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Contemporary Wedding Lighting
Contemporary Weddings

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Theatrical Lighting for a Contemporary Wedding

Fantastic Contemporary Lighting for the Modern Conservative
Lighting Design for the ACC Wedding
Design Dialogue by Jack Kelly
August 2008 | Center Stage | Charlotte, NC

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28 Elation Opti 30
3 Elation DP-415 Dimmers
1 ETC Source 4 Leko
9 Elation Opti RGB

Martin Light Jockey
Dell Laptop
1 Custom Rosco Gobos

Contemporary Wedding LightingFor most, one’s wedding is the most expensive party one will ever throw. Event planners, caterers, DJ’s, facility mangers, photographers, videographers, florist, decorators, event rental suppliers, bands, sound technicians, lighting designers, just to name a few possibilities; all come together for a single night signifying the biggest turning point in one’s life. Committing to love and care for someone forever doesn’t mean anything unless it cost something and the physical event is many times a symbol of the commitment and its value. This social expectation leads some to go as far as taking out home equity lines, maxing out credit cards, extended engagements in order to save money.

Watch for the ceiling. Many times poorly planned weddings cut the corners at the end and are unable to complete the design. I highly recommend hiring an event planner. Figure out your maximum budget then multiply that number by .8. Save the 20% for the week of the wedding. I have never been involved with a wedding that didn’t have last minute additions. Realize that some of your ideas maybe very expensive and some of them very inexpensive. An event planner will help advise you on what is possible within your budget. Ignoring their advice usually involves spending too much on too little, tears over wasted money, and uncomfortable tension on the most important day of your life.

Contemporary Wedding LightingSara Cockfield, event planner for Charlotte Arrangements, called me to meet with Andrea McAfee (now Covington). Of course the first thing Andrea asks for was a monogram. A common request due to the wedding show, the monogram has become a culturally relevant wedding symbol. Andrea’s description left an impression of contemporary traditionalism. I interpreted her ideas with a combination of pin spots, LED’s, and a leko.

Forgetting to light the tables is the most common wedding faux pas. People are a lot like bugs; they are drawn to the light. Suggested in the phrase “the light at the end of the tunnel,” By default our psyches are drawn towards light. By pin spotting the centerpieces, the focus is naturally directed the wedding and the beauty. The reflected light off the center pieces bring attention to the food. At the furthest point away from the light is the guest, signifying that the newlyweds and the symbols of their commitment supersede everything else. When the room is evenly lit, the suggestion is that the guests are just as important as the event. Guests gawk at each other’s clothes, gossip about other family members, run across the room to see old friends, and also comment on the wedding decor. It is more desirable to have slightly dimmer isles and brightly lit decor, so the first thought is “wow, what an amazing wedding.” Later when your wedding comes up in conversation, the first thing said is wasn’t that a beautiful wedding, not did you see what Kimberly was wearing!

Contemporary Wedding LightingFor a contemporary touch, we added 9 LED fixtures to uplight fabric drapes and wash the dance floor. For the majority of the event, the color changers were a soft orange complementing the color themes of the table clothes and flower arrangements. A single fixture shone onto the wall with the monogram to create depth and texture on the wall. Most people don’t look good in a single harsh white spot light, well neither do walls. The secondary color wash behind the white monogram created a beautiful yet simple background. For hours the lighting didn’t do anything but once the party began to kick in, the lights began to pulse with the music morphing. Sweeping through color themes, Oohs and Ahs came from the crowd as the space around them morphed into a dance party.

Simple yet modern, the ACC wedding impressed the guest. Looking through the images, you will notice how the center pieces stood out in the room even at great distances. Each piece of décor glimmered under proper lighting. The event was balanced and impactful. A smooth compromise between traditional and contemporary, the ACC wedding was well planned, culturally relevant, and respectful of the past; a promising start of a successful marriage.

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