Candle ceremony sweet 16 order

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A girl's 16th birthday marks a very special milestone in her life, and holding a sweet 16 candle ceremony can make the occasion even more special as she celebrates this day with her family and friends. Get advice on how to set up this ceremony.

Create a Sweet 16 Candle Ceremony

The candle ceremony is a big part of any sweet 16 birthday party, and it's often one of the highest points of the event after dinner and cake. It's at this moment when the birthday girl shares her feelings about the most important people in her life as she lights a candle for each of them. Traditionally, a total of 16 candles are used to represent each year of the girls life so far. Here are more details that will help you plan the ceremony.

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Here are the items you'll need for the ceremony.

  • 16 candles - Traditionally, the color of the candles is selected to match the girl's dress, but it's really a matter of personal preference. The size and shape of the candles are also a personal choice, but the main thing to keep in mind is that they are supposed to burn for a few hours while the rest of the celebration is going on. Since even small votives will burn for two or three hours, the cost of the candles can be relatively inexpensive. If the sweet 16 girl would rather have a little more drama, tapers or pillar candles are excellent choices.
  • 16 candle holders - These will need to match the type of candle selected, generally meaning votive cups, taper holders or flat bases for pillars. Hurricane glasses also look quite lovely and offer a little more protection to keep the candles burning. Some party shops even offer a large holder base that will hold all the candles as one unit, but your choice of candle style is then limited to what will fit in that base.
  • Ceremonial table - This might be a regular eight-foot banquet table or something a little smaller. The important thing is that it is large enough to arrange the candles on, and that the girl can easily reach the candles to light them.
  • A tablecloth and skirt - This is to cover and decorate the table. Select a color that complements the candles and the rest of the party decor.
  • A butane candle lighter - You can find this item at virtually any grocery store. It's much easier and safer to use a lighter rather than burning matches to light each candle. The birthday girl should practice lighting it a few times so she knows how to do it when it's time for the ceremony.
  • Personal notes or a printed program - This is optional. Some girls are very confident and have no difficulty just stepping up and sharing their feelings as they light each candle. Other girls are a little more shy and may feel more comfortable if they write down what they want to say ahead of time and use those notes during the ceremony. A hand-written note or a printed program also makes a nice addition to a scrapbook page about the event.

Setting Up

Before the party begins, you'll want to set up the table for the ceremony. Try to choose an area that is in full view of the guests, but not in a high traffic area where the table might get bumped and knock the candles over. Remember that the candles will be burning for a while after the ceremony, and you don't want them to become a fire hazard.

  • Lay down the tablecloth, and attach the skirt around the edge.
  • Arrange the holders in an attractive way that still makes it easy to light the candles when the big moment arrives.
  • Add the candles and any other decorations you'd like to have on the table. Just make sure your decorations won't come in contact with the flames.
  • Place the candle lighter on the back of table out of view.

The Ceremony

Decide at which point in the party you want to hold the candle lighting ceremony, and then a member of the girl's family can announce that it's time and ask everyone to gather around. The girl might like to begin by thanking everyone for coming and letting them know there are a few things she'd like to say. Someone should dim the lights, and then she can proceed with the ceremony.

  • Traditionally, the first candle is lit in honor of the girl's parents, since she wouldn't be here today without them. This might be an especially poignant moment if one of the parents is no longer living. The candle could also simply be lit in honor of whoever has raised her.
  • The second candle is typically lit in honor of the girl's siblings. This might be a fun spot to inject a little humor into her comments, but the overall message should express her love for them. If she doesn't have any siblings, she could light a candle for her grandparents instead.
  • The next four candles are traditionally reserved for other members of the girl's family who have played special roles along the way in her life. Perhaps they did something especially kind for her or taught her a valuable lesson that helped her grow into the young woman she is today.
  • The next eight candles are devoted to her friends, and she can say something special about each one of them and perhaps a special time they shared together.These friends are also often included in the sweet 16 girl's "court" if she has decided to make that part of her celebration.
  • The 15th candle should be reserved for her best friend(s) of all.
  • The 16th candle is sometimes reserved for the girl's boyfriend, but it's also fine if she wants to use this last candle to make a wish for her future instead.

At this point, it's time for everyone to sing Happy Birthday, which signals that the ceremony has come to an end.

What Happens Next

Once the candle ceremony if completed, a family member can announce that it's time for the sweet 16 girl to share a special dance with her father, or another male member of her family who has significance in her life if her father can't be there. Once that dance is finished, it's time to open up the dance floor to everyone and let the party kick into high gear.

