Frequently Asked Questions: How do I use candles without getting wax everywhere?


The short answer: I don’t use real candles. For the long answer, keep reading…

The one thing almost 100% of my clients love is candlelight. A beautifully candlelit room can immediately evoke the feeling of romance. I think it reminds us of looking up into the magic and mystery of the skies. Also, the biggest advantage of using candles is that everyone looks GREAT.

place settings, table setting,flowers,wedding centerpieces,bouquets,arrangements
place settings, table setting,flowers,wedding centerpieces,bouquets,arrangements

However, I have had so many accidents with the casualties of wax that I used to panic every time a client told me they loved candles.

Here are a few of my casualties with different types of candles:

  • If votive candles are not placed properly, they could burn a leaf or flowers and start a small fire. (However, these are safest to have if placed strategically.)
  • If they are pillar candles, watch out for the tablecloths.
  • If they are tall taper candles (these are the worst) you could have wax all over the flowers, glasses, tablecloths, and, in one case, spilling all over my client’s tux.
  • If they are used outdoors, FORGET IT. Most likely they are going to blow out.

And forget about the promise of “dripless” candles, because once there is any kind of vent (air conditioner or any draft) these dripless candles become a blobby mess of wax.

place settings, table setting,flowers,wedding centerpieces,bouquets,arrangements

My solution for using candles is to use LED or battery operated candles. (Of course, this is only my opinion based off my experience with clients. If you want to use real candles, there’s no fool-proof solution to the wax problem. There may be tips and techniques people can share below, but mostly it’s a lot of hoping for the best.) It might not seem as romantic as seeing the live flickering flames, but the overall effect is very much the same.


Here’s a battery operated votive. In the candle holder, you can hardly tell the difference.


This kind of votive has three different lighting options: flickering, flashing and solid.


This tall taper candle uses standard double A batteries. (I got these from Paradise Candles in Pennsylvania.)

On a few occasions, my clients didn’t even realize they weren’t real candles until I mentioned it to them. When using these types of candles, it’s also important to explain to your clients that large events are not the same controlled environment as their homes.

Now please tell me, how do YOU decorate with candles without making a mess? And if you could share some secrets on how to get rid of unwanted wax, that’s great too.