The Prettiest Ways to Decorate Your Wedding With Candles

Make your day glow (literally) with the most romantic lighting: an open flame

Updated 11/12/19

Photo by Emilie White

Ok, we're just going to say it: Candlelight is a must at any and all wedding-related events. After all, it is the key to a successful party. The reason: It's a known fact that people have more fun in a dimly lit room.

And while we're all about having a fun wedding, there's another benefit of candlelight that we're even more into: the look. As you'll see in this gorgeous photo gallery (featuring photos from Brides real weddings), an open flame is downright gorgeous IRL and on film. Seriously, picking our favorite candle photos was a challenge in itself. That's because all those flickering flames project an amber glow, which just so happens to be universally flattering. Yes, that means you, your partner, and all your guests will look even more beautiful in a candlelit room—consider it the original Valencia filter. (And if you don't believe us, you're more than welcome to consult your photographer for a second opinion.)

So how exactly are you going to light your reception room or ceremony space, you ask? Well, of course, that's where we come in. Below, you'll find 31 examples of candle-accented décor done just right. From taper candles (the long, skinny ones) on elegant tabletops to pillar candles (the thicker, fatter ones) inside a fireplace or lining a staircase, you're sure to find the right lighting for your wedding.

Beyond the type of candle, you'll also have to choose how you're going to display them. Consider antique-looking lanterns for an old-world affair or sleek, modern cylinders for a modern celebration.

Keep reading to see exactly what we're talking about and get to pinning your dream design inspiration. We can't wait to see how pretty your wedding looks when cast in a flattering, romantic glow.

01 of 31

Place Candelabras

Reception Tent with Candles

Photo by Corbin Gurkin Photography

To create the look for a formal soirée, place tall gold candelabras on your tables. As this Tara Guérard designed wedding proves, they can easily elevate an otherwise simple display.

02 of 31

Hang Votives

Hanging greenery with candles

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography

Here, hanging votive candles in geometric orbs make this industrial wedding venue feel oh-so romantic. And, of course, the additional pillars and votives on the floor don't hurt either.

03 of 31

Use Simple White Candles

Flowers and Candles

Photo by Chellise Michael Photography

Simple, white candles can add much needed (but not too much) light to an otherwise dark, moody area.

04 of 31

Place Pillar Candles and Hang Light Fixtures

Photo by Kyle John; Design by Kehoe Designs

You know when they say "more is more," well this Chicago wedding is the perfect example. We love how these pillar candles are used in groupings on the tables and also in the hanging light fixtures up above.

05 of 31

Use Candlesticks and Taper Candles

Candlesticks

Photo by Melissa Oholendt Photography

A gold candlestick and a white taper candle can do no wrong, as shown here with a lush garland of greenery, fruit accents, and small white votives.

06 of 31

Illuminate the Entrance

Candles Outside Tent

Photo by Corbin Gurkin Photography

If you're pitching a tent in a dark field, it's smart to illuminate the outside of the space. And if you're already adding light, why not make it pretty, right? That's why we suggest channeling this display by Tara Guérard, which shows how a multitude of candles in glass vases can work wonders.

07 of 31

Fill Open Spaces

Photo by Matt Lien Photography

Sometimes, it's smart to fill open spaces with candlelight. And it's really smart when said area is as pretty as this metallic edged mantel.

08 of 31

Use Dramatic Candelabras

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography

Here, tall candelabras make a statement on long tables and add an old-world touch that meshes well with the historic space. When you're working with a venue this gorgeous, it's really best to not compete.

09 of 31

Mix and Match Metallic Containers

Candles

Photo by Jose Villa

We're obsessed with these sleek mini vessels. Mix and match metallic containers (each filled with a votive candle or tea light) to create a simple yet modern display on the cake table.

10 of 31

Create a Focal Point

Photo by Abby Jiu Photography

Guests will have to find their seating arrangements no matter what so go ahead and make it easy for them. These candles do double duty in that they make a pretty focal point and light the way to the escort card display.

