Wedding Lighting Ideas

How many uplights do I need?

To help answer this question we’ve provided this quick and easy guide for you to reference. The first step is identifying which styling of lighting you are wanting to achieve – Accent, Moderate, or Maximum. Then you can see how many lights you need based on the number of guests, the room dimensions, or square footage of the space. This is just a guide, meant to help you get an idea of how many you will need. Your needs may vary and you are free to order as many or as few as you feel necessary.

You’re planning a beautiful wedding reception or an eye-pleasing event and hear nothing but good things about “Uplighting“.  It is the best “bang for your buck” in regards to custom event decor and event lighting.  An “uplight” is a single fixture that sits on the ground and shines “up” something.  Simple enough? But how many uplights should you plan on getting for your event?

If you’ve got a large number of guests, or a big venue, or a variety of areas or items you want to highlight (several different rooms for example, or indoor and outdoor areas), we always recommend more fixtures. It’s better to have too many then not enough. They don’t go to waste. There’s always a place to put an extra light, whether it be under a sweetheart table, or behind the cake table. Generally speaking, if you have a room diagram, or room blueprint from you venue, we can give you a pretty accurate estimate on how many we recommend. Chances are, we’ve been there before and already know though. Sometimes, we can determine from looking at images online, or photos you’ve taken. If necessary, we’re happy to make a site visit, but that.

Looking for the ultimate Wedding Reception Venue in Melbourne? Look no further, Vogue Ballroom is here. 

Size Matters When It Comes To Output

One thing most companies are likely not to tell you is the size, and/or power output of their fixtures. You might hear terms like watts, lumens, or beam angles when they talk about output. You might also hear things like “pucks”, “cans”, or “light-drops” when they talk about the style of fixture. You might even hear terms like “par” versus “bar”, when talking about the shape of the fixture. In our experience, what you really need to know is 10 watts of light output, is good for about 10 feet of height. 20 for 20, and so on. There is a direct relationship between the output of the fixture being used, and the height of the walls/ceilings that you’re trying to light. Nothing looks more silly than a beam of light shining half way up the wall. Don’t misunderstand, we’re not saying small lights are bad. Small lights actually serve a great purpose on mantels, underneath tables, on ledges, window sills, and all sorts of unique places bigger lights won’t fit. Know what to ask, and what to expect!

Show Me The Money

Uplighting is an investment in your wedding. Is it going to make/break your wedding? No, of course not. Is it going to have a drastic and dramatic impact on your entire event? Absolutely. Uplighting can create WOW from the moment guests arrive, and enhance a dance floor later in the evening. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen several function halls including up-lighting in their packages as an incentive to book. We’ve also seen photographers offering uplighting too. Uplighting makes the venue look better. It makes photos look better. Be cautious when these opportunities present themselves. Discounted, or “included free” uplighting is cheaper for a reason. TSG Weddings aims to competitively price our uplighting packages. We’re constantly upgrading our services, and adjusting our prices accordingly. We truly believe that our product, and level of service, is second to none.

Looking for the best Melbourne Wedding Decorators to help make your day as magical as possible. Vogue Ballroom, have you covered. 

How many uplights? Look at the big picture. 

There are differences in each way of determining the number of lights needed for a space. Every space is unique and ultimately we can help you figure out exactly what you need.

Think about the space you’ll be in. Look for photos of the space online or take photos on your visits to the space.

  • Are there columns in the room?
  • Are there alcoves or other abnormalities that might need more lights to make the room feel balanced?
  • Are there multiple levels to the space?
  • Are there stage areas or bump outs in the room that would need more lighting?
  • Do you want lighting for an exit, under table lighting, or other focal areas you want uplighting?
  • Are there multiple rooms you need to light?
  • Can you move or reuse lights between spaces?

When uplighting columns generally you’ll need one uplight for smaller columns (columns you can hug) or columns up against a wall. You’ll need 2-4 lights for columns you can half hug or for larger columns you’ll need 4 or more uplights. This is because columns are round and multiple sides are exposed to guests. To get an even look around the column you might need to have lights on either side of a column or all around the entire column.

How many uplights do I need at my wedding? To give you a typical number – most ballrooms require between 14-20 fixtures.    Low output LED fixtures will require sometimes twice as many.  A professional LED fixture should have at least 7,000 LUX output at 1m.  Anything less than that, and you really will not see the lighting effect until it is pitch black in the room and room lights dimmed.  A high output fixture will have 20,000 LUX or more output for truly vivid color representation.

Having more than 300 guests?  How many uplights do I need at my wedding?  The typical number will need to be increased based on the overall size of the room  24-32 fixtures would be probably a better guess.

Lighting is all about the look of the room.  Wedding lighting professionals will setup and then step back and look – did they meet your wedding lighting ideas?  Are there dead spots in the room or does a light look out of place?  They will tweak their lighting setup to give you the best possible impact.   How many uplights do I need at my wedding?  Maybe a couple more lights to correctly balance the room will be necessary that day.

Should a wedding lighting designer charge by the fixture?  No. Their fees are based on the overall size and complexity of any given event.   Do they need to bring all their gear up 2 flights of stairs?  Is your venue in a downtown area that is hard to reach with truck & trailer?  How long do they have to setup and tear down?  Will they need 1, 2 or 3 assistants for setup and tear down?  All these factors go into deciding fees.  Will they charge more for more complex events that require twice as much gear?  Yes.

