The bar is high when it comes to food and beverage options for event planners. Rather than trying to guess what attendees want, why not let them choose? Customizable DIY food and beverage bars are an opportunity to create an interactive experience. Plus, planners can easily set this up or give the list to a caterer to execute.

Deviled Eggs

Setup: Hard-boiled eggs can be kept on a serving plate, tray or at even in an egg carton. Add-ons include labeled bowls, sauce cups or mason jars.

Customizable add-ons: Capers, scallions, paprika, bacon, chopped olives, jalapeños, goat cheese, relish, horseradish, sour cream, mustard, cayenne, lemon juice, smoked salmon and ham bits.

Bloody Mary

Setup: A bloody mary bar can be as simple or elaborate as you want. The basic layout should include vodka and a variety of spices, pickled veggies, hot sauces and bloody mary mixes—one mild and one spicy. The two mixes should be in separate, labeled pitchers. Remember to include straws and small skewers.

Customizable add-ons: Spices may include black pepper, lemon pepper, paprika, kosher salt and garlic powder. Some pickled-veggie options are olives, pickles, beets, cauliflower, okra, pearl onions, pepperoncini, jalapeno, carrots, asparagus and green beans. To accommodate all tastes, sauces can include Tabasco, Frank’s Red Hot, Umami, BBQ sauce, sweet chili sauce, Sriracha, Tapatio, Chohula and Worcestershire sauce. Celery, lemons and limes are essential, too. For going big and bold, your bar can also include bacon, cheese, shrimp, clams and hard-boiled eggs.


Setup: Have a few basic popcorn options on hand such as kettle corn, butter and salt, and lightly salted to scoop into a bag. Provide salt shakers full of interesting seasonings and a few candies to throw in. Once your attendee has made her selections, she should shake the bag up before eating.

Customizable add-ons: Seasonings can include nacho cheddar, caramel, garlic parmesan, bacon cheddar, butter, popcorn salt, ranch, barbecue, honey mustard, salt and vinegar, Sriracha and jalapeno. Candy additions can include honey-roasted peanuts, M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, gummy bears and pretzels.

Mashed Potatoes

Setup: Keep mashed potatoes in a crockpot or warmed serving tray. Set up martini glasses to fill with mashed potatoes, or portion potatoes into glasses beforehand.

Customizable add-ons: Bacon bits, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, chives, scallions, gravy, sour cream, jalapenos, tomatoes, diced ham, peas, shredded chicken and broccoli.

Hot Chocolate

Setup: Offer different hot chocolate flavors—such as milk, dark and white chocolate, and peppermint—in separate, labeled coffee servers. Put candies in glass jars and include syrups, straws and whipped cream.

Customizable add-ons: Candy add-ons can really make it special. Options include peppermint sticks and chips, caramel, sprinkles, coconut shavings, marshmallows, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and pirouette cookies.