More than serving just a functional purpose – literally helping you and your wedding guests see their way in the dark – lighting is also one of the strongest decorative elements at after-dark weddings, so make sure you pay attention to getting it just right! To help you out, here are seven of our favourite, on-trend wedding décor ideas to illuminate your big day…
Let Love Light the Way…
Nothing sets the mood quite the way that lighting does – like colour, lighting elicits emotional responses from us. When considering what sort of lighting to incorporate at your wedding reception, do think about the kind of ambience you wish to create – in other words, how you want your guests to feel:
- Soft lighting – gives off that warm and fuzzy feeling
- Brighter lighting – makes us feel more alert and energetic
- Yellow light – emphasises warmth and intimacy
- White light – is contemporary, cool, clean and bright
- Oranges, reds and yellows – are all about cheerfulness, gaiety and festivity
- Blues, greens and violets – produce feelings of calmness, restfulness and relaxation.
Instant Photo Filter – Remember that none of us looks particularly appealing after a long day and a few drinks in very bright, harsh light, so do think about turning it down to a softer glow as the evening wears on…
Electrocuting a guest or burning down your wedding venue would certainly make yours a wedding to remember, but for all the wrong reasons. When rigging up lighting at an outdoor venue, make sure:
- Electrical or paraffin decorative lights comply with relevant safety standards
- Wires are suitably insulated for outdoor use
- That lights are in good working order – check for burnt-out bulbs, damaged wires and loose connections
- You don’t overload outdoor power points
- That lights and lanterns are placed out of reach of flammable materials, and are suitably weighted or grounded to prevent them blowing over.
Available in an assortment of colours, Chinese lanterns are just as beautiful unlit as they are illuminated. Use fishing line to string up lanterns in rows to the ceiling or tent posts, or have them radiating out from a central point. Chinese lanterns are available from most party supply stores or your local ‘Chinese shop’, and use battery-powered LED lights.
You’ll need outdoor power points for chandeliers, so do check that your wedding venue is kitted out to cope with this lighting option. You may wish to consider purchasing a chandelier for the occasion, rather than hiring – and then hanging it in your home as the ultimate wedding memento. For real panache, chandeliers can be hung from a tent ceiling, gazebo frame or from trees – but do enlist the help of a qualified professional to prevent chandeliers crashing dramatically to the ground…
Paper Bag Luminaries
Simple and effective – with a wholesome, organic feel – paper bag luminaries are a great fit for outdoorsy barn or beach weddings. Grab yourself some paper bags – plain brown or coloured – from a packaging wholesaler, fill with a cup or two of sand to keep ‘em steady and stable, and place tea lights inside…Use to light pathways, as creative table centrepieces or hang from trees. Stencil a design onto the bag for extra effect.
Not just for Christmas, nothing could be lovelier than white fairy lights strung from the ceiling or draped around trees…easily and quickly transforms a plain ol’ outdoor spot into a romantic and magical space!
Mason Jar Lights
Mason jars are big right now, for a whole host of reasons, not least of which is creating superb lighting effects. Put you handy hubby-to-be to good use and get him to wire light bulbs into the jars, or place tea lights inside for an equally striking effect. Can be used as table lighting or to hang from trees or rafters…
Tin Can Lanterns
Tea lights twinkling through little holes punched in tin cans…super-sassy. And a fun DIY project, too – in fact, why not gather your bridesmaids to make these pretty little tin can lanterns at your kitchen tea? Simply gather tin cans, clean out and give ‘em a lick of paint, then fill with water and pop in the freezer. Once frozen, draw a design on them and use a drill or hammer and nail to punch out the design (the frozen water helps maintain the shape while you do this). Attach a wire handle, pop a tea light inside et voilà!
Lending a wonderful olde wolde feel, hurricane lamps are also perfectly practical to light up an outdoor venue – they’re made specifically for the purpose. Available in a wide variety of colours, styles and designs – including candle, paraffin or electric options – hurricane lamps are the go-to lighting effect for vintage outdoor weddings.