Wedding Lighting Ideas

Is uplighting necessary at a wedding?

Uplighting is a popular lighting effect created by strategically placing lighting fixtures on the floor and pointing them up. Thus creating the effect of "up lighting". Uplighting is a very effective way to improve the ambience of event space dramatically.

Accent walls with colour, highlight special areas or cast a welcoming and festive glow through your event venue with uplighting. A fantastic way to spruce up a drab venue!

Perfect for weddings, corporate events, concerts, school dances, birthday parties, bar/bat mitzvahs, anniversary parties, or any party you're hosting. You can use uplighting in any size event venue, or even just a small home.

Uplighting is a popular light effect that we create by placing a light fixture on the floor and then pointing them toward the ceiling. That's where the term "up lighting" came from. Your light is facing upward. Pretty clever, right? Uplighting at a wedding is the most cost-effective and efficient way to change the ambience of any venue dramatically.

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What is Uplighting At a Wedding?

Uplighting at a wedding is not to be confused with the dance floor lighting that the DJ may bring. When the DJ brings dance floor lighting, this type of lighting typically changes colour and moves to the beat of the music. These lights are pointed toward the dance floor, but most of the time, they spread to the walls and ceiling.

You may be wondering; will uplighting work at my wedding. The answer is YES! Uplighting will transform your venue.

Will the lighting look tacky? 

There are so many ways to turn a relatively easy addition to a waste of money. The first is not having enough lights. Uplighting is inexpensive for the impact the lights will have on your overall décor. Going cheap will turn that WoW factor into a no factor. Listen to your lighting technician's suggestions and get the proper number of lights.

Why is uplighting important, and what should couples know about it?

Lighting is one of the most effective ways to elevate your wedding decor, and uplighting can feel especially luxurious when used strategically around your wedding ceremony or reception venue. "This is a great solution for venues where the existing lighting isn't the most flattering or even in outdoor venues where there isn't the option for hanging fixtures. 

Another thing about led uplighting to note is that some couples dislike the use of flash in their wedding photo s. However, creating an atmosphere with natural light can make for much softer pictures. Utilizing these washes of light can truly make space your own.

But for couples with a budget in mind, points out that wedding lighting can be an incredibly cost-effective way to make a major impact on your space. Most couples tour venues in the daytime, where detail is obvious, and decor may not seem as important. However, as the sun goes down, rooms lose their muster and need assistance with keeping things grandiose.

Plus, with the ability for colour mixing, you can opt for anything from purple uplighting to anything that reflects your wedding inspiration to enhance the ambience. "Decor such as uplighting shows a level of thoughtfulness for the feel of the entire room as the sun goes down. Uplighting can also be used again and again, making them a sustainable decor option for couples.

Is uplighting necessary at my wedding?

In the world of weddings, it reminds couples to remember that "necessary" is an arbitrary term. However, lighting effects do bring dimension to a room, making it warm and inviting. "Ballroom weddings most certainly take advantage of uplighting. And if your space lacks detail or lighting, it may also be a good candidate for uplighting.

That's why whether you and your partner deem wedding lighting necessary or not entirely depends on your vision and location for your wedding day. For instance, if you're looking to have an outdoor wedding or a wedding in a dream venue that's dimly lit, uplighting could be the solution you're looking for. 

In experience, many incorporate event lighting into their wedding decor due to the ambience and intimate feel they're looking to achieve. Still, there are many other reasons why this style is particularly popular instead of traditional lighting on wedding days. Uplighting will give you a bit more freedom than existing lighting will, and it's actually a wonderful addition to venues with existing fixtures or spaces that need just a little something extra. Not only does uplighting highlight the venue in ways traditional lighting cannot but also it removes any worry of harsh fluorescents that can negatively impact your decor and overall space.

Another benefit to this lighting design is that it's completely customizable and can work within any vision both a larger or smaller scale. Uplighting sources can also be programmable to be dimmed or change colours, so it can complement your palette with a wash of amber or soft ivory — even something a little more avant-garde like a pink or deep red!. That said, if you're planning on a daytime ceremony and reception, extensive uplighting may not be necessary unless you're unhappy with the current lighting of your indoor space.

Wedding Lighting Ideas

Why do you like the effect of uplighting?

Uplighting has become a wedding and event standard. It helps to change the feel and mood of the room or event space. Most common colours are amber, blue, and purple. In some cases, your uplighting can even match colours to just about anything.

Where should uplighting be placed?

You should place uplighting based on the architecture of the room. Columns, sides of entrances, between windows. It is important to make sure you balance out the event space.

What should couples ask about when considering uplighting?

You could get quite technical, but some basic questions are:

  • Can the lights be controlled wirelessly? This allows for quick colour changes without having to adjust each one.
  • Do the lights remain solid, or can they change? You can either change colours to another solid colour as dinner transitions into dancing, or you can have the lights constantly change on a random pattern to match the beat of your music.
  • Are the lights able to do a true white colour? Some light can't produce a true white because of the type of mechanics they have. They have a "white" that is produced from combining all the colours, but it's not a true white. I would wonder why couples would want white anyway, though, since the whole point of uplighting is to add to the mood or colour of the room. Why do white when you have a whole pallet of colour to choose from?

How many lights do I need?

That depends on the intensity that you are looking at and the room. The easiest way is to count the spots where you want to put uplighting. Majority of weddings that are up to 100 people usually require at least 14-16 units. Once you move past a 100, usually the room increases in size and you need around 20 units or more. But again it depends on how intense you want the light and the size and shape of your room.

Lacking imagination a little? Check out our list of Wedding Decorators in Melbourne here. 

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So have we convinced you to add uplighting to your wedding yet?

