Candlelight Ceremonies

April 24, 2012 at 9:22 pm Leave a comment

Enhance the ambiance of your wedding with the soft dancing flames of a candlelight ceremony and share vows with the light-of-your-life encircled by the luminous glow of flickering candles. Candlelight weddings offer a sense of awe and reverence by providing a tranquil atmosphere filled with an ambiance of romance. Planning a candlelight ceremony takes a little extra effort but the end result is the stuff dreams are made of…read on for helpful candlelight ceremony tips.

Know Your Candles

Learning about the different types of candles available for your wedding will help in choosing the best match for your ceremony.

Tea lights are the smallest candles about 1 ½” in diameter and are often used as food warmers or placed in tea light holders.

Votive candles measure about 2 ½” in height and come in a variety of shapes from circular to square. Light your votive in a heat resistant container to hold the wax as it melts. Filled candles come ready-made in non-flammable heat resistant glass or ceramic holders pre-filled with a wick and wax.

Created to float on the surface of water, floating candles feature a low profile and an assortment of shapes.

Taper candles are long and narrow and range in size from 6 to 24 inches. Taper candles require candle holders specifically made for tapers only.

Pillar candles grant a substantially larger size than most other candles. Offering a supportive base and featuring one or more wicks, pillar candles require a heat-resistant holder. Transparent and rubbery to-the-touch are gel candles, a type of candle created from gelled mineral oils or artificial hydrocarbons.

For outdoor use, consider luminaria candles, a type of alfresco candle placed in sand-filled containers.

Flameless candles are battery-operated lights that mimic the flicker of real candles and can be used indoors or outdoors, a great alternative to candles.

 Initial Planning

Select a location that allows candlelight ceremonies by inquiring with your chosen facility’s administration and ask for permission and obtain approval and all information needed regarding limitations or special arrangements.

Candlelight ceremonies create the best effect in the late afternoon or evening. Choose a date during the time of the year when the sun goes down earlier such as autumn or winter. Check when sunset is for your date and select a time of day for your wedding. Begin your ceremony as early as 20 minutes before sunset.


Ensure the altar or where your service is to be officiated has enough candles to provide light for the entire audience to see as you exchange vows. For decorative touches, place candles at the end of pews, on windowsills, near the entrance, on tabletops, along staircases or walkways. Create a map of your wedding site and mark the spots for candle placement. Be sure to rehearse the candle lighting in advance to ensure the placement of all the lighting is to your satisfaction. Consider incorporating electric lights on dim to help guest seek out seats before the ceremony.

Who Lights the Candles

Generally, the maid of honor and the best man light the candles at a candlelight service. If you have many candles, ask the wedding party to assist in the lighting of candles before your ceremony. If your wedding features a unity candle, this responsibility belongs to the parents of the marrying couple. Optionally, you may designate a specific individual(s) to oversee the lighting of all candles.

Safety Considerations

Always display candles on heat-resistant candle holders such as candelabras, chandeliers, candle stands, hurricane vases, wall sconces, tea light holders and votive holders. At rehearsal, double-check if your candles may be easily toppled; if so remove your candles to a more stable location. Avoid placing candles in close proximity to flammable objects such as wood, paper or fabric. Make sure all fire extinguishers are working and know their locations. Ensure the fire exits are open and functioning properly. Have a pre-designated person oversee the extinguishing and removal of candles immediately after the ceremony.

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