Keeping up with the Jones’ just went green. Throughout history weddings have been something of a showboating affair and not just the affirmation or reaffirmation of a couple’s love. Of course that is very important too, but weddings have been vehicles for families and individuals to show off their wealth. How this is shown off has varied over time from sumptuous feasts to jousting, from amazing dresses to fairytale castles, horse-drawn carriages to live entertainment. First gifts morphed into charitable donations and now, couples are trying to make their weddings as ethical as possible and this includes environmentally friendly lighting.
The most environmentally neutral solution is to have an outdoor wedding or failing that, an indoor wearing with fantastic natural lighting. The positives are obvious – fresh air, luscious green countryside, great photography under blue skies, and free, natural light. During the summer we are lucky to be afforded long days with the sun not setting until 10pm or later.
However, the downsides are also quite obvious. The British weather is notoriously fickle and it is more likely to be overcast, windy or raining. Also, our short winter days mean that the window of opportunity is quite narrow for a whole ceremony – it could all be over by 4pm which is a bit early for a wedding bash. If Britain is too unreliable for daytime weddings, then we need a different solution.
Candles and Chandeliers
Candles remain an all time favourite for the romantic. We have a wonderful image in our minds of warm, flickering lights giving off a comfortable ambience. When grouped together, candles can create amazing images mixing flame and shadow. Their downsides are their flammability, being blown out by drafts, and their relative lack of light as individuals.
They can of course be grouped together on stands or more elegantly on chandeliers suspended from the ceiling. While conjuring thoughts of Only Fools and Horses to many, the chandelier was the go to lighting solution for banquets and big events.
The problem with candles and candles on chandeliers is that they both involve naked flames. Setting fire to other things and people is just not on the menu, so many a venue will ban live flames. An alternative is the rechargeable candle. These give the illusion of a flickering flame without the flammability and fiddliness of real candles. These also come in pillar candle, votive holder and tea light forms.
Lanterns and Lamps
Back to naked flames for a little bit. We’re not talking briars or bonfires or even torches, but lanterns can make for a beautiful light source especially in exterior settings such as fields and gardens. The same risk applies in terms of fire, but by the same token you can replace the candles with rechargeable ones meaning the effect is the same without the overall risk.
Power Saving Lightbulbs
When you think of power saving lightbulbs, you are probably thinking of those slow to warm up lights which only get to max strength by the time you’ve finished whatever you want to do in that room. Technology has moved on since then to include a whole range of LED wedding bulbs including any kind of lighting you can think of from down lights to flood lights, spot lights to strip lights. By replacing existing bulbs at your venue, you can significantly cut the environmental impact of your wedding.
Alternatively, you can power your own event using solar energy. The main advantage of portable solar energy as a means of lighting your wedding is that it reduces the environmental impact of the whole event rather than just the lighting element. For example, you can use it to power the entertainment, the heating or air conditioning, the ovens for cooking and so on. Of course, their effectiveness may depend on the weather too.
Is solar lighting a bit prosaic for you? How about solar powered fairy lights? These tiny little lights remain ever popular and can light exterior nighttime locations with great effect. Running fairy lights over trees, plants, walls, and trellises can change your wedding location into a more fairytale – forgive the pun – setting without costing too much.