I saw this idea a few different places. I believe it was here that I first saw it, than at theknot.com and than I found more at liweddings.com -
The one big change I made was the use of larger votive holders. Your average holder is about 2” in diameter and I wanted something with a big more substance so I hunted down 3” one’s which came out really nice.
What you need:
Large area for assembly
frosted vellum paper
votives (I got mine off of ebay. They were called “double shot glasses” with a 3” diameter. They looked exactly like a regular votive holder except a little bit larger)
piece of cardboard
computer with a printer that can print on to vellum (we used a laser printer)
tea-lights (don’t use votive candles because the flame will be too high in the glass and won’t give off a romantic glow inside the glass votive holder)
Step One: Measure your votive holders to determine the approximate height and length around. Using these measurements, make a template of the shape of your label. Note that even the most plain votive holders will have a slight curvature, so expect the template to be in an arch shape. Transfer this template to a piece of cardboard. The cardboard is firmer and easier to work with than a piece of paper. I originally used a piece of paper, but found the cardboard template to be much faster.
Step Two: Using the approximate measurements, set up your MS Word (or any other graphic program that is useful for printing text) document to space your guests names and table numbers the right distance. In my case, I got 2 to a page with a little room for error.
Step Three: Print out your place cards and using the cardboard template, cut each one out. Set the labels aside.
Step Four: Set up a large workspace with all your votive holders, labels, double sided tape and scissors. Wrap one label around the votive and trim accordingly. When the label is lined up correctly, it will lay relatively flat. Apply the double sided tape and put aside. Having all of the candles in front of you will allow you to keep a consistent appearance of the candles and give you a preview of what they will look like all lined up at the wedding.
Have candles lit no more than 30 minutes before your guests come to pick them up to ensure they are all still burning when the last guest leaves your reception.
Using tea-lights in place of votive candles will result in the candles getting warm but not too hot to touch. However, there is melted wax inside the votive so better to keep away from children.
Don’t use a glue gun to apply labels. I tried the double-sided tape at first and didn’t like the seam on the back of the votive so I changed it out and used a glue gun. Once you light the tea-light inside the glass gets warm and the glue will melt. I had to redo over half of them with the double sided tape. It turns out, once the tealights are lit, the tape seam in the back is barely noticeable.