Wedding & Event Lighting 101
Updated: Jun 21
We are excited to welcome Kevin Mignone from TAG to talk all these wedding and events lighting. As planners, we often get questions about event lighting as this can be a tricky topic to understand so we hope the information below helps you to understand lighting and what's important to have at your event!
After spending the last decade or more of my life producing some of the largest weddings across the country, and being humbled by some of the most intimate, one thing holds true throughout all, lighting makes an event. No matter the size or scale, it's important to understand that not only the guest experience is altered by this, but also the lifetime photos you have to show for it. Lighting does not have to break the bank either. Incorporating elements and layering them in to your venue gives you an opportunity to highlight key architectural elements as well as bring interest to a blank wall, or a centerpiece. Let's break it down to better understand what each of these elements are and also what their purpose is.
Pinspotting is the base layer as far as cost and elegance is concerned. This lighting technique is minimal and quite simple to set up depending on your venue. These fixtures serve the purpose of “added candlelight” to your tablescape. A kiss of light on a floral arrangement, a twinkle in a glass. Up close, you might not see the difference sitting at the table, but from afar, your tables will pop and glow out of the space and look amazing in photos. Your guests' faces will have a glow to them as well if you focus them just right.
With pinspotting as the base layer, the room wash technique covers everywhere around your base. Across all the non-tabled ground, a soft dapple of light in patterns, typically blurry and not in focus, that allows your floor to breathe. A solid, or patterned floor without light, tends to blend into bland and provides no depth to accentuate the glow coming from the pinspots on your tables above.
Up lighting is quite possibly the most widely used lighting element at any event and easily overdone or done incorrectly. I often see clients trying to use up lights as their main lighting element at their wedding. Filling every corner and column with an array of colored lights to make the wall change colors. And while that was a great idea for someone's kid’s party a few years ago, it certainly is not the right feeling for guests wearing suits and dresses. Up lighting should be used to separate the room and walls from the people in the room. You don’t want your photos to look flat, right? A soft, neutral color to accentuate a piece of architecture, give a tree a face lift, bring vibrance to a flat wall, all good uses when not over done. Think of it as a splash of coloring, or a highlight, instead of a spray on paint job.
Beyond these elements, there are many different styles and techniques you can add in, combine for style, and use to create an amazing experience for your guests all night. But these are the basics, and most importantly, don't over do it, not any of it. Unless of course you have an amazing DJ or band performing and want your dance floor to go wild - but dance lighting is a whole different conversation we can have at another time. Each of these styles are great on their own and even more beautiful when you layer them in to create the scene that guests walk into and experience throughout the night.