We are all about the wedding details—cakes, flowers, monogrammed invites, and more. But we have to admit this understated fact: Lighting is the single most important décor element at your wedding. And while, at first, that thought sounds more functional than fun, hear us out: The bulbs and candles you select (whether they're simple votives or over-the-top chandeliers) are what will ultimately light your perfect venue, make your photos just right, and keep the party going—even after the sun sets. So, yeah, lighting is important, and it's an essential element of both your budget and wedding-day décor. But that doesn't mean you can't have fun with it—in fact, you should have fun with it. As with any other design detail, treat choosing, planning, and installing the night's illumination as yet another opportunity to carry out your design vision—whatever style that is.
And we don't just mean "style" in terms of whether you're a modern, romantic, or glam bride. Instead, take a moment to think about your priorities and create a lighting plan around that. For instance, if you're a foodie bride who envisions a wine-fueled night under the stars, consider hanging string lights above the dinner area or placing a long line of taper candles down the middle of the table. Both would spotlight the night's main show (the food) and keep your guests in their seats way past the final course. Same goes for you flower ladies. If you're spending that much per bloom, show them off with plenty of votives scattered about. And if you already have your dancing shoes ready for a night on the dance floor, make a show of it with a disco ball up top or paper lanterns around the area's perimeter. (You can see examples of both below, but a lighting statement here almost guarantees a good party—why do you think you like dancing at a night club so much?)
But seriously, as you start to think about your lighting plan, remember that the options are endless and can be easily catered to any venue, budget, and style. Keep scrolling to see picture-perfect wedding lighting ideas that will make your day shine—like, literally. This is your time in the spotlight so now's your chance to choose the right light.
Use Taper Candles on Tables
We can't get enough of this light-filled scene. Who knew the balance of taper candles on tables and bistro lights up above could be so perfect?
Illuminate the Outside
Don't forget to illuminate the outside of your space, too—especially if you're pitching a tent in the middle of a dark field. Here, Tara Guérard Soirée lined the edges of this white-draped tent with pillar candles in tall glass vases.
Hang Lights Around Trees
We've talked about hanging lights from trees but you can hang them around trees, too. At this garden wedding in San Diego, string lights look beautiful when wrapped around a statement tree's base and branches.
Use Moroccan-Inspired Lanterns
At this elegant backyard bash, a cluster of Moroccan-inspired lanterns kept the open-air tent lit well into the night. We especially love how the silver hue adds a metallic accent up above (and coordinates with the marble-inspired table settings).
Light Hundreds of Candles
This photo is yet another reminder of how to use lighting to highlight your space. This real bride wanted to highlight the natural beauty of her ceremony site (and rightfully so) so she lined the aisle and altar with hundreds of candles—and zero flowers.