Wedding Films, Wedding Planning Tips

Wedding Tip: Let’s Talk About Lighting

Lighting has definitely become a huge consideration in wedding decor.  From dramatic uplights to chandeliers to sparklers, lights are everywhere.

Or at least they should be!

Specifically…..the one place that most couples don’t think about lighting….the lights should be on you!

Let’s not forget: while your decor may be flawless, the music absolutely perfect, and the food just to die for…you friends and family are there for one reason: to see you.

Not going to lie, I selfishly want you do have good lighting because good lighting = pretty video. But I also have the privilege to stand among your friends and family as you’re walking down the aisle or when they’re watching your first dance, so I’ve also been privy to plenty of whispers about how dark it is and how hard it is to see you.  I also respect the need for a proper amount of mood lighting: nobody wants to bust out their best dance moves under some harsh fluorescents.

So let’s talk about some ways to walk that fine line between natural and beautiful lighting….and just too dang dark to see.

Outdoor Lighting

When you plan an outdoor wedding, beautiful, natural light is one of the benefits.  Though sometimes, you may find you’ve got just a little TOO much light.  Be sure to do a walk-through of your space during the time of day you are thinking of having your wedding (preferably around the same time of year, but if you don’t have that long, research to find a calendar day with similar sun times).  Even a 30-minute difference could mean that the nice shady spot you have picked out for your wedding party is still right in the sun, or the sun that seemed so warm and nice while overhead is now shining harshly in your guests (or worse, YOUR eyes).  You might find that slightly shifting the location, moving the time an hour earlier or later, rotating the whole thing 90 degrees, or even a nice arbor will make a big difference in the light you’ll have to work with during your ceremony.

When the sun goes down and the music turns up, that’s when the fun really begins.  Your DJ will probably provide all the lights needed for fun, but you should also consider lighting for where ever you’ll be sitting: either extra uplighting in the area, some soft spots, or a beautiful chandelier.

Then there are the boring lights that you need to consider – the ones for guests safety.  If you’re working with a planner, they will be able to recommend placement to highlight safe walking spaces for your guests.

Indoor Lighting

Light can be a truly magical thing.  It absolutely has the ability to turn a drab space into a wedding wonderland.  Some spaces (churches and ballrooms) may come with beautiful lighting built in and ready for you to use.  Other spaces may need you to turn all the lights in the room off and add your own for the appropriate ambiance.

The reason that uplighting is so popular is that it produces a soft, glowy light that bounces off the walls, ceiling, and drapes without shining in guest’s eyes.  In large rooms, you may need to add more light to the interior of the space to ensure that there is even light throughout the room.  Just like with outdoor receptions, couples should consider adding just a touch of extra lighting to the sweetheart table or head table to be sure that they can be seen.

Plus, it’s a bit of sentimental symbolism.  With just a touch of extra light, your table will be seen as the highlight of the room, as it should be.

Temperature and Type

If I were to ask you what color the lights in your house are, I bet you would say “white.” But have you ever bought new light bulbs for your house and discovered that they look either way more yellow or way more blue than all of your other lightbulbs? Or pulled out several strands of “white” Christmas tree lights only to realize they look drastically different?  That’s temperature.  It’s a measurable number.  Daylight is usually around 5600k.  Incandescent bulbs are closer to 3400.  There’s a lot of light science and argument when and where to use them, but you don’t necessarily want to mix them or things will noticeably be yellow or blue.

Should you choose to use colored lights, just know that they will reflect and bounce off of everything, turning anything in the room into your chosen color.  Even boldly colored rooms will cause reflections on everything in them when lit with white lights!

Again, look at the space during the time you’d like to have your ceremony or reception.  See how much natural light is available, what the built-in lights in the room look like, and where the dark spots are that will need some extra illumination.

And last, the type of light.  More and more venues are switching to LED lights.  It makes sense, they last longer and are more eco-friendly.  However, some LEDs cause a noticeable flicker.  You may notice it out of the corner of your eye, and if LEDs aren’t properly powered, they’ll play tricks on your photo and video team.  There’s an interesting science behind it, but basically, all lights flicker.  Incandescent lights have residual heat behind each pulse of energy, which makes the light appear steady to our eyes.  It also wastes a TON of unneeded energy this way (especially since we want light, not necessarily heat).  LEDs have virtually no residual energy to leave heat behind to carry through to the next pulse, but it happens so fast that our eyes usually don’t notice it.

Cameras do though, so be sure you hire a photo and video team that know how to handle whatever lighting you have planned for your wedding.  Ready to talk about your wedding plans?  Reach out to start the conversation about your wedding video with MotionWorks today!

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