Wedding Design Guide: Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important elements in wedding design regardless of whether you are having a daytime or an evening ceremony and reception. As a design feature, lighting is extremely versatile. Beautiful lights do so much more than just light up the space. Lighting creates an ambiance and sets the mood. Light fixtures are great design additions to enhance any wedding design theme. As a destination event company, we expertize in Hawaii wedding rentals. When it comes to lighting, we've done and seen it all. Thus, we have created this wedding lighting guide to help you navigate through the main types of lighting for Hawaii destination weddings and illustrate how greatly wedding lighting can enhance the theme and the look of your wedding.

Photo: Flytographer | Client: Hey Mama Co

Types of Wedding Lighting

While there are certainly many more types of event lighting, here we will look at the ones that are the most-used in destination weddings. Used in various settings and locations, both during daytime and evening, these lighting solutions instantly enhance any wedding theme and even the seemingly simplest lights add an instant feeling of luxury and richness.

Pendant Lights

Pendant lights include a wide variety of light fixtures that range from simple to very lavish. Essentially, pendant lights are single light fixtures hanging from above the event space or the ceiling. Also known as drop lights, we can distinguish three main types of pendant lights.

Chandeliers - chandeliers really don't need much of an introduction or clarification. Chandeliers are among the most luxurious light fixtures and can be considered lighting centerpieces.

Photo: NV Maui Media | Planning: K. H & co

Photo: Jenna Lee Pictures | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Photo: KT Merry | Planning: Belle Destination Events

Assorted pendant lights - these include a huge variety of light fixtures that will vary depending on the wedding theme. From medium to large rattan and wicker pendant lights, farmhouse pendant lights and industrial-style cage lights to cluster pendant lights that include several pendant lights that might have varying length and even different shapes within the same cluster.

Photo: Wendy Laurel | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Photo: Jenna Lee Pictures | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Lanterns - lanterns also include a rather wide selection of light fixtures that range from paper to glass-paneled lanterns and while there can certainly also be non-pendant lanterns that are placed on the ground or tables and other furniture, within the destination wedding context we'll look at lanterns within the pendant lighting category.

Photo: Samuel Lippke Studios | Planning: Brooke Keegan Special Events

Photo: Jana Dillon | Planning: Maui's Angels

Photo: Mike Adrian | Planning: Belle Destination Events

String Lights

As the name implies, string lights are small lights attached to a string that is then placed above the event space in rows or can also be strung around other design elements, tree trunks, arches, columns etc. Even though other light fixtures, especially in an outdoor wedding, can also be placed on a string, string lights generally include the so-called twinkle lights, fairy lights, cafe or bistro lights.

Photo: Chris J. Evans | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Photo: Chris J. Evans | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Photo: Chris J. Evans | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Choosing the Right Lighting for Your Wedding

As a couple, you might have an idea or two about how you envision your wedding and reception, and that's already a good start. Yet when it comes to wedding lighting, that's something you should first discuss with your wedding planner and/or wedding designer. As beautiful as some lights look not all might work within a particular theme or venue, although an experienced wedding planner/event designer can help you work around that.

Several factors come into play when choosing the best wedding lighting for your special day. Understanding what the options are within your chosen venue (power capabilities, for example) are key but, again - with the help of your events team and wedding planner, this should be a worry-free experience.

Photo: Jenna Lee Pictures | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

What is the Best Lighting for Your Wedding Theme

Most destination weddings in Hawaii take advantage of their stunning natural surroundings - lush greenery, the most beautiful oceanfront, and dramatic tropical peaks in the distance. Within this you can really let your imagination run wild and a variety of wedding themes can be executed with ease - be it romantic, elegant, rustic, edgy, tropical or traditional.

For a true Hawaiian and tropical feel, you can't go wrong with rattan and wicker pendant lights in various shapes and sizes. These look fantastic both within an open outdoor space as well as a tented reception. During the day the woven light shades will work brilliantly as another design element but as the sun dips below the horizon, they will emit soft warm light creating the most welcoming and tender ambiance.

Photo: Christina McNeill | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Photo: Wendy Laurel | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Photo: Jenna Lee Pictures | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Paper lanterns will work equally good within the same theme, especially if you include rows and rows of these lights. During the day the white lanterns will create a cleaner and more classic look while still having a bit of an edge. After the sunset, however, it's an instant showstopper as tens of glowing lanterns light up the space in an almost dream-like manner.

Photo: Chris J. Evans | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Chandeliers despite their obvious opulence look stunning not only in traditionally luxuriously-themed weddings but also can add an extra boost of elegance to rustic or country-inspired weddings. In outdoor receptions, chandeliers work well together with white draping and intricate floral creations. For an indoor reception combine beautiful Art Deco chandeliers with a dark color scheme and you will get an instant black-tie glamour or, quite the opposite, a chandelier where it is least expected can lift a theme and make it more modern, for example, in rustic buildings.

Photo: Christine Clark | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Photo: Mike Adrian | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Photo: Wendy Laurel | Planning: Unveiled Hawaii

Photo: KT Merry | Planning: Belle Destination Events

If dreamy romance is your leading lady when it comes to the wedding theme, you can't go wrong with string lights. Hundreds of twinkle lights above your reception area or the dance floor will not only create a fantasy-like feel in real life, they will also look phenomenally in your wedding photos. Bistro lights with larger bulbs can achieve the same effect yet adding a bit of edginess and a modern feel.

Inspiration Events Hawaii is a Hawaii based company providing event rental and design services to event producers, wedding planners, designers, hotels, venues and destination management companies. To schedule a consultation with our design team, call +1 (808) 205-4476 or fill out our contact form.

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