What Is LED Up-Lighting And Do I Need It At My Wedding?
What Is LED Up-Lighting And Do I Need It At My Wedding?
I always tell couples when they ask me if something is needed at a wedding – “the only thing needed for your wedding is the two of you”. After that, everything from flowers to food to entertainment and lighting are all add-ons. So, where does up-lighting come into play? What will it do for your wedding day? Let’s dive in and talk about the benefits of up-lighting at your wedding.
If your color scheme and your venue don’t quite match – adding up-lighting color to the walls/ceiling of your reception hall will add to the overall color theme of your wedding. We had a Wizzard Of Oz themed wedding where they wanted to turn the venue into a magical emerald glowing room. LED up-lighting can do that. Adding a soft light pink to the architectural features of a room can show the subtle adaptable nature of up-lighting when it comes to wedding decor.
Talk to your wedding photographer. Most photographers LOVE uplighting as it adds LIGHT to the room. It makes your wedding photos more vibrant and anytime you add light – your wedding photos will be better. It adds depth of field in your wedding photos and can be the difference between a good wedding photo and a great one. Be sure your wedding photographer is comfortable working with up-lighting. Less experienced photographers do not have the skill to balance different light sources. There is a reason why you want to hire a professional photographer!
LED UP-LIGHTING DIFFERENCES
Original LED up-lighting were RGB (Red-Green-Blue) so color mixing was limited and entry-level LEDs tended to give a weird color banding effect when you were not doing a single color like BLUE. If you wanted to get to AMBER or WHITE, the end effect was pretty bad. Newer LED lights now have RGBAW+UV (Red, Green, Blue, Amber, White, Ultraviolet) which now allow them greater color mixing without that ugly color banding of the older fixtures.
The LUX (Brightness) of uplighting fixtures is important to know. If your wedding is during the day, using a low-output LED fixture (1000-2000 LUX @ 2M) will not give you good results. You literally won’t be able to see the up-lighting color until it gets dark. However, those same fixtures might look just fine in a normal 10′ high venue at night. A LED fixture with LUX output between 3,000 – 5,000 @ 2M would be visible during the day – even with a venue with vaulted ceilings. These same high output fixtures might be TOO BRIGHT for a nighttime wedding with low ceilings. They might have to be dimmed down to fit the mood.
LED Up-lighting placement is key. We’ve seen venues with no lighting experience try to set up their in-house lighting in some of the weirdest ways. Once, I was setting up to DJ a wedding and I literally watched the bus-boy spend 45 minutes trying to figure out where to place the 8 in-house uplights in this large ballroom. He didn’t have enough lights to cover the whole room, so he ended up placing the lights at a 45-degree angle in random places trying to cover as much wall space as possible. It was just plain ugly.
A professional lighting technician knows that lighting placement is everything. Anything you light – you draw attention to. Anything you do not light tend to blend into the background. Placing lights behind the head table or sweetheart table will therefor draw people’s eyes to you. You have to think about what you do and do not want to draw attention to in a room before you place a single light. What is important? What is not? Symmetry also comes into play. The room has to feel balanced when you are done lighting it. There are quite a few local wedding venues with built-in lighting that completely missed this concept and they only installed lights on 3 of the 4 walls in the room!
A normal ballroom requires between 16-24 fixtures. We’ve done venues that have required as many as 40+ lights due to size and architecture. Placing lights in windows is pretty much useless (that’s where many local venues have their built-in up-lights installed!) What color do you get when you bounce a colored light off of glass? NOTHING. It literally does not show. Columns, corners and unique architectural features in a room tend to look amazing lit up with LED up-lighting.
SINGLE COLOR OR CHANGE?
We offer options for a single color uplight (set it and forget it) that work well for many clients. Other times, you might want to change things up and have it AMBER for your ceremony, LIGHT BLUE for dinner and then have the lights change to the beat of the music later for dancing. For the later, you need a wireless controlled lighting system (Bluetooth or Wireless DMX). Other times, you might want every other light a different color for a more unique duo-toned feel for your wedding backdrop. All of these are possible with LED up-lighting. (Not with traditional theatrical PAR cans).
Some LEDs must be plugged into the wall (especially for higher output fixtures) and so power cables will need to be run from the fixture to the electrical outlet. Some venues might have a challenge with electrical outlet placement so a site visit from your wedding lighting specialist might be needed to scope out any problem areas. Many LED fixtures now are battery powered so light placement is not as big of a deal as it used to be. Anytime you are talking custom wedding lighting – your lighting specialist should recommend a site visit with you (if they are not familiar with the venue from past events).
Like wedding DJs or wedding photographers – not all lighting and lighting companies are going to give you the same results. Not every venue or wedding requires the same light fixture. (We have 6 different lighting systems!) so be sure you know what you are getting before settling on the cheapest wedding lighting that you can find. Bad wedding lighting is like bad wedding photography – either do it RIGHT or don’t do it at all. It will be a disappointment on your wedding day if it’s not right.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Entrepreneur, Wedding DJ, Event Lighting Designer, Rocket Scientist, NPR Geek.
Rob Alberti has been in the wedding industry for over 30 years. He started out doing theater lighting and sound, moved onto College Radio, Clubs and has become the premier wedding lighting company in the area. With a crew of 20, they do nearly 400 events each year from the CT Shoreline to the mountains of VT and from Boston
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Use the contact form below to check our availability for your upcoming wedding. Send us an inspirational photo or let us know what you are trying to achieve and we can work up a custom lighting design just for you. We provide uplighting, texture lighting, dance lighting and even chandelier rentals for weddings and events throughout the New England area.
Heather & Ben Mill One Open Square Holyoke, MA Heather and Ben were a blast to work with! They had their ceremony and reception at Mill One in Holyoke. The ceremony took place on the top floor of Mill 4 with a backdrop of sunset and candles. Both Heather’s Uncle Jeff and Father Bob helped…
Bentley University Winterfest 2023 Lighting We provided lighting for Bentley University’s 2023 Winterfest, an event by the Student Programs and Engagement department. The student center was filled with everything from LED air hockey tables, to axe throwing, to blacklight minigolf with a “Northern Lights” theme spread between 2 floors. We transformed the upstairs activity rooms,…
Brian + Manu Branford House Groton CT Wedding DJ, Uplighting & Photobooth Brian and Manu had multiple weddings starting with a large one in India. When they returned they had some additional family and friends they wanted to celebrate with. On a cold January day, they held their ceremony in the West Room overlooking the…
Ski Resort DJ Entertainment and Lighting Installations Is your ski resort looking for DJ entertainment at the lodge? Having a festival and need lighting? Do you need your logo projected for an upcoming event? These are all services that we can provide to your mountain resort. We have a team of DJs to entertain your…
Ashley And Adam The Country Club Of Pittsfield Wedding DJ With Uplighting With nearly 250 guests, Ashley and Adam had quite the crowd at The Country Club of Pittsfield for their wedding. Although they lived in San Francisco, CA, they were drawn to the Berkshires for their wedding due to their ties to the area….
Molly + Conor The Society Room of Hartford Wedding Photos DJ With Uplighting Molly + Conor were married in January at The Society Room of Hartford. I knew quite a few people in the audience that night – you see, Conor is stepson to one of my DJs. I even ran into a couple that…
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