Make Your Own Wedding Bar: From Candy To Popcorn!

Everyone loves options. Especially when it comes to what they eat.


A trend at wedding receptions is to have a food or dessert buffet (or commonly called “bar,” as in “candy bar” or “baked potato bar”) as an addition to the meal being served.

The idea is to let your guests pick what they want.

Couples like to include a food bar as a way of entertaining their guests. It gets people up out of their seats and mingling at the reception and lets them make some decisions around a menu that is already set.

I’ve seen this done with everything from pasta to mashed potatoes served in martini glasses with topping to dress them up and with an array of desserts that go far beyond just wedding cake.


Candy bars are popular and can be a lot of fun for both kids and adults. It might surprise you that I often see more adults get all giddy over filling up a bag with sugary treats than the kids- and trust me, the kids love it. A candy bar seems to bring out the nostalgia in adults and grant them permission to enjoy those childhood favorites because everyone is at a party and enjoying the evening.

Sometimes the couple will match the candy to their wedding colors, but, in my opinion, the best candy bars just go for the good stuff, without regard to wrapper colors.


But what if you are looking for something beyond candy, something different? Easy: pick anything that can be customized and run with it. If you can easily change ingredients or add toppings, it will be perfect for your guests.

•Set out seasoned tomatoes, olives and cheeses for a bruschetta bar;
•Skip the formal meal and do a taco bar;
•Casual barn weddings would work well with a casual sandwich bar;
•Help guests stay up late with a caffeine fix at a coffee bar;
•For the daring, set up a mixology station and let guests create their own cocktails;
•A s’mores bar could mix traditional and sophisticated into one dessert;
•Serve ice cream and toppings for a sundae bar (I really wish brides and grooms would serve ice cream with the wedding cake-they were meant to be served together! This is a trend that needs catch on…)


Appleby Photography wedding popcorn bar

One idea I love is the popcorn bar.  I loved it so much that I want to have a party, just so I can have a popcorn bar!

You can add in flavored powder seasonings, like ranch, buffalo wing and bacon cheddar. Plus, it’s a fun way to tie in the candy buffet idea with your popcorn add-ins, like peanuts, m&ms and reese’s pieces to sprinkle in.

Recently, I interviewed the owner of Great American Popcorn Co for the Corridor Wedding Guide. Bill had some great ways that they help people do popcorn bars for weddings and graduations. The nice thing about using Great American Popcorn Co is that since they offer over a 100 different flavors, you can get fun ones, like Crunch Berry. (Yes, like the cereal!)

He also offered some smart advice, like choose white cheddar instead of the regular orange so hands are less messy on those fancy clothes. And he suggests your popcorn jars have lids to keep out humidity, especially in the summer. Check out the article for the full interview.

When you give your guests to ability to choose what they get to eat, it adds a little interactive entertainment, they mingle with other guest and they have a great time. It’s a win-win.

Real Wedding Feature Published On Corridor Wedding Guide

Our photography has been featured! Check out Shelby and Jeff’s Real Wedding on Corridor Wedding Guide! See their beautiful wedding and read about their cute proposal and Shelby’s wedding advice to couples planning their own weddings.

real wedding feature on the corridor wedding guide website

Shelby and Jeff are our wedding clients from last fall and they were so kind as to share their story with Corridor Wedding Guide. They were married at Oak Hill Weddings in Apple River, IL. It’s a fun location, complete with an old church, school and store. You can see images of Oak Hill here.

real wedding on location in galena Ill

real wedding close up of flowers

We started the day in Galena, where they had their “first look” and we photographed the wedding party. We did this because they were getting ready in Galena and they had limited time before the wedding at Oak Hill. Getting wedding party photographs done before we arrived to Oak Hill made  the schedule easier for family photographs and allowed Shelby and Jeff time to relax a little before the ceremony.


real wedding black and white of bride and groom

real wedding couple on red door

real wedding pastel bridesmaids

real wedding bridal party

Real Wedding features are fun because you not only get a glimpse into a couple’s wedding day, but they also inspire you with your own wedding planning. Looking at the details of things like flowers or favors that real brides did for their special day is great of giving you ideas that you may not have thought of otherwise.

One such idea is the map of Oak Hill that Shelby and Jeff included on the candy bags that also doubled as the ceremony programs. This was one element that did triple duty in the most perfect way! And the beer “growlers” they have collected from their favorite breweries that they used has flower vases on the reception tables. That is such a fun way to share with their wedding guests one of their favorite things to do together as a couple, plus it really personalizes the reception.

real wedding bride and groom leaving church ceremony

real wedding outside church

real wedding bride and groom

real wedding reception growler on table

real wedding reception tent

real wedding bride groom at sunset

We’re so excited that our wedding photography illustrates the details of Shelby and Jeff’s wedding, along with the story of their proposal and that they show the attention to wedding planning details throughout the wedding day.

