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Avoid These 4 Wedding Reception Disasters

Avoid These 4 Wedding Reception Disasters

When planning your wedding reception, there are a million and ten things to think about.  It’s a stressful, beautiful, wonderful time in life. Beyond decoration, lights can help you avoid a few major faux pas on your special day. 

Wall grazing is a lighting technique that can open up a space and incorporate your wedding colors without adjusting existing fixtures.

Wall grazing is a lighting technique that can open up a space and incorporate your wedding colors without adjusting existing fixtures.

Avoiding an Empty Dance Floor

There’s nothing worse than paying for a band or DJ and watching as absolutely no one gets up to strut their stuff. Of course great music is key, but lighting should not be taken lightly. If the space is too dark, guests could have difficulty seeing and moving, making it easy to trample on each other’s toes or worse, dirty your wedding gown. On the other hand, too much light could make guests feel like they are on display.  A good rule of thumb for lighting your dance floors is 20 lumens per square foot.  You can also check to see if the venue you’re using has any dimming capability. Another idea to consider is implementing a few colored lights to create a more festive mood.  

How to Make a Space Look Bigger

You’ve already put the deposit down for your wedding reception. But now you’re beginning to wonder if the space looks a little smaller than you originally thought. Change this perception by transforming your décor with the right lighting. For example, use white or ivory tablecloths to open up the room and adorn tables with tea lights. The brighter your ceilings, the more spacious your venue will appear.

How to Make a Large Space More Intimate

Walking through your venue, you begin to realize, this place is way larger than the number of guests attending. Basically, everything looks like one big random space, which will likely dwarf both you and your guests. If your venue feels a little too large, make the space more intimate. Ditch smaller centerpieces for your tables in favor of larger, fuller designs and arrangements. This is especially helpful if the ceilings of your venue are large. Larger centerpieces like birdcage lanterns help bring the room down to size, while smaller ones only draw attention to the issue.

reception with large rose centerpieces

If you’re using a large tent for your reception, keep overhead lighting slightly dimmed, and consider using exaggerated fixtures to draw the space in, such as a mixture of unique and creative temporary chandeliers with soft lighting. You could also throw in a few Edison bulbs to create pendant fixtures for vintage charm. For an extra cozy touch, use candles throughout the venue. As people flow into the reception hall, it’s important that they are able to differentiate where everything is. For example, if you are holding your wedding in the same place as your reception, try creating a dramatic entrance into the celebration with draping and warm lights leading down the pathway. In the area designated for your cake, wrap string lights around the legs and cover the table with an opaque tablecloth for an illuminated glow. You could also create this same look for the buffet tables.  Consider implementing patio stringers or light strand curtains to section off other spaces such as the dance floor or seating area.

Dealing with Bad Weather

If your gathering is scheduled for outdoors, there’s always the risk of running into bad weather. Holding the event inside a tent helps to alleviate some of the stress, but there is still the matter of guiding people inside the space.

starlit canopy wedding

Before selecting lights for your outdoor setting, you’ll need to ensure that the lights and fixtures being used are rated for outdoor use. If the weather is bad, or it’s pitch black, help your guests move more freely with pathway lighting such as decorative pathway lamps or even strip lights. Choose lighting that helps to enhance earthiness like any color temperature less than 3100K, or match the path lighting to your wedding colors.

wedding couple dancing

Bonus Tips

  • During your first dance, don’t allow guests to take pictures at the same time as your photographer as this can cause double flash to wash out the picture. Instead, opt for someone to announce when guests can and cannot take photos. This helps to avoid yellow or overexposed photos and everyone looking like bananas in your wedding pictures.
  • Consider your guests’ eyes when choosing lights for certain areas of your reception. For example, if your crowd is younger, then chances are, they’ll be able to see better in dimmed lighting. However, if your guests are older, like say your grandpa and grandma, then they may have trouble watching your first dance if the lighting isn’t bright enough.

Putting together an unforgettable wedding reception is not the easiest thing in the world to do, but by using lighting to avoid these blunders, it may make things a little smoother. Remember, the most important thing about this day is the celebration of two lives illuminating the world together (and cake).  What lighting advice would you give someone planning their wedding reception? You can learn more about lighting for your wedding or other events on our blog, or check out our Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.

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