35 Gorgeous Ideas for Using String Lights Throughout Your Wedding

U-shaped, candle-lit reception layout with peaked canopy of string lights overhead

Photo by Ana & Jerome

Good wedding lighting is right up there with flowers, food, and atmosphere when it comes to all things that can help set the mood of your wedding day. While you can illuminate your celebration with everything from romantic candles to modern Edison bulbs, one of the most popular wedding lighting options is string lights. Couples love this look for its whimsical, fairy-tale vibes—and you probably will too!

Using string lights at your wedding will ensure that your setting truly sparkles, and there are a ton of different ways to incorporate them into your big day. If you’re hosting an outdoor wedding, have fairy lights cascading overhead to give off a romantic vibe. For a wintry wedding, try wrapping bare trees in glowing coils of rope lights to set the stage for your frozen wonderland. You can even fill lanterns with nests of tiny bulbs for an unexpected way to feature string lights at your wedding. Needless to say, the options are endless when it comes to taking your lighting to the next level.

Here are 35 ways to use string lights at your wedding.

01 of 35

A Sky Full of Stars

Outdoor reception under canopy of string lights in various sizes

Photo by Margherita Calati; Event Planning by Alessia Randazzini of My Sicilian Wedding; Light Design by Dibenedetto Light

While a Sicilian countryside wedding is about as dreamy as it gets, this bride still managed to up the ante by ensuring guests dined under a "sky full of stars." A mixture of strands with both small and large bulbs created the breathtaking celestial array.

02 of 35

A Double Dose

long banquet table

Photo by Alen Karupovic

There can never be too many lights at an outdoor twilight affair. This alfresco setting has double the illumination, thanks to dazzling string lights and a table set with candles.

03 of 35

A Glittering Trail

Canopy of lights cascading into feature wall

Photo by Pablo Laguia; Event Planning & Design by Paloma Cruz Eventos

More is more when it comes to a glistening canopy over a linear head table that's outfitted with a trail of greens and votives. We love how the curtained lights run parallel to the table and candles creating a stunning contrast of stark lines and a curved ceiling.

04 of 35

Luminous Layers

Dessert table in front of accent wall of wreaths and draped string lights

Photo by Ali & Paul Co.

For extra character in a bare-bones reception space, rows of LED ropes, drippy wax candles, leafy wreaths, and layers of lights will definitely do the trick. We love how the elements were kept humble with a DIY aesthetic that complemented the rustic space beautifully.

05 of 35

Lanterns of Light

Lanterns filled with string lights and pillar candles

Photo by Larissa Cleveland Photography

Lanterns with pillar candles and lit-up coils can serve as a unique (and handy) way to make the walk to the reception more visible. Since there are no cables to worry about, these are great for lighting up dimly lit crevices or dark alcoves.

Use battery-operated, flameless candles to eliminate the danger of exposing the lights to an open flame. Candles and lights that can be controlled remotely or with timers will streamline the setup process.

06 of 35

An Illuminated Focal Point

Ceremony taking place in front of light-wrapped tree

Photo by Emily Wren Photography

These newlyweds said their I do's beneath the most magical ceremony setting we've ever seen. Dozens of big-bulbed string lights transformed this stately tree into an otherworldly altar to cement their union before.

07 of 35

A Twinkling Canopy

Tented canopy created by string lights

Photo by Ana & Jerome

This Cabo San Lucas destination wedding was all aglow, thanks to never-ending yards of lights. While this wasn't a tented reception by any means, we love how the strands formed a peaked ceiling above the alfresco setting.

08 of 35

A Walk of Whimsy

Wedding aisle decorated with strings of dangling fairy lights

Photo by Pat Furey Photography

Strings of fairy lights dangle from the ceiling of this ceremony, transforming the space into a whimsical wonderland. The combination of a glittering ceiling, candlelit aisle, and ample florals adds softness and femininity to the industrial venue.

09 of 35

Dancing With the Stars

Bride and groom dancing under canopy of dangling fairy lights

Photo by Pat Furey Photography

A combo of twinkle lights and show-stopping, flameless sparklers will have your guests convinced that they're dancing under the stars. If you want to inject some energy into the dance floor, this is definitely one way to do it.

10 of 35

Palms of Paradise

Sunset infinity pool accented by palm tree wrapped in rope lights

Photo by Kristen Curette & Daemaine Hines

The palm trees at this tropical wedding venue were wrapped in rope lights for the festivities. The restrained approach allows for light decor without taking away from that million-dollar view.

11 of 35

A Magical Ceremony Arch

Newlyweds kissing in front of whimsical wedding arch with vertical string lights

Photo by Rach Loves Troy; Event Planning by Tara Skinner Weddings & Events; Floral Design by Harvey Designs

Fairy lights were absolutely not negotiable for these boho nuptials. The modern copper arch gets a serious dose of whimsy with colorful blooms, playful streamers, and vertical strands of twinkling lights.

