Decorating Your Wedding With Candles: What You Need to Know

Decorating your wedding with candles can add a romantic touch to your venue or ceremony. Read on to get more wedding candle tips.

By Amanda Mitchell

Wedding With Candles on Table
Photo by Unsplash

One of the most important parts of your wedding is the lighting. Ambiance, mood, and the entire vibe of the day can be decided on how you light the room. Candles are a popular lighting choice, both for the romantic atmosphere candlelight can provide as well as the versatility of candles. There are so many vessels, shapes, and arrangements for candles that can make any day feel unique and special. From candles lighting the path down the aisle, or elaborate candelabras at a wedding table, there are plenty of ways to incorporate them into your wedding ceremony or reception. But of course, using candles comes with a few risks and questions—we’ve broken down what you really need to know before jumping in feet-first.

Okay, but how safe can candles really be?

Decorating Your Wedding With Candles Photo Credit // Unsplash

Candles are pretty, but a wedding going up in flames is probably not high on your list of goals for your event. Between high winds and rambunctious wedding guests, candles can certainly pose a risk to your wedding day. The fire department did not RSVP to your wedding, so prepare not to call them. If you’re worried someone may knock the candles over, LED or electric candles will certainly guarantee peace of mind.

Most certainly, before considering using candlelight, check with your venue. Some venues may allow open flame, some are flat-out against candles and only allow flameless candles, and some may require votives and no free-standing candles.

But if this is something you’re committed to, keep some safety rules in mind:

  • Never leave burning candles unattended for any reason.
  • Never move a lit candle.
  • Candles should be at least a foot from any flammable surface, meaning clothing, linens, flowers, anything that might prove a risk.
  • Keep candles away from children (and any guests who might get a little fire-happy after a glass of wine.)
  • Make sure your candles are in sturdy, stable flat surfaces, away from ventilation.
  • If your wedding is outside, avoid using candles in high winds.

How many candles do I need?

While this is an easy question to ask, it’s not as easy to answer. How many candles you’ll need for the wedding really depends on what purpose the candle will serve. Is it going to be a primary lighting source, or is it merely decorative? If you plan on using them to light your aisle, a safe rule to keep is not to have a candle on every row, but rather every other one. Spacing your wedding candle fixtures out is safer and more practical. Candles on tablescapes should be also taken into consideration—are the candles the main focus of the centerpiece, or merely decorative? Creating wedding candle centerpieces can also add a touch of romance to your wedding venue. The size of the candles will also matter—obviously, you’ll need more tea candles than big candlesticks.

Scented or Unscented: That is the question.

A fragrance is a wonderful way to implant a sense memory of your big day for your guests. A spritz or two in the air of your favorite perfume before the ceremony can go a long way—but for scented candles, where the fragrance will linger for a while, that can be overwhelming and impact your guests’ enjoyment. Skip scented candles for your centerpieces—not only are some people very sensitive to fragrance and can get scent-triggered headaches, scented candles can also change the taste of food and impact the meal you’re serving. Scented candles as favors or as decorations in the bathroom—great! But keep the warm vanilla smell to post-wedding events, not the reception.

What to do with candles after the wedding

Decorating Your Wedding With Candles Photo Credit // Unsplash

Okay, so you’ve done the wedding, it’s the end of the night, and you’ve got dozens of candles to find a home for. If you’re not the people getting married, surprising them in their honeymoon suite with a romantic candlelit vibe can always be a sweet ending to a lovely day. Ask their accommodations if it’s okay first, however—you don’t want to get a call from an angry friend in the middle of the night because they were booted from their honeymoon suite. Candles can also substitute for a wedding favor, if necessary.

Getting personalized wedding candles with the name of you and your partner, as well as the wedding date engraved on the vase is a wonderful way to both decorate your wedding day and leave your guests with a long, lasting memory. Another idea is to create a loving memory for you and your partner by, well, making one giant candle. No, really—gently melt down the remaining candles in a vase, add a wick and a drop or two of fragrance, and you’ve got a beautiful memory of your day that will last as long as your love.