A lighting company that charges based on a per fixture basis is not really interested in the wow factor of your room.  They might recommend PAR cans or new high output LED systems with Red-Green-Blue-Amber-White color mixing.  They might suggest a single color v. color scene changes to save you money on your lighting budget.  It’s all about creating the right effect for each one of their clients.  There are many great wedding lighting ideas – LEDs are not always the best option.  Tired of up-lighting at weddings?  Maybe candle light or pinspots on your table centerpieces is more your style?  Maybe string lights or outdoor architectural lighting fits the feel for your wedding lighting ideas.   Talk to a wedding lighting expert and they can help create that perfect atmosphere through lighting at your wedding.

To get more ideas about wedding lighting, check out our post on Featured Supplier – Pro Light & Sound.

What Should You Uplight?

uplighting_vs_downlighting in the landscapeCertain areas outside your home are perfect for the effects of uplighting.

Trees, for instance. Lighting a beautiful tree, like a Japanese Maple for instance from the ground up shows off its interesting bark, branch structure and  delicate leaves.

Architectural columns. Why not enjoy the beauty of your home’s architecture at night, too?

Lighting columns from below adds drama and can create interesting shadows on walls.

Garden features are great candidates for uplighting. Highlight a beautiful fountain, elegant statue or a prized plant with uplighting.

It automatically adds drama to your garden.

Uplighting With Well Lights Vs. Directional Uplights

It’s worth noting the difference between uplighting with well lights — fixtures installed even with the surface of the ground — and directional uplighting, which features fixtures above ground atop short posts.

Each serve specific purposes.

For instance, we wouldn’t use well lights in a flower bed. The plants would grow right over them and block the light. Beds of plants need lights that can rise a bit above the greenery.

But I love using well lights to light a lovely Japanese maple. A well light can snug in close, right at the base of the trunk, and shine straight up, highlighting the exquisite lacy foliage.

We often add hoods or “lids” to directional uplights to prevent glare and distracting hot spots.

What Should You Downlight?

Some features are best lit by downlighting.Think about a bed of beautiful hosta, with their big textured, variegated leaves. Lighting them from above shows them off after dusk.Outdoor seating is perfect for downlighting. We often use it under benches and seating walls to cast subtle lighting along pathways and patios. Not only does it cast a welcoming pool of light, but it offers an element of safety for people walking through.

When Downlighting Is The Practical Solution

Sometimes downlighting is just the more practical choice.One of our clients has three active boys, all under the age of 10. Their boisterous activity around the property had trashed the family’s traditional directional path lights — fixtures atop short posts lining their paths.The solution? Lighting those areas from above, with downlighting installed in trees overhead. No fixtures to trample. Just beautiful dappled light spilling onto the paths.

DIY uplighting wedding – is it a good idea?

If you don’t want to hire someone to do your uplighting for hundreds or thousands of dollars you can try doing it yourself. All you’ll need is to either have or rent affordable LED floor lights that you can place strategically around the venue. You can use outdoor flood lights too as long as they can work with the venue and won’t be too bright.

Alternatively, you can rent uplights too – there are services online which allow people to rent their LED uplights for as little as $17 per light and per day. After that, all you need to do is figure out how many lights your venue needs, what colors, and where to place them.

Without a doubt, this is the most common question that we are asked, and unfortunately there isn’t a magic answer that fits all circumstances. There are however some basic rules and guidelines to help. First the “rules”:

  • Even one uplight is better than none.
  • You can never have enough uplights.

In following the first rule, you understand that having any additional, controllable, light in the room will help create the focus and ambiance desired. Therefore, never feel bad for not having exactly the right number of lights because whatever you did is better than nothing! The second rule, however, implies that most rooms have so many interesting features (columns, windows, drapes, corners, doorways, art, etc.), that there is almost no limit—beyond your budget—for what one could do to an event space. More lights doesn’t always mean brighter light…on the contrary, having more lights available gives you the chance to use them at lower intensities, at slightly different hues, or in combinations to create layered, textured looks.

So how does one choose the number of lights? First you need to think through a few elements:

  • Is budget the ultimate deciding factor?
  • How large is the room?
  • Are you lighting all four walls, or just featured areas?
  • Do you want the outside of the entryway lit?
  • What kinds of existing lighting is in the room?
  • Will your entertainment provide any lighting?
  • Is there something in particular that you wish to highlight (sweetheart table, cake area, stage, chuppah, etc.)?
  • Are you using uplights for general warm glow, or are you looking to make an impact with vibrant colors?
  • What is the condition of the walls (covered in art, dull airwalls, lots of windows, etc.)?

Often, a simple look at event space photos online, and a few answers to the above questions, will help us ballpark the number of lights that would be ideal.

A note about “seamless coverage”

Many uplighting photos (including our own) can give the illusion of “seamless” coverage where the light covers the entire walls and ceiling evenly. Seamless coverage to the naked eye would require an extreme number of lights all around the room (and also some projected from a spot off camera). Room photos are often taken with longer exposures which allows the camera to multiply the effect of the light. This isn’t to say that the rooms aren’t beautiful with 20-30 lights in them, but that the seamless look really comes through in the photos.

Uplighting is an easy and affordable way to bring a warm and engaging feel to your venue. Uplights add a depth and a personal touch to your wedding reception by coloring the room with beautiful hues. This effect is quite dramatic and will help define a room, add color, and compliment your color scheme. Create a “Wow” effect by turning your wedding reception or corporate event into a beautiful palette of light.

Scroll to Top