25 Candle Centerpieces to Elegantly Illuminate Your Reception

Level up your wedding's ambiance with these candle ideas.
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
by
Hannah Nowack
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
Hannah Nowack
Senior Editor, Weddings
  • Hannah writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on real wedding coverage.
  • Hannah has a passion for DE&I and plays an integral role in ensuring The Knot content highlights all voices and all love stories.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Hannah was the Social Media Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings.
Updated Mar 31, 2022

When it comes to designing a wedding reception during wedding planning, curating your dream vibe and aesthetic is an important part of forming the overall design. Lighting plays a huge role in accomplishing that very task. You could enlist a wonderful florist for your wedding and have the dreamiest table decorations, but the designs may fall flat if you don't consider the lighting that will frame the wedding reception. Candlelight is a great way to bring a warm ambiance and a romantic vibe to your wedding reception and wedding table decorations. "Whenever I think of candles, I think romance and warmth," says advises Lola Akingbade of MasterPlan Events. "Candles are such a great addition to wedding tablescapes because they add an extra sparkle and highlight the tables way more than if there were no candles. Candles give off a warm, amber tone and when you have lots of them in the room, it makes for a bigger impact."

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Top Tips for Wedding Candle Centerpieces

While candles are beautiful as part of reception decor, candle wax can be difficult to clean up. Additionally, open flames can be dangerous when not treated with care. As such it's important to work work with your wedding planner, florist, rentals company and wedding venue before you decide to include candles in your wedding decor and wedding centerpieces. Keep these must-know wedding tips and pieces of expert advice in mind as you plan your candle wedding centerpieces.

Talk With Your Venue and Rentals Company

"When using real candles, the biggest thing to keep in mind is safety. A number of wedding venues do not allow open flame candles because they want to prevent a fire in case the candle tips over," advises Akingbade. If you love the appearance of candles, but your venue doesn't allow for open flames, battery-powered flameless candles are a solid alternative to traditional candles like votives, tea light candles or pillar candles. Additionally, some venues may allow you to have candles in your reception decor as long as they're encased in glass shields or glass vases. By starting the conversation early with your vendors with regard to candles, you'll ensure you're able to safely have the tablescape you're dreaming of. When planning your tablescape, Nora Sheils, founder of Bridal Bliss and co-founder of Rock Paper Coin suggests that to-be-weds "ensure candles are enclosed and free from any greenery or floral that could quickly go up in flames if they come too close. Calling in the fire department is not the wow factor couples are striving for."

Plan Around Wind

"I'm always team candle when it comes to tablescapes and elevating the ambiance of an event," says Ashley Lachney, owner of Alston Mayger Events. "There can never be too many, and candlelight is flattering on literally everyone. What's that saying, though? Man plans, God laughs? Two things to keep in mind with candles as a part of your design: venue policies, and wind! Maybe your venue allows candles, but you'll be outdoors. Even the tiniest breeze will snuff out a pretty flame. Ensure that your wicks are about two inches below your chimney sleeve or glass holder—you'll find yourself re-lighting less this way."

Make a Clean-up Plan

If you're renting linens, there is likely a cleaning fee that will be added should wax melt onto the specialty linens. A muslin table runner that you can dispose of is a great option that works as a shield while also adding additional texture to the tablescape. Alternatively, if you're placing your candles in hurricane candle holders or cylinder vases with a base that will catch wax, you won't have to worry about wax dripping over the edge of the candlestick or candelabra and onto your specialty linens. Akingbade suggests that "at the end of the night when blowing out candles, allow them to solidify before you move them to avoid the hot wax spilling on you or on the table." Whatever course of action you settle on, it's best to make a clear plan ahead of time to ensure you save yourself from headaches after the wedding.

Candle Centerpieces Wedding Ideas

We're obsessed with these candle wedding centerpiece ideas, and you're sure to love them as well. Whether you're drawn to rustic wedding themes and envision mercury glass and mason jars at your wedding, glam options like floating candles and candelabras or prefer a boho vibe that makes use of candle lanterns, there are ideas here you'll want to steal immediately to incorporate into your party decorations and table centerpieces.

1. Colorful Taper Candles in Crystal Candlesticks

Instead of limiting their taper candles to a single color, the reception tables at this event showcased a myriad of wedding colors as part of the tabletop design.

2. Glam Crystal Candelabra

Crystal and glass candle holders are a great option for couples planning a glamorous wedding.

