One of the most important parts of a young lady’s Sweet 16 is her candle ceremony. Despite it’s importance, it does not have to be the most stressful part of planning. The task of assigning family and friends to each of 16 candles may seem like a monumental feat, but once you start and complete candle one you’ll be amazed at how easily the remaining candles fall into place. The following are some helpful tips and general guidelines to make candle lighting preparation easier.

The guest of honor may light a memory candle for deceased relative(s). Typically, this is announced by the Guest of Honor, and is done either before the first candle is announced, or before the parents’ candle is announced. Alternatively, one of the candles on the cake can be lit as a memory candle—this would be announced at the time of that candle.

It is important to make an organized list which includes the names of people who will be coming to the cake. Write the names as the Guest of Honor calls them (like “Aunt Rose and Uncle Bob,” etc.). The usual order for candle lighting is:

(the following is just a guideline to help you with the ceremony, by no means must the ceremony be arranged in this order)

1. Grandparents

2. Aunts

3. Uncles

4. Cousins

5. Older relatives

6. Younger relatives

7. Friends of parents

8. Friends of Guest of Honor

9. Parents

10. Siblings

11. Guest of Honor

The usual number of candles is 17 (16 for age, one for good luck). Try to group relatives and friends together to keep the amount of candles to this number as best as possible. You can have interesting tidbits of information announced as the individuals come up to light the candles.

You will also need to choose music to be played while people come up and light the candles. You can have one piece of music serve as background to all of the candles, or you may want to match a specific song to each person or group of people lighting the candle. The total ceremony takes about 15-20 minutes.


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