There are a number of areas within a reception space that need to be lit up. Most function rooms or wedding venues will have the standard, basic light fixtures – rather than specific wedding lights. These tend to be unsuitable for an intimate or grand wedding setting – as they are used for general lighting for meetings and conference. Below we will talk about the 7 key areas that need to be focused on when looking at lighting, with examples on the types of lights to use. One key design tip to keep in mind is that a lighting plan comprises of both high and low points. There are some areas in a space you will want to create as focal points with grand lighting, while other areas will be low key. How you go about lighting the 7 areas below will be based on the layout of the wedding space you have. The 7 Areas of a Wedding to Light Up
- The Entrance
- Architectural Elements – Columns – Walls – Ceiling –Floors – Features
- Guest Tables
- The Head Table
- Navigation Lighting: Food / Bar Areas
- Stages/Dance Floor
Extra: Outdoor Wedding Lighting
1. The Entrance Depending on the venue of the wedding, there may be an opportunity to create a grand entrance. This is where your guests create their first impression. There are two types of entrances – entrances into the building, and the entrance into the hall. When it comes to the outside of the building, some areas to light would be the pathways leading up to the entrance of the building. Not only is this needed to guide the guests into the building, but this can also set the tone or theme to the reception. If you are having a winter themed reception, then you can start this by using bright blue and white wedding lights to flood light over the building façade, or use multiple up lights that shine on the building. Then there is the entrance of the building (the doorway). You can hang lights over the entrance and on the sides. As this is an outdoor area you could use real gas flame torches. An alternative would be flame lights, these are torches that have lights instead of flames, but mimic the flame effect. These can also be used inside. Once the guests are inside the building, there could be other areas where lighting plays a part. Any hallways leading to the main hall can have string lights or up lights washing the walls and floor with light, guiding you guests. The entrance to the hall can once again have up lighting – to create a dramatic effect. You can personalize this space by having wedding monogram lighting, where the bride’s and groom’s names are displayed with light. Once again you can use the light based (not gas) torches. 2. Architectural Elements Once you are inside the main space there are a number of architectural elements that can be lit to create the right ambiance. Columns: These are usually disregarded architectural elements, but they can be lit up to create a grand ambiance. Up lights placed at the base, can shine light up the columns. Or you can wrap string lights around them – maybe even wrap fabric over the lights, to diffuse them – creating a fairytale like effect.
Walls: Depending on the layout and space of your venue, you might want to add lighting to bare and dull walls. Some light ideas for walls include: the fairy light curtain – this is when you take a number of string lights and hang them side by side on a wall, on a white fabric or black fabric (used to create a starry night effect). As always up lights are also an option here. There is always gobo lighting – instead of using the bride and grooms names, the stencils can be of stars, hearts or abstract designs, that can be projected with light onto the walls. Ceiling: The ceiling can be used to really create a spectacular and dreamy setting. Lighting the ceiling will make a space feel grand and spacious. If you want to create a more intimate, cozy feeling will want to have the wedding reception lights closer to the ground, with little ceiling lighting. For lighting the ceiling, there are chandeliers (standard size or mini) that can be rented, up lighting, or gobo (stencil) lighting. You can create a marquee/tent like effect in a hall by using string lights. Hang them from the walls, going inwards and upwards to a point up onto the ceiling, like a tent (this center point will become a focal point.) You can hang drapes along with the lights.
Floors: Use floor lighting to create a more intimate space. By bringing light closer to the ground, you make the space feel smaller, more intimate and isolated. You can line the walls with lights, have balloon LED lights lining the floor, or have wedding monogram lighting shining the bride and groom’s names on the floor. Features:If your wedding space has any features, you will want to have these turned into focal points by having them lit up Such things as statues, painted ceilings, stained glass windows – could be considered architectural features. 3. Guest Tables The guest tables are important areas to light. Not only is it needed for guests to be able to see each other and what they are eating – table lighting also fills the reception space making it feel lively. You can opt to use pin lighting. These are small spotlights that are hung on poles. These poles can be arranged around the venue. The lights are focused on every table, providing bright and lively lighting. Another option is to do table lighting. You can use batty powered LED lights to create a unique centerpiece (here is our guide on DIY wedding lighting) or there are wedding candle centerpieces that are more elegant and enchanting. 4. The Head Table
The head table can be made to stand out amongst the rest with a few wedding lighting ideas. Depending on your table arrangement you can use under table lighting, or hang string lights with additional drapery around and on the table. Larger centerpieces with pin lighting will also work, as well as hanging a mini chandelier above the table.
5. Navigation Lighting: Food / Bar Areas Certain areas such as food tables or the bar would need ambient lighting – to draw peoples’ attention and let them know where they are. The food table can have the lights switched off after people have eaten. Pin lights can be used and the bar can have more mood lighting – have the bottles lit up, or use fabric and string lights on the counter. 6. Stages/Dance Floor
- If you plan on having a stage for a band, this will require some stage lighting. Most wedding venues will have the standard stage lights.
- A controlled spot light would be ideal to highlight people who are giving speeches, on a stage or on the venue floor.
- Then there is the dance floor. Dance floor lighting is generally provided at venues, or can be easily hired. Some dance floor lighting ideas include: music synced colored lights and a disco ball. You can also use monogram lighting to have the names projected onto the dance floor. This, along with a spotlight, will be great for the first dance. Be careful not to have too many lights, as it can get hot.
7. Display Lighting If you have any floral arrangements or would like to highlight a multiple tiered cake, then display lighting will be needed. These are small, focused lights – like you see in a jewelry store. LED wedding lights would be recommended as they produce less heat – as you will want to be careful with the amount of heat and the closeness of the lights, with delicate items such as a cake and flowers. Extra: Outdoor Wedding Lights. If you are planning on an outdoor wedding, there are a number of other areas that can be lit up to create the ideal setting. For example, washing any water feature such as a pond or a pool with light will create elegance in the outdoor space. See here for our guide on outdoor wedding lighting or the guide on wedding tent lighting.
Wedding lights can be used to add another dimension to a space. A normal cake, with the right lighting can be turned into a designer looking cake. The same goes with flowers, and venue design. Lighting is one of the key elements to creating the right feel. It can be used to make a space feel grand or intimate, it can create focal areas, and monogram lighting can even personalize a space. Letting you create the perfect backdrop for a wedding. More wedding lighting ideas:
- Wedding Chandeliers: Where to Hang Them & Creative Ideas & Styles
- What Is and How to Make Elegant Monogram Lighting For Weddings