When it comes to designing events, flameless candles are on the experts’ list of essentials. But don’t just take our word for it. The industry’s top event planners and designers share the importance of flameless candles in their line of work – and tips on how you should be using them at home. Ryan Wille, of Chicago’s famous Kehoe Designs, illuminates the endless possibilities:

What sort of events does Kehoe Designs design?
We’re an innovative, full-service event decor company specializing in luxury social and corporate events. We do everything from weddings and galas to corporate parties and exhibits, bringing our signature modern elegance and high-concept glamour to each experience we design. Our team is world renowned for its talents in floral arrangement and plantscapes, artistic ingenuity, seating and styling, graphics, lighting – and, above all – bringing it together seamlessly.

Describe some of the events you've done.
Oprah Winfrey's Final Farewell Party, held at The Four Seasons Chicago in May 2011, is particularly memorable. I collaborated with world famous party planner, Colin Cowie. Can’t reveal too many details, but suffice to say, it was amazing. Another personal favorite was a dinner hosted by Hermès at the beautiful Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. We created magnificent boxwood obelisks and ample greenery standing over 18 feet tall leading up the stairs.

How do you use flameless candles?
So many uses. Definitely exterior events (the elements can’t put out their flames), venues that do not allow real wax or flames (the Chicago History Museum and Art Institute of Chicago, for example), suspended décor (safer, no dripping wax), bar and bat mitzvahs (for the kids’ centerpieces).

How are they superior to burning candles?
For my work, in a nutshell, they last longer, are more economical and safer.

Some tips for home decorating with flameless candles?
Anywhere and everywhere you’d use one with a wick!

What's the most outrageous event you've ever done?
A wonderful and imaginative wedding reception at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago last year. I re-carpeted the whole ballroom and created an afterhours lounge with a vintage mod, pan am feeling. There were 200 guests and we used flameless candles in the afterhours lounge.