Wedding Planning: The Best Lighting to Set Mood, Tone and Theme

Lighting helps set the mood of your special day. But which lighting effect should you choose?

The neon lights of New York City; the flashing light of a disco ball — these are just two examples of how lighting can set mood, tone, and theme. Wedding and event planners realize how important proper lighting can be, and using this knowledge, can accommodate your wishes.

Dear Wedding Guru: “I suffer from seasonal affective disorder and get depressed in winter. Because of this, I’d really like some interesting lighting at my wedding reception. Can you make some suggestions?”

(Our answer on next page)

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The Wedding Guru says: I think that couples often overlook decorative lighting at their weddings. But when used properly (and assembled by a professional), lighting can really stand out in the minds of your guests. You’ll often choose between conventional and intelligent lighting, or a combination of the two.

Conventional lighting (or static lighting) is directed up a wall or column and spotlights a centerpiece, accentuates structural details, or projects patterns on walls or ceilings. Chandelier lighting, for example, creates an elegant ambiance: using a system of cables, you can hang the chandeliers virtually anywhere within a tent.

When choosing lighting, consider the mood you’re trying to achieve. A soft spotlight would be perfect for your first dance, entrance and introduction as “Mr. and Mrs.,” and for the father-daughter dance. On the other hand, club-like lighting will punch up your musical selections.

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Intelligent lighting refers to computer-directed effects that combine colors and patterns to “paint” an area, such as a dance floor. Using this technology, your lighting specialist can create a wide range of effects for your wedding, from dramatic concert lighting to romantic “highlighting.” The best part is that everything is behind-the-scenes and unobtrusive.

Lighting complements haze and fog machines, lasers, multi-colored beams on the dance floor, sound-activated strobe lights, and Chinese paper lanterns internally lit with computer-controlled LED.

For more information on lighting for event décor, visit’s article “Customized Event Lighting: A Cost-Effective Way to Set Mood, Tone and Theme.”

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