(This is part of our guest series posts by Amy McLaughlin – celeb stylist and wedding planner)
When you think of planning an event, what comes to mind first are most often the flowers, music, food, and cocktails. Most overlooked and sorely underestimated is the lighting. Whether it is a back-yard barbeque or a lavish black-tie wedding, lighting sets the tone and creates the atmosphere. And…what most people don’t know is that the right lighting can save you bundles on your overall décor design when it’s utilized correctly.
Frist, consider the time of day that you’d like for your event to take place. Sundown (or dusk) is, by far, the best time of day for lighting. Shadows are muted, warm tomes of red, orange and yellow are more pronounced and there is an overall easiness on the eyes. Best of all, this is when candlelight can have the most dramatic impact. If you have the option of starting your event at this time, by all means do so.
Insider tip: When you choose your event date, look it up on the Farmer’s Almanac to find out what time sun-down is then plan to start your event about 30 minutes prior to this time.
Now it’s time to wow your guests is by candlelight…and lots of it! You can start at the entrance with tiki-torches, votives in paper bags, jack ‘o lanterns or pillar candles in hurricane vases lining stairs or a pathway. This will set the stage for your guests and let them know that they are in for a special evening.
Within the event space itself there are countless candlelit options…for a more elegant affair, you may opt for tall sterling candelabras on your tables to compliment elaborate centerpieces. If your party is more low-key you can stick with votives on in the center of the tables and the trick here is the more the merrier! A good rule of thumb is to put as many votives on each table as there are seats. If you have an eight-top, then use eight votives at that table. These smaller scale candles work well in conjunction with centerpieces and are often a great way to scale back on the actual size of the centerpiece. Pillar candles set in glass cylinders of varying heights also make for lovely table-scapes and can sometimes even take the place of flowers. One budget-friendly option is a scattering of rose-petals on the table flanked by three or four pillars of different heights.
When decorating with candles, always consider the lighting source of the room if your event is indoors. The worst mistake I’ve seen people make is having loads of beautiful candles to light a room yet there is overhead lighting that is much too bright to get the desired effect of the candles. Most venues will have dimmer switches for their ceiling light fixtures. Make sure they are turned down 80% of the way.
Last but not least, it’s wise to invest in a few trustworthy lighters and to keep them on hand for the duration of your event so you can quickly re-light any candles that accidentally get blown out! – Amy McLaughlin
For more help planning your next event, you may contact Amy McLaughlin Lifestyles – Unique Wedding Planning and Event Design