|Photo by Sean Marshall Lin|
Names blurred to maintain privacy.
My bridal assistants started the procession into the church ahead of the living grandparents. They lit the candles for the four deceased immediate grandparents and carried them down the aisle so all our grandparents were part of the procession. These four candles remained lit on the alter through our wedding ceremony.
All seven candles were on display during the entire reception. They were tucked off to the side of the head table, so everyone saw them, but it wasn't as glaringly obvious as an empty chair or something.
Making these was pretty simple. You need a white candle (I got mine at Walmart for ~$3 each, but I did have to visit two different stores because each one only had ~3-4 in stock), vellum paper (I purchased this at Michael's), a printer that can handle the paper (ours kept thinking it was jammed, but my husband's parents' printer worked fine), wax paper, and a hair dryer:
- Print your design on vellum paper.
- Cut out your design. I recommend rounding the corners.
- Blow dry the front of the candle until it starts to feel warm and soft but isn't melting.
- Place your cut out design on the candle. The initial blow drying step should help hold the design in place so you only need one hand to hold it, but it won't be sticky enough to hold it alone.
- Wrap the whole thing in wax paper. Be careful not to budge the printout so it's not crooked.
- Blow dry the heck out of it! You only need to blow dry the part where your design is, but heat that area well. Make sure you don't focus the heat all on one spot for too long (if it melts to the point of dripping, the candle will end up lumpy), but make sure you move it slowly enough to get some melting.
- Roll the candle on a flat surface to make sure the vellum is smooth on the candle.
- Let the candle cool, and remove the wax paper. If there are loose corners, roll on the wax paper again and blow dry some more.
Each of our candles included the preferred name of the deceased person (like Mom-mom), the full name of the person, and their lifespan below a picture of either me or my husband with the person we were remembering.