Four Things To Know When Considering Wedding Lighting
It’s your wedding. Read that again– It’s. Your. Wedding. You’ve thought about this day since you were 5. You saw a princess, illuminated in her all white-long sleeve lace gown, gliding down a flower covered aisle. Most eyes on her, some eyes watching the groom in anticipation, waiting to see if he raises his hand to blot his eyes.
At dinner, there were shining centerpieces as tall as you on each table. You almost knocked it over as you wiggled to break away from your chair, towards the cake. Your Grandparents laughed; your mother smiled in embarrassment. There was so much love in the room that it seemed to have a tangible softness flowing through it.
At the reception, you danced around as the DJ played The Macarena, Journey, Lil Jon, The Macarena again (this time, at your request). Your dad surprises you, grabs your hand and the two of you dance until a spot light signals for everyone to pay attention to the other side of the room. A precession of the most beautiful people you have ever seen begin coming in the room. Then you see her, the princess, her prince. Your dad squeezes your hand a little tighter. It’s magic.
Since that day, you have quietly been shifting through trends, through traditions, through partners. Then one day, all of a sudden, you have found the one. And together you have decided on the details that will make your day the perfect mix of you both. You’ve told them everything about that day when you were little; the feeling you were struck with the moment the music switched and the lights went low, the way you craved to be noticed by the two people who lit up the room and stole everyone’s attention, and the feeling of comfort you had when you fell asleep in the soft glow of the room as your father help you with your head rested on his shoulder. Your first wedding.
It may have felt like it, but it wasn’t magic. It was good planning.
As I’m sure you know by now, there are thousands of details that surround your big day. I don’t want to tell you that lighting is the most important of them, but it is the only thing that will affect the way everything else is seen. Flowers in poor lighting? Dull and wilted. A dance floor without accents? Hazardous. The way you remember the bride being illuminated at her table with her husband, that’s not nostalgia– it was a carefully placed pinspot.
Here are 4 things to talk about with your lighting designer…
- Know your venue and theme first – They need to know the scope before they can give any details about your specific event. Once you give them the venue, colors, and any important design information they will go to work with the venue staff. Before they go to the venue, be sure to send them plenty of looks similar to what you are envisioning and point out any specifics you want to see replicated .
- Don’t pick a photographer until you’ve picked your venue and lighting design company – There are so many talented photographers. Many, however, have specializations– even if they are not aware of them. Look through their shoots closely, not just at how beautiful they are, but at what kind of photos they are. Are the majority taken outside? Indoors? Are they all close ups? At a distance? These differences will have a big impact on the way your day is recorded in history. Are they taking photos in a room that has pinspotting (spot lights)? Bistro lights (hanging cafe lights)? Uplighting (did the room have a soft colored tint to it)? Have they taken photos of features you may want, such as a light curtains (think a wall of fairy lights and sheer fabric)? Once you and your lighting designer have figured out the details that will work best for your vision and the venues capabilities, you will know what to look for in a photographer. If you have a truly great lighting company and photographer, they may even work together before the big day.
- Add-on’s are normally worth it – Depending on the scale of your wedding, the largest portion of the cost will come from labor, delivery and pick up. Get your money’s worth! Once a company has determined that they are already going to put time into your big day, it is in both of your best interest to make it look as wonderful as possible. Think about it– you are already invested in perfecting everything about your day. A good lighting company will be, too. If they make your dream aesthetic come true, not only will you be happy and recommend them, but they will also be able to use photos of your wedding to brag on social media!
- A true event company will do sound, too – As much as you love planning and thinking about this day, let’s face it: the cake, flowers, and picking what you’ll wear are the best part. Picking a speaker vendor? It’s close, but not nearly as much fun. In the “Event” world, most companies will do weddings as well as other categories of events. It’s the same for most vendors, almost every caterer will do a corporate event during the week and weddings on the weekends (even if weddings are their favorite!). It’s the same with lighting and sound. It falls under the broader category of AV (Audio Visual) and the best lighting companies will be experts in both.
Overall, when thinking about how you want to start planning, think from the top down. First you need a roof, then lights, then everything else. Your lighting design will be a process that evolves the closer you get to your future anniversary, and the longer you have to plan, the better it will get.