A Ceremony to Remember

A girl's sweet 16 only comes along once in her life, so it's important to make the day as special as possible. That doesn't necessarily mean that the party has to cost a fortune. It just means that great care should be taken to make sure she's surrounded by the people who love her most, and that those who are the most important to her are there to celebrate with her and let her know how much she is loved.

© 2021 LoveToKnow Media. All rights reserved.


What Is the Sweet 16 Candle Ceremony?

By Staff WriterLast Updated March 29, 2020

During a Sweet 16 candle ceremony, the person whose birthday is being celebrated lights each candle on the cake individually, to represent certain important people in her life. Generally, only girls have Sweet 16 birthday parties.

Each person or people assigned to a candle in a Sweet 16 candle lighting ceremony joins the birthday girl and helps her light the candle. The birthday girl usually makes a speech or shows her appreciation of the most important and influential people in her life, telling stories or specifically thanking the honorees for being especially kind or thoughtful on particular occasions. Guests often take photos at this time. Although the people honored and the order in which they are recognized can be customized for each party, there is a general process to follow.

  • The first candle is for her mom and dad.
  • The second candle may be for the next-closest family, such as brothers, sisters, grandmothers or grandfathers.
  • The third to sixth candles are generally reserved for aunts, uncles, cousins or other family members.
  • The seventh to 14th candles are dedicated to the birthday girl's closest friends outside of family.
  • The 15th candle is usually assigned to the birthday girl's best friend.
  • The 16th candle is reserved for a significant other or best male friend.
  • Sometimes, a 17th candle is lit, to wish the birthday girl a happy 17th year.
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Sweet 16 Candle Lighting Ceremony

Sweet 16 Birthday parties can be very special; for the parents, family, and the birthday girl. There is a tradition I’ve seen at a few parties I’ve done where they have a candle lighting ceremony. Basically the birthday girl has the special people in her life light each candle individually and as she calls them up she says something special about the person/people that are lighting the candle. Below is a generic step by step instruction on how to have the candle lighting ceremony:

Step #1: Get a cake. Haha! Make sure it is big enough to serve the amount of people attending the party.

Step #2: Candles. The normal size candles will work just fine but I have seen ceremonies where they use candles that are a bit larger or more colorful than normal. Place 16 to 17 candles on the cake.

Step #3: The birthday girl will call up the people she wants to light the candles 1 at a time. As she calls the person/people up to light the candle, she says a few words about the person/people over the microphone. Usually sharing a special moment or memory she may have with them. I have seen the people called up in no specific order at times and others they have stuck with the ‘Generic’ order…To spice it up, have the DJ play a different song for each separate candle. Give the DJ advanced notice (a week or so) with a song list so they can prepare a mix or at least have the songs set up in order to play and have the ceremony go smooth.

Candle Lighting Order:

  • Candle 1: For the parents.
  • Candle 2: For siblings or, if no siblings, than it’s for the Grandparents. 
  • Candles 3 – 6: For family members. Aunts/Uncles/Cousins/Etc.
  • Candles 7 – 14: These are for chosen friends. 
  • Candle 15: For a best friend or best friends. Last but not least,
  • Candle 16: For a guy (If there is a boyfriend or it may be a best guy friend.)
  • Candle 17: (If you choose) Used as an inspirational/good luck candle.

Step#4: After all the candles are lit we sing Happy Birthday and you know the rest.

However you choose to do the ceremony is up to you. Either way it is going to be a special moment. Let me know if you have any questions. Contact me anytime!

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Tags: Birthday, Candle, candle lighting ceremony, Ceremony, DJ, DJ Services, Ideas, Lighting, party, Party Ideas, Sweet 16

Rachel's Sweet 16 Candle Ceremony

Resources & FAQs

There are new and exciting variations of the traditional candle lighting ceremony.


Sweet 16 Candelabras® is always innovating new styles and methods to satisfy the current trends and are made to last years. Don’t throw your money in the trash with cheap foam imitations. We created Two-Part Bases and Baseless Names. Explore new candle lighting ceremony techniques such as Dedication Reversals and Dedication Omissions, as well as candle alternatives such as Floating Candles, Pillar Candles and Flameless Candles.

We create Two-Part Bases that separate, creating removable names that can be placed on top of tables or mounted on a wall at a later date. This allows the name to be repurposed and held longer as a keepsake.

A BaselessCandelabra has no base and no candles. A custom designed name is created in the font and finish of your choice. Our most popular style is the Crystal Rhinestone Script Sweet 16 Candelabras®. Sweet 16 Candelabras® names are made to order and created by hand. Cut from wood, this tabletop name is versatile and stronger than foam imitations. You can add your own décor or incorporate one of the alternative candle arrangements below.

