Lighting is a vital element when you want to create a mood or set a scene, both at the ceremony and at the reception. When it’s done right, it’s right. When it’s done wrong, it’s a disaster! Harsh overhead lights can kill any romance and make even the blushing bride look washed out and peaky. Avoid this at all costs by following these tips and ideas.
Up-lighting involves placing lights on the ground or at a low level, from where they project light onto a wall or an object. By picking out distinct elements and structures, you can guide people’s eyes to where you want them to go or create a wash of colour for, say, the top table or the dance floor.
You can use colours to match your palette and you can also change them throughout the evening – soft, romantic hues for dinner and speeches, then vibrant, brighter lighting for dancing. You can also use different colour washes to separate your venue into, say, seating and dining area and dancefloor.
GOBO lighting is “goes before optics” lighting. Essentially, stencils are placed over the light source to project images – shapes, patterns, monograms, messages and so on onto walls, floors and ceilings. They’re very popular and can range from subtle and classy to quirky and humorous. They never fail (unless you use the Halloween set by accident…).
Outdoor receptions are an absolute dream when you get the lighting right – you also have a lot more flexibility than you do indoors. You can mix and match, experiment, break with tradition…
Paper lanterns are very soothing and romantic. You can use a mixture of sizes, shapes and colours to really make a dreamy, wistful impact.
You can keep it sparing or go large with these lights, winding them around trees, gazebos, poles and other furniture. You can also string lots of strands overhead, especially in the dining area. These strings are pretty cheap and you can also use solar-powered versions that come on when the sun goes down.
Candles along a pathway are a classic. You can also use them as table centrepieces, or in anyway you want, really – indoors and outdoors. Use lots of different widths and heights to create an amazing top table centrepiece. Alternatively, hang jam jar lanterns from branches to illuminate your reception area. They’re low-cost and high-impact, as well as endlessly flexible.