How a space is lit can have a tremendous effect on not only how a space looks, but how it feels—for good and for ill. Whether you’re looking for something natural, subtle, bold, or brilliant, knowing how to go about lighting your wedding is an important but often overlooked part of making sure it is as beautiful as it can be! This week on the podcast, we talked about how to use color in your space, what uplights, cold sparks and other light sources are and how they work, as well as how to work with and not against natural light.

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What is uplighting?

Uplighting is a light fixture that sits on the floor and directs the light upwards, illuminating walls, columns, and other features. It looks incredible on linen or draping, providing an extra pop of color or a warm fuzzy glow. This is a popular option to enhance the ambiance and visual appeal of your wedding day.

Couples can customize the color and intensity of the light to match their wedding theme or color scheme. Uplighting is a great way to bring in colors that you may not have been able to use otherwise, however, we do recommend using the colored lights sparingly. If you have too much pink or green it can be overwhelming and can make your photos have strange coloring. We really like ours that has an amber option, that is more of a champagne or gold and ties in the candlelight to really bring the room together. Some great places to use uplighting include:

  • Sweetheart Table
  • Fireplace
  • Entrance Way
  • Cake
  • Outdoor plants or trees
  • Cocktail tables  

Overall, think of uplighting like an accent wall in your house. They transform a space, make an area pop, and with the right amount of light, look stunning in pictures.

cold sparks, wedding lighting

What are cold sparks?

Cold sparks are a unique and dazzling special effect commonly used in weddings to enhance the celebratory atmosphere. They use advanced technology to create a stunning display of bright, simmering lights without producing any heat or flames. This form of lighting is ideal for indoor venues since they are smokeless and do not pose a fire hazard.

Incorporating cold sparks into your wedding can lend a touch of magic and elegance leaving a lasting impression on both the couple and their guests. Some examples include:

  • Grand entrance as husband and wife
  • First Dance
  • Cake cutting
  • Grand exit
monogram wedding

What is a monogram?

There are two types of monograms, digital and motion. If they are within your budget, they are such a fun way to highlight the night. Completely customizable, the monograms stay on all night, and as it gets darker out, they become even more beautiful. They are a fun touch to project onto any flat space and to see in photos after your big day. 

Digital monograms are one image that gets shown all night, so you’d need to choose one item to have on the monogram. Motion monograms can have more detail to them, for example, your name written out with a heart at the end. It’s a mini video that will play over and over throughout the night. 

Some ideas of monograms are:

  • Initials
  • Date
  • Wedding Hashtag
  • Fireworks (motion)
  • Name written in cursive (motion) 

Great places to have the monogram project to are over the couple/sweetheart table, on a large wall, or over a fireplace. They can also be projected on the dance floor if you don’t have any other space, but this will reflect onto your guest’s dancing, and can leave lines on them in photos.

wedding pipe and drape
Photo by Freddy G on Unsplash

What is pipe and drape?

Pipes and drapes are generally used to transform a room into something more fancy. Linen is hung over the pipe in order to cover a certain space. They can go all around a room or be used as an accent wall within your venue. The backdrop is a great spot for the sweetheart table, cake table, or even just a spot for photos. 

This is an excellent option if your budget does not allow for a fancy venue. We’ve seen it used in gymnasiums, barns, etc. to really take the vibe up a notch. Along with the linen, it looks really beautiful if you add twinkle lights or uplighting to highlight an area. 

outdoor wedding lighting

What type of lighting should be used outdoors?

There are two different styles of lighting that we recommend for the outdoors, market lights, and twinkle lights. They can both be used during a reception, however, they have different purposes. 

Market lights utilize a big pipe and base which means they are ideal to have over the eating area than a dance floor. They are beautiful and put out a decent amount of light which allows people to see their food and each other while enjoying their meal. Market lighting should not be used over the dance floor, due to the amount of light they put out. Too much light can make people nervous to show up and get their groove on, so you’ll want a more subtle light in that area. 

Twinkle lights give more of an ambiance effect. They also utilize poles and then are typically draped above a certain space. Perfect for an area where you want light, but don’t want it too bright like near the bar, on draped linens, around your cake display, or as a backdrop for photos.

How do you manage the lighting?

Talk to your DJ about what kind of lighting they already have on hand. Often times they have lighting that projects onto the dance floor that includes LEDs, lasers, and lights. It’s a great idea to ask your DJ for a picture of their setup to ensure it matches your aesthetic. If you don’t like the options that your DJ provides, you can hire a design company that will come in and design a facade to match your decor.

Also, work with your DJ and photographer/videographer to determine the amount of light needed for dancing and photos. Ensuring they are in agreement when lighting gets turned down can be key to your first dance photos. It is possible to have the lights turned up a little brighter for the dances that you want to highlight at the beginning of the night, and then drop them down when more people will be out on the dance floor.

Remember, if you don’t want lighting, don’t let anyone talk you into something you don’t want to do or talk you out of something you have your heart on. It is your day, you do you. If you haven’t yet, make sure you are following us on TikTok and Instagram. We are currently in the works of redesigning our website, so make sure to check out all our new stuff. Our shop is a great place to grab downloadable forms and set up an appointment for virtual planning!

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