How Lighting Can Affect Your Wedding

Outdoor wedding string lighting

It’s no secret that the right lighting can set the mood or tone for any situation.  It’s also no secret that the wrong lighting can completely kill the moment.  Bright lights and harsh, overexposed settings can ruin even the most beautiful bride’s perfect day.  To ensure that all aspects of your wedding look as flawless as you do, here are some lighting techniques and tips to incorporate in your ceremony and reception:

Up Lighting

Up lighting is a technique in which lights are placed on the ground and aimed to project light off the wall or at a particular object.  This method of lighting is used to illuminate certain elements and enhances the entire room’s aesthetic appeal.  Focused beams of lights can be directed at speakers during speeches or used as accent lighting in specific areas of the venue.  Lights can also be spread out to create a wash of color.

Hanging wedding decor pink uplighting

Photo Credit: Belle the Magazine

Uplighting wedding arrangement

Photo Credit: David Tutera

Colored lighting can be coordinated with the wedding’s overall color palette and can turn a plain venue into a beautiful, picturesque reception.  Changing the color scheme throughout the night can change the atmosphere instantly.  For example, softer, warmer lights can be used to create a romantic mood during dinner while bright, disco-esque colors would be appropriate for the dance floor.  Another great way to incorporate up lighting in your reception is to separate the dinner area from the dance floor with different color washes.

Here is a fantastic example of how up lighting can completely change the mood of a room:

Uplighting before and after wedding lighting

Photo Credit: DIY Up Lighting

Gobo Lighting

Gobo, which stands for “Goes Before Optics,” is a very popular form of lighting in weddings and events.  A gobo is a stencil that slides over a light source to project an image onto a surface.  Gobos are used to project monograms, dates, and other wedding-themed designs and patterns and are a fun way to add a personal touch to the lighting effects at your wedding.  They can also be used to easily decorate an otherwise plain wall.  From a typical monogram of the bride and groom’s initials to a starry night sky on the ceiling, gobo lighting can be used in a variety of classy and tasteful ways to enhance any wedding.

Gobo monogram wedding lighting

Photo Credit: Kaleidoscope Event Lighting

Wedding lighting gobo moon and stars

Photo Credit: Disney Weddings Blog

Outdoor Lighting

During those warm summer months, outdoor receptions are a fabulous way to get some fresh air and enjoy the surrounding area.  It’s also a great way to break away from more traditional lighting methods and experiment.

One popular light source in outdoor weddings is paper lanterns.  Paper lanterns create a dream-like atmosphere that keeps the mood both light and playful as well as romantic and tranquil.

Hanging paper lanterns outdoor wedding lighting

Photo Credit: Style Me Pretty

Hanging paper lanterns outdoor wedding lighting

Photo Credit: Bridal Guide

Another fun way to light up your outdoor reception is with string lights or bistro lights.  You can use as many strands as you’d like to create the perfect setting.  Use more strands to create a canopy effect over different sections of the wedding, such as dinner tables or a dance floor.  Or, keep it simple with just a few strands to cast a romantic glow over the reception.  These lights are a great DIY option and are very affordable.  They aren’t just for Christmas decorations anymore!

Bistro string lights outdoor lighting

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart Weddings

Outdoor wedding string lighting

Photo Credit: Light Public

A classic lighting technique is to use candles to illuminate a pathway or light up each table.  Candles are very versatile and can be used to accent any element of your wedding or reception, indoors or outdoors.  Use pillar or votive candles to light up the pathway and create an enchanting ambiance as you walk down the aisle.  If you’re feeling creative, many different shapes and sizes of candles can be put together to create your own beautiful table centerpiece.  Tea candles also serve as a fantastic light source for outdoor pathways and gardens.  Place a tea candle in a mason jar or glass bowl to instantly transform these simple items into classy décor.  You can also hang these jars from tree branches to light up your outdoor reception.  There are endless possibilities with candles, and they are another great DIY option for the cost-conscious bride.

Candles wedding aisle

Photo Credit: Green Villa Barn

Hanging candle outdoor wedding lighting

Photo Credit: Laska Design

Candle centerpiece wedding light

Photo Credit: Wild Boys

Whether you choose to have a professional handle your wedding’s lighting, or if you’re feeling crafty and want to go DIY, there’s no question that lighting can affect the entire mood of your special day.  Keep in mind what kind of tone you’re going for during each section of your wedding and choose an appropriate lighting and color scheme to match.  When in doubt, soft, dimmed lighting is sure to flatter all skin types for all occasions.  Have fun experimenting with different types of lighting and seeing what combinations of colors and light sources you are comfortable with.

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