Vintage Rustic Christmas Candy Buffet

My mother always says ‘it’s not a party unless you have M&M’s’. Well, with candy buffets and dessert tables currently trending, it’s not a party without LOTS of different candy.

One of the sweetest (pun intended) parts of my job is that sometimes I get to indulge in the very goodness I get to create. Next Friday I will be setting up a Vintage Rustic Christmas wedding. And if you know anything about me, those three words together make for one of my absolute favorite themes. This weekend, as part of quality control, I have to go ‘taste test’ some of the chocolates and candies I will be displaying in the candy buffet for this event (poor me, right?)

Berries & Birch Christmas Bark

Christmas Bark from Berries & Birch shoot
photo by Darci Woodiwiss Photography

I like to keep the colors in the palette of the event and always include different textures, tastes and chocolates. Some of these candies have white sugar coating and are just gorgeous. They are perfectly vintage, rustic and Christmas and will be a great addition to this wedding. My candy vendor is fabulous and always gives me a great selection of beautiful (and delicious) candy. If you’re ever in Dunedin, Florida, be sure to stop by The Candy Bar.

So, just for fun, I thought I’d share the list of candy going on the buffet. You may have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head after this, but please don’t blame me for any midnight sugar cravings!

*Dark Chocolate Cranberries

*Candy Cane Caramels

*Christmas Select Mix (licorice pastels, cream candy trees, mint balls, jordan almonds, gumdrops, milk chocolate foiled balls)

*Egg Nog and Gingerbread Taffy

*Peppermint Puffs

*Dark and White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

*”M&M’s” (their names are Meredith and Matt, how could we not? Plus, refer to the opening line.)

*Dark Chocolate Nonpareils

*Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods

*Milk Chocolate Toffee Almonds

*Sugar Plums

Are you drooling yet?
Hopefully this inspires some ideas for your holiday get togethers.
And don’t worry, there will be lots of photos to share from the wedding in a few weeks.
What’s your favorite holiday candy? Do you have any traditional candy that you only eat on certain holidays? Please share!

I Heart NY

The show must go on. Except when it can’t. You know if Broadway shuts down, things are very bad.

As I’ve sat glued to news coverage of Hurricane Sandy and it’s aftermath, I’ve been trying to think for the past few days about what I could say that would not seem self serving. I truly love New York. It’s where I grew up, it’s where the majority of my family and friends live and it’s still the place I consider ‘home’. Whenever disaster strikes, I feel an overwhelming sadness for what the victims are experiencing. This time, it was a little different. Because I have so many connections to every place that was affected, it really hit home for me. My loved ones are going through something I can’t even imagine. For some, it’s their worst nightmare. I have family and friends on Long Island, in Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, Hoboken, Long Beach Island, other parts of New Jersey and other states and areas that were affected. Everyone I had the opportunity to connect with has either lost power or has trees down. One friend lost her home (along with everything she owns) in the fires. As the Facebook updates decrease daily, I know their cell phones have died and now they can’t communicate. As long as I was hearing from them, there was a sense of comfort that they are ok, but now, I don’t know and it’s unnerving. I’m sad that they must feel so isolated. And I’m sad that instead of getting to celebrate Halloween with their kids, they were just trying to get through another day. I’m having a hard time focusing on anything else and it was hard to celebrate Halloween, but I did it to protect the innocence of my own child, as I’m sure most of you did as well.

I had just decided last week to take a trip to NY this winter. I need to walk down the bustling streets, see the lights of Broadway and have a decent slice of pizza and a great bagel. But, more than that, I need to see my friends and my family who I haven’t seen in so long. I want to get out to Long Island to show my husband and son where I grew up and to visit friends who live there. I went to college on Staten Island, vacationed on Long Beach Island with my grandmother every summer and I lived in Queens with my grandmother and great grandparents. Then I moved to New York City, where I gained my independence and became an adult. Every part of my childhood and young adult life has been flooded with this storm. But, through those places, I have amazing memories and experiences which have made me the person I am today.

I’ve said ‘how much more can New York take?’, but New York is resilient. I know it’s been said, but people who live there are made of something special. There is a quiet strength that runs through that city and it’s like no place else on earth.

So, to my friends and family who can read this, know that there is so much concern and caring for what you are going through right now. It’s a helpless feeling being here and not there; an eerily similar one to post 9-11. It is difficult to witness, so I can’t even imagine what it feels like to be living it. I am thinking about each and every one of you, sending love and light and wishing you strength to get through this very difficult time. My heart truly goes out to you all.

I see things are slowly starting to open back up and Broadway shows will reopen tonight. That gives me hope, but we can’t forget the physical and emotional damage that will linger on. Life goes on as normal for a lot of us, but for many, it is still dark and cold and gas is sparse. Business owners need to rebuild, and for those who have lost everything, they need to restore their life.

If you want to help, you can volunteer your time, give blood or donate to Red Cross.

Please feel free to share your experience with the storm here.

So, who wants to see a party?
Vintage Red Wagon 1st Birthday

dessert table

My passion for what I call ’boutique parties’ all began late 2010 when I started planning my son’s 1st birthday party. I was an event designer for big events but suddenly discovered a whole new world out there. One that spoke to me. One that said ‘all those little details that you love so much, that make a difference, they matter. And other people appreciate them too.’ I found my niche. I was so excited. I knew I landed in the place I wanted to be as a designer. I still do big events, but the small details are my greatest passion. So, here’s the first party that started it all, Benjamin’s Vintage Red Wagon 1st birthday. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the great Amy Atlas, who started the revolution of desserts tables as an art form. I’ll never forget how inspired I was by her work or how excited I felt when she featured this party. Scroll down for details below.

wreath and hats

I wanted to create a party that had a classic feel and was just good ‘ole simple fun. And since I love to evoke a sense of nostalgia at my parties, this theme was perfect; reminiscent of childhood days. Benjamin is so special to us, so of course we wanted to give him an extraordinary  party to create memories for years to come. It was a wonderful celebration of his first year of life and for us, making it through that first year as parents! We finally got to have the backyard party we’ve been wanting to throw since we moved in.

The color palette was red, aqua, yellow and kraft! I used a lot of kraft paper, burlap and jute for the natural and more vintage feel, combined with the vibrant colors that gave the party it’s retro look.

Some of my favorite details are the welcome wreath on the front door, which was so simple to make, the apothecary jar with the mini wagon and mini bunting inside, the ‘wagon’ cupcake wrappers, the perfect wagon wheel pasta salad, the official radio flyer licenses in the goodie bags and the use of my late grandmother’s items throughout the party (old platters, bright yellow dutch ovens and pot, etc.). Those things really personalized the party for me, beyond the trends you see at most parties. Designing this party was so much fun and executing it was certainly a labor of love, but so worth it in the end. Everyone had fun, the kids had a great time and while I was busy being everywhere at once during the party, the look on Benjamin’s face every moment I saw him during those few hours was worth every 3am craft project!

I’d love to hear from you. Did you have a red wagon growing up? What’s your favorite childhood memory?

VENDOR CREDITS:

Event design|Styling- Elissa Stone, One Stone Events

Photographer and Printables: Darci Woodiwiss Photography

Cookies: The Cookie Jar