Sweets take over celebrations

Appetizers take back seat to desserts, candy nowadays at receptions and parties
2013-02-10T00:00:00Z Sweets take over celebrationsKristen Cook Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 10, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Sweet. That's the name of the game for weddings, and not "sweet" in a sentimental, pull-out-the-baby-photos-of-the-bride-and-groom way.

We mean actual sugar.

Weddings these days get extra punch - and a serious sugar buzz - with candy bars.

"The candy trend is really hot right now," said Mark Lindsey, director of sales and marketing at Loews Ventana Canyon, 7000 N. Resort Drive.

The resort - which even sets up candy buffets for its corporate events - has been creating these sweet spreads for several years. The feature has really blown up recently. Not only do the brides and grooms select childhood favorites to share but their treats can be customized for an extra personal touch, said catering manager Dasha Ross.

For the Feb. 2 wedding of Alex Elizabeth and Eric Peschell at the resort, truffles decorated like basketballs, a nod to the groom's love of the University of Arizona Wildcats, along with mini cupcakes, a fave of the bride, were part of the customized table centerpieces.

Ross likes to include little cards that explain why the bride and groom choose the treats they did.

"It's a conversation starter," Ross said of the candy bar. "It's very memorable."

And, it's just plain fun.

"Candy makes people happy," said Marci Conklin, who owns Chocolate Iguana on 4th, 500 N. Fourth Ave. The little cafe has a wall of glass jars featuring around 160 types of candies. "It brings back a lot of memories, 'Oh! I used to have that as a kid.'"

Kim Strong Lee was ahead of the candy curve when she married Trevor Lee at Tucson Country Club nearly 2 1/2 years ago. She read an article about candy bars on TheKnot.com as the trend was taking off.

"I just thought it was really cute," said Strong Lee, a social worker and native Tucsonan who now lives in Gilbert. "I wanted my wedding to be fun. There's always this down time while waiting for the couple to come in, and this seemed like something fun to do."

She bought clear, oversized glass vases and scoops from a local crafts store and shopped online for childhood classics like Pixy Stix and M&Ms. She ordered mini Hershey bars with a special, personalized label. Everything was pink, one of her wedding colors, along with black and white.

Strong Lee also put out mesh baggies, and the sweets served as instant favors.

But if you're going to include a candy bar, one word of warning: Be careful when you turn people loose. Event planner Jeri Fitzgerald, who owns Celebrations by Design: The Art of Weddings & Special Events, said at one wedding she'd planned, guests had nearly wiped out the candy bar before the salad had even been served. She recommends getting everything ready, so people know it's coming, but wait until the last minute to put out the candy.

And when it comes to the sweet stuff, the sky's the limit, said Conklin, of the Chocolate Iguana on 4th.

She's provided candy for several buffets that were part of weddings, birthdays, even a baby shower. Customers can order treats that coordinate with the wedding colors. Sixlets - those teeny chocolate, BB-shaped candies with a subtle malt flavor - come in shimmery purple and green colors, even frosted pink and pearl white.

"There's such a bright, beautiful selection," said Conklin, who has several catalogs detailing the options.

For one recent wedding, the bride and groom spent about $160 on candy, but people can spend hundreds on the buffets, Conklin said.

Fitzgerald said about half of her brides opt for candy bars. It's just another fun touch for today's modern weddings that feature memorable surprises like flash mobs or silly dances. Candy bars add to the whimsy, but if you're doing one, make sure you get good stuff.

"Don't buy cheap candy," Fitzgerald warned. "People remember that."

BOX Candy Buffet Tips

• This year's wedding trends are inspired by "The Great Gatsby" movie due out in May. Subtle colors like blush, cream and gray are popular. Expect elegant, classy touches.

• Know how much candy you'll need. The last thing you want to do is run out, so figure out beforehand the sizes of containers and how many ounces it takes to fill them.

• Do a dry run. Set up all the candy containers to see how easy it is to actually scoop out the treats.

• Don't forget the scoops. It's pretty easy to find white or silver utensils that can be prettied up with ribbon that coordinates with wedding colors.

• Decorate. Add greenery or flowers, even battery-operated candles, to the candy buffet. Pictures, too, are a nice way to personalize things.

Source: Jeri Fitzgerald, owner of Celebrations by Design: The Art of Weddings & Special Events.

Contact Kristen Cook at kcook@azstarnet.com or 573-4194.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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