Having seen weddings both with and without uplighting, we here at 48 Fields can recommend whole-heartedly that you consider incorporating this type of lighting! Uplighting is particularly effective and striking in our barn because of all the wood rafters along the sides and ceiling that catch the colour as it washed upward. Lighting companies and DJs often have a variety of lights available as part of their rental options, but we were so struck by their impact that we purchased a set of uplights as well that will now be available for all our couples!

If you want to add a warm glow to your reception space, but candles and string lights aren't enough, you may consider uplighting. That's an effect created by putting lighting units on the floor pointed up. Magical makeover! Here are a few things to do and a few to avoid to ensure the look is tasteful, elegant, and flattering.

To get more idea for your wedding, check out our post on Wedding DIY Tips & Tricks You Didn’t Know

Do: Focus on important areas first.

This includes the cake table, the dance floor, and any spectacular floral displays. You'll also want lighting on your reception tables, so speak to your vendors about choosing the right options for each area.

Don't: Choose the wrong colour.

For the most flattering uplighting, choose amber gels. While other popular uplighting hues include red, blue, magenta, and purple, these are best reserved for your dance floor or after-party. Remember that your reception space will be bathed in whichever colour you choose so that purple uplighting will transform your all-white centrepieces into an arrangement of violet hues. Amber, the most universally-flattering colour, will give your space a warm, romantic glow.

Do: Know that uplighting can transform a bleak setting.

A few well-placed uplights can change a room from drab to dreamy in seconds. Take a wedding at a community centre, for example: If you were planning to turn off the overheads (too bright!) and light lots of candles. Still, something more is needed, uplighting a few areas will wash the room in lovely glowing hues, which can be instantly changed throughout the reception.

Don't: Underlight the space.

If the venue is extensive or the guest list is large, be sure to have enough lighting. In situations like these, a little won't go a long way. If you want your guests to see all of the details you spent so much time preparing, you need to ensure they're visible.

Do: Hire a company that uses LEDs.

There are several types of products you can use for uplighting. The safest are LEDs, which produce a lot of light while generating little heat and offer numerous colour options. Par cans are less popular because they get very hot, which can cause an electrical fire, and come in limited hues. LEDs are available in wired and wireless formats-the latter is preferable (but more costly) because they're battery-operated and don't come with long electrical cords someone could trip over.

Don't: Use LEDs outside if they're not waterproof.

If you're DIYing the uplights, rent LEDs that are specially made for outdoor events. If they're not waterproof and it rains, the wet lights could catch on fire.

Do not DIY.   

Uplighting sounds simple, right? Get some lights on Amazon and have your cousin bring them to the reception hall. Turn them on and bask in the glow. Things are not as simple as they seem. Not all lights are created equal. Most of the inexpensive lights that you fine will look great in your bedroom but will not be powerful enough for your banquet hall that seats 100+ guests.

Inexpensive LED lights flicker. This is not noticeable to the naked eye, but if you have a videographer recording your nuptials, the walls will flicker. I'm going to nerd out for a second. The inexpensive lights are actually not a steady beam of light, and they pulsate at a rate faster than the human eye can see but slower than the rate that video is recorded. Therefore, when you playback your video you the lights will appear to flicker.

A professional lighting company will use wireless LED lights that will last all night long. Image spending all that time and money creating the perfect décor and ambience, then walking into your reception room and see cables snaking out of every outlet.

Colour Choice

If you are wondering about which colour to choose, you should consult a professional lighting technician. When in doubt, you will never go wrong with "amber" or "gold". Believe it or not, they go with everything.

Other things to consider

There are two distinct focal points in a wedding reception. Those areas are the sweetheart table and the cake table. When you speak to your lighting company, ask them if they can use lighting to emphasize those areas. One great option is to use white linens on those tables and place the wireless LED lights under the table. This will create a glowing effect which is great for pictures and video.

Uplighting is designed for esthetics only. You will need another light source if you want your guests to see where they are going. Most ballrooms have chandeliers. I suggest you utilize them, but you can put them on a lower setting so you can still have a beautiful visual experience.

If you stand within 10 feet of the up light, you will glow the same colour as that light. You are like most brides and plan on taking pictures throughout the reception. You just need to be observant and take your pictures 10 feet or more away from any of the up lights in the room. This is typically only a problem when going around to all of the tables to greet your guests.

A professional lighting company will help you create the ambience you want. They will handle all of the details. They will make sure the room looks gorgeous. All you need to do is just relax and soak up the light.

Frequently Asked Questions

Uplighting. Uplights add a pop of color and a dramatic effect to any ballroom or restaurant venue. Expect to pay between $600 and $2,000 for uplighting in a large ballroom. If you want to save some money, you can scale back, by choosing to feature uplights in certain areas, like the dance floor or wedding cake table.

English interior designer and businesswoman Nina Campbell states that “Wall lights are a good option and setting wall sconces into a mirror creates a dazzling reflective effect, although they would need to be installed by an expert.” Clearly, after a little further examination, wall lights are not old fashioned.

Creating Shadows – Uplighting can be used to create eye-pleasing shadows for an element of drama. Aim your spotlight at a small tree or another plant to cast its shadow onto the wall behind it forming a large shadow. These gorgeous shadows are great for turning smaller plans into a dramatic feature.

Be sure to earmark at least 9% of your budget for your attire. Of course, this percentage should also include the cost of the dress and tuxedo rental, along with shoes and any accessories, such as jewelry or cufflinks. You will want to lump in the cost of your hair and makeup, too

Decorative uplighting is a way to enhance the look of a dancefloor by lighting up the walls and ceilings around the dancing space. ... The uplighters are placed on the floor, against the walls and the light is aimed upwards so that the wall and the ceiling are lit.

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