Specialty Lighting For Weddings

In recent years, there has been a move towards consulting a lighting specialist when planning a wedding. Rather than accepting their venues the way they are, brides and grooms are exploring creative options for setting a mood, personalizing their wedding, camouflaging unattractive features, and highlighting beautiful ones. This is an overview of the ways in which specialty lighting can be used to enhance a wedding.

Perhaps the biggest trend in wedding lighting has become the use of chandeliers. The most fascinating thing about this is that it is not only the fancy weddings with black tie attire and loads of jewelry which are being decorated with rented chandeliers. Whether they are opulent crystal chandeliers, rustic ones for barn weddings, or sleek modern lights for a loft wedding, it seems as though the reception just isn’t right until it has been lit by a chandelier. The visual impact of a specially selected light over each dinner table simply cannot be beat. Chandeliers are also a marvelous way to add style to a generic space or to draw attention away from an unappealing ceiling. Even weddings in tents and barns are being dressed up with chandeliers.

Another very hot type of wedding lighting is colored gels. These can be used to add drama and style to the ceremony, the reception, and especially the dance floor. The colors can even be designed to change as the evening progresses to achieve a different ambiance at different times. This sort of advanced lighting technique definitely requires the services of a lighting specialist.

Spotlights also are wonderful for weddings. Shine a spot on any area that you wish to highlight, such as the wedding cake. The bright light will ensure that your stand out elements get the attention they deserve. Another popular use for spotlights is to shine them on the bride and groom during their first dance. A nice side benefit about spotlights is that when you draw attention to certain features, the areas left in the dark will naturally recede; great when you have an ugly corner to hide.

A really cool thing you can do with specialty lighting for your wedding is project a monogram or motif. They can be done in white or colored lights. The most popular places to shine the custom design is on the center of the dance floor or on the wall behind the head table. Monograms are especially popular, but some couples will also choose a unique motif, such as a regal crown. This is a detail that is sure to impress.

When you are devising a lighting scheme for your wedding, be sure to factor in candles. They are low tech, to be sure, but candles remain the most romantic form of lighting. Nothing is quite as lovely as the flickering glow of candlelight reflecting on your guests’ faces and bringing out the sparkle in their wedding jewelry. Candles are inexpensive and plentiful, so be sure to use them in abundance.

Lighting a wedding should be a central feature of the overall design rather than an afterthought. The transformative power of light is simply marvelous, and you can use it to fantastic effect. A specialized lighting plan will be just what you need to elevate your wedding from merely pretty to pretty spectacular!

Wedding Reception Lighting: A Trio That Will Make Your Wedding Celebration POP!

Think of the most romantic times you have spent with your fiancé: watching a setting sun, looking at the stars in the nighttime sky, candle light dinners, twinkling lights during the holidays, fireworks. The common denominator is light! Light sets the mood! Light adds contrast. Light turns dull into magnificent!

You have planned your wedding to the smallest detail. Have you considered the lighting? Well-planned lighting for your wedding reception can make a huge difference in the overall atmosphere and how your guests “see” the celebration.

There are numerous options and nearly limitless possibilities that create a confusing decision making process. I will attempt to simplify lighting for you! All of the options are typically available through a company that specializes in lighting. These companies typically are found by searching for “wedding lighting companies”. Alternatively, talk to your wedding reception venue. They are likely to have experience with local professionals who can create the look you wish. Some venues may also have some lights available for you to utilize.

First, the key to proper banquet hall lighting is to use light sparingly and strategically! While you are choosing the reception venue, inspect the lighting options already in place. Ditch the fluorescent! Nothing makes a wedding reception look like a Walmart more than overhead fluorescent tube lights! Also, turn off or dim the other overhead lights. Many facilities are trying to cut their energy use and have replaced incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights. Some CFL lights cannot be dimmed. Also, unless the venue has specifically picked a “warmer” CFL, they will have a “cold” feel.

There are three basic lighting techniques that all brides should consider. These include up-lighting, washes, and spot lights. Proper use of these three lights can add a dramatic flare to your celebration! These three types are also some of the least expensive of all lights available.

The most important and basic lighting option that creates the biggest bang for the buck is the use of simple “up-lights”. If you can only afford one lighting option, this is it! Up-lights are basically portable lighting devices that are placed on the floor near walls and shine up. They come in a variety of colors and can create a dramatic look by accenting exposed brick walls or fabric to provide “texture” or to accent a plain wall. They are the simplest way to make a room “POP”! The key is to use numerous up-lights around the room in strategic positions. A good rule of thumb is to use 3-5 on each wall, depending upon the size of the room.

Likewise “Washes” are also simple lights that cast a wide light that “washes” a wall. These lights also can be in your “theme” color. Washes are used to light up a key area such as the area behind the bride and groom or behind the band. They can also be used in place of up lights.

The third light that completes the crucial triad is the spotlight and its companion; the pinpoint. These are narrow beams of light that highlight a very small area. Commonly spotlights are used to highlight the cake. Another use is a precise pinpoint lighting fixture that can highlight a single centerpiece or an ice sculpture.

A growing trend is to use a “manned” spot light to follow the bride and groom into the reception as they are introduced or to move with the dancing bride and groom or the father-daughter dance. These lights are used intermittently during the reception to highlight other actions such as the cutting of the cake or when the groom sweeps the bride away. Remember this is your day. You are a celebrity and spotlights will make you feel like a star! “Manned” spotlights are more expensive as there are labor charges.