11 of 31

Line the Staircase

Photo by Rebecca Yale Photography; Flowers by The Bloom of Time; Planning by Taryn Leach Events

We can't decide if this candle-lined staircase is more for show or necessity. For one, it's smart to line tricky areas (like staircases) after dark, but this setup is so dreamy that we'd be tempted to say "I do" here, too.

12 of 31

Create a Sky of Stars

Reception

Photo by Greer Gattuso

Create the look of stars in a clear-top tent by hanging glass orbs filled with tea lights. The more, the merrier.

13 of 31

Make Your Staircase Glow

Photo by Christian Oth Studio

Make your grand entrance all the more grand on a staircase glowing with tea lights.

14 of 31

Play With Height

Table Settings

Photo by Sarah Falugo

When you spend months curating the perfect tablescape, you best show off your handiwork by mixing in candles of varying heights. These tall, black candles and mini votives make the perfect pair.

15 of 31

Make It Modern

Photo by Branco Prata

When you think of candlelight, you often think of a very ethereal, romantic look. But you can totally make it modern by using sleek cylinder vases like these.

16 of 31

Use Gold-Rimmed Containers

Outdoor Altar for Atlanta wedding

Photo by Kelly Anne Berry

Okay, we know you've seen pillar candles placed on the floor. But how cool are these gold-rimmed containers? We have heart-eyes for them—and this backyard wedding in Atlanta.

17 of 31

Use Taper Candles Above and Below

Photo by Davy Whitener

Make a show of white taper candles on the table and in the chandelier.

18 of 31

Light the Way With Lanterns

Candles

Photo by Greer Gattuso

Lanterns add a special touch to the entrance of this historic church. We especially like how the containers' black rim matches the black iron railing.

19 of 31

Ditch the Flowers

Candles at cathedral

Photo by Lisa Poggi

At this wedding in Italy, the bride used zero flowers and there's really no need when you have candles like these.

20 of 31

Decorate a Fireplace

Candle lit fireplace

Photo by Brittany Mahood

You typically see taper candles on set dining tables but they look especially great around this brick fireplace. (Seen here also with pillar candles, votive candles, and candle-filled lanterns.)

21 of 31

Go Vintage

Photo by For the Love of It

Photo by For the Love of It

We're obsessed with these gold candlesticks, which look as if they were hand-selected from a number of vintage shops to create the perfect (or not so perfect) arrangement.

22 of 31

Make an Entrance

Photo by Heather Waraksa

Another grand staircase for the win. This particular statement-making entrance features candles mixed among lush garlands of greenery.

23 of 31

Hang Bistro Lights

Photo by Nirav Patel Photography

We can't get enough of this light-filled scene. Who knew the balance of taper candles on tables and bistro lights up above could be so perfect?

24 of 31

Place Lanterns at the Altar

Floral arrangement

Photo by Sasithon Photography

You already saw lanterns lining a staircase but you can also use these for added romance at the altar. We especially like them clustered in asymmetrical groupings, using different sizes.

25 of 31

Do Something Unexpected

Photo by For The Love Of It

Photo by For The Love Of It

Forget candles on the table (just kidding) when you can put them below the table. We're all about this unexpected idea.

26 of 31

Accent With Cherry Blossoms

Candles and flowers

Photo by Samm Blake

Add candles and cherry blossom branches to a historic fireplace and you're done.

27 of 31

Deck Out Dessert

Photo by Jose Villa

Mini votives make this table into one of the sweetest dessert displays we’ve ever seen.

28 of 31

Put Candles Inside Your Table

Table with Flowers

Photo by For the Love of It

Utilize candles inside your cocktail tables by renting clear acrylic ones, which you can fill with fun arrangements like cotton—and candles, duh.

29 of 31

Design a Show-Stopping Staircase

Photo by Amanda Megan Miller Photography

While we adore greenery-covered railings (we do) it's really the candles that transform this show-stopping staircase. We'll pose here for bridal portraits, please and thank you.

30 of 31

Line the Center of the Table

Tablescape with table number

Photo by For the Love of It

Line the center of the table with gray taper candles in gold candlesticks for one gorgeous display. Viola!

31 of 31

Pose Among Candles

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography

Last but not least, any candle-loving bride must pose for a pic surrounded by hundreds of candles. This is one photo op you're sure to cherish forever.

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