20 Lovely Wedding Lighting Ideas

From votives to chandeliers, lighting can add drama, sparkle, polish or fun to a wedding. Explore your many options.

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May 02, 2016

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Blue Tapers

Incorporate your wedding colors into every detail of your big day by opting for colored tapered candles, like the romantic blue-hued ones in this moody fall wedding.

MORE IDEAS: 45 Cozy + Romantic Fall Wedding Ideas

Stunning LED String Lights

LED string lights can turn an outdoor wedding into something magical," says Isaac, of 100 Candles. "They provide enough light to illuminate tables, florals, and other décor, while still maintaining a whimsical atmosphere.”

MORE IDEAS: 21 Essentials for a High-Style Backyard Wedding

Wedding Trend: Tapered Candles

Candlelight is all the rage and we love how couples are incorporating a new take on this traditional look on their big day.

Luxe Lanterns

For a centerpiece, a collection of candles in big and little glass hurricanes is an eye-catching choice. Light them as the sun goes down and the magic continues.

Chandelier Chic

Turn your sweetheart table or cake table into a focal point with strategically-hung, ultra-luxe candle chandeliers.

Lanterns Down the Aisle

Emily Sullivan, a planner with Get Polished Events, likes to line a wedding ceremony aisle with flowers and candles to add romance and drama. "(The effect) will wow your guests from the moment they join you for the big day. Lanterns are the perfect container, as they’ll shield the candles from any potential elements.”

Pretty Paper Lanterns

Paper lanterns are an inexpensive way to make a big lighting statement. After dusk, these lights cast a warm, inviting glow for simple or elegant gatherings any time of the year.

A New Take on Tapers

Take your wedding decor up a notch by filling glass bottle vases with water and greenery, then fitting pretty taper candles into the narrow openings.

Moss-Wrapped Wedding Lights

To keep a wedding design cohesive, Kim Lettier, of Lettier Event Planning Studio, carries some elements of the focal point (here, it's a floral centerpiece) into other areas. "Accent pieces such as candles should complement the focal point but not compete with it," she adds. “The design of the vessel itself should also fit in with the overall look. In this case I wrapped moss around the vessels because its traditional look interfered with the organic and vintage feel of the design.” Florist: The Green Flamingo. 

Bistro Wedding Lights

“An outdoor reception doesn't mean you have to let go of elegant elements. We used a mix of bistro lights and candelabras, as well as hurricane lamps and smaller votive candles for this garden dinner. The lighting only became stronger after sunset, creating a truly elegant mix of candle light, bistro lights and the natural light of the moon and stars." - Planner Adam Donovan-Groves, of Donovan-Groves Events. Audrey Isaac, of 100 Candles, adds, "Tall, elegant candelabras towering over floral centerpieces create a dynamic feel to a table. Match the candlesticks to the floral vessel for maximum impact!" Florist: Southern Blooms by Pat's Floral Design.

Greenery-Wrapped String Lights

Here, gorgeous greenery vines and illuminating bistro lights hang from the tent ceiling to bring maximum chicness to an otherwise plain space. Photo: T&K Photography

Cozy Up by the Fire

During cocktail hour, encourage guests to grab a drink and cozy up next to the fire pit. String lights wrapped around the trees add even more twinkle to the romantic setting.

MORE IDEAS: 28 Ways to Light Up Your Next Outdoor Event

Mercury Glass Hurricanes

Large mercury hurricanes add a touch of shimmer to this ceremony space and complement the wedding's New Year's Eve theme. Tip: buy lanterns in bulk from an online wholesale retailer to save big.

Lighting a Wedding With Tapers

Isaac, of 100 Candles, notes that tapered candles come in almost any color, giving you lots of options to complement your wedding florals, and "adding dynamic levels to a space." Florist: The Picked Petal.

Upcycled Torches

One way to cut costs? Save wine bottles throughout the year leading up the wedding, then turn them into rustic-chic torches for your outdoor soirée.

MAKE IT: Turn Old Glass Bottles Into Citronella Torches

Dress Up the Dance Floor

Lights hung from the trees illuminate the sweet father/daughter dance at this charming fall wedding in East Tennessee.

Bright Future

After the sun set, votives and pillar candles in hurricane vases were lit along the breezeway at this gorgeous garden reception.

Uplighting a Wedding

"Uplighting can 'wash' a room in the color, or colors, of your choice, while pin spots strategically focus on the details you’d like to highlight the most," says Kate Franzen, of Glint Events. Floral design by The Proper Petal; lighting by Choice Entertainment.

Mix and Match Wedding Lighting

“Instead of sticking to simple pillar candles for centerpieces, opt for mixing and matching," suggests Isaac, of 100 Candles. "Select assorted stemmed glasses or votive holders for a fun, clean look that will add character to each table.” Floral design by Intrigue Designs.

Line the Walkway

Mason jars hold votive candles and Epsom salts to brighten this holiday wedding walkway. For summer, swap the salts for plain or colored sand.

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