Love is in the air! Fall officially began last week, so we are in the throes of the autumn wedding season. Although the summer months have traditionally been the most popular for weddings, autumn weddings have steadily risen in popularity and nowadays, you’re just as likely to receive an orange maple leaf save-the-date as you are a frilly invite with a flower border.
But as we all (should have) learned in elementary school, when the seasons change, the angle of sunlight touching the earth changes as well, resulting in a different quality and duration of sunlight. While many people prefer the more “golden” tones of autumn afternoons (especially photographers!), it can certainly be challenging to keep your special day well-lit when the sun begins to set. But never fear! Here is a list of four ways lighting can save the day on your big day.
1. Good lighting design can transform an event.
If you can, hire a lighting designer for your wedding. Great lighting can be the difference between a spectacular party and a “well, they tried hard.” Acclaimed lighting designer Bentley Meeker said that with the right lighting, a $25,000 wedding can look like a $75,000 wedding. Lighting design can be pricey, but it’s plenty cost-effective.
Sometimes event planners and wedding florists provide their own lighting, so be sure to ask about that when booking your big day. If they don’t, look into a lighting design firm that specializes in weddings. You can see from this photo (from a reception designed by Extreme Productions) how glamorous professional wedding lighting can be. If you can afford to go all out, you won’t be sorry.
The reason lighting at a wedding is so important is it can really make or break a venue’s ambiance. Whether you want a romantic vibe, like in the picture, or more of a warm, casual family feel, lighting can make a huge difference on how successful you are in achieving the aura you desire. You will want to look into professional lighting design, especially if your wedding takes place outside. Many venues have pre-approved lighting designers familiar with their codes, so make sure to find out when venue-hunting.
But if hiring a lighting designer is outside your budget, don’t freak out! There are plenty of ways for you to have great lighting at your wedding without breaking the bank.
2. Doing-it-yourself is totally doable – if you plan ahead.
Thanks to the economy and (largely) Pinterest, DIY weddings have become incredibly popular. There are actually wedding planners and designers who specialize in weddings that look home-crafted, so you can have that do-it-yourself charm without actually doing it yourself!
But for many people, a DIY wedding is more a choice of necessity than a style preference. If your budget calls for a hands-on, home-made decorating process, you can still illuminate your special day without spending a fortune. Check out these awesome DIY wedding lighting tips from the blog at Wedding Window.
It’s incredibly easy to forget about “minor details” like lighting while planning your wedding, but you can go nuts trying to come up with last-minute lighting solutions. Since lighting has such a big impact every part of the wedding, make it a priority!
3. Make a list early on of things that need to be well-lit, and plan accordingly.
Do you want your new monogram spotlighted on the wall at your reception? Or pinhole light above your wedding cake or centerpieces? Maybe fun, moving lights for the ceiling above the dance floor?
Research some of the lighting elements that have worked well at past weddings and make a list of everything you want at yours. It’s okay if you have to scrap some of your ideas, but the process of writing it out will help you make sure you don’t miss anything you’ll regret later.
If you’re doing your own lighting, this step is crucial to planning for what kinds of lights you want where, and what crafting you need to finish beforehand. Taking the time to plan ahead will save you all kinds of trouble at game time.
4. Crappy venues can’t defeat you!
Assessing the site of your wedding is a crucial step to planning, especially for lighting. Miles Stiverson at the Knot writes,
If you’re planning an evening reception, make sure to visit your site at least once when it’s dark outside. Look around the room and see where the fixed lighting is focused. Lights that illuminate the walls, windows, and ceiling can draw attention away from the center of the room — and you want to keep everyone’s eyes on the tables, dance floor, and each other. Ask if the site has dimmers for their overhead lights, and if there’s any florescent lighting at all, keep it turned off! Also, make sure there won’t be any service doors kept open, which could flood the space with light and ruin the effect.
If you’re hosting a wedding at home, discuss how much electricity your lighting designer is going to need. Your band or DJ will probably have to tap into your home’s power for their speakers, and you don’t want to risk blowing a fuse. If your lighting expert is concerned that there won’t be enough power to go around, they may consider bringing a generator, which should be kept well out of earshot.
Take into consideration what time of day your wedding will take place, and whether the sunset will affect the party. If your celebration is happening indoors, try to take note of areas the venue’s lights don’t illuminate well. You will need to supplement those areas.
Your wedding day should be as enjoyable as possible, and finding the right lighting for the event can make all the difference in the world! Let us know how your planning is going.
For those who have already tied the knot, what lighting worked (or didn’t) at your wedding? Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?