Traditional Hindu weddings are festive events that can take place over a number of days. They are colorful ceremonies – in which the choices of colors have meaning. If you are planning an Indian wedding, or an Indian styled wedding here are a few tips on Indian wedding lighting.
Significance of Colors in Indian Weddings
A guiding principle when decorating an Indian styled wedding will come in knowing the role and significance colors. Red is the most used as this is a lucky color that represents prosperity. So a lot of bridal dresses are made in red, as well as wedding decorations such as drapes, carpets, tents, and umbrellas. Gold is another – it represents wealth and fortune, so a lot of decorations and accessories are gold colored.
Though red and gold are the main décor colors, other colors are used – like yellow, green, or white. They can sometimes have different meanings depending on the region of India or the caste of the families (like white can mean mourning in one area or peace in another). Orange and pink are often used too. All these other colors when used are accompanied with gold accents.
Some popular flowers to use are roses and jasmine among an assortment of other flowers. If you are looking to have a modern and minimalistic styled Indian wedding, then a white and jasmine color palette would work.
Lighting and Indian Wedding Decorations
An Indian wedding is full of color – drapes, umbrellas and carpets in dark hues of red, and gold. There are also an abundance of flowers. If you are planning on incorporating such decorations into the wedding, then when it comes to lighting you will want to use clear / off white lights. As you will already have a colorful setting, adding colored lights will clash with the decorations.
East Meets West: If on the other hand you are having your wedding reception in say a hotel banquet hall, a place where it will be hard to decorate with an ambulance of flowers and drapes, you can use more decorative lighting to replicate Indian décor. Here you can use colored gels to create deep reds, yellows and purple wedding lighting.
You can also use gobo lighting – where you create a stencil that goes over a light fixture. This creates elegant wedding lighting decorations. A unique Indian wedding light decoration would be to customize the stencils into henna designs – these then can be projected onto walls, the ceiling or the dance floor to create Asian wedding lights. Or how about having the names of the bride and groom lit on a wall with wedding monogram lighting.
We have a separate article on the different areas of a reception to light:( 7 Areas: Creating a Poetic Backdrop Using Wedding Lights ) Here is a photo gallery of Indian Wedding receptions in a banquet hall.
Traditional Indian Wedding Lighting: If you are using South Asian wedding decorations such as flowers, drapes and carpets then you will want to use non-decorative lighting. You will want to avoid using gobo lighting, colored lights, or tiki torches, as they will look out of place.
Simple wedding lighting ideas such as uplights, spotlights, globe string lights will work. You will want lighting that is closer to the ground – as this makes for a more intimate setting. Some example of Indian wedding lights include lanterns and candles arranged with colorful flowers or gold colored ornaments. Indian (Jaipuri) Umbrellas can have lights attached inside to turn them into lighting decorations. Not really a lighting idea but incense sticks burning in a space creates a refreshing ambiance.
The Mandap: An important part of a Hindi wedding is a small canopy placed in the center of the wedding space. This canopy is called a Mandap and is used to bless the couple. This is where a number of ceremonial rituals take place such as the exchanging of the garlands. The wedding Mandap will be heavily decorated with flowers and you will want to have lights directed into the Mandap so guests can see the rituals taking place. Use spotlights or have the canopy decorated in outdoor string lights. Be careful not to have too many lights as the area can become hot.
If you are planning on having an outdoor wedding and hiring a Shamiana tent, have a look at our article on wedding tent lighting for ideas. These types of tents are decorated with lanterns and candles, and have carpets lining the floor.