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5 ways to make scented candles work

So this week, top of my ‘to do’ list is to think about how we’ll decorate our wedding. I’ve been to a few that were like walking into the Palm House at Kew Gardens – flowers everywhere! At the church, outside the church, across the tables, dangling from the walls, behind the wedding singer’s ear and even in the loo. Now I like a wedding bouquet as much as the next bride but that’s it for flowers. As far as decorating the venue is concerned, I’m more of a candles girl. Kill the lights and enjoy the soft, romantic glow they create along with a joyful scent that gently weaves its way across the room.


Okay, so I have witnessed one candle-fuelled wedding foul-up: at my friend Holly’s bash, just as the very-cool-works-on-a-mens-mag best man was finishing a reading during the ceremony, he lent back and caught the edge of his designer suit jacket on a tea light. He didn’t go up in flames but a glass of water was hurled in his direction. Cue a hundred camera phones clicking away and acute embarrassment on his part….

Still, I’ll be going down the candles route for sure. And who better to ask about the which, where and why of scented candles than former beauty PR turned candle entre- preneur pal Patrizia Galeota. She heads up SensiChic, a handmade range of easy-on- the-eye as well as the nose paraffin and toxin-free candles. So how would she scent a wedding with candles?

1. As a ‘chillaxer’ whilst you’re getting ready

“If the nervous butterflies in your tummy won’t settle on your wedding morning, light
a candle that boasts scents renowned for their calming, soothing abilities,” says Patrizia. Lavender, geranium, jasmine, cinnamon or sandalwood are all good choices. “If, on the other hand, nerves are not a problem and you’re just overflowing with excitement, choose an invigorating citrus scent like grapefruit, lemon, orange or lime.” Mmmm…..

2. As an alternative to floral centrepieces

“I love the idea of having glass vases containing floating candles decorated with pet- als or rose heads,” suggests Patrizia. “Actually, the list of possibilities is endless. Small lanterns containing pillar candles on a bed of white pebbles or elaborate candelabras with tall pillar candles surrounded by ivy and red berries.” What you choose depends on the look or theme of your big day. “For my own wedding I went for vintage-chic: I filled teapots with pink roses and sat them on a mirrored base amongst tea lights.” If your heart is set on scented candles, you might want to sniff out the most delicate of scents that won’t overwhelm the food.

3. As a favour

“I receive lots of requests for bespoke miniature scented candles to give out as wedding favours which I personalise with the names of the bride and groom,” says Patrizia. If your budget doesn’t stretch to a candle per guest, how about as gifts for your bridesmaids? It was through creating candles for her wedding that SensiChic began. ‘In Italian culture it’s customary to present each household with a gift known as a ‘Bomboniere.’ I wanted to create something personal, original and quintessentially English so hand-blended the wax and poured it into vintage teacups.”

4. As an alternative to lightbulbs

Candlelight is the easiest way to set a romantic mood, whatever time of year you’re getting married. Patrizia suggests scattering candles in various sizes all around the ceremony and reception spaces, even taking them outdoors onto terraces. “Now that I think about it, I wish I’d filled the walkway down my own aisle with lanterns or tall candle holders,” she says. Think about the location of your wedding and the time of year you’re tying the knot when picking out scents. “Go for lighter, fresher notes like frangipani, jasmine and citrus for summer ceremonies, and more spicy, woody accords such as frankincense, myrrh and sandalwood if you’re walking down the aisle in winter.” Bear in mind that it can take at least three hours for a candle to burn evenly and for the fragrance to fill the room so make sure that the matches are struck nice and early.

5. As a way to ahem, “mask” smells

At my friend Kate’s wedding last year there was a heavenly-scented surprise waiting in the bathroom. A line-up of Amber Diptyque candles softly flickering away, wafting their eau-so-hypnotic vetiver and patchouli scent across what could have been the least popular place to be. Many a guest lingered longer than usual to share lipgloss and swap stories of how they knew the bride (along with her sauciest of secrets!) Kate told me the next day when we met for lunch that every single candle was missing at the end of the evening! I swear I’m absolutely not guilty of theft but I did make a mental note then and there to place scented candles in the bathrooms come my own big day.

I’d also add a few scented candles to the outdoor areas to mask where the smokers are gathering. I’d prefer to smell Aromatic over ash any wedding day of the week! A little touch that I reckon will be appreciated…

Light my way: My top 5 wedding candles

for a stressed-out b2b:
Fenice by LINARI, £55
(Harrods (020 7730 1234)
A mood-boosting blend showcasing soft grapefruit wafting on top of a sweet woody base. Just add a chilled flute of champagne and relax…..


For a groom:

SensiChic Seasonal Cedar, £28
Fresh, sharp, musky and 100% masculine. Just like your man…. Beyond perfect for the biggest day of his life.


For a summer wedding:

Jo Loves Frangipani, £45
We’re talking barefooted beach bound brides with their groom holding one hand and a Mai Tai in the other…..


For a winter wedding:

Crabtree & Evelyn Noel Three Wick Poured Candle, £38
Mmmm… My forever favourite: festive fruits, fir and mulled spices. Baby, it’s cold outside but with this little beauty flickering away, I’ll be feeling warm, super-snugly and blissfully happy.


For a wedding night:

SensiChic Cerise Noir (£13 / 220g)
An aromatic first hit of frankincense and amber is softened by cedar and patchouli. The perfect accompaniment to a discarded white dress and a willing groom…..


Why do I love candles so much? Because, apart from the romantic atmosphere they instantly create, you can select scents that suit your day. How about pulling out all the individual fragrances from your bouquet and dotting them via a candle or a diffuser in different areas of your reception? If a perfume has the power to evoke a memory, imagine what a series of scents can do? For years afterwards, simply strike a match to be transported straight back to a special moment during your wedding day. And once the wick has burned down to the base, you’ve still got the beautiful jars which can be easily cleaned out and used to house keep-sakes.
So do your wedding plans feature scented candles? Are you using them in any other ways? How have you chosen which scents to light – and which are your favourites? I’m definitely open to your suggestions.

Sarah x


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  • Oh.. candles as centre pieces. I hadn’t thought of that but how gorgeous for a winter ceremony. Pine and other xmassy scents would be so pretty. I could get mini versions as favours too. Thanks for the inspo xx

    4 years ago : Bettie
  • I adore scented candles and I love to see flames flickering away. But for a summer wedding? Will they look out of place? H x

    4 years ago : Hayley
  • I spent the whole of today sniffing candles in prep for my centrepieces. It’s completely possible to go nose blind. I liked juniper & raspberry or was it apple pie???? I need a coffee!

    5 years ago : Tia
  • Can I just tell your readers to be careful if there are tea lights lining the aisle. Maxi dresses (inc the bride) and suit trousers may catch light! Candles are gorgeous but burnt brides not so much. Love the website x

    6 years ago : Howlowcanuflo
    • Good point Low. Thanks for your comment. Be careful around tea lights ladies x

      6 years ago : Sarah Green
  • I’m so annoyed! My venue has come back to say that I can’t have candles as centrepieces. I’ve already got 10 on order. Reckon I’ll take your advice and have the best smelling smokers area ever

    6 years ago : Denise43
    • That sucks Denise, you must be so disappointed. Harrumph to your venue. Meanies. Pah!

      6 years ago : Sarah Green