Add some shine to your wedding décor with this ultimate guide to lighting by style.
Lighting can make everything look better, from your wedding cake to your guests. The right kind of illumination will also get those details you spent hours on noticed, create awesome photo ops (hello, sparklers!) and allow you to spend less on the rest of the décor. It really is that impactful.
There are a couple ways to find your wedding lighting specialist. First, ask your event designer or wedding florist, many do their own lighting. If not, they may have a lighting pro they regularly work with. Or, the coordinator at your reception venue could probably recommend a lighting company that has worked with the site before—and ask to see pictures of the space transformed by various lighting arrangements.
Where you celebrate will greatly impact the kind of lighting you’ll need. Definitely plan a site visit for the same time of day as your wedding.
Learn Lighting Lingo
Here are the types of lighting commonly used at weddings.
Pin spot: A focused beam of light that shines directly onto an object, like a centerpiece or wedding cake, as a highlight effect.
Color wash: Basically a blanket of colored light covering an entire area to create a mood or change the look of built-in décor.
Gobos: Circular stencils that are put over a light to project a design or pattern onto a wall, ceiling or floor. Monograms, dates and wedding motifs are popular gobo designs.
Led: Short for “light-emitting diode,” LED lights use much less electricity than (and don’t get as hot as) regular incandescent lightbulbs. They can also be wireless, which makes them even more discreet. LEDs are great for color changes and vibrant hues.
String lighting: A strand of LED lights that can create a magical effect (think Christmas or market lights). An installation can be labor-intensive, but the lighting itself is fairly budget-friendly.
Lighting by Style
Now that you’ve got all the tips and tricks, learn what type of lighting is best for your wedding style.
Your Wedding Style: Classic
If you’re looking to up the glitz, add silver candelabras to dining tables—they’ll give off a soft glow and serve as decoration. Consider adding a monogram to your dance floor with a gobo, or use a spotlight to show off a raw bar, an ice sculpture or a gorgeous cake.
Your Wedding Style: Rustic
Start with market lights. These globestyle strands add a bit of whimsy to outdoor spaces. Line ceremony aisles or outdoor pathways with luminaries—the simple paper bags will make a big statement. If you’re going for a more eclectic look, opt for a unique chandelier treatment or mix a few styles of lighting.
Your Wedding Style: Romantic
Enhance your picturesque plantation home or castle with twinkle lights. These tiny bulbs sparkle! Hang them vertically to create a ceremony backdrop, or drape them from a tent for a canopy or starry-sky effect. Chandeliers make any setting feel more intimate, while pink color-wash lighting will give your whole space a romantic, rose-colored glow.
Your Wedding Style: Modern
Add a party vibe to an unfinished modern space (a gallery, a city loft) with color-wash lighting. Opt for hues that flatter skin tones, such as pinks and purples, and let them build in intensity over the course of the evening. Consider adding LED lights to floral arrangements for luminous stems that double as décor and mood lighting. Illuminate venue walls with a cool gobopatterneffect, or project tiny stars on the ceiling above the dance floor.
Your Wedding Style: Edgy
Use uplighting to draw attention to architectural details or add a wash of color to the space. For table lighting, look to clusters of iron lanterns, which can double as illumination and centerpieces. Or incorporate an Edison bulb chandelier for a more retro look. Have some fun with ’90s-style glow sticks, or ask your bartender to slip LED cocktail stirrers into your signature sip for a festive nightcap