If one is going out to eat (such as at a simcha), should Shabbos candles be lit at home or at the hall? I heard that some rabbis do not allow candles to be lit at the hall in the shul but instruct whomever is making the simcha to advise their guests to light at their host's home where they will be sleeping.
Aish.com says one should light at home, so long they will remain lit until they return - or alternatively stay home until it is dark before going out to eat.
What if we won't be home for dinner Friday night? Light your candles at home if you will be returning to sleep there, as long as they will still be burning when you return home. Otherwise, light your candles at home and stay until after dark before leaving for your dinner "out." (If you are afraid of candles burning unsupervised, simply light them in a sink that you won't be using during Shabbat!)
Rav Doniel Schreiber says that one should light in their own home, however if that is not an option they can light in their hosts home.
Laws of Candle lighting When One is not in His or Her Own Household
Eating Out One who eats at a friend's house but sleeps at home is not considered to have left one's own household. If a couple eats the Friday night meal at a friend's house they do not fulfill their obligation of nerot Shabbat with their hosts. They must light their own candles.. Similarly, children who are benei mitzva ate the Friday night meal at a friend's house, but will return home to sleep, fulfill their obligation of nerot Shabbat with the candles which were lit in their own home. (Radiance of Shabbat, pp. 8-12, in the name of Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l.) If one is not eating at home, where should the Shabbat candles be lit? Their hosts have already fulfilled the primary obligation of nerot Shabbat when they lit in their household. Therefore, it is preferable that the guests light in their own home to fulfill their own primary obligation. However, some benefit from the light of the candles must be derived before the candles burn out. If lighting in their own home is not an option, the wife may light in their host's home even with a berakha since she has contributed secondary light to her host's household (Radiance of Shabbat pp. 11-12 in the name of Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l).
I asked a notable Orthodox Rav in the 5 Towns area, this question on Shabbat.
He stated that, technically, one can do it either way. His explanation.
The problem that often occurs is that the host's or eating place is not walking distance from your home. Once, you light the candles, you have accepted Shabbat, so you cannot drive. Thus, people drive to the shul or host's home, and once they arrive, light candles there.
The rav explained that another option is to light al t'nai - on condition - that one is lighting now, but states that he has not yet accepted Shabbat restrictions until the time for Shabbat has arrived. I don't understand all the details about this, but, I gather the concept is that this would allow one to light at home yet still drive to shul.
It has become standard practice (and as such it attains the full strength of Jewish law) for women to accept Shabbat with the kindling of Shabbat candles, unless the woman specifically had in mind while lighting the candles that she wishes to delay the acceptance of Shabbat for a short period of time.1
This unspoken stipulation is often employed by women who wish to drive to the synagogue for services after they light the Shabbat candles—especially on Yom Kippur eve when traditionally all women attend services.