I went to film school a million years ago (really? Why, yes: Digital editing was still ‘new’ and while editing, I cranked my film from reel to reel), and the way you create image on film is with light. It wasn’t until I worked as a TV producer that I really started learning about color temps, exposures, bounce – the power of a focused glow to create atmosphere.
Now that I work weddings, I value light as the biggest bang for your buck when decorating the event space. A simple can light can stream several feet up, a wash of light from a few hanging lights can cover the entire space with color. Paying for lights vs paying for, say enough fabric to cover the same amount of space, is definitely more cost effective. It doesn’t mean a whole lighting plan can be cheap, per se; but it’s so visually powerful.
Lights set a mood, create a whimsical atmosphere, like these globe lights strung across a backyard.
Picture by Shani Barel, www.dontsmilenow.com
Uplights can dramatically set off architecture – like columns, arches, or ornate detailing. They’re relatively inexpensive, can come in LEDs (which can create a multitude of colors), and are quite versatile. Make sure they are shielded and the wires are carefully wrangled and taped down for safety.
Take note of what your venue looks like at night with the ‘house lights’ on. Historical sites especially have beautiful lighting accents that need just a small extra touch to complete the picture. This photo below is at the Park Plaza Hotel, where sconces and chandeliers create supper-club ambiance, and uplights highlight the deco design on the columns.
Photo by Katie Robertson.
Lanterns have become a mainstay for outdoor events; another cost-effective solution for nightime lighting, they bring a romantic glow in an architectural structure that hits a happy medium between sweet and handsome. This picture is from the same Park Plaza wedding, in the outdoor cocktail space. The bride and groom’s friends volunteered to install the lights and did a magnificent job, I must say.
Photo by Katie Robertson Photography.
As wedding branding has come into vogue, clients have designed their own logos. Thomas Pham of Prodigy DJs created this gobo based off the bride’s design; I love the slant of the letters and the angle on the dance floor – a little off center, and utterly sophisticated.
Photo by Dana Grant Photography
Don’t be intimidated by the lighting options – find a great lighting vendor who knows what they’re doing to break it down for you. And maybe it’s the wine talking (just a little sauvignon blanc after a long day working, thank you very much), but I can’t help but say: After you put a ring on it, shed a light on it! (Yeaaaah….maybe that’s enough wine for tonight….)