Lighting the Way

How you can use lighting to set the mood for your wedding.

Part art, part science, atmosphere and mood are two of the intangible elements of styling a wedding that can completely make or break the day. Before you panic, hear me out!

While many different parts of a wedding contribute to the mood and atmosphere, lighting is one of the most fundamental. Get that right and you’re on track to creating whatever mood you want for your guests, be it a sense of soft, whimsical romance, a feeling relaxed refinement or a vibe that screams ‘let’s get this party started!’.

Whatever atmosphere you’re looking to create for your wedding day, here we shine a light (pun intended!) on how you can get just the mood you’re after.

One Space, Two Moods

Event lighting works in two ways. It changes what you see which, in turn, changes what you and your guests feel.

The perfect way to illustrate this is by showcasing two weddings we’ve designed and styled at Cell Block Theatre at the National Art School.

The space itself is what we call a ‘blank canvas venue’ meaning we as stylists have to bring in absolutely all the styling elements required for the wedding. Tables, chairs, cutlery, crockery, linen, you name it, we have to source it. That also includes… lighting!

When the Honey Lane team first do a site visit for an event, chances are it is going to be during the day and it’s not going to be set up for a wedding. This was the case when we first visited Cell Block Theatre. Not much to see, right?!

What we did see though was huge potential to use lighting to highlight the beautiful sandstone walls, draw attention to the height of the ceilings, add depth and build a sense of occasion within the space.

For both weddings we designed the lighting to reflect the couples’ brief and create the look and feel they were after. For Thulasi and Raz it was a sense of warm, moody romance with gold uplights and a soft fairy light canopy to draw the eye up.

Credit: Translucent Photography

Our couple Jenny and Naish on the other hand, wanted a sense of cool elegance and opulence, bringing in the purples from their colour palette. For this we brought in statement chandeliers and a mix of cool and warm lights.

Credit: Lauren Campbell

There’s A LOT more research, planning and logistical work that goes into lighting design behind the scenes but you get the idea! Same space, two completely different moods, largely due to the lighting.

Shake the Mood Up

The beauty of lighting is that subtle changes throughout your event can create big changes in mood and atmosphere. During dinner you want the lighting bright enough that guests can see what they are eating then by dimming the lights even just a fraction after the meal, you’ll be amazed what an impact it has on the vibe of the evening. Under the cloak darkness even the most reluctant guest feels the urge to hit the dancefloor!

While flashing uplights in red, green, yellow and pink would make guests feel decidedly on edge as they were eating their entrée, once the dancefloor opens, these are clear cues that it’s time to party!

Your Name Up in Lights

There is nothing quite like a custom wedding neon sign to create a sense of fun and celebration. Like a moth to a flame, a custom neon attracts guests and screams ‘Take a selfie with me!’

When it comes to styling your neon light, you’re limited only by your imagination.

Hang it over your bridal table for the ultimate nod to your newly-wed status. Or add a balloon arch and a vintage lounge for the ideal group photo opportunity.

No matter how you style it, a custom neon sign is sure to add an element of edge and let everyone know that when it comes to partying, you mean business!

Don’t Forget the Candles!

Now we can’t talk lighting without mentioning every wedding planner’s favourite, candlelight! It’s a notoriously forgiving form of lighting and synonymous with encouraging connection and in-depth conversations. They don’t call it a romantic candlelit dinner for nothing!

Whether you opt for tealights, tapers or pillars, there is a candle to fit every style and mood.

Tealights bring a subtle, enchanting glow to a dining or cocktail space and offer a low lighting option.

Add taper candles to your reception tables for an elevated sense of elegance and occasion.

Pillar candles can be subtle when clustered in trios or you can up the anti and group them together to create a dramatic ambience.

Credit: Lauren Campbell

Don’t be afraid to experiment with colour when it comes to candles. A black taper candle can give your styling a cool, contemporary edge while a soft blush taper candle really adds a sense of feminine whimsy to the mood.

Source: Pinterest

No matter your style, your venue or your budget, there are lighting options that can guide your guests through your wedding day and help create the mood you’re after each step of the way!

If you’ve got any wedding or event styling questions, don’t be shy, we’d love to hear from you!

Just get in touch via Instagram @honeylaneevents, through our website, or on email,

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