Thursday, July 28, 2011

setting the mood: sparkle

next up for setting the mood at your event is the SPARKLE - or lighting! i have to admit this is something i obsess over, both at simple backyard dinner parties, and at special events i plan at work. truthfully, i think might be the most important element of any event.

there are two layers to lighting--the lighting on your table, and the lighting of your venue. both are equally important and powerful. here is a great example of both:

a simple placesetting becomes unbelievably sophisticated with a mass of taper candles and some seriously cool metal lanterns. they set such a special mood!
photo via cubesedenwedding

some quick tips to create sparkle at your event:

1- rarely does an occasion call for "full, bright-as-day lights." NEVER does an occasion call for florescent lighting. ew. everything feels more special in dimmed light. everyone looks better in dimmed light. you kind of can't go wrong. if the lights in your home are not dim-able, SHUT THEM OFF. put tons of candles everywhere and i swear, you could serve mcdonald's happy meals and your guests would still think it was fabulous.
2- simple things become sensation in mass quantities, as mentioned above. buy a bulk bag of tea lights, but them in interesting (or not-so-interesting) containers, line them up in a straight line, or a strategically un-straight line and BAM. you've got sparkle. don't overthink it. don't feel like everything has to match perfectly. anything, i mean ANYthing, can become a fun theme if you just go all out with it.
3- in a room, look for architectural elements to highlight. does your dining room have built-ins? find a way to light them up. does your wedding venue have an amazing ceiling? throw some uplights on it and suddenly you have a show-stopping venue - and a much more affordable decor solution rather than, say, draping the ceiling.
4- a little goes a long way. if you want to hang a ton of paper lanterns above your dining area, or wedding venue, don't feel obligated to light them all. haphazardly choose which ones should contain light and it will add a sense of mystery to the space. bare edison bulbs are becoming really popular now. if you intend to clump a ton together for a makeshift, industrial chandelier, don't light them all. it'll be way too overwhelming. light a few and the reflection off of the other bulbs will do the work for you! if you are going to ere on the side of too bright or too dim, always lean toward too dim. it's sexier.

below are some of my favorite examples of fabulous and sophisticated sparkle. which are your favorites?

...happy sophisticating...

this all white color palate truly sparkles!
photo via pinterest

LOVE the simplicity of this design. you don't even need to worry about centerpieces in the midst of this fabulous candlelight. the linear placement plays up on the long tables and the scope of the room. brilliant!

candles on every flat surface make the room glow.
photo via serendipitydesignsblog

LOVE the use of lanterns mixed with simple tea lights. notice how dark the rest of the venue is? but it doesn't even matter.
photo via stylemepretty

some of the tables have candles, some don't. paper lanterns but NONE are lit, because there are twinkly lights surrounding. brilliant, beautiful and cost-saving!

this is a great example of good indoor lighting. rather than leave all of the work to one chandelier, there is supplemental candlelight surrounding the room, making the entire room glow.
photo courtesy of house beautiful

mason jar lanterns. the ultimate diy touch, and SO chic.

simple lanterns hung at a variety of heights become extra special.

could this be any more stunning? look at the sparkle on that stemware because of simple tealights. and notice the paper lanters--randomly lit. this is the epitome of event sparkle.
photo via 4bostondj

shifting into venue lighting--this is an event i did at work. we did a simple ceiling drape inside a tent, but the lighting really made it sing. when in doubt--go with amber washes on lighting--it warms up a space like no other.

another one of my events. sometimes if you can't afford a lot of complex lighting, it's best to go with one stand-out statement. once this chandelier lit up the room, no one remembered they were in a tent.

having a simple outdoor event? hang some cafe bulbs--it will become special instantly! my backyard is pitch black at night--we strung tons of these lights in a canopy from our house, through our trees--so charming!

love the atmosphere created with these cafe bulbs.

this is a great example of creative venue lighting. these lights are called pinspots. they take a great deal of expertise to hang, but a little can go a long way. notice how the center portion of each table is perfectly lit? so simple, but so stunning.
photo via ocaudiovisualsolutions

this technique is called uplighting. an all white venue is completely transformed with blue gels on uplights--the lighting takes the simple tent draping to the next level.
photo via ocaudiovisualsolutions

the last lighting technique: gobos. those incredible shapes on the ceiling are the result of a gobo--a metal stencil that is placed over a light to cast an incredible design on any surface. have them custom made for your event--you can feature designs, pictures, words--the sky is the limit. what a way to customize an event!

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