Take a look at more images and read the details over at Corridor Wedding Guide “Real Weddings.”

Pain-Free Wedding Album Planning | Steph & Tim

Looking at your wedding photographs and reliving all the happy, enjoyable moments of your day is the fun part. The hard part is trying to figure out how you’ll possibly cut out any of these amazing images and still tell the whole story of the day in a wedding album.

[See Steph and Tim’s Real Wedding Feature here.]

This was Steph’s predicament. She loved her wedding photographs! She looked at them online, she paged through her proof booklet, and she loved so many of them.

From nearly 700 images, Steph narrowed her favorites to almost 200 photographs that she felt represented her wedding. And then she contacted me. She didn’t know how to cut any more from her favorites! These included many of her family and friends, as well as special moments and details that let her remember the wedding completely. So, she then gave me her list.

Certainly, I can design albums to hold every image a bride and groom pick out. However, usually the story can be enhanced by some experienced polishing.

My motto is: “It’s not what you leave in, it’s what you take out.” When I first prepare images for a wedding couple, I spend a lot of time to ensure that every image they see is album-worthy. But just as an overly wordy paragraph can lose a reader, a bloated album doesn’t highlight the very special and personal moments that are important to the bride and groom.

The next step with Steph and Tim’s wedding album was to go through this list of images. Steph was a little worried about this appointment. She thought it was going to be so difficult to make decisions about which photographs to cut.

I assured her that I was there to help and to make the whole process pain-free! She and I sat down and talked about what was important to include in the album. We then talked about easy ways to cut images.

For example, she had chosen images of the entire bridal party processing into the ceremony, recessing out of the ceremony and entering the reception. In an album, these images can become repetitive, so we picked the best of the three options. In this case, we used processional images.

We continued through the list of images in a similar way. We would group photographs together that included the same people or were taken in the same place and chose the best ones. This avoided unnecessary duplicates in the album.

Next, we looked at all the remaining images to see how they progressed through the day. We wanted to make sure we told the whole story of the wedding and that we didn’t have any holes in the photo-narrative.

Once Steph was satisfied, my design work began. I custom-designed a 10×8 album with 30 pages, along with a photo cover. Steph then reviewed the design, approved it and the album went into final production.

The result was a gorgeous album that beautifully and concisely showcased the entire day for them to be able to show off, share and enjoy for years to come.

Oak Hill Farm Wedding | Shelby & Jeff

church at oak hill with bride and groom photo

Shelby and Jeff were married last September at Oak Hill Farm in Apple River, Illinois. The location was fabulous and the day was perfect!

We started the wedding day in Galena, Illinois with their “first look” and photographs of the bridal party. Schedule-wise, this worked well because Shelby and the bridesmaids used a salon in Galena for their hair and make-up. Also, the first look allowed Shelby and Jeff a chance to talk and calm their “wedding day jitters.”

We then made the drive over to Oak Hill Farm for the wedding. Oak Hill is unique because it’s like a little town on a private estate. The owners have a love of antiques, which includes the general store, school house and even the church that were moved to the property! I was told it was quite the sight to see a church being rolled down the road to be put into position on the farm.

Shelby and Jeff were able to take full advantage of the space. We started with family photographs next to the barn that doubles as a dressing room. The ceremony was held in the old country church. While guests mingled at the cocktail hour by the old school, we had a few minutes to photograph Shelby and Jeff around the property. Guests also made sure to hop over to the general store for the candy buffet.

The bridal party then made their entrance into the tent reception, which overlooked the fields and had a beautiful view of the sunset. Later, a bonfire and s’mores were set up on the lawn, past the tent.

The service that Oak Hill Farm provided was great and the location is unique, including a variety of settings to use throughout the wedding day. This wasn’t a “rustic barn” wedding. Shelby and Jeff used Oak Hill for a more vintage and elegant version of a farm wedding. I would really recommend them as a wedding venue: Oak Fill Farm. It’s worth the drive to have a wedding here!

location wedding photos of bride and groom in galena Ill

bride and groom on location in galena Ill for wedding photos

bride and groom at oak hill for wedding

wedding couple at oak hill Ill with bridal party

outside cocktail hour for wedding

outdoor wedding location tent reception

Bridal Show Special – Limited Time

Thank you to those that came out to the bridal show on Sunday. It’s always fun to meet and chat with couples planning their weddings! And if you didn’t make it out, we still have you covered- the show special is included here!

If you know someone that’s wedding planning and would like to hear about us and the extra savings, we’d be honored if you passed this on!

2017 bridal show special

Your wedding plans are finally starting to fall into place, right?!?

So, what’s next on your wedding planning “to-do” list? We’d love to chat about how we’ll capture your wedding and create gorgeous photographs that you’re super excited to show off to everyone. And the Cheeky Booth photo booth will make your reception a lot of fun!!