12 of 35

Give It a Glow

String light and floating candle lined aisle

Photo by J. Messer Photography

Light up the night with a glowing altar and tealights floating in hurricane vases along the aisle. The dark, wooden interior creates a dramatic contrast for the romantic lighting setting an unforgettable scene.

13 of 35

Ethereal Layers

Reception fabric draping over string lights

Photo by Molly Peach

The addition of sheer fabric, as seen at the wedding of blogger Chloe Wen, can soften the look of string lights. The final results are glowing, ethereal panels that bring in texture and fill larger spaces to feel more intimate.

14 of 35

A Dewy Dome

Clear tent covered in string lights

Photo by Elizabeth Messina

With seemingly thousands of string lights adorning this clear wedding tent, the space was transformed into an enchanting nighttime scene. Like incandescent dew drops frozen in place, this lighting design was tailor-made for a frosty winter theme.

15 of 35

Highlighted Heights

Barn venue with lights accenting exposed beams

Photo by Shane Shepherd

Nicole Warne of Gary Pepper Girl used fairy lights along the wooden rafters of her reception space to create the look of a starry sky. The added shimmer not only brightens up the dark interiors but also draws the eyes upward, highlighting the impressive height of the structure.

16 of 35

Alpine Accents

Trees wrapped in string lights

Photo by Brinton Studios

Twinkling aspen trees set the scene for a mountaintop celebration in the Rockies. These stunning branches are just the right decorative touch for the alpine aesthetic that may have otherwise been muddled in a sea of florals.

17 of 35

Dreamy Drips

String lights hanging vertically off of tropical trees over long tables lined with pink floral arragements

Photo by Erich McVey; Floral Design by East Olivia; Local Flowers by Viva Flor; Lighting & Sound by IVC Producciones

Such a lush and verdant tropical landscape needs little else in terms of decor. These vertical light-string vines incorporate just enough fantasy while still remaining sympathetic to the surrounding natural beauty.

18 of 35

A Beaming Accent Wall

Industrial accent wall with string lights and head table of colorful mismatched chairs

Photo by Rach Loves Troy; Event Planning by Tara Skinner Weddings & Events; Floral Design by Harvey Designs; Rentals by Amazing Event Rentals

Want to create a focal point? Light it up! All this industrial space needed was an accent wall of string lights to match the eclectic vibe.

19 of 35

A Whimsical Wonder

Tented canopy of whimsical string lights and balloon chandelier

Photo by Erin McGinn; Event Planning by Christine Bevilacqua of Metta Events; Balloons by FLOAT

This playful chandelier may be the star of the show at this Rhode Island wedding, but we think the string lights deserve a shoutout for their supporting role. Following the undulating lines of the tented ceiling, the glimmering design leads everyone's attention straight to the focal point.

20 of 35

Light Up a Lounge

Lounge area with draped bistro lights

Photo by Jami Laree Jeskey; Event Planning by Plan Prep Party; Floral Design by Walden Floral; Rentals by MTB Event Rentals

This lounge area and photo booth setting fully encapsulate the industrial edginess of the downtown Los Angeles loft space but with a romantic lens. While fairy lights would have just gotten lost in the masculinity, these bistro lights are strong enough to stand on their own.

Draping lights just above a sitting area, regardless of the actual height of the room, can give the illusion of a cozier space and lowered faux ceiling. The same room would seem much draftier and impersonal without them.

21 of 35

Rustic Refinement

Rustic reception setting with string lights

Photo by Paulina Weddings; Event Planning by Bianca Blag & Marjorie Burgarella

French provincial charm goes hand in hand with scattered candlelight and simple strands of twinkle lights. The modest lighting design harmonizes beautifully with the earthy setting and rustic chandeliers.

22 of 35

Radiant Reflections

Candlelit pool with canopy of string lights

Photo by Amy & Stuart; Event Planning by Alison and Bryan; Lighting by Spark Creative Events

Water features innately call for candlelight and glittering ceilings as they reflect their warm glow, amplifying the magic. This pool adds so much enchantment to the setting by bathing the scene in the illusion of its incandescence.

23 of 35

Iconic Icicles

Newlyweds dancing under icicle lights

Photo by Robin Harper; Event Planning by Tara Cathcart of TMC PR; Event Production by Debra Doyle of Aspen Eventworks

Who knew icicle lights were more than just holiday decor? This funky setup totally brought the dance floor to life at the all-white Colorado wedding.

24 of 35

Linear Lanterns

Paper lantern string lights in tented reception room

Photo by Alex Bramall; Event Planning by Jennifer Zabinski Events; Event & Floral Design by David Stark Design and Production; Lighting by Frost Productions

Traditional string lights get a sweet makeover when encased in pink paper lanterns. This candy-colored glow is all the airy decor the minimalist beach setting needs.

