If you missed Part 1 & Part 2 of this series, "Colour + Decor" and "Texture", we've been exploring how you can shape your wedding vision and bring it to reality. One of the key factors to doing this is to set the mood and tone for the event through elements such as music, colour, lighting, décor and food. We'd suggest you read post one and two before continuing below.
Lighting helps create a mood yet it is often one of the elements that is forgotten or left until last minute. The illumination of a room can change what it looks like visually and the scene that is set. Lighting is an essential ingredient to make sure that all your décor looks lavish, your flowers pop and your walls look grand. It also helps to fill in any blank spaces and hide unwanted décor.
No matter how magical your décor might be, if you don’t have the right lighting it can look insipid and uninspired. Lighting is also a very cost effective way to elevate a space without needing to cover every wall or surface.
Lighting can be done basically through candles, or more extensively through lanterns, spotlights, uplights and hanging lights. However, it is really important that when working with a professional lighting expert that you are clear about the mood you’d like to set and what is in your colour scheme. That way they can style the most appropriate look for your space and theme.
Candles are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to light a space. They come in many forms, such as votive, pillar and tapers. You can read much more on lighting by candle light in an article we’ve written, 'Style By Candlelight'.
Another great way to enhance a space is to have uplights on each corner of the room. This gives the space dimension. You could do this with any plain spaces, architectural features or decorative details you’d like to stand out, such as backdrops or cake tables. Uplighting is fixed to the floor and illuminates up to the ceiling. You may even them next to big trees, near dance floors.
If you are styling a marquee you will definitely need a lighting technician to help hang enough lights so that your guests can see across the room and that a nice mood is set. You may also need to light around the marquee so that guests can enjoy the surrounding gardens or dance floor space. Make sure the lighting fixtures are as small as possible and not obstructive. Try to blend the fixtures in to the room. For example: if the colour is all white then select white fixtures; if the colour is all black then opt for black fixtures. You can also try to disguise them with ribbons or fabrics – just be sure they are heat tolerant – and check with your lighting designer.
Spotlights are another a great way to light areas. They hang down rather than point up and put light on to certain objects. Use small spotlights around buffet areas or dining tables. For large arrangements you most likely will need multiple spotlights directed at one area. This is particularly great for ceremonies as a spotlight can point down on the couple and create a sense of attention and theatre.
When lighting your flowers it is important to remember that whites do not need much lighting, whilst darker flowers do. If you try to light a white flower too much it will change the colour to yellow, where as if the colours are darker and deeper the colour will shit towards a softer colour, such as violet.
Lighting will help set the guests mood and enhance your decorations. Use coloured lights that will enhance your theme, such as magenta lights will work well with deep reds and burgundy’s. It will make them richer and more vibrant.
The best thing about lights is they can jazz up any of the dullest parts of a space. They can also help change the mood. A colour like magenta is very flattering and works well by candlelight. Blue will create an exotic or deep feeling to a room, where as orange may give a warm earthly vibe. Just be careful not to overuse your lights, as it will change the look of the entire room.
You may choose more demure lights for your room but when it comes to hit the dance floor select lights that are more vibrant and intense. If you can, we suggest you avoid over using little fairy lights as they can appear cheap and are often part of a “package wedding look”. Opt for beautiful hanging lanterns if you want to light up the space from above.
There are also ways in which you can work with the existing lighting in the space. Many ballrooms and wedding venues have some great lighting dimmers so you can control the brightness and intensity. Lower lighting can create a romantic ambience, whereas brighter lights will be more harsh and overwhelming for your guests. If the space is too bright, you may need to ask your venue if you can change some of the bulbs to be softer ones or even coloured bulbs.
If you have a really talented lighting technician you may be able to have lights on a timer so that they work to a set plan and change as the night progresses. From soft whites when you come in to more energetic colours as the night continues. This will help keep your guests entertained and visually stimulated by the event.
Lighting is a great way to express who you are as a couple and bring a blank space to life. Have it as one of the first items on your checklist and hire an experienced technician to bring your ideas to life.
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Images: Style Me Pretty & Francesco Mugnai, Concepts Inspired By P. Bailey 'Design For Entertaining'.