Decor idea for weddings and parties
Know-howInterior

Decor idea for weddings and parties

Pia Seidel
Zurich, on 09.04.2021
Translation: Octavia Hurst
Whether it be for pool parties or weddings, holding the candles to one another, I know which candles float endlessly and which burn at both ends. And how you can make them shine brighter.

This year, a couple of small-scale parties will be celebrated. But just because they’re small doesn’t mean they will last less long. To figure out which are the best candles for your party, we lit different models in a «race».

Floating candles are extremely popular this season since you can combine them with flowers. Together, they make into a two-in-one centre piece, which saves valuable table space. We burned them down and documented the process in an eight-hour livestream.

Welche *Schwimmkerze** treibt’s am längsten?video
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Welche Schwimmkerze treibt’s am längsten?

The race

The winning candles could have burned longer.
The winning candles could have burned longer.

No less than two of the candidates could claim a victory. The flames of the candles «bright yellow» and «ice blue» burned until the end. They would have continued to burn for another hour or so if I hadn’t had to blow them out. Second place goes to my «Colour Block» candle, which I DIY’d from wax leftovers. It burned up until ten minutes before the finale and was ahead of the other professionally made candles. «Rose» and «Gold» went out in the first four hours.

The arrangement

Still the question, «which candle floats the longest?» isn’t finally settled. Whereas the question which candles are likely to accompany you your entire celebration is answered. All that’s missing is the know-how to stage the sea of lights artistically.

A mirror makes a stunning arrangement.
A mirror makes a stunning arrangement.

Thanks to the water, floating candles burn down a lot safer than traditional pillar candles. Nevertheless, as with the first candle contest in 2020 (article in German) I chose a mirror as a fireproof base. It’s not only decorative but doubles the candle light. I also went for very wide vessels for the largest candles. This way they had room to float. The more space you leave, the more options you have for decorating. For example, you can sprinkle flower petals or confetti on the water surface. Playing with different sizes and shapes adds an extra layer to the arrangement. This variety in styles opens up many possibilities to create highlights with the cut flowers.

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Flowers complete your look. Either choose matching colours or go in the opposite direction and use contrasting hues. Just make sure your arrangement «blooms». Open flowers are more beautiful than closed ones. Always plan ahead for your decorations and consult your trusted florist. It’s worth asking which flowers need how much time to bloom.

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My tulips were already a few days old. I bought them a day before the stream. Often, cut flowers that are less fresh and therefore «over-bloomed» are sold for cheaper. Their luck and mine. Instead of slowly wilting away in the corner of a flower shop, they were granted a last hurrah.

The older the tulip the better.
The older the tulip the better.

The set-up

There are two ways to keep the flowers under water. Either with an apt bending technique or with a stone. For the latter, cut a piece of wire and attach one of the ends to the stem. Wrap the other end around a stone. A small pebble is enough to weigh down the whole flower. It should stay on the bottom when you fill the container with water. This method is a little trickier, but holds it all firmly in place. If you position the stone as close as possible to the flower, it becomes invisible.

Hidden inside the flower is a stone with a wire wrapped around the top of the stem.
Hidden inside the flower is a stone with a wire wrapped around the top of the stem.

For more support, I left the tulip stems as long as possible and bent them across the full width of the glass vase or in its curve. This was easily to do because the stems were already on the softer side. With fresh flowers, the stems would have broken. If you choose fresh tulips, soften the stems by leaving the bouquet out for about two hours without water. If you decide to use other flowers, find out in advance which type takes how long to soften.

For the candles to float about freely, they need to be about one centimetre away from the flowers.
For the candles to float about freely, they need to be about one centimetre away from the flowers.

I then filled the vases with water and waited to see if any of the tulips would still rise. For touch-ups, I skimmed the water with a cup to remove excess water so nothing would spill. Then I placed everything on the mirror and carefully filled water to the brim with a decanter.

If the water is cloudy, use fresh water to make it clear again.
If the water is cloudy, use fresh water to make it clear again.

The water was clear the next day and throughout the livestream. Only after about 48 hours it became cloudy. The flowers, on the other hand, were still beautiful. With fresh water, you can easily keep them for another 48 hours. By then, any magic of the party and candlelight has probably long faded away. But the sea of flowers and lights remains enchanting for a while.

An eye catcher at any party.
An eye catcher at any party.

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Pia Seidel
Pia Seidel
Senior Editor, Zurich

«There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. I believe in the latter.» – Albert Einstein


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