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The Bride's Guide Blog

A Candlelit Glow

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Posted by Matthew Robbins, Contributor

Everyone loves candles, right? Well, maybe not everyone! I was shocked and intrigued when a recent client revealed in one of our design meetings that she really is not a fan of many candles and didn't want a single votive on her dinner tables. She also didn't love the idea of pillar candles (too chunky) or taper candles (too classic), and definitely no candelabra!

I could understand some of her concerns. The heat given off by a hundred votives loaded onto a table can be a bit overwhelming for your guests. And candles can interfere with the look or feel of the table. We connected on this point; one of my own design "rules" is that every candle, candle holder, object, vase, etc. on the table should be unique and an important part of the overall design. Tossing more candles on the tables can be just that: more candles but not a truly inspired design element. The compromise for my client was finding really beautiful, very special votive holders that were decorative pieces on the tables. I wanted each votive to add substance to the table with shape, color, and, of course, light! 

Here are examples of candle options I often use and love to feature for outdoor and indoor weddings. Remember to consider how the look of the candle holders transform after the candle is actually lit. If there is a pattern on the glass, it will add texture to the table or if the container is a strong color it will make your table even more dramatic. 

I'm a huge fan of the handblown votive cups from glassybaby in Seattle. These two photos from Julie Skarett catch their magic as they glow in beautiful blue and green tones. 

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These votives provide texture and pattern for the table.

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If you prefer clean and classic with clear glass, consider mixing shapes as we did here with beautiful hurricanes and small pink mercury glass votives to add a touch of color.

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These beautiful arrangements were surrounded by elegant hurricanes and silver votives. 

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This amber glass makes a perfect candle cup! Remember to consider all kinds of containers as options for holding candles: drinking glasses, tea cups, mason jars, and glass vases are some of my favorites. 

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Lanterns are always a wonderful option for an outdoor event or for an area that needs a big statement without putting too much effort into the decor. You can rely on oversized lanterns to add a welcoming glow to an entry hall or an outdoor path leading to your venue.

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Outdoor lantern photo provided by Chris Humphreys

Let me know if you have any favorite candle ideas! And Check out this link for additional candle solutions from Martha Stewart Weddings.

Comments (3)

  • What great ideas of how to utilize candlelight! I found these horn votives last winter at Winston Flowers in Boston that would also create a great collection with floral centerpieces. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • I love our local glassybaby's !! They are my favorite :) love all the other options you posted, and I totoally agree with using it as an intentional design element - not randomly throwing votives out there! Most venues offer 'votive candles' but it's usually three uninspiring ones per table! Thanks for the photos - great post.

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