3. Gold Candelabra Centerpiece

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/216595063319847939/

If you're planning a vintage wedding, this look is for you. For to-be-weds that love thrifting, turn your tabletop design into a DIY wedding centerpiece project by scouring flea markets and thrift stores for an eclectic selection of candle holders.

4. Black Taper Candles in Gold Candlesticks

A romantic die-cut table number accented the moody black taper candles on this tabletop. The result was an eye-catching juxtaposition of elegance and goth.

5. Long Table Lined With White Taper Candles

Tall candles, like pillar candles or taper candles, work well with rectangular reception tables where you want a long centerpiece to run the length of the table.

6. White Orb Votive Candle Holders

The candle holders used at this wedding felt reminiscent of luminary that are typically encased in paper bags. If you find candle holders that you absolutely love but are worried about purchasing them just for the wedding, consider finding a way that they can be used as home decor in your house after the wedding.

7. Tea Light Candles Hanging From Tall Floral Centerpiece

To illuminate the tall rose centerpiece at this table, orbs filled with tea lights were artfully suspended below the design.

8. Pale Blue Taper Candles

The great thing about candles is that they're available in pretty much any color so you can easily source ones that complement your chosen wedding colors. We're loving the pastel blue tapers that were on display at this spring garden wedding.

9. Minimalist Tablescape With White Taper Candles

Instead of selecting matching candleholders, this couple settled on an eclectic mixed-holder centerpiece of white pottery holders and taller wood candle holders.

10. Taper Candles in Glass Case

For safety, the taper candles at this wedding were encased in a glass box without a top.

11. Modern Ribbed Hurricane Candle Holders

To bring their tabletop vision to life, this couple's centerpiece utilized a mix of larger pillar candle holders and smaller votive holders that were all made of funky ribbed glass.

12. Modern Black Taper Candles

Chic black taper candles ran the length of this table, with white wedding flowers mixed in at the base of the candles. The end result was sleek, modern and totally stunning.

13. Gold Candelabras With Eucalyptus Garland

To add visual interest to the centerpiece design, this couple selected both tall and short gold candelabras for their romantic wedding centerpiece. As a finishing touch, a eucalyptus garland ran the length of the table.

14. Boho Tablescape With Taupe Taper Candles

This bohemian waterfront table design included taupe taper candles, gold taper candle holders and dried palm fronds.

15. Ivory Taper Candles Around Elegant Flower Centerpiece

Ivory taper candles, encased in glass sleeves, illuminated the sweet pea, rose and peony flower centerpiece at this wedding.

16. Taper Candles With Crystal Candlesticks at Estate Wedding

As with all parts of wedding planning and design, it's important to keep your venue in mind when making decorating decisions. This couple was tying the knot at a romantic storied villa so they settled on equally romantic crystal candle holders for the table.

17. Modern Black Taper Candles at Hotel Wedding

The more, the merrier, right? As long as you do so with caution, illuminating your reception with an abundance of candles is a great idea.

18. Gold Candelabra at Outdoor Wedding

While using candles outdoors can be tricky because of the wind, if you know there isn't going to be much wind at your wedding then the effect of candles outdoors is sure to wow, like this centerpiece did.

19. Pillar Candles Underneath Hanging Flower Arrangement

The floral and greenery part of this couple's tablescape wasn't actually on the table, rather it was suspended from the ceiling like a chandelier. As a result, they had ample space to fill the tabletop with elegant white pillar candles in glass pillar candle holders.

20. Whimsical Hanging Candle Chandelier Installation

This look is serving Harry Potter floating candle vibes and we're here for it. Flameless candles give much more flexibility than traditional candles and this couple took advantage of that fact by have a dramatic candle chandelier created.

21. Low Floral Centerpiece With Candle Accents

You don't have to go overboard with candles in order to incorporate them into your wedding centerpieces. This couple had floral-focused centerpieces but accented the design with short, subtle taper candles for ambiance.

22. Peach-Hued Pillar Candles

To complement the peach color of the table numbers, this couple settled on peachy pillar candles to round out their boho centerpiece design.

23. Mix of Black Taper Candles and Pillar Candles

Instead of choosing all taper candles or all pillar candles, this centerpiece design combined both styles. To ensure the whole look was harmonious, all the candles were

24. Colorful Taper Candles in Metallic Candle Holders

To brighten their industrial wedding venue, this couple brought in taper candles and metallic accents.

25. Gold Candelabras With Ivory Candles

If you have a penchant for romantic details, you're sure to love this tablescape packed with candelabras and ivory taper candles.

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