Reception Lighting

  • Wedding Wednesday

before the big day and we didn’t have lighting. It wasn’t a “Must have”…. or so we thought. I knew professional lighting would be awesome but to be honest, when you’re trying to find a way to feed 400 guests, there isn’t any “extra” money laying around for “pretty” lights.  I understood that. Lighting was one of those things that I just accepted that we probably weren’t going to have.  The reception would still be beautiful and our friends and family would still have an amazing time.. lights or not. I put it on the back burner until two weeks before the wedding. I had been talking to a few companies but hadn’t officially booked anywhere because it wasn’t a priority at the time.

However, as we got closer and closer to 101010, Momma gave me the Ok to book with someone.  Ohhhhhh man! Through some connections from CNU, we found Big Top Entertainment. BEST DECISION EVER.  Looking back, deciding to invest in professional lighting for the reception was more important than the size of the dancefloor, how many tiers were on the cake, and how many different versions of lemonade we were going to have.  (yes, peacock lemonade was served… it wasn’t best tasting lemonade in the world but it was TEAL!!!).


As the sun went down, the LED lights on the tent started to shine. It was almost as if the lighting determined when the party was really going to start. The darker it got, the more colors glowed from underneath the tent. It was beauitful! Looking back at pictures and videos, the lighting was crucial. I highly recommend to ALL brides to consider professional lighting… especially for tent receptions. Someone once told me that when I planned my wedding, “spend most $$ on HIGH impact vendors and items”.  For instance, my little vases all over the place were .10-$1.00 each from thrift stores and they are LOW impact…lighting is extremely HIGH impact. It changed the look of the WHOLE event. So don’t waste a huge portion of your budget on fancy vases for your centerpieces and miss out on amazing things like LIGHTING! I’m so glad I didn’t make that mistake. Whoever told me that little wedding tip… THANK YOU!

David from Big Top actually sat outside with me at 10pmon Friday night before the wedding to find the PERFECT teal color for me. So awesome.

So as the sun set, the LED’s started to gradually appear on the sides of the tent! You can kinda see what I mean in this next shot.


Really Love.

The colors changed constantly and flashed to the beat of the music!

My birdcage veil was about to fly away. (haha , get it?) Ps. How cute is my brother? So cute.

The bright lights on the centerpoles are called “spots” and these white lights were directed at our 11 large centerpieces!

Oh Katelyn… I was NOT being a pretty Jstar bride in this moment but I love the way the tent looks in this shot. Sorry Jas. I talk way too much!

It was a beautiful night! Momma and Daddy… thank you for letting me run wild with my crazy ideas. I love you so so much!! Everything was so perfect!

xoxo, Katelyn
11 Comments Wedding Wednesday
  1. Michael reply

    Fun Post….so many funny things going on in the back of these pictures. One of my favorites is Mandy and Kevin in the one where Taylor is dancing. SUCH A GOOD NIGHT!!

  2. Laura reply

    I think I enjoy Kevin Smith, who is always so intense in every dancing picture. =)

  3. John reply

    YES!!! one of my lifelong dreams! on the blog and I look so fly. Me and John-Mark have moves that others can only dream!

  4. Julianna reply

    Yayy!!!!! I loved the lights! It added a splash of magic to the evening!!!!

  5. Emy reply

    LOVE all of them!! Too bad the target bag isn’t still in them. hahhaha that would have made the lighting PERFECT!

  6. Kevin Smith reply

    haha i love this!!! What an awesome day!!! and i loved when you mentioned that the guy from the tent company sat down with you to pick the right teal lighting color :)

  7. Brittany reply

    I’ve been waiting for this post!!! Love me some lighting girlfriend :)

  8. Greg D reply

    This lighting extravaganza was another reason I walked around with my jaw dropped open in awe the whole evening. Fantastic photos to prove it. This guy has enough marketing material for the next ten years. Love to the newlyweds!

  9. Big Top Entertainment – Your Corporate Event Planning Partner reply

    […] […]

  10. Lighting. « Katelyn James Photography reply

    […] TRANSFORM your event. It was my BEST decision when it came to reception planning! View that post HERE.  However, reception lighting is not the only lighting to consider when you’re planning your […]

  11. I had heard | Virginia Wedding Photographer | Katelyn James Photography reply

    […] wedding or a large tent reception… this is something to consider!!  I’ve blogged about reception lighting a while back but this is the first time that I have been able to show some “before” and […]

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