Image the reveal: Your guests have been waiting patiently in the foyer, enjoying some elegant cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres. The ballroom doors slowly open, and they experience -for the first time – the full culmination of your months of planning your reception decor. (We call this “The Reveal”). What will they see? Will the centerpieces stand out, like the work of art that they are, as if on display at a gallery, or will they be lit happenstance by a random can light or chandelier? There is a reason that art is lit at a gallery – so you can view the full beauty and detail of the piece.
What is Pin-spot Lighting?
Pin-spot lighting (giving homage to the type of fixture used) can make a world of difference in your floral decor. Typically, the ballroom will be lit like a cozy, family-friendly restaurant when the doors open. Think of a trip to your local Chilis. But, as the evening goes on and the dance floor revs up, the lights dim further and the atmosphere changes to that of an intimate nightclub or romantic restaurant. And, sadly for your floral arrangements, they will all but disappear.
Floral lighting (and cake lighting) is used primarily for three purposes:
- To lend a “Wow” factor to the reveal, like walking into an art gallery of beautiful floral pieces.
- To add contrast to your floral pieces against the ballroom, up-lighting, and so on.
- To maintain a consistent lighting presentation for your floral as the ballroom lights dim during the evening.
Of course, lighting your wedding cakes(s) provides the same beauty as doing so for your floral.
Do I need Floral Lighting?
If the floral at your reception is a key element, then yes – we recommend that you light them. Discuss this with your florist, as they may recommend some slight changes to the floral so they will be presented better. For example, we often see floral pieces as a mix of low and tall arrangements when we do lighting, to give a better visual in the space.
A Practical Example
Here are a couple of photos from wedding we did at the Four Seasons Resort in Las Colinas, in their grand ballroom. Both photos were taken before the guests entered the room, but show the two moods that a reception will encounter. The first is what I call “Family Dining” – like going to your neighborhood Chili’s. The lights are somewhat dim, but not dark. You could easily read a tent card or menu.
This next image shows what happens to floral when the lights dim. This is what I call a “Romantic Dining” mood. It’s like going to a romantic restaurant or lounge; the house lights are dim (off in this case because of the up-lighting), and the mood is perfect for hitting the dance floor. You’ll notice in this picture that the lit centerpieces look like works of art, while the un-lit arrangements practically disappear. This particular couple chose to have some lit, and others not, to provide a good contrast (and to stay within their budget).
What is the investment?
Expect to pay around $45 per table for floral lighting, and $60 per cake. This will vary by vendor (those are our standard rates). Some hotels even offer to do lighting, but tend to be more expensive. Some couples will choose to commission the florist to design more elegant arrangements for half of the tables, and then do simple ones for the others. Then, light those more grand arrangements. This allows them to keep their budget about the same, while increasing the impact of their floral centerpieces. Most reputable companies will light the tall centerpieces from more than one direction, to eliminate a dark back-side.
Cake lighting is generally about $60 per cake, and should be definitely lit from more than one side simply because of the size and stature of the cake.