Chances are, it’s not at the top of your décor to-do list but it should be. Why? Lighting a simple way to upgrade your wedding venue and can be done with $500, $1,000, or whatever you have left in your budget. (Pro tip: Start by telling your lighting pro the number you have to work with and go from there.) To get you going on a wedding lighting plan of your own, we called Kevin Mignone, a Hicksville, New York, designer who has traveled as far as St. Barts to hang bistro lights at just the right angle, to walk us through the basics (and more). Here's how to enhance your wedding venue — whether it’s an open-air tent, grand museum, historic ballroom, or industrial factory — with brilliant illumination.
The trick with a tent is to project lights on the ceiling and on the floor to avoid shadowy faces when you’re posing for photos. And you don’t want to pitch a big, bright tent in a field of darkness. “Make the most of your setting by highlighting nature," says Mignone. Tip: If bugs are a factor, use LEDs for your landscape lighting.
A huge space is great for fitting all of your guests comfortably, but without strategic lighting, it can feel empty and cold. Create intimacy by asking your designer to layer different kinds of light throughout the room. You can even experiment with a fun color as long as it washes the whole room and is directed away from your guests’ faces. (Trust us, it can be seriously unflattering in photos.)
While beautiful details, like columns or painted murals, are on full display during the daytime, make sure they’re still accented as the sun sets by focusing spotlights on them. If you’re into more of a full-wattage look, install strip lights on the floor that shine up to the ceiling and highlight the entire perimeter of the space.
In a dark venue, amber-colored uplighting is crucial to warm the room. Cover tables with candles in varying heights (a budget-friendly option!), and if there are high ceilings, string something up above so the whole space feels cozy.
See More: 20 Ways to Throw the Best Wedding Ever