You Light up my Life- Lighting tips for your big day!

October 10, 2017
Lightbulb sign with LOVE against wall

The tables are set, your dress is perfectly corseted, the bridal bouquet is in your hands. Now it’s time to dim the lights and walk down the aisle. Lighting can have a huge impact on the mood and overall vibe of your wedding. You can have the most gorgeous venue, beautiful flower arrangements and perfect table settings but a harsh overhead light can affect the entire mood created by these gorgeous decorations. Different types of lighting give a different vibe. Twinkle lights and candles are the ultimate source for setting a romantic mood. Antique chandeliers are elegant and classic while Broadway style light signs are the perfect accent for a vintage, hipster chic theme. Whether you choose one of these styles, up lighting, natural light or a combination, I have your guide to make this part of the wedding planning run smooth.

Candles and string twinkle lights are an inexpensive way to help achieve a romantic vibe. They can be used separately or together. Candles are great because there are so many different sizes and ways to use them. You can have dainty tealight candles on each table, or larger candles in beautiful hurricane vases lining the aisle. Using larger vases is great, especially at an outdoor venue. A large vase can be a perfect wind blocker but it can also overwhelm the candle inside. If you can, compare the candle with the vase size before you purchase to make sure the proportion between the two is aesthetically pleasing. Another important tip is to clean each vase well before it is set up onsite. The glare from the candles can pick up and magnify any smudges on the glass. If you are using candles on the tables you may want to use twinkle lights for overhead lighting or along the walls to make the space feel more unique. String lights are very versatile and can be used with different materials to create a different effect. Hang them behind a sheer fabric for a dreamy backdrop. Or, if you prefer a more enchanted, bohemian style romance, entwine string lights with a garland of greenery to use on the archway where you say “I do.” It is important that you know how you will use the lights before you purchase them so you can ensure that you get the right color strand. White and green are the most common strand colors for string lights. Choose whichever will match best with how you plan to use them. Some venues may already have lights like this that can be easily set up and included in your wedding package pricing, so confirm in advance before making any additional purchases. It is also important to check with the venue if they have any restrictions on the types of lights that can be brought in. Some venues may not allow open flame candles. If they aren’t allowed, flame-less candles are a great alternative. Most brands of flame-less candles offer either a yellow light “flame” or a white light “flame.” The yellow light ones look a little more natural and closer to a real flame candle but the white flame style is a little cleaner looking. These are better suited to a crisp, romantic winter wedding or one with a lighter or brighter color palette. Whichever you choose, be sure to test all of them before the wedding day, especially if you buy online or in bulk. If you have a very specific romantic vision in mind that involves either of these types of lights, check with each venue that you see for these types of restrictions before you sign a contract. It is better to know this ahead of time than to re-imagine your wedding vibe and decor after you book a venue.

Gorgeous, vintage chandeliers can instantly make a space feel more elegant. Perhaps you prefer a more eclectic elegance. Start searching early on through antique and second-hand stores to find the hidden gems that will enhance your elegant wedding. Places like this can have frequent turnover in product so make sure to check back often. If you prefer a cleaner, more consistent look for chandeliers, spray paint will be your best friend. Follow the same process but once you have the number of chandeliers you need, choose a color to spray paint all of them. This will keep the lighting unified and classy but will add just a touch of personality and visual interest. Chandeliers can also be rented. Do plenty of research before committing to a rental company. Renting can be a little easier but may not have the same personal touch as thrifting does.

These different types of lights can be used to highlight certain elements of the wedding venue. For example, you can use a Broadway style letter sign to highlight the drink and bar area. Or, if the venue has a grand staircase, line it with candles to show off how pretty and unique it is. Lighting can be so fun to experiment with and use in different ways to optimize the theme of your wedding, but its importance is not always recognized.

A common lighting trick that is used in many venues is up lighting. This may sound like a costly term but it usually is not. Up lighting is simply a light source placed on the floor so that the beam of light is illuminated upward. Popular colors to use are shades of purple or blue and can usually be done by the venue with little or no extra cost. Up lighting is great because it is easy to do, gives the space a softer feel and allows enough light so that harsher overhead lighting can be turned off.

Of course, you can also use natural lighting. Depending on the time of year, outdoor, daytime weddings can be perfectly gorgeous without any additional lighting. If your wedding is close to dusk, it is easy to incorporate some of the ideas above into your reception decor while using the natural beauty of a sunset to create the perfect backdrop light for the ceremony.

When you have a clear vision of the mood and theme you would like your wedding to have, it is easy to choose what type of lighting to use. Always confirm with the venue that your vision can be implemented. And, of course, have fun with it!