The lighting in the reception venue creates the ambience, sets the tone and should be considered carefully.
- Bright lights are a mood-killer. Watch out for marquees with the often standard chandeliers as the only light source.
- Dimmers must always be used to create a romantic, flattering light but don't go too far; too little light will also deaden the atmosphere.
- Pin spots, directed at each table centre, can bring flower arrangements alive and create movement in the room. They can also be used to highlight other arrangements or focal points and features in the reception venue such as unusual architecture or the cake.
- Groups of flickering tea lights or candles (if allowed) will create a romantic, flattering atmosphere. Be cautious of overpowering scented candles.
- If candles are banned then fairy lights are a good alternative. These can be used to highlight entrances, arches and doorways.
- Colour lighting effects are an effective way of changing the mood after the sit-down dinner, marking a break from the formalities and the beginning of music and dancing.
- In a marquee, up-lighters provide a sophisticated light inside, and make the marquee glow from the outside - a good effect on a summer's evening
If the reception venue is in a garden or has grounds, then it is important not to forget about adding some decoration outside.
Strings of outdoor fairy lights or hanging paper lanterns, with small battery-powered bulbs inside, are safe and look effective.
A few up-lit trees, especially with a colour wash, create bold features. Some flares or well-placed candles can extend the party ambience beyond the main room; ensure they are 'long life' burners.
Paths should be well lit to prevent accidents; ensure that routes to the lavatories, parking area and catering vans are clear.