Another candle lighting trend is the Dedication Reversal. Instead of the birthday girl dedicating a candle to each person, the pre-selected person dedicates a candle to the birthday girl. This is a great option for girls afraid of public speaking and eliminates the need to memorize 16 different speeches. The responsibility of writing and reciting the dedication is split between 16 honorees. Each person comes up, recites their dedication, and lights their respective candle.

Another trend is the Dedication Omission. There are two versions of this method. This more closely resembles regular candles on a birthday cake. There are no dedications, which saves time at your event. The first option is the Light & Blow Method. The birthday girl lights all 17 candles at once, guests sing happy birthday, and she blows them out all at once. Any style of candle can be used for this method since they are only lit for a few minutes.
The second method is the Wish & BlowMethod*16 candles are lit during the entire event, leaving only the 17th ‘wishing candle’ unlit. When scheduled, the birthday girl can make her wish and light her 17th candle. At that time, guests sing happy birthday and then she blows all 17 candles out.

*It is best to use floating candles or pillar candles for this method since they have safer and longer burn times.


The Floating Candles* alternative is a popular trend. 17 glass cylinder or cube vases of various sizes are arranged around a name, cake or cupcake tower. A floating candle sits on top of the filled vases. These cylinder vases can be filled with water, led lighting, submerged flowers, crystals, water gems or themed items.

*Floating candle arrangements take time to set up at a venue. I recommend hiring a professional florist or event decorator to create a design and set this up for you.

The Pillar Candle* is a beautiful alternative, albeit a challenging one. A series of 17 pillar candles of various sizes is arranged on varying sized candleholders. Pillar candles range in height from 3” to 12” and come in many widths, colors, finishes and scents. Pillar candle holders can be made from simple unfinished wood, glass and metal, to beaded crystal and Plexiglas/acrylic.

*This is the costliest of candle lighting ceremony options; prices can range from a few to hundreds of dollars for a single candleholder and no matter what style or finish you choose, you will require 17 candles as well as 17 holders.

Flameless Candles* may be substituted at venues where the fire codes or management prohibit open flames. Flameless candles, sometimes called LED candles, are available in taper, tea light and pillar-sized formats. Many brands also have a wax finish making them look like real candles.

*Flameless candles should be tested at home for reliability and battery life before your event. It is a good idea to purchase an extra set of batteries to bring to the event for backup.

Another challenge is the location of the on/off switch. Remote-controlled flameless candles are available, however, all candles must be lit at the same time.
Flameless candles can be expensive and difficult to buy in bulk, as you will need 17 of them.


Order 16 ceremony candle sweet

Sweet sixteen (birthday)

A sweet sixteen is a coming of age party celebrating a teenager's 16th birthday, mainly celebrated in the United States and Canada.[1] As the name suggests, the celebration takes place on a teenager's sixteenth birthday. While some families throw large, lavish celebrations, others choose to celebrate the birthday as if it were a normal occurrence. This event can be formal, casual, or semi-formal.[citation needed]

While traditionally it is common that sweet sixteens are mostly celebrated by girls, they can also be celebrated by boys, who tend to celebrate with their friends on an informal basis.[citation needed] Sweet sixteens can range from modest parties at home with close family to large parties with a hired DJ, makeup, hair styling, expensive gowns and dresses, and hotel ballrooms. Even if it is a small party, the main purpose of the party is to celebrate the person's earliest stage of adulthood.[2]

Alternative sweet sixteen celebrations in the United States can include a religious or church ceremony also, like a Mass or a blessing at church. This religious or church ceremony has its origins in the Quinceañera style, but since there are many American-born Hispanic people, many choose to blend a sweet sixteen American style with their Quinceañera tradition. For example, the girl may go to the church for the religious ceremony and, then, while in the party, choose to have the sixteen-candle ceremony. The religious ceremony comes from the Hispanic tradition, while the sixteen candles ceremony comes from the American tradition.



At high end sweet sixteens, a DJ often brings along several televisions or a projector to show a videomontage set to music of the birthday girl containing pictures starting from when she was a baby and getting older, usually ending with pictures of her in her sweet sixteen dress. This is either made by the DJ with photos provided from the family of the birthday girl, by the parents, or by a sibling. The guests can either sit down and watch this montage, or it could be playing in the background while the guests dance.[citation needed]

Shoe ceremony[edit]

For girls, the shoe ceremony is common at Quinceañeras parties. In this ceremony, the birthday girl sits down in a chair while her father, grandfather, Godfather, Uncle, or brother approaches her with high heels on a decorative pillow. The girl would traditionally be wearing flat shoes, such as slippers, and the father ceremoniously helps her into her new high heels. This is symbolic of the girl transitioning into a woman.[1]

