A little lighting in strategic areas can go a long way towards making your wedding one to remember, and it is certainly not a place to skimp. Don’t rely on your wedding venue’s lighting options--create your own!


The first thing most people think of when they think of wedding lighting is, of course, candles. If you want a cozy or romantic feel to your wedding, candles set the right mood. If safety is a concern, or if the venue prohibits open flames, small electric candles are a good alternative. Place these in small groups on tables or floating in small bowls of plain or colored water for a lovely centerpiece, or place in paper bags to light pathways with soft light.

For outdoor weddings, candles are also lovely when used in mason jars to light up tables for a more rustic feel, or hung from trees to create a whimsical look.

String Lights

Strings of lights of a similar sort used on Christmas trees can be used to create more of a festive, party atmosphere. String them up across the ceiling for a canopy of star-like lights, or around the trunks of nearby trees for an outdoor wedding. String lights (or bistro lights) come in many shapes and can be used for many different effects. One unique effect for an outdoor wedding is to create a sort of ‘tent’ with many strings of lights coming down from a center pole, framing out certain areas like a dance floor or the entire reception area.

LED lights

LED (light-emitting diodes) lights are very bright, are cool to the touch (good when taking a full room into account), and are very cost efficient. You can get brilliant color and lighting effects from these, but take into account that the light they give is both striking and very bright, and might not be the right choice for a romantic, soft wedding. These are best for when you want something to really catch the eye.

Up lighting

To create up lighting effects, white or colored lights are placed on the ground and aimed in particular directions. These are a wonderful way of illuminating an accent piece or a wedding cake, or creating an all over lighting effect with an over-wash of color.

Gobo lighting

This term stands for “goes before optics” and it is the practice of placing a stencil over a spotlight to create patterns on the floor, walls, or ceiling. These can be simple initials or romantic patterns like the moon and stars.

Paper Lanterns

Paper lanterns are wonderful additions to the décor of outdoor weddings. They create a romantic and soothing atmosphere. They are lightweight and can be strung like Christmas lights between trees or supporting poles. Paper lanterns come in many different colors and are an inexpensive way to create different effects.