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JANUARY - BRIGHT IDEAS!  “Do-It-Yourself” Lighting for the “DIY BRIDE”
When it comes to adding dramatic flair to a wedding and reception space, lighting can be the simplest tool available to you. Not only does lighting create depth and drama for the event, it paints a drab space into a scene that vibrantly conveys style and elegance.

While it’s often easier to hire professionals to create a lighting scenario at a wedding or reception, those with do-it-yourself passion can easily bring lighting into play without breaking a budget.
“Do-it-yourself lighting can save you a lot of money in delivery and labor, and if it’s a simple lighting job, such as placing 12 ‘uplights’ around a room, then doing it yourself may be the way to go,” said Dewey Beene, owner of Innovative Event Solutions of Oklahoma City, which specializes in specialty lighting and illuminated décor.
“Do-it-yourself lighting can even include centerpiece lighting, Asian lanterns and a version of our monogram lighting projection. It’s not as sophisticated as a professional job, but it is still nice.”

DIY lighting is great for smaller venues and for those who have friends to assist with set up. For larger rooms or for those who cannot set up lighting accents ahead of time, hiring professionals might make more sense.
Nancy Farha of Oklahoma City saw first-hand what how effective lighting worked in her son’s wedding venue. Having attended two separate receptions in the space already, the event with lighting accents transformed the area, she said.
“I said, ‘Look, lights do make a difference!’ That’s what made us really think about lighting for my son’s wedding,” said Farha. “But, we hadn’t budgeted for lighting costs. Dewey mentioned DIY lighting to us, and it was as easy as he said it was. It definitely made an impact, and it was so easy to set up and take down. They told us how to do everything.”

Starting at $99, the costs for do-it-yourself lighting deals usually consist only of rental fees of the equipment and the taxes.  “It only takes about 10-15 minutes to show you how to work the lights and you’ll be on your way to creating your own ‘Wow’ factor!” said Seth Stevenson, marketing and sales director of Innovative Event Solutions.
Many of the most popular effects can be accomplished by do-it-yourselfers. Uplights can add drama to a ceremony or room by adding color or highlighting architecture, while accenting your centerpieces couldn’t be easier. Even a projecting your monogram can also be done with a little know-how.

Although the best bet is to hire a lighting company to produce light effects, wedding parties on a budget can certainly rent the equipment at a fraction of the cost to handle their own effects... back to top

FEBRUARY - BRIGHT IDEAS!  - Ceremony Lighting

The key to soft, subtle lighting during a wedding ceremony is to illuminate, but not upstage the ceremony with lights. According to the experts at Innovative Event Solutions, which specialize in lighting and illuminated décor, wedding lighting should be subtle enough not be noticed or be distracting.

“Ceremony lighting is different from the lighting at the reception. It doesn’t necessarily serve as decorative lighting. In most cases, you’re just making sure that the wedding party can be seen,” said Dewey Beene, owner of IES-events of Oklahoma City. “It should be soft and subtle. Good ceremony lighting should go unnoticed. In fact, you shouldn’t notice lighting at all unless it’s done poorly. That’s when people notice.”

Although most churches have directed, soft lighting, ceremony lighting must be planned for outdoor weddings or weddings in non-traditional venues.

“The mood should be romantic and elegant,” said Seth Stevenson, marketing and sales director for IES. “It’s all about making sure you are focused on the ceremony. Having quality, subtle lighting during the wedding is also important from photo and video point of view. It’s difficult to make a great video if it’s too dark and using flash photography can be distracting as well.” 

Even churches can be lit in a way that brings out the best qualities of the space used. For instance, stained glass windows can be illuminated from the outside to accent the art.  “If you have a church with beautiful stained glass windows, you have to remember that you won’t get the full effect of those windows at night,” said Beene. “By lighting up the stained glass from the outside, you can make sure those windows are highlighted without being intrusive about it. God handles the stained glass windows during the day, but at night, your second best choice is to use us.”

