Candle Etiquette - Part I

Candle Etiquette - Part I

Photo: A friend sent this photo several weeks ago during a terrible ice storm. It was her wedding anniversary, and since they couldn’t go out she set this beautifully romantic table for two! It was dark and dreary outside, so this was a perfect time to light candles early evening.


With longer days upon us, now is a good time for these reminders…


Is it proper to light candles during the day?

Grandmother taught me to remember the adage “In all things, form must follow function.” It has served me well - even for candle usage!

When thinking of using candles, remember they are a light source, so they should be used when light is needed. It is only appropriate to light candles after dusk.  An exception would be if it is a rainy or overcast day, and then they may be lit a little earlier in the afternoon. Candles should not be lit for brunches or luncheons. Some say they may be present just not lit; however I prefer to relegate them to the sideboard or elsewhere to blend into the decor for daytime festivities, and use flowers or other items for the centerpiece.

I realize it may sound counterproductive for a candle company to be “limiting” your use of candles, but be assured we want your tables and your candle etiquette to be perfect in every way!


When do I light the dining candles?

Candles should be lit just before guests sit down to dinner. Go ahead and do this several minutes beforehand to give yourself time to find the lighter, trim and straighten the wicks, gauge safe flame distances from flowers and other table decoration, and let flames settle to create a relaxing ambiance. Candles should be left burning until after dessert and coffee, and everyone has left the table. 


Snuff or dunk?

If you don’t want the smoke that results from snuffing the candles, use the handle end of the snuffer (or a wick dunker tool) to carefully dunk the wick into the melted wax pool, then re-straighten the wick for next use.


What kind of candles are best?

We preach this SO often… save the scented candles for the powder room, as strong fragrances can interfere with food aromas and meal enjoyment. La Petite Abeille pure beeswax candles are not artificially scented. They emit only a natural, light, honey-like scent that is most preferable for the dining experience. Pure beeswax is also best for any area where people are gathering for long periods, because paraffin candles emit toxins and can contribute to poor indoor air quality.  Now, that said, we are not total candle snobs! We adore many good quality scented candle brands - just remember to use them sparingly and strategically. Those in the “know” use only the finest pure beeswax candles on their dining tables.


With so many colors & sizes, how do I decide?

Traditionally, ivory tapers are considered appropriate for the most formal dinner parties, but increasingly the chicest table setting gurus are pulling their color palette through their choice of candle colors and creating stunning displays - many of which you see on our IG feed! They are also mixing it up with tapers, pillars, and votive sizes.