One of the sweetest parties I’ve ever thrown was for my dear friend Dylan Lauren, also known as the Queen of Candy and the founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar. I start every party thinking of something personal for the honoree. Dylan has been obsessed with sweets ever since I’ve known her—which made it the perfect theme to personalize her shower. Candy is an excellent theme for any baby or bridal shower, engagement party, or anniversary, because love is sweet! Here’s how we brought candy into virtually every element of this party.



The theme was clear the minute guests entered, thanks to a large-scale piece of decor: A
heart-shaped mural of hearts in three different colors, all made out of Chiclets.

Candy mosaics are a fun statement for any type of party. This one had to hang on the wall, so we glued the gum into a frame. But you can get the same effect, and keep candy edible, by making a candy-cuterie platter on a tray to fit any occasion; think a Jack O’Lantern platter, a heart made of red candies for Valentine’s Day, or number shaped out of candy in the age of the birthday honoree or the number of years the anniversary couple has been married.

Unexpected candy decor elements appeared wherever they could. These garlands lining my staircase were made out of gumballs.


Sweet Bridal Surprises

Around the room, traditional bridal accessories—made out of candy—were displayed like works of art.

A tiara fashioned out of candy gems rested on a cake plate under a cloche.

A bouquet made out of sugar flowers and candy flower lollipops was tied with a bow.

Rings crafted out of candy rested on mini pedestals like jewels in a boutique.

A statement necklace for the bride, made of sugar gems, caught everyone’s eye.



Chocolate bars wrapped in an invitation with all the event information make a perfect introduction to a candy-themed party. These invites were full of surprises, from my custom drawing of the happy couple on the front of the wrapper with all the need-to-know information on the back, to the on-palette strawberry candy bar. The bar itself introduces a design which reappears throughout the party—D❤️P for Dylan loves Paul. And, of course, it came in a box with pink confetti. I also often cover chocolate bars in personalized wrappers to use as favors (like at this graduation party) or place cards.


Candy Buffet

I’m a big candy buffet fan, because they work as decor, an interactive activity, and a place where guests can fill their own favor bags. This one—displayed in lucite vessels shaped like the couple’s initials, and ringed in rectangular lucite trays—makes such a statement as a centerpiece that no flowers are needed on the table.

Guests filled cellophane bags—personalized with my artwork—with the candy of their choice.



I love using candy as favors for parties because it comes in virtually any color, which means it can fit any palette. It’s also an indulgence most people enjoy but wouldn’t necessarily get for themselves, so it’s a treat, and a fun way to make a memory of an event—literally leaving guests with a sweet taste in their mouths. For Dylan’s shower, we had a variety of candy favors including these individually boxed ring pops. They’d also make great place cards or escort cards—and look so decorative lined up in rows.

A good old-fashioned candy necklace makes a big impact when given in a jewelry box. You can even personalize the box with a message inside.

Clear cylinders filled with candy in an ombre stack going from hot pink to bright yellow were sealed with gold tape topped with a sticker bearing my portrait of the bride on one side, and of the groom on the other, along with the words Dylan loves Paul (on her drawing) and Paul loves Dylan (on his).

Personalized mints were scattered around the room for guests to find. (Under the circumstances, the candy overload made sense!)


Food & Drink

A party where only candy is served wouldn’t be very satisfying for guests. For Dylan’s shower, I collaborated with my friend and caterer Peter Callahan to come up with a menu that would be both on-theme and delicious. We designed these passed hors d’oeuvres of caviar and crackers shaped like engagement “rings.”

The rest of the menu was made up of comfort food bites including mini mac-and-cheese, turkey burgers, and fries (in bags with my drawing of the bride-to-be). We offered milk and cookies, among other treats, for dessert.

To carry the color scheme through, food was served on lucite trays filled with candy like these pink jelly beans. These trays, which have a removable lucite slab that allows you to layer candy or paper in between the bottom of the tray and the surface, are so versatile! You can line them with any number of things to fit a party’s theme.

  • Copies of love letters or sheet music of love songs for an anniversary or engagement party
  • Vintage handkerchiefs for a bridal or baby shower
  • Old maps for a bon voyage party
  • Photos of the honoree from babyhood to now at a birthday or graduation party
  • Decorative wrapping paper, wallpaper, or artwork

At Dylan’s shower, we also lined the candy trays with paper covered in my drawings of the happy couple, lollipops, ribbon candy, and other goodies.

You can also bring a candy touch to regular food by having images of candy on napkins, matchboxes, or serving sticks. Half of these cocktail toothpick flags have a portrait of the bride on them, the other half show a ring pop. Together, they tell this story: HE POPPED THE QUESTION. SHE SAID YES. Toothpick flags are an easy way to add a personal touch to desserts, whether they’re homemade brownies or store-bought mini cupcakes.

Even the drinks had a touch of my artwork—and of course the jellybean-lined trays coordinated with the bubblegum pink ties the wait staff wore.



The cake, covered in fondant hearts, echoed the initials from the candy buffet, with the D❤️P design bringing color to the cake. Displayed alongside bowls filled with pink candy, it was a sweet finish to the candy-themed party.