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Tips for candles at a wedding:

Candles at a wedding add sparkle and warmth to the atmosphere.  Romantic and cozy weddings can benefit from the glow of candles.  Here’s some tips for safety and efficiency when dealing with open flames and candles of all types.

You’ll need more candles than you think.

If you want to make a big impact you need to double or triple the amount of candles that you’re thinking of.  There’s at least 20 candles on this 10 person place setting.  Plus about 10-15 more on the wall shelves behind it.  The large amount of candles is what makes the room glow.  If you’re using led lighted candles you definitely will need tons more, because they won’t be as bright as the real thing in pictures.

candles at a winter wedding in Minnetonka minnesota
A winter wedding in Minnetonka using tons of candles at the reception table to achieve a warm, inviting glow.

Vases should be sturdy so they don’t tip over.

This is true for indoor or outdoor weddings, and goes for both electronic and flame candles.  If you have candles at a wedding glass vases are good choices to help diffuse the light and contribute to the glow of the room.  Make them sturdy so a breeze or accidental brush by a guest won’t send them falling over.  I’ve been at weddings where electronic candles are put in very flimsy vases on tables, and a guest just happens to knock that vase over when reaching for something at dinner.  If you don’t use a sturdy vase you might be cleaning up broken glass at your reception.  Use weight in the vases, either heavy candles, water, or flame proof filler like rocks.

for candles at weddings use sturdy vases
Heavy candles, water, and a solid bottom help keep these thick glass vases upright.

Use wax catchers if your guests will be holding flame candles.

Safety first with flame candles.  They’re beautiful, but they do drip even for a short 15 minute ceremony.  You can find elegant looking wax catches to keep your wedding guests safe from hot wax burns.

the best man holds a candle at a winter wedding in minnetonka
These white plastic wax catchers are a good safety measure for holding candles at a wedding

Keep candles safely away from cake and flowers.

You want your entire wedding to glow with flame candles, but wax, burns or soot on your wedding cake and flowers is a real risk here.  In places where you need to put safety first use strings of mini led lights.  They’ll twinkle and glow just as nicely as candles.  A hint for this:  just like candles, you’ll need more lights than you think if you really want to pull off a sparkling effect.

winter wedding cake made by the bride's mother in Minnetonka Minnesota
Delicate little twinkle lights keep this cake safe from burns when it’s on display at the reception.  A mirror helps reflect the lights for maximum glow.

Find a photographer who has experience shooting with candle light.

All the pictures in this blog combine on or off camera flash with candle light.  There’s no “natural light” happening here.  It was evening, the room was dark, and I needed to balance the lighting to create the glowing effect the couple wanted in their wedding pictures.  Make sure you tell potential wedding photographers about your candles plans when interviewing them and ask about their experience working with dark lighting situations.  Pick a photographer who has the lighting solutions needed to achieve what you want with your candle light.

a couple kisses at their Minnetonka winter wedding
Flash is balanced with candle light in this dark room for a romantic portrait.
a wedding bouquet with candles in the background
Here candle light is in the background.  Flash is used to illuminate the bouquet and wedding ring.

(Pictures are from a winter elopement in Minnetonka- you can see more from that wedding here.)

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