Are Floating Candles Good For Weddings?

Floating candles have become an increasingly popular decor choice for weddings over the past few years. With their ethereal and romantic ambiance, it’s easy to see why they appeal to couples planning their special day. This article explores the history and aesthetic of floating candles, while also looking at some practical considerations for using them at a wedding. We’ll compare costs, environmental impact, vendor recommendations, and decor combinations to help couples decide if floating candles are the right choice for their wedding decor.

The goal is to provide brides and grooms with a comprehensive overview of floating candles – their benefits, drawbacks, costs, and alternatives – to help them make an informed decision about using floating candles to create a beautiful and magical ambiance on their wedding day. With their rising popularity, it’s important to have reliable information on how best to incorporate floating candles into wedding decor. This article aims to be a trustworthy resource for couples as they choose decor elements that align with their budget, values, and overall wedding vision.

History and Origins

The tradition of using floating candles in ceremonies and celebrations dates back thousands of years in many cultures around the world. One of the earliest examples is from Ancient China, where people would float candles down rivers and lakes during festivals and holidays like the Lunar New Year. As described by, “In China: people float candles in the river at Lunar New Year for good luck. The candles represent their wishes for the coming year.” (Source)

Floating paper lanterns, also known as sky lanterns or Kongming lanterns, originated in China over 2,000 years ago. According to Wikipedia, “Sky lanterns have been made for centuries in cultures around the world, to be launched for play or as part of long-established festivities.” They were used during the Three Kingdoms era in ancient China for military signaling. Over time, sky lanterns also became incorporated into celebrations. (Source)

Aesthetic Appeal

Floating candles create a romantic, magical ambiance that perfectly complements wedding décor. The gentle flicker of the candle flame against the water or flower petals in the vase casts a warm, intimate glow over the event. As this source describes, floating candles add a touch of elegance and wonder to the atmosphere. Their reflected light dances across the tables, walls, floors and faces of the bride, groom and guests. The candles seem to float gracefully on their own, creating a dreamy and ethereal mood. Their warm, cozy light sets the mood for celebrating love and connection.

Floating candles pair beautifully with all styles of wedding décor. For classic and elegant weddings, clear glass vases with white floating candles complement formal tablescapes. For boho-chic or rustic weddings, eclectic glassware filled with colorful floating blooms match perfectly. The options are endless when using floating candles to enhance your wedding’s ambiance and style.

Practical Considerations

When using floating candles, there are some practical factors to consider regarding safety and logistics.

Floating candles present some potential fire hazards that should be addressed. The National Candle Association recommends keeping candles away from drafts to prevent uneven burning, sooting, and excessive dripping, which could catch other decorations on fire ( Care should be taken to keep floating candles away from anything flammable like table linens.

In terms of logistics, setting up and cleaning floating candles takes more time and effort than traditional candles. The containers must be filled, the candles placed, and then everything drained and cleaned afterward. The candles may also become waterlogged if left floating too long, so timing is important. Hiring staff to handle floating candle duties can make the process smoother.

Cost Comparison

Floating candles can be one of the most budget-friendly options for wedding decor compared to more elaborate floral arrangements or chandeliers. Basic floating candles cost around $1-2 each when purchased in bulk, with more ornate or specially-shaped candles going for $3-5 apiece ( This is often significantly cheaper than large floral centerpieces, which can be $50-100+ each. According to discussions on WeddingWire, simpler floating candle centerpieces averaged around $20 per table, while elaborate floral arrangements were $50-500 per table (

Brides looking to trim costs even further can purchase supplies and create floating candle decor themselves. Basic glass vases, water beads, and bulk candles can cut the cost down to just a few dollars per floating candle centerpiece. Sites like offer budget DIY floating candle packages for under $20 per dozen ( With a little creativity, floating candles can provide elegant ambiance at a fraction of the cost of other extravagant options.

Environmental Impact

Traditional wax and plastic floating candles can have concerning environmental impacts. As the candle burns down, melted wax can drip into waterways, harming aquatic life. Plastic cups and other components do not biodegrade and add to plastic pollution problems. According to one source, the increased use of fuel cell candles plays a role in rising carbon dioxide levels.