Tips from the IES professionals for soft lighting during a ceremony or reception include:
- If planning an evening reception, make sure to visit the event site at least once when it's dark outside. Know ahead of time what the natural lighting will be at the time of year of the wedding.
- Find out where the fixed lighting is focused. If the existing lights illuminate the walls or ceiling, it can move people’s attention away from the altar or ceremony space.
- Keep any existing florescent lighting off. Ask the church or wedding space if it has dimmers for lights. Make sure all service doors are shut during the ceremony as to not have distracting lights from another room visible
- If having an outdoor wedding, consider where the sun will be during the time of day. As the sun sets and shadows grow long, lighting may necessary for the ceremony space. Uplighting trees can also add a soft feel to an outdoor wedding... back to top

MARCH - BRIGHT IDEAS!   -   Lighting for photo & video.
Everyone wants a beautiful wedding ceremony and reception, but using inappropriate or too little lighting can be a photographer's and/or videographer's nightmare.

Candlelight may create a romantic setting, but it can create videos or photographs that are too dark or grainy. Even worse, if a photographer has to use a flash or video lights on stands, the mood can be destroyed.

Trisha Von Lanken with Von Wedding Films of Tulsa says planning out the lighting needs for the wedding or reception makes all the difference in the world - and in how people will remember the ceremony. Von Lanken said she always recommends lighting experts to couples who hire her to film their wedding. It's a move that's paid off for her and for her clients...

"Good lighting is key when filming a wedding or reception. It's very important," she said. "If it's too dark, then you get grainy footage. If it's over-exposed by using flashing colors or bright white lights, then it bleeds everyone out."

Always plan for lighting, especially during a wedding ceremony, say the experts at Innovative Event Solutions, which specializes in event lighting and décor.

"Photo and video are one of the most important things about your wedding because that's how you will remember your special day," said Seth Stevenson, marketing and sales director of Innovative Event Solutions. "Bad lighting can make a great event look awful in photos and video and vice-versa."

"Consider hiring professional lighting experts who can design the illumination of a room in a way that's not distracting, but ensures the best quality video or photography," said Dewey Beene, owner of IES. "When you invest that much money in décor and the ceremony, you want people to see it. If you can't see it in the pictures, then you're missing out."

While outdoor ceremonies can be magical, harsh shadows or fading sunlight can create odd shadows on faces that can result in an unflattering photo or video. For indoor ceremonies, checking the lighting at the altar and along the aisles can prevent a wedding video that's too dark or grainy.

"I spent over $80,000 on my daughter's wedding and reception, but the results that I have in pictures are very dark. The centerpieces themselves cost $250 apiece, but you couldn't see them because the room was too dark," said one Oklahoma mother of the bride who wished to remain nameless. "The video is dark, the pictures are dark and the overall effect is just dark. I would have spent a the money on lighting had I known."... back to top

MAY - BRIGHT IDEAS! - Outdoor Lighting.

For brides planning an outdoor wedding reception that lasts well after the sun sets, the lighting for the venue should be a major consideration.

Many times, the natural attractions of trees, water features and landscape are what make the outside venue so alluring. But as night falls, those same attractions disappear into the dark and guests miss out on the beauty of the scene.  This is where outdoor lighting comes in.

Exterior lighting serves two purposes. First, it creates ambiance and sets the mood, giving life to the elements that you fell in love with during the daytime.  Secondly, exterior lights illuminate paths, define perimeters and other areas, giving guests not only a sense of direction, but safety as well; the last thing you want at your reception is a guest falling into the goldfish pond!

Wedding expert, Gene Milligan of Hydrangea Floral has seen how adding outdoor lights can make or break a wedding or reception.  Having employed Innovative Event Solutions to lightscape venues such as Gaillardia Country Club, Milligan says, “It’s like lighting up a piece of art – it makes color shine and adds more drama to an event!”  “We lit the whole exterior – all around the building, the back lawn, the gazebo and we up lit the trees. We even put the bride and groom’s initials on the lawn with lights,” he says. “When you looked out the window, everything sparkled.”

“Lightscaping is an art form,” says Seth Stevenson of Innovative Event Solutions, “using  Asian lanterns and bistro lighting, as well as our new products such as the hanging candle  and firefly gardens, can transform an outdoor reception into a magical evening long after the sun sets... back to top