It’s hard to believe it’s been almost three months since Samantha and Ben got Hitched!
On Sunday, August 24, 2014, I had the immeasurable honor of serving as Wedding Entertainment Director® and Master of Ceremonies for Samantha and Benjamin Cook’s Wedding Reception at Happy Days Lodge. Justin served as my Associate Entertainer, Sound Designer, Lighting Technician, and Assistant Disc Jockey, and Mike helped with setup and teardown of the elaborate and intricate lightscaping design featuring uplighting, ceiling washes, spotlighting, globe lights, Edison bulbs, and a lighted monogram.
Let’s back up just a little bit: I first “met” Ben and Samantha as an application for Hitched, a charity project conceived by Ben and Jodi Photography over the 2013 holiday season and initially intended to gift a complimentary wedding photography package to a couple in need. Fast forward a few months, and the Hitched project had grown to a fully-produced wedding… with a deserving selected beneficiary couple: one of the kindest and most optimistic young couples with one of the sweetest love stories you’ll ever hear — stay tuned for more details about their story in Part 2! For now… the lighting design!
The Lighting Design
Samantha and I first started brainstorming about ideas for lighting a little over five months before the wedding. I have found that 4-6 months prior to the event is the ideal time to start to make plans for lighting design. At that point in the planning process, many of the “big questions” have been answered, but there are still many details of the specific event layout and timeline are still very much negotiable, which allows us to explore a wide range of possibilities before firm decisions are made.
We met several times, including for brunch at the Burntwood Tavern (one of my favorites) the morning before their engagement shoot.
During our design process, Samantha and Ben brought a couple of surprises to the table — just the kind of “surprises” I LOVE:
First, her official color scheme (coral and turquoise) that she’d been working on with Paper Bouquet Studio.
For those of you who already have a copy of the Something New Entertainment Planning Guide, I’m sure you can imagine haw delighted I was to see this color-combo! For those of you who don’t have your own copy, yet — just look around the site a bit, and I’m sure you’ll pick up on a bit of favoritism for this pair of colors. 😉
She also gave us some valuable intel on a budding idea that would become a major focal point of the room’s decor — thanks in no small part to the lighting design — a fabulous chanda-cake that Dolce Colpo was putting together.
During our discussions, Samantha mentioned a few other key design strategies she really liked, which we were able to incorporate into the final design, including:
Samantha and Benjamin’s beautiful lighted monogram (and, with the help of Paper Bouquet Studio, we were able to make it coordinate perfectly with their existing typography — check out our process in last week’s article). I loved the way this effect looks on any kind of especially-textured flooring, and the stone floor at Happy Days Lodge is a particularly great example of the power and beauty of this effect, with the right design and equipment.
Next on the “wish list”: a Pinterest-worthy light feature above the king’s table. Something to really “ooh” and “aah” over! We created this effect using a combination of bistro-style globe lights and Edison Bulbs which we attached to the rafters using theatrical grips and telescoping pipe. I especially love this effect because of how the warm glow and texture accent the gorgeous wood of the King’s Table — one of the rustic farm tables from Borrow Vintage + Eclectic Rentals.
One final “wish list” item that Samantha didn’t even know was a lighting design wish — a fire! Happy Days Lodge has a lovely little fireplace nook, and — in the winter — a roaring fire is the perfect compliment to the rustic decor. On a sweaty day in August, though, we’d have to forgo the fire and miss out on the ambiance for comfort’s sake.
Wait… or would we?
On a whim, I built a little “fire” of my own — don’t worry — out of several varying shades of LED light (mine are low-draw and run really, really cool, as it so happens, ha ha!).
For the remainder of the lighting design, we chose several complimenting colors to help Samantha’s turquoises, corals, and wood tones “pop,” including a warm, light purple (a close contender for bridesmaids gowns and one of Samantha’s favorites), as well as amber, and a deeper teal.
As a lighting designer who’s also very commonly present throughout the events I serve, one of the most rewarding parts of my job is getting to see clients and guests “experience” the design.
Here are a few of my very favorite photos from Hitched:
A picture’s worth a thousand words (THANK YOU, Ben and Jodi!!!!!). Needless to say, Samantha loved the globe light and Edison bulb drape feature for the King’s Table.
We even “caught” Samantha lounging by the “fire.”
Later in the night, we got to see a lot more people living in the lighting design — really bringing it to a life of its own! And, then… we danced!
Stop back, next week, for more about the Hitched Wedding Ceremony! But, for now — tell us: what are some of your favorite Something New Entertainment Rustic Lighting Design Techniques?