A wedding at Christmas time has to be at the top of every wedding planner’s list. Nothing says romance like a light dusting of snow, a crackling fire, dim lighting to set the mood and twinkling lights. Christmas time is the perfect excuse to add a little more lighting to your winter wedding. Add lights and you will immediately amp up the wow and romance factors! Let’s take a look at how best to incorporate lights and decorate your Christmas wedding.
How Many Lights to Use?
If you love Christmas like I do, it is tempting to go overboard with an abundance of lights. I suspect we’ve all driven past that house, the one covered in Christmas bulbs hoping to win the ‘Best Christmas Lights’ contest. Be aware of how many light you plan to use, especially if you and your friends are the ones to decorate.
You don’t want your wedding to look like Santa’s workshop, so let design aesthetic and common sense dictate how to keep your wedding venue romantic and elegant verses tacky and obnoxious. Less is more is key to using Christmas lights at your wedding, especially if your stunning wedding venue speaks for itself and requires only minor decorating touches.
I can’t give you a specific number for how many lights to use because each venue is different. My general rule: if you notice the lights instead of other design or venue elements that truly matter, you may need to pare back on lights.
Christmas Wedding Lighting Tips
Use White Lights
One thing I will say: avoid multicolor or flashing lights. There is a reason that flashing lights are best left for police vehicles or rave parties. On the other hand, basic white lights go with practically everything. I’ve seen many wonderfully lit real weddings and styled shoots over the years. You know that 99% of them had basic white strands augmented with lights that softly glow in the wedding color of choice.
I know it is tempting to add blue, red, green, or any other bright hues. Don’t end up looking like that wedding with too many colored lights!
Create an Under-glow
Some of the best uses for winter lights involve shoving them under large objects – like a sofa couch or other pieces of furniture. It is fairly easy to accomplish, all you need is some strong tape (or thumbtacks) to affix the lights to the underside of whatever table, bar area, or furniture that you desire. The lights will stay hidden away, yet the reception area will fill with a welcoming glow.
Ugly Spot Cover-up
Does your venue have an ugly wall or ceiling that needs a little help? One solution is to hang strings of lights or run them along the space you want to disguise. The ugly area will disappear as the lights camouflage any imperfections. Think of lights as your new wedding decor makeup. For added effect, cover the lights with several thin layers of material. Just make sure that the lights do not get hot or else you could cause a fire hazard! If in doubt, check with the venue or a wedding coordinator who has done it before.
Winter means an early sunset. Take full advantage of the darkness and plan to add indoor/outdoor lighting decor. Ask your wedding venue well in advance about any policies around lighting. Find out what the venue allows, and what it does not allow. Don’t just assume every venue can accommodate a Christmas wonderland without asking a few questions first.
- Are there any concerns about power, extension cords, or other technical issues?
- Does the venue allow lights to be hung from specific locations that you have in mind?
- Who will hang the lights as well as take them down? Is the allotted venue rental time sufficient?
DIY Wedding Lighting
Having a DIY wedding around Christmas time in a private residence (or other private venue) means you can festive side can shine through – National Lampoon’s Christmas Wedding anyone?
If you have ever bought a lot of Christmas lights, you’ll know that the cost can add up! Keep your budget in mind when adding Christmas lights to the decor list.
TIP #1: Plan ahead to keep costs down. If you more than a year away from your Christmas time wedding, take advantage of deep discounted sales right after the holiday season. Often times retailers will discount by 50-90% off Christmas lights and decorations in order to make way for new spring inventory.
Tip #2: Make sure you have enough lighting to cover your venue! You don’t want to end up with a situation where the venue is way too dark, or there is just enough to illuminate a specific object/item. This results in a need to turn up the house lights, reducing the dramatic look and feel of you purposed lighting.
Tip #3: Best practices for wedding lighting is to lower all ambient light to about twenty percent. Use wedding lighting to focus on key elements such as the dance floor, cake, entrance, etcetera.
5 Ways to Decorate a Christmas Wedding with Lights
Shabby Chic Marquee
A light-bright shabby chic marquee over the dessert table couldn’t be more perfect for wedding reception decor. Rustic, mood inducing, and festive – perfect for this time of year!
Classic Paper Lanterns
Paper lanterns are a popular choice to illuminate wedding receptions. Mix lanterns with strands of small clear Christmas lights and to create a magical dance floor that will take everyone’s breath away.
Organza It Up
One of the easiest ways to light up a dessert table is by weaving this beautiful light up organza ribbon around the desserts on the table. Such a great way to add an elegant, rich sparkle to a festive holiday treat table.
Large star light lanterns (or these adorable star shaped marquees) will add a beautiful touch to a wedding at Christmas time. Incorporate lit stars within your wedding space and hang from either a ceiling, in a window or another structure as appropriate. You could also add star marquees in bathrooms by sinks.
Light up rose branches can add a whimsical and romantic atmosphere to a dimly lit reception. Create unique centerpieces with mercury glass vases, sprigs of holly, and pine cones, then surround the centerpieces with candles. Such a great idea for a snowy winter reception.
A Christmas-themed wedding isn’t the only time you can use lights on a string. No matter what style of wedding you choose, chances are that twinkling lights can be incorporated into your overall design scheme.