I truly believe lighting is the single biggest factor in transforming most venues from nicely decorated to “wow”. The depth and interest it can add is unsurpassable. Lighting can be used to add focus and change the mood of the space. Yet many couples leave it to the last minute to consider it and it’s often the aspect that gets under-budgeted for in the first place or cut as other costs spiral.
Here are 9 top tips for successful venue lighting…
1) What to ask your venue – Visit your venue at different times so you can see how it changes with the light of the day/evening. This will help give you a feel of how necessary lighting might be. Ask about the capabilities of the existing lighting, can it be dimmed? Are the lights controlled individually? And ask if their standard lighting is fluorescent or incandescent, incandescent is much nicer as it gives off a softer glow.
2) Room composition – When you visit your venue note down any features you want emphasise or hide, lighting can do this for you. Also consider the size of the room and your number of guests/room layout. For example, you can enlarge or reduce how the room size feels by lighting or leaving the corners of the room unlit. Uplighting and light washes are perfect for these sorts of requirements.
3) Consider the practicalities – Although there are many tricks, ultimately lighting takes equipment. This means set up times, routing of wires and the lights themselves. For example, I’ve had a couple disappointed to hear that they will need wires taped down across small sections of the floor in order to get electricity to the lights. Wiring needs to be considered and hidden otherwise it can look messy.
4) Personalisation – Really personalise your space with a monogram projection, using, what is known in the industry as a “gobo”. Essentially this is a design cut out of a slide which is then placed in front of a lights beam. A monogram gobo can look fantastic at the entrance, on a wall or drape behind a top table or on the dancefloor before guests start dancing. Taking gobos even more extreme you can even cover a whole wall or ceiling with a pattern.
5) Mood – Consider how lighting could be changed throughout your day to change the mood, for example, between the wedding breakfast and the evening reception.
6) Focus – without a doubt one of the most transformative lighting options you can use are pin spots. These tend to be ceiling mounted spot lights which you usually focus at table centrepieces and other features such as the cake. See below some examples of how effective pin spots can be..
7) Purely for beauty – Anyone who follows my Instragram feed will know of my love of lighting, purely for the true beauty of the lighting fixtures themselves. Here are just a couple of examples.
8) Don’t go OTT – I appeal, please do not go over the top with coloured lighting! You’ve bought a beautiful dress and had your make up done, the lighting should show this off, not compete with it. Lighting a whole room purple is going to light you purple as well!
9) Photography – your photographer will have many tricks, but if you like the reportage style photography you need to consider the lighting. Strong directional lighting will cause heavy shadows.
If you’ve enjoyed this post and would like to discuss how a wedding planner can help design lighting at your celebration, please get in touch.