Light up the Night: Wedding Reception Candlelight / by Laurie Cohen

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When we do wedding design mock ups in our Scottsdale office, we dim the lights and light the candles.  There is nothing quite like the amber glow of candlelight and no better time to employ this simple tool to create imactful yet inexpensive ambiance.  Here are a few tips about using candles to create the perfect vibe at your wedding reception:

First, be sure to talk to your wedding venue and look over your venue contract. Ask what candle restriction they have and what your options are. Many venues require that candles be encased in glass above the level of the flame and don't allow taper candles. Be sure to find out the facts before you plan which candles to use. 

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Lanterns are a great option as they satisfy most venue safety requirements. Lots of lanterns means lots of pillar candles that can be pricey. Be sure to order them in bulk or ask your wedding planner to help. 



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Tea lights are the tiny candles in a tin casing and these usually go into tea light holders. Many wedding florists and wedding rental companies offer these or they can be purchased online at places like

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Votives are slightly larger (usually about 2") than tea lights and longer. These are the popular candles you see on many cocktail hour and dining tables.  These are great options because they last a long time and create a flickering glow.  Votive holders are usually made of different types of glass like mercury glass and milk glass. 


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Taper Candles are the tall, skinny candles that fit into candlesticks and candelabras.  Most venues require these to be encased in glass or require dripless candles or LEDs.

All Candles are not created equal! Test your candles before buying a ton of them. In our experience, the ikea candles that are so reasonably priced also burn out VERY quickly and make a big mess (which can lead to linen damage fees.) When in doubt, test them out:-)

Candles are one of the most impactful decor items you can include in your wedding.  They cast a warm, romantic shadow over your entire reception and can be very cost effective.  Check to see if your wedding venue will allow you to use candles to put the finishing touches on your wedding decor.  If they don't, you can always use LED lanterns and candles to create a similar effect. 

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