Top tips on how to best use candles to decorate your wedding venue

15th December 2022
Candlelight candleabra

Candles are a cost effect and beautiful way of decorating a venue. An open flickering candle flame casts a stunning glow and creates a warm ambiance. They are particularly effective for winter weddings when it gets dark early, and they add a wonderful cosiness to any venue. In this blog we have put together some wedding ideas using candles to set a gorgeous warm vibe to your day. Here’s how to incorporate tea lights, pillar candles, or floating candles into your theme whilst keeping an eye on guest (and venue!) safety.

Which candles?

Votive candles are often placed in pretty glass containers, are usually taller than tea lights and have a longer burn time than tea lights. Votives melt into the container itself so if you want to re-use your glass jars, a tea light may be a better bet unless you are prepared to re-melt and clean your jars.

Tea lights (usually sold as 4 hr or 8 hr burn) come in a self-contained metal container which makes them easy to drop into any glass holder and makes very little (if any) mess. Here at The Great Barn, we supply tea lights over both fireplaces and light them for you in the evening. You are welcome to add more so long as you provide additional holders for them.

Scented candles: A scented candle in the entrance is always a nice touch for when your guests arrive. Both tea lights and votive candles come in a huge range of scents – why not personalise your day by choosing a scent that will hold memories for year to come.

Floating candles are a popular choice with venues as these have a much reduced risk of fire should they be tipped over. These can be held in a wide variety of glass holders or jars and can be beautifully simple on their own or add flowers/ glass beads below for colour.

Taper candles or Pillar candles

Sturdy pillar candles of mixed heights lend themselves well to the rustic feel of a barn such as The Great Barn. Many of our couples use them for both decorating the window alcoves and/or table centrepieces.  All that we ask is that they supplied with a base (such as a wooden slice/ dish /glass holder) to catch melting wax and protect the tablecloth. The Registrars no longer allow naked flames for the ceremony table or aisle, however our window alcoves are permitted as there is no risk to clothing or guests burning themselves.  

There is a current trend for tall, slender taper candles which we often find cause several problems in practice. Whilst these candles look beautifully elegant, they are more unstable and can easily be knocked over as guests move around – particularly if the whole wedding party ends up dancing round the tables! Please discuss these with us in advance or ask your florist if you are having floral centrepieces. If you are having energetic elements to your day (such as singing waiters), it is possible that candles are not the safest option for your table centrepieces.

And finally, if you are concerned, you can always use LED flickering candles as an option (and take them home for future use) small flickering tea lights hidden discretely in jars can be quite effective.

Photos credits: Antonia Grace Photography & CarolAnn Photos