The Most Romantic Ways to Decorate Your Entire Wedding with Candles

candles outside a tent
Photo: Corbin Gurkin

Brighten up your ceremony and reception with these beautiful ideas.

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ceremony backdrop with candles and ivy
Mike Cassimatis

It's no secret that candles exude romance, tranquility, and comfort wherever they're used. So, why wouldn't you want to use them to decorate one of the happiest days of your life? From the tiniest tea lights to oversized options, candles bring elegance and beauty to any ceremony and reception. It's no surprise that they're a go-to décor choice for so many couples.

Besides providing soft light, candles have so many other big-day benefits. One advantage in particular? They look pretty practically anywhere. Whether you place candles at the front of your altar, use them to line your aisle, or even hang them above your reception tables, these glowing decorations elevate any element of your event. They even make a major impact when used in even the smallest of ways. Just look to this ceremony backdrop by Magnolia and Grace Events for proof. The pros used just a few short pillar candles and two ivy vines from Stems Florist to create a truly gorgeous, but understated décor moment.

Another thing we love about candles? They work for both indoor and outdoor weddings, making them incredibly versatile. If you're throwing your nighttime reception or ceremony under the open sky, use them to guide guests to their seats. Couples planning a winter affair will want to bookmark one cold-weather idea, ahead, which involved setting up lit candles inside a venue's fireplace. If the following images prove anything, it's that candles are a beautiful addition to any part of your big-day décor. Whether you decide to use them on their own or with an intricate floral installation, the results are bound to be breathtaking.

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All Lit Up

altar with candles
Erich McVey

This altar is breathtaking all on its own, but Love & Splendor brought the venue's majesty up a notch by placing candles on each marble level.

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Pool Lights

angie prayogo greece wedding candles pool
Nadia Hung Photography

If your venue has a pool, think of it as a blank canvas for floating candles, especially if you're planning a nighttime wedding. Know that you can never have too many, either—Flying Bride used 100 at this poolside reception.

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Outside Light

candles outside a tent
Corbin Gurkin

Tara Guérard Soirée proves candles work just as well outside as they do inside. This small patch gave off just enough light to show guests to the reception space (and provided a great photo op!).

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Wedding Portraits

couple standing on jetty
Gabe Aceves

As the sun sets on your wedding day, you'll need something to light up your portraits. The candles on this jetty added a soft glow to an already romantic sunset—and made for an even better photo.

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Hanging Lights

candles hanging from a centerpiece
Greg Finck

Searching for the perfect way to add a bit of light to your reception tables? Try hanging tea lights from your tall centerpieces, like Lavender & Rose and Miss Rose by Perrine did here.

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Line of Candles

candles outside a tent
I Do I Do Studio NYC

Brightening up your nighttime reception doesn't get much easier than lining candles along the perimeter of venue. Jenna Lam Events planned this luminescent layout.

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Stairway to Heaven

candlelit staircase ceremony altar
Kendra Elise Photography

Want to make the most of your venue's staircase? Make like Unique Floral Expressions and Kate and Campbell Weddings and transform it to an eye-catching ceremony backdrop by placing candles on each step and adding a plenty of florals.

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Head Table

head table installation with florals greenery and tea lights
Julie Michaelsen

Because all eyes will be on your head table, you can (and should!) get creative with how you decorate with candles. White Eden Weddings and Sisters & Blush Floral Design hung tea lights from a wood structure for an ethereal feel.

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Seating Chart

candle holder table numbers
Michelle Beller

If you're holding your reception at night, consider asking your calligrapher to turn glass hurricanes into a unique seating chart (Sophie Love Letters created these!). When the candles are lit, attendees will be able to find their seats with ease.

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rows of greenery and candles on a staircase
Rebecca Yale Photography

Candles look just as beautiful during the day as they do at night, as evidenced by this Taryn Leach Events and The Bloom of Time display.

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Aisle Candles

candles down aisle
Shannon Moffit

While there are many ways to decorate your aisle with candles, we're particularly fond of this look from Luxe & Luna. Small groups were placed on round plates and accented with tiny bits of greenery.

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Photo Backdrop

candles backdrop
Elizabeth Messina

For a seriously innovative idea, follow Jesi Haack Design and Smilebooth's lead and hang colorful taper candles on a black backdrop for your reception's photo booth.

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chandelier with candles
Tara Kneiser

Chandeliers—like these designed by Northwood Events, Christine Wheat, and Renaissance Floral Design—are a traditional and dramatic way to feature candles throughout your big day.

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ceremony arch with florals greenery and candles
Julie Wilhite Photography

Hurricanes come in many forms—including these geometric options that will make your candles feel a little bit more modern. Westcott Weddings used them to anchor both sides of this ceremony arch with florals from Clementine Botanical Art.

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Outside In

stairwell with greenery and candles
Sanaz Photography

Getting hitched inside, but still want to feel like you're in the middle of nature? When designing your ceremony space, bring the outdoors in. Victoria Ann Events and InBlume introduced a natural, romantic vibe to this service by using ivy vines and candles.

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wedding fireplace
Erich McVey

Take advantage of your venue's fireplace, whatever your wedding's season or location. Jessica Sloane swapped firewood for candles at this spring Miami celebration; they cast a warm glow on the Old-World venue.

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Candlelit Walkway

sara sam italy wedding tent
Stefano Santucci

Guide guests to your outdoor reception with a dreamy candlelit walkway, à la this Stefanie Cove and Company set up.

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Altar Candles

wedding ceremony site fireplace
Katie Kett Photography

In a clean, airy ceremony space, placing candles at the altar (like Luxe Paris Events did here) will help ground the room.

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Candles and Greenery

stairwell with greenery and candles
Amanda Megan Miller Photography

Make your venue's already-intricate banister stand out by transforming the structure into a softly-lit floral moment. La Belle Fleur Events and Life in Bloom added a greenery garland, a mix of candles, and small hydrangea arrangements to this dramatic entryway.

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Various Sizes

candle floor display
Elaine Palladino Photography

Hurricanes of various heights and widths make for a dynamic floor display. For even more visual interest, lay long strands of ivy in between each candle, like Anthology Floristry did here.

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Floating Candles

candles floating on a pool
Erich McVey

Take advantage of your location's pool by lighting it up with floating candles. The Flying Bride did just that, creating the perfect outdoor setting for this summer wedding.

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Grand Entrance

candlelit staircase grand entrance
Maya Myers Photography

You (and your guests!) will feel like royalty when you walk up your venue's candle- and greenery-filled steps. The pros at Bistro de Flores designed this grand entrance.

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Natural Light

candles at the bottom of a window
Amanda Crean

In spaces without a lot of natural light, candles can add a soft, organic glow to the setting. Take this Jenna Lam Events set up, for example. She placed candles both on and below the window sill for an ethereal vibe.

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stairwell with greenery and candles
Deidre Lynn Photography

You don't need hundreds of candles to make an impact. This staircase's minimal set up still felt bright thanks to white roses by Splendor of Eden.

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