For the next two weeks, until March 16th, you’ll save $200 off any Appleby Photography wedding collection and/or $100 off any Cheeky Booth photo booth rental!

SAVE: All Remaining 2017 Dates – An EXTRA $200 off photography packages!!

For a limited time, we’ll let you stack this savings with the bridal show special. Only until March 16th, get $400 off any photography collection!

Photography collections start at $1800. We offer collections with beautiful albums, and we also make it easy for couples that don’t need an album or engagement session to have the coverage that fits their budget. Digital files are always included with all collections.

Email me to see if your date is available! Let’s chat soon!!

Bridal Show Bonus!

wedding expo special ad save money off photography and photo booth rental packages bride and groom“Congratulations on getting engaged–when’s the big day? When are you getting married?” That is the question all newly engaged couples get: when will the wedding take place.

The first, most important step in planning your wedding is setting the date.

It makes sense that setting the date comes first. In the beginning, you probably have a little more flexibility. You might think fall would be a great time to get married, but would be willing to go with September or October. You might think a casual, barn-themed reception would be nice, if you can find a location with an open weekend. You might want your ceremony at your grandparents’ church, so you need to pick a date that they are able to schedule your wedding.

Knowing your wedding date allows you to ask other wedding professionals about their availability. Often, other wedding professionals won’t be able to lock in your wedding until they know the date. Some businesses, like florists and bakers, may work with several brides and grooms on any particular weekend. Other businesses, like wedding coordinators, photographers or DJs may only book one couple on a date.

Once brides and grooms get the location and date locked in for their ceremony and reception, they will feel more confident moving on to the other planning.

Do you know your wedding date? Are you ready to think about photography coverage? We would love to discuss our style and process with you! Give me a call and we can chat about how you’d like your wedding day captured, to be remembered for all time!

And for a limited time, we are offering a Bridal Show Bonus, with special savings on both our Appleby Photography wedding Collections and our Cheeky Booth photo booth rental packages.

Contact us today!

wedding expo special ad save money off photography and photo booth rental packages

Fall Wedding | Ali & Michael

I can’t believe that we are already in 2017! Where did 2016 even go? Seriously, I don’t feel like it could be time to flip the calendar yet–I’m still working on weddings!

I have been working on editing fall weddings and I’m so excited to share some images from Ali and Michael’s special day. Some weddings are casual, some are full of exceptional details. Ali and Michael’s wedding certainly falls into the “amazing” category.

Ali was a radiant bride who paid attention to details. The sublime grandeur of the ceremony and reception were the most elegant we had the honor of photographing this wedding season. I’ll share details from their wedding day soon! Until then, take a look at what a stunning couple they are together!

bride getting ready for wedding with dress and shoes on bed

covered bridge in waunakee wi bridal flowers and bride and groom in background

groom dipping bride by red covered bridge in waunakee wi

romantic bride and groom kissing outside on wedding day

bride looking at camera with groom in background at capitol in madison wi

romantic wedding couple outside at fall photography location

bride and groom together at outside fall photography location wedding day

romantic bride and groom fall wedding at madison capitol photography location

Real Wedding Featured On Iowa’s Corridor Wedding Guide

We are excited that a wedding we photographed this fall is being featured on the Corridor Wedding Guide website! They like to showcase weddings with interesting details to give brides and grooms inspiration for their own wedding planning. And this wedding certainly had a lot of great details!

country wedding bride and groom cowboy

Stephanie and Tim were married on September 3rd, 2016. The ceremony took place outside, with an American flag as the backdrop. The fun, casual reception was held in a barn, which fit the bride and groom perfectly.
Their wedding was a fun, country-styled affair, complete with the whole wedding party wearing cowboy boots. Groomsmen all wore jeans and the groom even wore a cowboy hat. The bouquets were crafted out of burlap, lace, ribbons and buttons, which exquisitely accented the theme!

Stephanie’s’ mother became like a wedding coordinator for the couple. Plus, Stephanie, being busy with work and such, was thrilled to have her help. Her mother spent a lot of time and put in a lot of effort to create the look for this wedding and the reception. She pulled together most of the wedding decorations, which solidified the “country” theme.

This wedding is excellent to look at for inspiration, not only for the popular “country” and “barn” weddings, but also for its casual, outdoor theme. All the thought that went into the details that carried out the “country” theme made the day feel special and comfortable- it was a beautiful day!

Stephanie shared some super cute details about Tim and her for the Corridor Wedding Guide article. You really need to hop over there and read how she “bought” him at an auction and his marriage proposal is SO SWEET!!

Check out all the photos and details here: Rustic Americana Wedding | Iowa’s Corridor Wedding Guide

Source: Rustic Americana Wedding | Iowa’s Corridor Wedding Guide