Uplighting – The Why & How of It

Uplighting has become a popular trend for many weddings, almost a necessity for certain venues. Just a few uplights can dramatically alter how you feel about a space, taking you from “Didn’t we go to a wedding here last summer” to “OMG!” There are a lot of very pretty venues out there – but the vast majority of them benefit from uplighting – how can you tell if your wedding venue could use a little extra pop?

Uplighting is the term we use to describe par cans placed around the perimeter of the room to shoot up the walls and architectural details. Sometimes called accent lighting, uplighting is the cheapest, fastest, and most impressive way to affect a room. Conference halls, hotels, and the vast majority of traditional meeting space are usually done in very safe and neutral colors. Chances are your wedding colors aren’t taupe, beige, khaki, and puce, uplighting is how we fix it.

The trick to uplighting and figuring out what’s right for you is the type of impression you want to make.

If you’ve got the budget to do the whole room you’re in for some truly amazing options and color combinations – allowing you to pull the whole room together with a series of spectacular color combinations that compliment everything from your florals and linen color choices to your bridesmaids shoes or wedding cake. If you’ve got a smaller budget and can only afford a limited number of lights you’re better off selecting a key area to highlight.

It’s better to light one area correctly than spread them too thin.

Like you and your partner – they work better together.

Uplighting is great as a stand-alone options, but works best in combination with other elements, including custom GOBOs, drapery, beads, and select spatial details.

There are two principal approaches to how we light a space. Either we’re lighting the details or we’re lighting the space as a whole. The former means we’re structuring the lighting to create a visual pattern that carries through, allowing for an impressive visual component that lasts throughout your whole event. With the latter, we’re creating dynamic contours and emotional interaction through our delineation of space (real or perceived depending on your venue).

Let’s unpack that a little.

Par cans come in a few varieties, but break down into two main categories: incandescent & LED.

Incandescent are the lights that have been used for over a century (you probably still have them everywhere). They’re cheaper but have a much higher power draw and a severely limited range of colors, although they do certain warm colors particularly well.

The vast majority of modern uplighting is done with LED lighting and these break down into a few different categories.

draw your guests to these unique spaces?

You can talk with us about your venue and we’ll be happy to make recommendations based on your needs, space, and budget.

RGB (Red Green & Blue)

RGBA (Amber)

RGBAW (White)

RGBAW-UV (Ultra Violet)

By combining the intensity of the different colors we can hit any color in the rainbow. LED par cans were all originally a single color, then they started adding three principal colors (Green replaces yellow as the primary mixing color for most LED manufacturers) to allow the end user to adapt the fixture to fit their exact color needs. Initially, you’d think that RGB would be enough but it was found they there were certain colors they didn’t do as well as the incandescants, including amber and white – so they started adding those LEDs to bring us to the full range of color we have now.

You can use lighting to create broad splashes of color across the wall, create vertical columns of luminance, or activate spaces to draw guests to certain conclusions or their eye to particular details.

The trick to this is figuring out what matters most to you. Is the venue a little bland and you need to spice it up a little or are you going for a warmer, more subtle effect? Are you having your reception in a place with large columns that would pop with a little extra color or are you looking to light the colonnade and draw your guests to these unique spaces?

You can talk with us about your venue and we’ll be happy to make recommendations based on your needs, space, and budget.


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