7 Venue Lighting Ideas That Will Ignite Your Night of Fun

20 May 2015

Lighting the wedding reception needn’t be a practical consideration – it can be pure decoration, too

It can be an oversight, but lighting choices can make or break the atmosphere of a wedding venue.


Many people forget about lighting when they are planning their wedding reception according to Mike Walker, of party planning and events agency MGN events: “Lighting is a key area that people find difficult to get right yet it is so important in creating atmosphere and making sure that you and your guests feel comfortable, relaxed and have a good time.”

Great lighting can be set up around any size of budget – think about what you want to do first, talk to your venue and take advice from an event planner or lighting designer. Even the simplest lighting schemes can impress your guests if they are done right.

Here are 7 top tips from the experts at MGN events and The Arabian Tent Company that will bring your venue, and wedding, to life:


1. Expand your horizons with outdoor lighting
“Don’t forget that the outside is part of the party too,” says The Arabian Tent Company’s Katherine Hudson. “Come the night time, if you’re using panoramic walls on your marquee, it can be one of the most magical views looking out from the comfort of your beautiful tent at up-lit trees or lighting features such as festoons leading their way around a garden, or hurricane lanterns highlighting the edge of the tent.


2. As time ticks, so does your lighting
“Coloured lighting really adds atmosphere to a room,” says Mike, of MGN events. “Use different colours to really set the mood for each part of the evening – right through from welcome drinks to a meal and dancing. This can be pre-programmed and done at touch of a button if you use an intelligent lighting system.” Perfectly demonstrating the point is the lighting used in this Arabian Tents marquee.



3. Health and safety just got beautiful
“If you expect your guests to use outdoor space in the evening, ensure that steps and uneven services are well lit to avoid accidents,” advises Mike. “Create a magical atmosphere by hanging lanterns in outside space, or if you are on a budget, why not try tea lights in old glass jam jars, and use them to light paths or shrubbery.”


4. Create drama with uplighters
“If you are planning an evening reception, look at the room that you are going to use for the reception after dark, as well as in the daytime,” says Mike. “You can then see how the fixed lighting in the room works and think about what lighting you need for your reception to add the right atmosphere, uplighters might be the perfect solution to bring the room to life at night.”


5. Warm white all the way
“In order to create a warm, engaging atmosphere it helps if you can make the venue look warm and inviting,” says Katherine. “In order to do this, I’d suggest ditching the LED cold white lighting or LED furniture/ bars and instead use old fashioned Edison light blubs, candle-light and warm-white lighting instead.”


6. Variety is everything
“If your reception is in a venue where the dance floor and tables and chairs are set up in different parts of the same room, use different coloured lighting separate the two areas and create atmosphere,” says Mike.


7. With light come shadows
“Using shadows to cast patterns and create interest in venue,” advises Katherine. “Whether it’s using cut-out designs (Hanging Lantern Co. is doing laser-cut designs) or using Gobo projectors as in this picture taken in one of our stretch tents, or this lantern in the ceiling of a tent…it’s the shadows that are creating the interest.”



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