The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

3 Steps to Lighting your Backyard Wedding: The Most Overlooked  Detail

Planning a wedding takes a lot of work, and the lighting can be one of the most overlooked details. 

Like the necklace and earrings that go with the dress, lighting is the detail that makes a backyard wedding feel magical and complete.

In this post, we discuss three steps to creating a lighting scheme for your dream backyard wedding! 


1. Get inspired!

The first step to lighting your backyard wedding is gathering ideas. There is a lot of great inspiration for beautifully lit backyard weddings on the internet.

Knowing certain industry terms for outdoor lighting can really help you expand your search.

Start your lighting journey right by getting inspired!

Pinterest and Instagram will both have beautiful examples of lighting done for backyard weddings. 

The internet is your most valuable resource for compiling ideas and getting inspired.


Know which terms to search for!

Don't just search for ideas and inspiration using hastags like #backyardlighting or #outdoorweddinglights. These hastags are great, but there are also terms more specific to the lighting industry that can help you really narrow down what you're looking for. Here is a list of more specific hashtags to look up for inspiration:

  • Twinkle lights
    You know the lights that people string up above outdoor gathering places to throw parties?  I've heard some people refer to them as twinkle lights. However, try searching terms like #bistrolights, #cafelights, #string lights, or #festoonlights. 
  • Backyard lighting
     Instead of  searching for backyard lighting, gives these terms a try: #gardenlighting, #landscapelighting, #landscapelightingdesign, #lowvoltagelighting, #outdoorlights, #utahlights (if you're in utah), and #treelights.
  • Arbor lighting
    Is the ceremony happening beneath an arbor or other outdoor structure? Try searching these terms: #pergolalighting, #pavilionlighting #gazebolighting, #tentlights, #ceremonylighting.

If you happen to find a company that specializes in outdoor lighting design during your search, check out their work! You might just find the perfect example of what you want the lighting at your wedding to feel like.

2. Dinning, dancing, and cutting the cake!

The second step to lighting your backyard wedding is addressing task lighting. 

When we say task lighting, we are referring to how functional the overall lighting scheme will be for you and your guests. 

Will there be enough light for people to see by? Will there be lighting to help people traverse your outdoor space? Will the photographer have enough light to capture all those Joyful memories? 


There are three places where task lighting is essential for an outdoor wedding: Pathways, dinning areas, and festivities.

  • Pathways
    No one wants clumsy aunt Dorothy or uncle Phil to trip over a step they didn't see!
    Pathway and step lighting is important; you want your guests to come and go safely. Pathway lighting shows your guests the pathway and helps them avoid any trips or stumbles due to elevation changes in the path.
    In addition to showing your guests where to step, path lighting also directs your guests to where they should and shouldn't go. Having a lit pathway leading from the front yard around to the back helps lead people to where they need to be, and helps clear up any confusion.
  • Dinning
    Is the reception going to include dinner? Good task lighting will be important for feeding a large group of people. Your guests need to be able to see their dinner plates, utensils, and glasses. 
    Tip:  Adding a lit candle to each table's centerpiece can add that extra detail to really make everyone's dinning experience feel more elevated.  
    Serving food can be challenging without antiquate task light. Weather the family all got together to help make dinner happen, or the event is being professionally catered, adequate task lighting will make all the difference.
    With good task light, cleaning up  can be a breeze! From cleaning up the aftermath to breaking down the tables and putting away the chairs, you'll thank yourself for having enough light to get the job done quickly.
  • Festivities and photography
    What would a reception be without dancing and all the wedding traditions? When dinner is finished and its time to "drop the bass",  you'll need adiquate task light so everyone get jiggy without putting an elbow in someone's eye. 

    One of the most important reasons to have a good lighting scheme at your outdoor wedding is for the photography. Don't miss out on capturing all those special moments because it was too dark to take a decent picture. Cutting the cake, the father/daughter dance, throwing the bouquet, removing the garter, etc. are all things you'll love looking back on, and your photographer will thank you fro making their job easier!


3. Bring the lighting to life!

The third step to lighting your backyard wedding is making sure your ideas are going to work the way you're imagining.

You've put together your pintrest boards and considered all the places lighting will be needed to ensure your wedding is a success!

However, even with the best intentions, it can be difficult to bring a vision to life. 

Why not consult with a professional outdoor lighting designer? A skilled lighting designer will be able to tell you if your vision can be brought to life. In addition, they can lend you their years of expertise and help create something unique and memorable.

However, like everything else involved with planning a wedding, the more lead time the better! Be sure to involve your lighting designer sooner than later.


Does your wedding need lights?

If you're located in or near Utah and have an upcoming wedding you'd like help with, call us at (801)440-7647 to schedule a free consultation!


Outdoor Lighting | Lighting Project