Vigil candles serve an irreplaceable function in our lives. We use them to honor the passing of someone we hold dear, to stand watch for people or causes we value, to celebrate our spirituality, and mark the moments we treasure. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, weddings, funerals, and candlelight services of every variety can use the small white tapers to carry the spark and flame of the special day from person to person.

Churches and funeral homes probably use the most vigil candles, but there is growing demand in the general public, and from event planners, to incorporate them into other celebrations. One of the trends we’re seeing is to invite wedding guests to share in the lighting of the Unity candle. The bride and groom light their tapers, then the Unity Candle, and then either directly or with the help of their bridal party, pass the flame from their tapers to vigil candles held by all those assembled. The bride lights the candle of the maid of honor, who lights the flame of the bridesmaid next to her, and so on, through the entire venue, filling the room with the beautiful glow of candle light, and the understanding that all the guests, family and friends, are a part of the lives of the newly wedded couple. It can be a wonderful moment of solidarity and celebration, and a chance for more music to be played in the ceremony while the candle lighting proceeds.

It is absolutely crucial when purchasing vigil candles to also purchase paper bobeches. These are the paper circles through which you slide the candle to protect hands, clothes, and anything else from wax drippings. Vigil candles are typically held for several minutes, or even until they burn down, so a bobeche is a very important safety accessory for your vigil or celebration.  

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