Reception Lighting Ideas
The lighting at your reception venue might not be something you’ve given too much thought to, but it really does create atmosphere to the room, so is well worth considering. Lighting is often dictated by the type of venue you choose. For example, a grand hotel ballroom might not have much natural light, but may have a sophisticated lighting system to create different moods and effects, while your local church hall, or a marquee will have a lot of natural light, but may be restricted to only bright overhead lighting in the evening.
Types of lighting There are three types of lighting – task (functional), ambient and decorative – and you will probably use a combination of all three. In a large venue, they may be able to advise you how to create atmosphere with the lighting system. Otherwise, think about how you can adapt it to suit your occasion. You might decide to change bulbs. A tungsten bulb will give a room a soft, yellow light; halogen emits a bright, clean, blue light; peal produces a more diffused light or you could even opt for coloured bulbs.
Decorative lighting Most receptions continue late in to the evening and this is when lighting can be used to best effect. Candles, for example, give out an intense light over a small area and can transform a room if used in abundance. Always check with your venue that you are able to have naked flames and, if so, consider whether you like the idea of delicate votives or instead asking your florist to put candles amongst the flowers (or both!). You could even give each guest a votive candle as a favour for them to light during dinner. Fairy lights are another way of adding decorative lighting. They’re inexpensive, and the ideal way of disguising a blank and boring wall.
Daylight The amount of natural light that fills your room will change throughout the day, and it’s important to know how that will make the room feel. If, for example, direct sunlight will be streaming through the windows, you need to make sure that it’s not going straight in to the eyes of your guests. Ask the venue if they have blinds or voiles, or whether you can pin chiffon or muslin across the window to diffuse the light. Make sure you know what time it’s going to get dark so that you can brief staff at your venue to light candles or turn on certain lights before it gets gloomy.
Photo Dan Duchars