After Tuesday’s post on the well, endless bar and buffet ideas for your wedding. I thought today’s post could be about how to make your bar come to life! I love that bars and buffets provide a place for guests to congregate, have a bit of a giggle over sweet treats and perhaps hide a few lollies in their pockets!

– Brides in the USA do buffets really well. For inspiration look at Amy Atlas, Martha Stewart, Colin Cowie, Jo Gartin and Preston Bailey – all have books, magazines or websites that are a feast for the eye. The point is to take a little of the things that appeal to you and adapt them for your own wedding.


Photo by Craven Images

– Create atmosphere with the theme of the bar in mind – think of how the best cake shops present the cakes in their windows, how to create an ice cream bar reminiscent of an old ice cream van, or ice cream parlour, lemon themed bar with lemon trees, bowls of lemons and leaves, citrus blossom, create the ‘oooh….aaah’ factor.


Photo by Thayer Allyson Gowdy via snippet & ink & Elizabeth Anne Designs

– You are, in fact, creating a miniature scene or picture. If you feel overwhelmed, create a mood board, cut out pictures of the ideas you like and pin them to a cork board. Add and subtract pictures, paper, fabric swatches, bits of ribbon until the look feels right to you. This will also give you a good idea of what you need to buy, source and do, save your energy and cause you less headaches in the long term.


Photo by Sarah K Chen Photography

– Use accessories to enhance your theme – dishes, cake stands, bottles labelled with your monogram. Think about the area/wall behind the table, where the table is placed for best effect and ease of serving. Flower arrangements beside or on the table, cute and different touches to enhance the theme, tags (e.g. ‘yum’, ‘eat me’, ‘our favourite’) tied with ribbon or twine to highlight items,  swizzle sticks, unusual containers that actually have another purpose – large flat shells, terracotta pots, low metal planters.


Photo from Josh Goleman via Once Wed

– Use colour coordinated cloths, ribbons, twine, napkins. Use paper that fits in with the theme e.g. for the striped or polka dot lolly bar use striped or dotty paper or fabric as an over cloth, striped or spotted ribbon to tie round the necks of jars or bottles, wrap chocolate bars in striped paper, or an apple patterned fabric/paper for the apple themed buffet.


Photo from Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day!

– Do you want to create a feeling of restrained elegance e.g. food presented in rows on flat platters, or do you want to create a ‘kid in a candy store’ feeling with large jars of lollies, meringues piled high or so many donuts that it’s hard to choose.


Photo by Sarah K Chen Photography

– Vary the heights and shapes of your serving platters. Consider whether they will all be of the same material e.g. glass – or colour, or whether they will all be deliberately different such as with vintage crockery. How will they look with your overall reception theme?


– Consider either a long table where guests can help themselves, or tables in a U shape staffed  by waiters who can assist the guests by ensuring the tea or coffee is kept topped up, the icecream is kept cold, the ice is not melting under the oysters.

Photo by Birdsong Photography

– Look past the usual places for your materials. Wallpaper shops for orphan rolls, remnant tables for fabrics, quilting fabric shops, plant nurseries, garage sales, local markets, second hand traders for interesting containers or items. Consider an old multi paned window frame – lie it flat on the table and put square boxes inside the frames to neatly hold your sweet treats.

Did you have a buffet or bar at your wedding? Are you going to?