A word of caution on the use of spotlights; make sure the people you are having highlighted realize that they will have a rather bright light pointed in their direction and instruct them not to put their hands in front of their faces to shield their eyes! Also, instruct the lighting vendor to keep the absolute amount of light controlled so as to prevent excessive squinting. This will assist the photographer as no one wants a key event photograph ruined because due to a blinding light.

Another fact to remember is that the color of the light is important. Warm colors accent the faces of the people in the bridal party. Cold colors are seldom complimentary! Blues will look great against the wall especially for a winter wedding, but avoid blue shades on people! Also, do not feel you need to use the same color of light as the bride maid’s dresses. You can pick a complimentary color. Test the colors together to find the look that fits you.

Obviously there are a lot of other lighting options available to accent the wedding reception but by using just these three you can dramatically change the look and the mood of your special celebration.

All About Wedding Lighting

Lighting is often overlooked when discussing wedding decor. This is unfortunate because lighting can have a significant impact on the look and feel of your wedding for a relatively small investment. The proper lighting can transform an ordinary room into a stunning work of art. In addition to transforming the room, different types and colors of lighting can create different atmospheres and moods throughout the course of the evening.

The first step in lighting for a wedding is to turn off any fluorescent lighting in the room; you are at a wedding, not in an office building! After the fluorescents are gone it is time to create your elegant lighting design using gobos, uplights, pin spots and intelligent lighting.

Gobos

When using lighting as part of your wedding decor the first element you should consider is having your name in lights. Having your wedding monogram or names projected onto the dance floor or a backdrop has the biggest “wow” effect for the least expense. It is a very chic and glamorous decoration that will amaze your guests as they first walk into the room and it makes for great pictures.

This is done through the use of a specialized lighting fixture and a gobo. A gobo is a special metal or glass disc that goes into the light fixture to produce the desired pattern wherever the light is projected. Gobos come in pre-made patterns or you can have one custom made for you with whatever artwork you would like. In addition to having your names projected gobos can be used to project patterns corresponding to your wedding theme onto the dance floor or the walls. Read more about gobos for your wedding here.

Uplighting

The second element in wedding lighting is usually uplighting. Uplighting consists of placing lighting fixtures around the perimeter of the room pointing up onto the walls or other architectural fixtures. The uplights create columns of light going up the wall and bathe the room in a beautiful glow. The uplights are color coordinated with your wedding color scheme to tie everything together. The amount of uplights required depends on the size of the room and the desired effect.

There are two major categories of uplighting fixtures; Conventional par cans and LED. LED uplights are the newest technology and offer several advantages over traditional conventional fixtures.

LED fixtures consume far less power than the old-fashioned par cans. Many times all of the uplights can be run off of a single electrical outlet which is very important in venues with limited power supply. Traditional uplighting fixtures can become hot and pose a risk to small children who like to touch the lights. LED lights remain cool to the touch throughout the entire event. LED lighting is often “intelligent” which means it can be programmed to produce millions of colors from a single unit and can be controlled to vary color, intensity, speed of color fade, etc throughout the course of the night to create different moods. This can create some truly dramatic effects as the walls of your venue change from one color to another as cocktails end and dinner begins and then again when the dancing starts. The downside to LED lighting is that it is often more expensive to rent as the lighting fixtures cost substantially more than traditional ones. Another drawback is that LED fixtures have trouble producing some colors well.

The two biggest factors in determining which type of uplighting is right for you are; which colors are you using and how much power is available at your venue. Contact a lighting expert and give them an idea of what you are looking for and they will be able to tell you which type of lighting would work best for you.

Color Wash

Another popular effect is to use a pattern gobo on the dance floor and wash the dance floor in coordinating color. A wash is a lighting term that means to fill an area with light. Washing your dance floor will make it really stand out and a focal point of the celebration. You may also wash walls, ceilings, entryways or any areas you want to highlight.

Pin Spots

If you have elaborate floral arrangements or centerpieces on the tables, pin spotting is usually a great idea. Pin spotting is where light fixtures are put up throughout the room to provide “mini spotlights” for the centerpieces. Pin spotting is a very dramatic effect and will really accentuate your centerpieces and show them in their full magnificence. Your florist will love it and it makes for great pictures!

Intelligent Lighting

If you are planning for a wild party later on in the evening and want more of a contemporary edge to your wedding you should consider intelligent dance floor lighting.

Many DJ companies carry intelligent lighting but the quality varies greatly so you should always ask to see at least a video of their lighting system in action. Intelligent lighting is a step above your normal DJ lighting. The light fixtures can be programmed either by a special controller or using computer software. The functionality and abilities of intelligent lighting go far beyond that of ordinary lighting and are only limited by the users imagination. With the use of the controller the lighting designer can control the patterns, speed, color and many other functions of the light fixtures. In addition, they are often brighter and have more vivid color and more color combinations than ordinary lighting. Intelligent lighting is the type of lighting you would see at nightclubs and concerts. These lights can add a lot of energy and a real “wow factor” to your event.

There are a wide variety of other lighting options available to make your wedding truly stunning and unique. For more information contact the Chicago wedding lighting professionals at MDM Special Event Lighting.

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