25 of 35

Casual Elegance

Bistro lights over casual welcome barbecue

Photo by Rebecca Yale; Event Planning & Floral Design by Shannon Leahy Events; Rentals by Bright Rentals, BBJ Linen, Found Rentals, La Tavola, Casa de Perrin & Theoni

String lights aren't just for nighttime soirees. These bistro lights pull together the casual dining aesthetic of this charming, color-coordinated barbecue.

26 of 35

A Dramatic Backdrop

Dramatic, backlit backdrop of sheer curtains and string lights

Photo by Henry & Mac; Event Planning by Lani Toscano Design

Serve up some serious drama by combining string lights and translucent paneling. The results create beautiful partitions, memorable accent walls, or a breathtakingly backlit backdrop for silhouetted portraits.

27 of 35

A Hanging Installation

String light fixture over dance floor

Photo by Bokeh Photography; Event Planning by First Look Events

This ultra-cool nuptial celebration took place under a bridge and came with industrial features to spare. The abundant design of vertical string lights and 300-feet of greenery garlands considerably softened the setting and buffered the soaring heights.

28 of 35

A Glamorous Glow

Canopy of string lights cascading into white fabric paneling

Photo by KT Merry; Event Planning by The Lynden Lane Co.; Floral Design by Oak and the Owl; Rentals by Theoni Collection, La Tavola Linens, Found Rentals, Bright Event Rentals & Edge Design and Décor; Lighting & Draping by Amber Event Productions

Glamour that glistens is all sorts of nuptial chic. This canopy of twinkle lights floods into an elegant wall of diaphanous fabric, highlighting the matching tablescapes. We love the linear setup and straight lines of the display providing some contrast to the overt femininity of the scene.

29 of 35

A Twinkling Pergola

Iron and foliage covered pergola accented with tiny string lights

Photo by Rebecca Yale Photography; Event Planning & Floral Design by Shannon Leahy Events; Rentals by Bright Rentals, BBJ Linen, Found Rentals, La Tavola, Casa de Perrin & Theoni

These tiny bulbs may not provide much illumination to the daytime celebration, but what they lack in size they certainly make up for in cuteness. The masculine iron pergola gets a little touch of fairy dust to lighten up the meal.

30 of 35

X Marks the Spot

Ceremony space with string lights, floral arch, and pillar candles

Photo by Love is Rad; Event Planning by Elyse Jennings Weddings; Floral Design by Bella Blooms Floral; String Lighting by Luminous Events

Enveloped in the warm glow of countless pillar candles, an outdoor fireplace, and strands of market lights, this winter wedding was anything but cold. The floral chuppah was precisely placed just under the intersection of two perpendicular strings of festoon lights to adequately illuminate the nuptial proceedings and cast the newlyweds in their glow.

31 of 35

A Luminous Arbour

Flower and string light lined aisle

Photo by KT Merry; Event Planning by Leslie Herring Events; Floral Design by Jackson Durham Events

This fantasy aisle of enchanting arbors, white delphiniums, and larkspur is storybook perfection. All that was needed were a few floating orbs of mystical light to complete the fairy-tale vision.

32 of 35

A Tropical Take

Canopy of bistro lights and rattan lanterns in tropical locale

Photo by Aimee Silver; Event Planning by Sasha Barbara Newbold of Vara Wedding; Floral Design by Silver Dust Decoration

Rattan lanterns make for a tropical pairing to a sky full of quirky lights. The combination provides a fun take on illumination while still allowing the verdant landscape to shine.

33 of 35

A Seriously Lit Bar

Hanging lights and greenery installation over bar

Photo by KT Merry; Event Planning by Anna Lucia Richardson of Anna Lucia Events; Floral Design by 50fifty Events

Concentrate lights in one section, rather than pulling them across entire expanses, to highlight key spaces. This mixture of strung Edison bulbs and greenery definitely lights up the bar area.

34 of 35

A Dazzling Display

Canopy of market lighting over intimate dinner reception

Photo by Kami Olvarria; Event Planning by Saguzo Eventos; Floral Design by Addy Florales & Native Poppy

This intimate setting is all aglow in the gilded light of twilight, candle flames, and twinkle lights. The draped canopy of fairy lights in various styles provides the dreamiest of displays.

35 of 35

Glowing Garlands

Garlands of greenery and bistro lights hanging over long reception tables

Photo by Gaby J Photography; Event Planning by Angelica Rose Events; Floral Design by Native Poppy

Contemporary string lights wrapped in garlands of greenery pair perfectly with the minimal, modern decor of this museum venue. The lighting not only brightens up the reception but also creates a faux pergola beneath the large skylight of the indoor/outdoor space.

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