DIY: Place Card Candles

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Many people will advise a bride to be to not “sweat the small stuff” and not pay too much attention to the small things that “no one will notice”.  But I have a different approach; I think a beautiful wedding is all about the details.  Like many brides, much of my wedding planning consisted of the grand search for something “unique”, yet “elegant”.  That is not always easy in a world full of mass marketed wedding products. But when you are in the throws of wedding planning, nothing is impossible.

I was one of those “devil in the details” brides and place cards were one of the details I focused on.  After rejecting many other ideas, I came upon a photo in a home decorating magazine of a candle wrapped in parchment paper.  The magazine was showing an idea for a small dinner party but it made perfect sense for a wedding too! With printer, votive and vellum in hand – place card candles were born.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to make your own place card candles.  Be forewarned that the assembly takes quite a bit of time and effort. It is the perfect way to get your bridal party or dear fiancée involved.

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You will need:

Plain glass votive holders. (hint: most major craft store chains will sell these on sale for 2 for $1); light - medium weight transparent vellum; a Laser printer (hint: your home inkjet printer will only be able to print properly on vellum made for inkjet printers), good scissors; double sided tape; tea light candles

Step One: Measure your votive holders to determine the approximate height and circumference.  Using these measurements, make a template of the shape of your label.

Note:  that even the most plain votive holders will have a slight curvature, so expect the template to be in an arch shape.  All votives are a slightly different shape so you will not be able to make an exact template.

Step Two: Using the approximate measurements, set up your Microsoft Word (or any other graphic program that is useful for printing text) document to space your guests’ names and table assignment the right distance apart.  In my case, I fit 3 to a page with room to spare.

Step Three: Print out a test page on plain paper.  Vellum is expensive; so don’t waste it trying to get the measurements correct. When you have the template printing properly, print your document onto the vellum.  Use the template you made in step one to cut the right shape out of the larger sheets of vellum.  Set the cut vellum aside.

Step Four: Set up a workstation with all your votives, labels, double sided tape and scissors.  Wrap one label around the votive and trim accordingly.  When the label is lined up correctly, it will lay relatively flat.  Apply the double-sided tape and put aside.  Having all of the candles in front of you will allow you to keep a consistent appearance of the candles and give you a preview of what they will look like all lined up at the wedding.

Step Five: You will want to alphabetize your place candles in large boxes so that your reception site can easily set them up. Discuss your plans for place candles with your reception coordinator so he/she knows to how you would like them set-up.

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Tip #1: Have candles lit no more than 30 minutes before your guests arrive and using long burning tea lights will ensure they are all still burning when the last guest leaves your reception.

Tip #2:  Using tea lights in place of votive candles will result in the candles getting warm but not too hot to touch. However, there is melted wax inside the votive so best to keep away from children.

Tip #3: You can vary the appearance of the place candle by trimming the vellum wrap to be shorter than the candle (to make a vellum “belt” instead of a full wrap) and/or by tying a length of ribbon around the candle and/or punching shaped holes in the wrap to let the light peek through in different ways.

And remember, when you feel like you cannot tape another piece of vellum and someone says,” no one will notice anyway”, keep going.  Your guests DO notice - I promise.

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Stefanie Ranieri, the owner of SonicstefDesign.com has been creating custom stationery items for clients who want to announce a special event in their lives for more than 3 years. Whatever the occasion, SonicstefDesign.com can create the perfect expression for your event.

I was one of those “devil in the details” brides and place cards were one of the details I focused on.  After rejecting many other ideas, I came upon a photo in a home decorating magazine of a candle wrapped in parchment paper.

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