Now that I’ve shared what kinds of flowers we will have going on at the reception, let’s talk about the flip side of that: candles!
When I first started looking into weddings at the Board of Trade, I noticed that the decorations for the courtyard always seemed to revolve around beautiful candles in glass vases and lighting in the trees.
They’re so romantic and create a beautiful ambiance, so I knew that we wanted candles incorporated into the decor. And they’ve got to be such a great money saver over flowers, right?
Well, not so much.
I met with one of the local candle decor companies (yep, it’s a thing), and while they do fabulous work, it was a bit out of the price range when we were also looking at flower costs and other rentals. Also, this was for the courtyard, not the actual ballroom, so I hated spending that much money on something that the guests might only see as they walk through. Sure, we’ll get some great pictures out there, and if the weather is nice then I hope some people will mingle outside, but it just wasn’t worth signing on to another vendor (who had a minimum).
We might have made the separate candle company work into the budget, except that upon receiving the price quote, Momma P and I headed out shopping to check out some local craft and decor stores to see if we could find suitable items on our own. Turns out, we could! For a few weeks, we stalked stores to see what kind of glassware they had in stock, and were able to accumulate quite a collection. Stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s seemed to have a better supply of what we were looking for over Michaels or Hobby Lobby, but we’ll probably pick up any straggling pieces that we need from the latter, since there’s usually more in stock.
Anybody want to help remove some stickers? / Personal photo
The glassware was actually the easy part; it’s those pillar candles that can get expensive! We randomly found some pillar LED candles at Kirkland’s for really cheap, and that means our candles won’t blow out at any point in the night. So we’ll have a mixture of pillar, floating, and votive candles surrounding the fountain in the courtyard.
If you’re thinking, “That’s great, Miss P, but who is going to do the hard work of getting all of this set up?” then you’re going right to the question that I avoided for a while. We don’t have a coordinator or planner, and this would probably be a lot to ask of our florist, but I knew that we could figure out something. Great plan, right?
Well, before we had to resort to hiring some of my brother’s high school friends (a plan that made me nervous with such fragile decorations!), I found Kevin with CHL Linens. He was recommended by my florist as the go-to guy for linen rentals. Along with his massive supply of tablecloths, Kevin also had some decorations and candle supplies of his own. When we told him what we have collected, he said that it wouldn’t be a problem to do all of the setup for us (for a little bit extra in labor cost, of course). He’ll set up the vases, fill the tall pillars with water, light (or switch on) the candles, and hang some cool glass votives in the trees along with my chandeliers!
The kind of look that we’re going for. / Photo via David Tompkins Photography
We’ll either bring our stock to Kevin or the venue before the wedding, and I’ll leave it to them to make everything beautiful! I wouldn’t have minded setting up some the morning of (we have access to the venue all day), but someone would still need to turn on and light the candles right before dark, and the task of hanging things in trees sounds better left to a professional. With our hotel right around the corner from the Board of Trade, I definitely want to stop by and check it all out before we head to the ceremony!
So in the end, should we have just gone with the original lighting company? Maybe so. I don’t have an accurate tab on how much we’ve spent on the vases and candles, but it hasn’t been dirt cheap. It has been spread out over a year, and we might be able to sell some items to recoup the costs. Sphinx says he wants to keep it and rent it out to other weddings (you’re joking, right, dear?), but I want to reclaim the storage space in my shed!
Overall, though, I think even with the additional cost of the labor by Kevin’s team, we’ll still come out a bit better off doing it ourselves. The way that we did it, we could have returned the vases if we decided it was too expensive and wanted to back out, but signing a contract for a vendor meant that the deposit was gone. At the time, it was a safer decision to wait, since all of these decorations would be one of the first things to go if we needed to cut the budget down. Only time will tell if this was a good decision, so I’ll be sure to let you know all about that when I’m a missus!
Tune in next time for a closeup look of those chandeliers I keep alluding to!
Are you incorporating a lot of candles in your decor? Did anyone else take on a DIY task because they didn’t want to commit to a vendor?