The Art of Wedding Lighting Design graphic

Wedding venue choices have certainly expanded over the years. From glamorous ballrooms to renovated barns to casual backyards, one often-overlooked element can make any wedding space look beautiful, no matter the venue: lighting design.

We’ve collected some of our favorite tips to show you how gorgeous wedding lighting helps set the stage at your wedding. Get ready to sparkle and shine!

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SSE’s Top Wedding Lighting Tips

DO create maximum impact

Did you know that lighting can create wayyy more impact than decorations?

We wish more clients knew the true impact lighting can have on their reception. We see clients spending thousands of dollars on décor without realizing just how much lighting can enhance the event at a much lower cost.

When done right, lighting will give you more of a WOW factor than décor elements alone, and it will save you money.

DON’T be afraid to share your vision

Wedding lighting should enhance the look and feel of your wedding.

The first thing we do is a walkthrough of your venue to map out your vision. We want to see what existing lighting the venue has and what lighting options we can add to the space. Then we go through your wedding plan to see how our lighting design team can help enhance the mood and feel you want for your wedding. 

Pro tip: Pinterest boards help our team understand the visual you are trying to create.

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DO work within your budget

Don’t think you can afford wedding lighting? Give it a chance! There are options to fit every budget. 

For a smaller budget, we like to concentrate lighting to one or two spots in your venue to get the most bang for your buck. This will give you the wow factor you are looking for without breaking the bank.

For example, most of your wedding pictures will be shot at the head table or on the dance floor. If you only have the budget for 12 uplights, we recommend strategically placing them in those areas rather than spreading them around the venue where they won’t have as much impact.

DON’T forget about setting the tone

Lighting can play a big part in enhancing your storytelling and setting the mood.

LED lights, for example, have thousands of different color shades and temperatures. A good lighting designer knows how to manipulate these options at various points in the event to impact the emotion your guests feel.

For example, you’ll want to liven up and brighten the colors during the grand entrance – it’s a celebratory time! But when the father-daughter dance starts, that’s a great time to make the lighting lower and sweeter. It’s a moment to make your guests cozy.

Images of different lighting design

DON’T be afraid to think outside of the box

As you start thinking about your lighting, remember the options are endless and can be adapted to any venue, budget, and style.

This is your special day and your time to shine, so now’s your chance to choose the lighting that makes you look and feel your best.

DO consider these options:

  • Uplighting: LED light facing upwards that is placed at the base of architectural details or points of interest, typically around the perimeter of a space, to draw attention to those details.
  • Custom Gobos: This is one of the best wedding lighting ideas if you’re looking to add an ultra-personal element to your decor. A “gobo” is a small stenciled circular disc used in lighting fixtures to create a projected image or pattern. Project your initials, wedding date, or a sweet saying onto an empty wall or dance floor.
  • Crystal Chandeliers: Bring a luxurious, dramatic spin to your wedding decor with chandeliers. Don’t think you need to stop at just one. Multiple chandeliers elevate the elegance of any venue.
  • Bistro Lights: Whether you’re getting married at an outdoor or indoor venue, multiple strands of bistro or twinkle lights bring instant charm to any location. Suspend them in rows over your dance floor, wedding reception tables, or under a tent to create a magical canopy of lights.
  • Greenery Chandelier: Relatively new to wedding lighting, greenery chandeliers are a creative option ideal for any wedding vibe, from elegant to more rustic. They provide a very romantic aesthetic, and believe it or not, this is a very affordable way to combine decor with lighting elements. Your florist can help you source the perfect greenery—whether it’s eucalyptus, moss, vines, garland, or leaves—to fit your wedding theme.
  • Rice Paper Lanterns: This whimsical wedding lighting idea is perfect for a casual setting, like a barn venue, backyard wedding, or beach wedding. Use an assortment of paper lanterns in different sizes and/or colors to create a multi-dimensional focal piece above your dance floor or reception tables.
  • Photo Backdrops: Don’t forget to give your friends and family an Instagram-worthy place to take pictures at your reception. Neon signs with your name, wedding date, or a sweet saying like “better together” provide a great backdrop. Another idea is to create a curtain of twinkle lights or adorn the top of a backdrop with them. Get creative, and be sure to work this into the plan with your lighting designer. You want to make sure those pictures go up on the Gram. PS: Don’t forget the wedding hashtag!

Lighting can be a very cost-effective way to enhance the look and feel of your venue and help bring your wedding-day vision to light!

Selective Sound Entertainment has been in the Cleveland wedding business for over 30 years. We specialize in crafting a lighting design scheme that will make your special day the wedding of your dreams. To set up a consultation or get more information, contact us today.