Monday, May 21, 2012

Luxe For Less: Bright Ideas Colin Cowie Weddings 

When you’re on a budget, here are five ways you can use lighting tricks from the pros to create the ambiance you deserve.

When you’re on a budget, here are five ways you can use lighting tricks from the pros to create the ambiance you deserve.

From gobos to up-lighting, washes to pin-spotting, the lingo for lighting design can sound so intimidating; you may be tempted to skip this essential entirely. “It’s functional and dramatic. The right lighting can transform a room’s atmosphere,” says Ira Levy, owner of Levy Lighting, LLC in New York City. But when hiring the pros can cost thousands of dollars, what’s a bride on a budget to do? Read on for five enlightening ways to add lighting effects to your wedding that work with any cost restrictions

Awash the Perimeter

According to Levy, when you’re hiring a pro but need to pare down on the number of lights you rent, go for illuminating the edges of the room first. “A room can look dead without perimeter lighting,” says Levy. He recommends splurging on beautiful pink light along the outer bounds of the room, and then skipping the lights that shine on each table, called pin lighting, to save money. Instead, use something beautiful and inexpensive like candles to light your tables.

Candlelight the Tables

You need your guests to see each other across the table, but renting pin lighting can add up. They cost $20 each in Connecticut and no less than $40 per table in Dallas. So opt for candlelight instead to save money, says Levy. “Candle flames are always moving and flickering and making people look good so they are a beautiful alternative.” Want a more novel way to shed light on your floral centerpieces too? Consider buying LED floating submersible globes if you’re using clear vases. They are just $3.50 each.

Use Paper, Not Plastic

One of the tricks that pros use involves placing gels, or colored transparent plastic sheets, over bulbs to create lovely muted, soft lighting. For a warm atmospheric alternative, consider using paper lanterns (such as colorful Chinese lanterns or white globes) over regular incandescent light bulbs.
Whether they are hung from the ceiling or outdoors in trees, drop them at varying heights over the dinner tables or dance floor for a dramatic, and less costly, effect. Got a pathway you need to light? Consider placing tea lights in small white paper bags to save money.

Project Walls

Have a white bare white wall that you just don’t know what to do with? Rent a projector and show a slide show of photos of you and your fiancé. Or better yet, project a still of a forest scene or artistic black-and-white silhouettes of chandeliers for visual interest. While more of an art piece or décor element than a way to light the room, it does create a show-stopping impression.

String Effect

The term “up-lighting” describes a technique where a well-situated floor light shines upward toward an architectural element of interest like a column. But renting a pro to set up a rented fixture in Michigan, for example, can cost upwards of $40 each. Is it worth it?
Research shows that this price may be right--in some areas of the country. If you were considering this as a DIY project and considering buying your own PAR cans (or stage lights) and gels, skip it. It will even out to the same price (plus, unless you’re in a rock band anyway, what are you going to do with these fixtures after your honeymoon?).  In other parts of the country, like Chicago, for example, some vendors like will rent you the equipment for as little $19 because you have to set it up yourself. Of course, the cheapest, if it fits with a more laid-back wedding theme, is stringing festive white bistro lights instead--available for as little as $33 for 53-feet--on columns, tree trunks or other elements of interest. Now that’s a steal!

--Erinn Bucklan

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