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Illuminating Your Way -- 5 Unique Lighting Styles For Any Wedding

by Eli Lambert

Setting the mood for your wedding can be as simple as changing the way you light it up. Choosing the right lighting style can be an easy and effective way to decorate any reception or venue. Here are five ideas for any wedding, large or small.

Lanterns. Lanterns offer a variety of choices when it comes to style and mood. Cover the ceiling in white paper lanterns for a natural, cozy feeling. Hang lanterns from trees at an outdoor wedding, then decorate them with strings of pearls and flowers or use them in a low-light ceremony to light your way down the aisle. 

Marquee Signs. A marquee sign consisting of large, lighted words or letters is a unique addition to any venue. Vintage signs with bulb or neon cores can often be found at recycling centers, junk depots, or businesses that specialize in them. For a simple, compelling look, try welcoming your guests with a giant pair of the bride and groom's initials. Or add some "cheer" or "love" to your reception venue with a lighted sign -- either inside or outside in the evening's moonlight. 

Chandelier. Chandeliers -- when used judiciously -- can make a perfect focal point for either a ceremony  or reception. Hang a vintage chandelier over your ceremony location to give it a great backdrop for your nuptials. Or hang a long, draping centerpiece chandelier over the sweetheart table at the reception to make it stand out. 

String Lights. Tiny white lights on strings can be used to create a very romantic mood in any environment. If your wedding venue needs a pick-me-up, wrap the perimeter details in string lights, then turn down the exterior lighting to make a magical, starry environment. String lights go great at an outdoor venue when wrapped around the lower half of trees, strung into the branches themselves or hung across the space in a "tent" formation overhead.

Color Wash the Walls. Colored lights can be used to give a romantic hue to the whole wedding when placed strategically to focus on the walls, curtains, or flowers. You can change the brightness and color to be effective during different times in the wedding—soft pastels during the first dance and a brighter white when the guests need better lighting to navigate mealtime, for example. Color washing can usually be achieved using rented uplighting, but you can also use hidden string lights, spotlights, and even colored bulbs in regular fixtures.

When deciding what types of specialized lighting you want to use, it's best to work ahead of time with the wedding venue managers. They likely have expertise in using all these forms of special wedding lighting. But, whether you do it all on your own or with professional help, accessorizing with the right lighting will undoubtedly make your big day even more magical.