February 3, 2021


Candlelight is one of the most romantic types of light for a wedding reception. It has a soft warm glow that is enough to make any lover’s heart merry! I myself am a lover of warm light, and have lots of it in my own house. It creates a cozy and romantic atmosphere. However, it can be really hard to keep things bright enough to capture really nice pictures of people.

Reception venues often are large with high ceilings. Sometimes these types of venues have very few, if any windows. Without sufficient ambient light, photos can turn out dark and grainy, and sometimes even blurry. Here are some tips that will allow you to get beautiful pictures of your guests when eating by candlelight at your reception.

Use really tall candles on your tables. Tapered candles that are 10″-12″ tall shine brightly on guests faces. If you use only tea lights or votives, you will have dark, grainy photos because these candles are too short to reflect light onto guests’ faces.

Use lots and lots of candles. Candelabrums, pillar candles with multiple wicks, or groups of tapered candles work great for a centerpiece. On round tables use large pillar candles for a well lit centerpiece and scatter lots of tealights around the pillar candles. On long rows of tables place a 10″ or 12″ tapered candle approximately every 12″ apart, or create groups of two or three and place them 24″ apart. Go ahead and scatter tealights in between the tapered candles. Even though they may not reflect light onto your guests’ faces, it just simply looks pretty (pretty is always important!) and enhances all the detailed shots.

String rows of lights across the ceiling as much as possible. If this is not possible, consider using a pergola for your bridal party. String lights or hang chandeliers from the pergola, because you definitely want great pictures of you and your friends!

Last but not least, make sure your lights are all the same color. Mixing different light colors can create odd color casts on skin. Since candles generally cast a “warm” glow of light, you will want string lights that are also “warm” in color. Warm lights have an orange/yellow glow. Cool lights are “blue” in color. “Daylight” is in between blue and orange/yellow and is “natural” in color. This simply means it is not extremely blue or extremely orange/yellow.

These are just a few tips to help you out. While it is not always feasible to follow every tip listed above (budgets just aren’t fun to follow!), I hope you can find something that helps as you plan your reception! Have fun, and remember, you can always turn on the lights and still have candles! 🙂