More eco-friendly alternatives exist such as flameless LED candles made with reusable materials. Floating lanterns made of paper or natural fibers can biodegrade after use. Releasing balloons has become controversial due to negative environmental impacts, so finding alternative decoration is recommended. With some creativity, beautiful and sustainable decor is possible for events.

Vendor Recommendations

When looking for floating candles, it’s important to purchase from reputable companies that provide high quality products. Based on reviews and testimonials, some top vendors to consider include:

Eastland Candle Supply (Richland Floating Candles 3″ Ivory Set of 24) – This vendor offers floating candle sets made in the USA that are designed to work with their candle holders (sold separately). They have largely positive customer reviews on their floating candle sets praising the quality and ease of use.

MyGift (Floating Candles with Wand, Magic Water Candles for Wedding) – This is a top rated floating candle set on Amazon that comes with an attachable wand to easily move the candles around water. Customers mention the great quality and value of this set in their reviews.

Before making a purchase, be sure to read reviews from multiple sources to verify the floating candles’ quality and ease of use from real customers. Stick to vendors with a solid reputation for providing long-lasting floating candles perfect for wedding or event decor.

Decor Combinations

Floating candles pair beautifully with a variety of wedding decor elements to create a dreamy and romantic ambiance. According to Pinterest, some of the most popular ways to incorporate floating candles into your decor include:

Altar Decorations: Place floating candles in glass vases or bowls on the altar or ceremony stage. Intersperse with fresh florals for a natural, ethereal look. See examples at

Centerpieces: Float candles in glass cylinders or bowls filled with water to create glowing centerpieces. Surround withrose petals, crystals, or other accents. Get inspiration from

floating candles in vases as wedding centerpieces

Tables and Place Settings: Place a few floating candles in mercury glass vases down the center of banquet tables. Or set individual floating candles in glasses at each place setting for an intimate glow. See how it’s done at

Aisles and Walkways: Line aisles and walkways with hurricanes or glass vases filled with floating candles. The candles will guide guests to their seats in a magical way. Get inspired by

Outdoor Ceremonies: Place floating candles in glass bowls along an outdoor aisle or around a ceremony area. The flickering flames add ambiance against the night sky. See examples at

Alternatives to Consider

Floating candles create a romantic ambiance, but they may not be the right choice for every wedding. Here are some alternatives to consider:

If you’re having an outdoor wedding, floating candles can be tricky to use if it’s windy. Consider using flameless LED candles instead. They provide the same ambient lighting without the fire hazard.

For a modern or minimalist aesthetic, suspended crystal prisms or piece monogram lighting can provide a similar sparkle. This creates ambiance while keeping tables less cluttered.

Outdoor string lights wrapped around trees or structures make for dreamy, romantic lighting. Especially for garden or backyard weddings, string lighting sets a warm mood. Mix in some flameless candles on tables for more glow.

If you want lots of candlelight but skip the floating element, varying candle heights and sizes grouped together creates diversity. Mix pillars, votives, and tea lights for visual interest.

The venue’s existing lighting can also set the mood. Dimmer switches on chandeliers or wall sconces create ambiance for receptions at historic sites. Consult your venue about lighting options.

For receptions that are more lively, uplighting or gobo patterns projected on walls or the dance floor generate excitement. Work with your lighting vendor for colorful options.

Don’t forget to factor in other decor elements too. Flowers, greenery garlands, draping fabrics all contribute to the overall vibe. Creatively mix lighting with other details for maximum impact.


As we’ve discussed, floating candles can provide a magical ambiance to a wedding, but they require extra caution and planning. Their ethereal quality comes at a higher cost than traditional candles. Ultimately, floating candles are best for couples who want an enchanted atmosphere, have the budget to spare, and the patience to work out logistics with their vendor. Use them sparingly at outdoor venues and keep fire safety top of mind.

For most couples, floating candles work best as an accent rather than the main source of lighting. Strategically place them in select reception areas to create a focal point. Combine with traditional candles or string lights to balance practicality and romance. Save them for the altar or sweetheart table if your budget is tight.

Whatever you choose, enjoy this special time with loved ones. Don’t stress over every detail being perfect. Your wedding day goes by in a heartbeat, so pause to soak it all in. These little moments with friends and family are what you’ll treasure most.

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