Candles, candles everywhere… thankfully!

scan0003 Everyone looks better in candlelight… Period.

When it comes to what makes the biggest impact in literally any venue, the “Michael Nolte answer” will always be “The Lighting.”

Though you all know how much I love, love, love fresh flowers and lots of them……if the budget is tight and only affords either good lighting or nice flowers….go with the lighting.

If your budget or the height of the venue’s ceilings doesn’t allow for much wall washing, pin spots on tables or ceiling treatment, then do piles and piles of candles. Stack them up. Tier them. Use twice as many as you can imagine.


I especially love tall tapers and the nicest ones in the world are from right here in KC, Creative Candles. I have bought from this source for 25 years. The “Wow” effect is achieved any time you buy taller than the typical 15” ones. The 24” and 30” are unbelievable but the 36” ones knock everybody that comes to my dinner parties or weddings, off their feet.

Included in this post are some of my favorite ways to use candles and a couple of suggestions of things to avoid.

Love the use of colors here besides ivory.


This is the epitome of someone not thinking it through. Fresh flowers ABOVE an open flame won’t burn, they will just wilt horribly in less than five minutes.


This combines two of my favorite looks: anything suspended and anything elevated. I would have loved to be in this room.


Test your “Five Hour Votives” in advance to be sure they do indeed burn five hours. Most don’t. The worse thing is to have your ballroom go “dark” as the candles expire mid-way through the party. One of the tricks to help is to have the actual wax enclosed in a smaller glass, not aluminum, not plastic, liner.

And lastly be sure and tell your photographer that you would like an “empty room” shot before the guests arrive and you want it to be a time exposure…not flashed out. You have spent a lot of time and money to create this candlelit setting and your album should reflect that.

scan0007And finally…lift your glass filled with bubbly and enjoy this magical moment…it’s all sparkling not just in candlelight but also your hearts….forever. MJN
Did you know that the White House buys their candles from right here Kansas City? Kinda cool.