Wedding monogram lighting is when you have, traditionally, the name of the bride and groom projected onto a surface with light. It is a very cost effective way of creating a unique and personalized wedding venue. They are used to create inviting entrances, focal points within a room or an enchanting backdrop for a wedding. How it works: to create monogram lighting for weddings you first need to make a stencil of a design. The stencil is used to create a cutout – a “gobo”, which then goes in front of a light fixture. The light only shines through the open areas of the stencil creating monogram lighting. The traditional way is to have these stencils cut out of a metal material, but there are now glass options – or even projectors can be used (which have their pros and cons).
Getting The Design
The first thing to do is to get a design. The design can be of anything. If you only want to do one monogram, then get the names done of the bride and groom in a poetic, cursive font. You can use the graphics or font from the invites, your wedding logo, cake design, or décor. This makes the graphic design elements of the wedding ever more important and valuable, as they can have a wide range of uses. A graphic designer or monogram cutters will have a range of elegant fonts to choose from to create your design.
Don’t forget you can also get abstract designs made i.e. stars, heart, or floral lights, which will create patterns and act as simple wedding lighting decorations. These are ideal for dance floors, wedding tent lighting, etc. Ready made wedding gobos like these can be bought online.
Stenciling and Creating The Gobo
Once you have your design, you will need to create a stencil. How you create the stencil will be based on how you plan on making your gobo.
The gobo is the end product – which is fitted over a spot light or a can light that are common lighting fixtures at weddings. The gobo has holes in it, based on your stencil design, and through these holes is where the light shines though. There are two options in making gobos: you can cut your stencil into metal or high temperature glass.
Made From Metal: The cheapest and fastest way to make a gobo is from metal. A metal gobo can be done by hand DIY, or faster and more accurately by a professional laser cutter (for this you will need to have a digital stencil made). For a DIY wedding lighting gobo project (theater students do this for school projects), create a paper stencil of your design, then with a sharp scalpel make a cut out of the stencil design onto a sheet of tin or other relatively thin metal.
Limitation:One thing to remember in designing stencils for metal gobos, is that you can’t have metal within holes. You will need to have a stencil that has “bridges”. For example if you cut out a “O”, it will be a gaping hole – you can’t have a metal centerpiece as it just falls through. A bridge connects the small metal centerpiece to the outer metal. This is not a limitation with a glass gobo or projections.
A Gobo Made From Glass: A glass gobo will create crisper monogram lighting. There are also fewer restrictions as you can have more detailed graphics made with glass (no bridges necessary). A glass made gobo is slightly more expensive – but not by much.
When it comes to custom made monograms, the more you order [of one design] the lower the price per piece becomes. This is because most of the cost comes from setting up the tools and creating the stencil used to cut into the metal or glass
Custom gobo lighting made with laser cut metal can cost up to $100 – $200, while a glass wedding gobo can cost around $150 – $300. This small investment for these stylized wedding lights will form a grand décor piece, one that can tie together a wedding.
Using Projectors: The upside in using a projector, instead of going through the process of creating gobos for monogram lighting, is that they are flexible, cheaper and faster to create. A projector can have moving images, while gobo lighting will be static. All you need to do is upload graphics and images onto a computer that is connected to the projector. These projectors usually come with the wedding hall, or are easy and inexpensive to rent for the day.
The downside though is that a projector does not create elegant monogram lighting. This is because projectors display a whole rectangular area – you can’t cut off the light surrounding the monogram. The room needs to be quite dark for the projection to be seen, while a gobo in a spotlight can work in more brightly lit conditions.
Projections are a faster and easier way of creating monogram lighting. They can also be used for decoration lighting, such as on the dance floor or on walls to project photos, and videos.
Want to go a step further? How about 3D projections.
Areas For Monogram Lighting
Monogram lighting is ideal for a number of areas within a wedding space. They work well for entrances and on walls. Dance floor monogram lighting is a great idea for a couple’s first dance. Graphic designs such as flowers or stars work well as wedding lighting ideas for ceilings, walls and also on the dance floor.
Gobo lighting for weddings adds a luxurious touch. They help personalize a space. The steps it takes to create and the amount of monogram lighting equipment needed is minimal. So when it comes to planning the wedding decorations or lighting, monograms should be top of the list.
More wedding lighting posts:
- Unique Weekend DIY Wedding Lighting Ideas and Projects
- Wedding Chandeliers: Where to Hang Them & Creative Ideas & Styles