day)
  • Blue gummy sharks, blue & green gummy rings (Superior Nut & Candy Co)
  • Mint Meltaways (Fannie May)
  • Jelly beans (Albanese)
  • And I ended up not needing these, but I was going to do Meringue Cookies (Trader Joes–take up a lot of space for not much money), rock candy (pricey but a big pretty impact) and Garretts Popcorn (a Chicago institution–we would have bought day of but I knew we were running out of room)

Crafty would be setting it up with help from my family members, so I wanted to make things as easy as possible. So I did several things:

  • Sketched out a diagram with rough placement
  • Put labels inside the jars before packing so it was easy to match treat with vessel
  • Pre-filled jars when possible (so our kisses made it to the venue already in their bowl, covered in plastic wrap)—obviously only with the wrapped candy!
  • Took lots of pictures, of both the set up and individual vessels

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I already mentioned that this was one of the biggest things that was an issue with the rain plan—it was supposed to be set up in the dining room to give guests who chose not to go outside for dancing something to do. But in case of rain it was supposed to be upstairs, both so that people could snack while dancing AND to free up some very needed space on the first floor. That didn’t happen, so Crafty’s beautiful setup was seen only by our photographer.

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The dining room table is HUGE, and I always think one of the reasons some candy bars don’t look as cute as planned is because the table isn’t full enough, so I wanted to make sure ours was full. So I had plenty of white platters so I could spread out our baked goods. Of course, it ended up on a MUCH smaller table on the third floor in a more haphazard arrangement. MOH Sis actually spent half of dinner begging the venue to have it moved for me. They were actually very nice about it, but before they had the chance to say they’d do it (once piece at a time, up two flights of stairs), she made sure to give it everything she had: “I have cousins. A lot of cousins. And they’re big.” (And I’m sure they would have helped if asked.)

Also, wedding regret: I never got a cake pop. Boo. They looked so good too!

Did you do a candy bar? Where did you get your candy from?

All photos that are not terrible by Caili Helsper Photography. Crappy iPhone photos by yours truly.

cloverCatch up with the Clover wedding:

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Eating our Cake

Once we knew we wanted to get a cake, it was time to head to  Reuters Bakery for a cake tasting.

These always sound so fun–free cake! Cute bakeries! Good times! Miss Pyramid had cute little trays and built her own cake, and she even got some to take home. So fun! And delicious!

Remember how I said our cake was really reasonably priced? Yeah.

The cake tasting wasn’t quite like that. There were no cute marble tables and silver trays…

When we called ahead for an appointment, they said to come in whenever. So on a snowy Saturday, we did. While we waited for the woman who handles tastings to be available, we flipped through a book of pictures. On a little bench on the side.

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Pinterest photos and the binder. All photos personal.

A sweet older woman came over and asked if we were there for cake tasting and then went off to prepare our cake.

And then this happened:

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That’s my lap. On a bench. In the bakery. With a bunch of styrofoam cups. Where we tried to assemble our own cake samples, with spoons, without the plate sliding off my lap and on to the floor. At least I had the binder…

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But hey, the cake was good! In keeping with my theory that you can’t please everyone, we’re going basic with the cake.We could get different flavors on different tiers, but then I always want the other kind, and its awkward, so we’re going all one kind. Because we’re boring.

Shamrock (and MOH Sis) really dislike chocolate cake, so that was not an option. This leaves us with yellow cake. And vanilla buttercream. Then it was on to fillings. I don’t really want to pay extra for the fillings–I like the basics–so we were down to the free ones. We were against fruit when we walked in, but the raspberry preserves were tasty, so we picked those. Since the cake will be three layers, we can have another filling if we want–probably custard. Right now we’re torn between raspberry/vanilla buttercream, raspberry/vanilla custard and raspberry/raspberry. Which cake would you like best?

Shamrock thinks custard is tasty, and it seems like most other people like it as well, so I think that’s a pretty solid choice, and a little more interesting than more frosting. The catch? I hate custard. But I can eat around it, so I really don’t think it will bother me at all. I know its my wedding cake, but I want everyone else to like it too, and I can just have two half pieces, no custard needed.

And the design will look a lot like 42 above, but with white cake and blue fondant ribbons. We also want to replace the triple dots with single larger dots like our inspiration cake yesterday. Oh, and make it circular. So I guess mostly different.

Did you have unique flavors for your wedding cake or did you go crowd pleasing?

Having Our Cake

According to those checklists, the time is near to choose our cake. No complaints here.

Our caterer has a preferred bakery for the cake–you go and taste, and the caterer handles everything else. You can select your own baker, but there’s an added charge for that. Although I love to bake, cake seems like a tricky thing to me. My favorite may not be yours, it gets cut into pieces so all that fancy decoration is only around for a short time. The prices at  Reuters Bakery are reasonable, so we’re in.

Next up: Cake or cupcakes? Shamrock thinks cake is not good and cupcakes are delicious. I am not entirely sure why this is. He says his cousin had cupcakes at her wedding and they were amazing and usually the cake isn’t his favorite so therefore cupcakes are always better. Um, ok.

I really want cake though–I never like how the cupcakes are displayed (odd personal preference) and I think cake is yummy. We hope to have a dessert table and we’ll try to work in some cupcakes there, so Shamrock conceded. Cake it will be.

I love the look of multiple cakes, whether on a table or as centerpieces (like Mrs. Lemur and Mrs. Treasure).

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Mrs. Campfire’s cakes

I think this is also supposed to be less expensive, although our cake doesn’t sound terribly pricey to me. And along those lines, sheet cake is also supposed to be a cost saver, but I suspect that works more if you have a ton of people or want intricate decoration.

So, we’ll have a regular cake, and it won’t have too fancy decoration, and then we’ll eat it! These are all clean, simple designs that we liked.

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Image via Hive Member Taurian Doll via this thread.

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Image via Maisie Fantaisie Cakes (London)

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Cake 42, via Reuters Bakery

Here’s hoping it’s good! Next up? Finalizing the design and tasting some cake!

Where do you fall on cake v. cupcakes? Multiple cakes? No cake at all?