Paint Your Wedding with Light
by Ken Pogin, Duluth Event Lighting
Unless you’ve recently been to a wedding that had uplighting, the idea of reception lighting is probably not on your list of wedding must haves. Other than wanting a ceremony on the beach at sunset, most brides-to-be don’t think of lighting as part of the backdrop for their wedding. Uplighting is placing lighting fixtures along the walls around the room, making a very powerful statement. Lighting can draw special attention to parts of the room by having a glowing cocktail table, a lit up ice sculpture, or a spotlight on the cake for example. The options for bringing in special lighting can be as simple as a few lights behind the head table to as complex as
having the Northern Lights dancing on the ceiling.
When considering specialty lighting, the first question to ask is where is the reception going to be? The size and layout of the room determines how many lights are going to be needed, which affects the price. Ask the lighting professional if they have lit that room before and if you can look at pictures of it. Your venue choice might have a set price, or several options depending on how many rooms and hallways there are.
With today’s LED technology, uplights can be almost any color you want them to be. You can start with lighting the room in a single color, or go with two alternating colors, three colors or a whole rainbow around the room. Lighting colors can coordinate with the decorating theme for your linens, floral arrangements, bridesmaids’ dresses, or spring and fall colors, etc. I highly recommend asking for a meeting with your lighting professional to see their availability and to choose your color in person to ensure that it is exactly what you want. Be specific in your color choice because purple can range from a soft lavender and eggplant to a version of hot pink, and some colors don’t translate well as a color of light. For example, some popular wedding colors are gold and silver, but translate into yellow and white light respectively. Also, the venue you choose can have an influence on the lighting as well. A wall that is painted blue looks best if it is lit with one of the colors in the blue family from the teal to purple spectrum.
Battery operated lights are another option, and are great for large columns in the middle of the room that have no outlets in them, glowing cocktail table skirts, and play a large role in outdoor tent lighting. Lighting options for battery operated lights are bountiful as well, but battery life if directly related to color choice and should be
considered when planning. There are also submersible battery
operated lights that your florist can put in the center piece vases.
To go really over the top with decorating in light is to use gobos. A gobo is a pattern of light that can be projected on the walls or ceilings. The most common type of wedding gobo has the bride and groom’s names lit up on a wall or the dance floor. Gobos don’t just have to be your name though; they can be patterns like bamboo shoots, leaves, or music notes. There are thousands of pre-designed patterns that you can choose from to match any theme you wish. Lighting technology has made huge improvements in recent years. There are now lights that produce specific effects like laser stars or a water reflection. Your wedding has so many more options than candles and Christmas lights today.
Think about your reception location and ask yourself “how can I paint this place with light?”