Tiara ceremony[edit]

The tiara ceremony is similar to the shoe ceremony, except the mother or a strong female figure approaches with a tiara instead of shoes and places it on her daughter’s head to symbolize her becoming a woman. Sometimes this is combined with the shoe ceremony so that two people approach the birthday girl, one with a pillow with high heels, and the other with a pillow with a tiara.[1]

Father-daughter dance[edit]

The father-daughter dance is a tradition that is also frequently performed at weddings. The girl and her father dance to a slow-jazz or traditional song while everyone sits and watches. This is usually the first song of the night.[1] Sometimes, girls also added a mother-daughter dance as a dedication to her mother.

Candle-lighting ceremony[edit]

This tradition is most common in Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceaneras and sweet sixteens, although in different ages. There are typically 16 candles, each of which are given to special family members and friends by the birthday girl. Usually, when the recipient of the candle is named, a few words are said by the birthday girl in regards to why this person (or people) is special to them, they may tell a short story or fun memory they have shared with that person. Although the birthday girl can decide to give her candles to whomever she chooses, in whichever order she wants, here is the traditional order of candles:[citation needed]

- Each of the 16 candles holds a special meaning...

  • The first candle is for the girl’s parents.
  • The second candle is for the siblings. (If there are no siblings, then this candle can represent the grandparents.)
  • Candles 3, 4, 5 and 6 are for the rest of the family members.
  • Candles 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 are for friends.
  • Candle 15 is for the girl’s best friend or friends.
  • The 16th candle is for the boyfriend or a very close male friend.
  • Some add a 17th candle which represents good luck

First car[edit]

In Canada and many states in the United States, the minimum age to legally drive a car is 16. Sometimes, although rarely, the birthday person is gifted a car as a birthday present. The car can be either purchased new, used, or simply be gifted from one person to another (often within their family).

Other specific coming of age parties[edit]

Latin America[edit]

Further information: Quinceañera

Similar celebrations are found in different cultures around the world, such as the quinceañera in Hispanic countries and the festa de debutantes in Brazil, both at 15 years of age.


Further information: Philippine debut

In the Philippines, the debut (pronounced 'de-boo) celebrates a young woman's 18th birthday. A young man may also celebrate his own debut on his 21st birthday, albeit with less formal celebrations or none at all.


Further information: Bar and bat mitzvah

In Conservative, and Orthodox Judaism, girls reach the age of spiritual maturity at the age of 12, celebrated with a bat mitzvah, and for boys (and girls, in the Reform movement) at the age of 13, with a bar mitzvah, or for both, with a B'nai mitzvah and both girls, with a b'not mitzvah. These are important dates in the Jewish culture, because following these ceremonies, bar or bat mitzvah, the young person is considered an adult.


In many Christian denominations, both girls and boys reach the age of spiritual maturity at around the age of 13 or 14, with the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Popular Culture[edit]


Songs that talk about or represents sweet 16

Film & Television[edit]

  • Sixteen Candles - This 1984 American coming-of-age comedy film, by director John Hughes, stars Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall. It tells the story of a young woman's disappointment when her family forgets her 16th birthday because they are focused on preparing for her older sister's wedding the following day.
  • My Super Sweet 16 - Aly & AJ, Demetrius, son of Timbaland, Erin Wright, daughter of the late Eazy-E, Carlysia Levert, daughter of the late Gerald Levert, Teyana Taylor, Cher Hubsher, sMothered,[3] Reginae Carter, daughter of Lil' Wayne, Justin Combs and Quincy Brown, son and stepson of Sean "Diddy" Combs, Kristy Landers, daughter of Tom Niedenfuer and Judy Launders, Romeo, Cymphonique and Itali Miller, children of Master P,[4]Noah Urrea
  • Shake It Up - The episode Sweet 16 It Up where two of the main characters celebrates her Sweet 16 birthday.
  • Keeping Up With the Karadashians - Kendall Jenner[5] and Kylie Jenner[6]
  • Cake Boss - Mary, Bartolina, Dominique, Teresa "Tessa" and Sofia, nieces and daughter of Buddy Valastro[7]
  • Dance Moms - Nia Sioux,[8]JoJo Siwa,[9]Chloe Lukasiak,[10]Kalani Hilliker
  • America's Next Top Model - Jaslene Gonzalez[11]
  • Liv & Maddie - Sweet 16 a Rooney

Celebrity sweet 16ners[edit]

See also[edit]


Candelabra/Candle Lighting Ceremony/Sweet 16/Quinceanera/Mitzvah

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