In honor of Chanukah, I wanted to talk a little bit about 6 types of candles you might have at your Bar or Bat Mitzvah and offer some safe candle usage tips. Candles help create the ambiance at an evening event or in a darkened room. They are an elegant, timeless addition to any party.
These are the candles that you often see in groups of 1, 3 or 5 on dinner tables or hightop cocktail tables. They are short candles about 1½ inch in diameter and 2-3 inches high. Votive Candles are meant to be placed in a glass votive holder (a variety of decorative types are available) because the wax will completely melt around the wick, allowing them to burn for an extended length of time.
Tea light candles are different than votives because they come in a metal or clear plastic “cup.” They are also typically shorter (about 1 inch high) and do not burn for as long. However, they are often less expensive than votives, so they are a popular choice for that reason.
These are the long and thin candles that you’d use to light for Shabbat. You’d place Taper candles in a candelabra or candle sticks. They are often used in a candle lighting ceremony since they are so dramatic. Be careful with these since they can break easily in transport since they are so thin.
Are you having an evening party? You may need a Havdalah candle for a brief Havdalah service. These candles are braided and have several wicks. You can get Havdalah candles that are blue and white or a variety of colors, incredibly intricately braided or very simply braided. Your temple gift shop is a good place to purchase or you can buy from a plethora of online vendors including from Israel.
Floating Candles add interest to a centerpiece as they float on water. It’s important to have candles specifically designed to float (with a round or tapered bottom) or the wax will drip into the water and ruin the look of the centerpiece.
Or as I like to call it, the faker’s candle. This is a small lightbulb designed to look like a candle. They can often be very realistic, flickering just like a “real” candle. You can get versions that are able to be submerged in water and they can go anyplace that you would put a real candle. LED Candles click, twist or switch on and last for hours and hours. They won’t get blown out by the wind or by your guest and they won’t cause a fire if someone’s hair gets too close.
I’ve already covered some helpful tips for a candle lighting ceremony, so I won’t repeat too much. However, the one thing to note is safety with tweens and fire. I recommend leaving actual candles off of the tween tables and instead opting for either LED candles or nothing at all. Knowing where the fire extinguisher is couldn’t hurt, either.
Check your contract with your venue carefully, as many have regulations about the types of candles/flames that are and are not allowed. Often open flames are not allowed, as they can be a fire hazard.
Putting candles in odd numbered groupings (1, 3 or 5) is much more visually interesting than putting them in even numbered groupings (2 or 4).
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