Canopies: Beautiful, Practical, and Everything In-Between

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When you were young, did you ever dream of having a princess-style canopy bed? We did, too. While not all of us may be able to pull off a canopy bed as adults, you can at least bring the whimsy and romanticism of a canopy to your wedding and fulfill that dream, just for a day. A canopy is the perfect way to not only satisfy your inner child, but add elegance to your wedding and protect your guests from the elements.


Canopies are incredibly versatile, which is what makes them such an amazing addition to your event. They can be utilized indoors or outdoors, rain or shine, in any shape or size, and can be made with a variety of materials. The most popular form of canopy is found at outdoor wedding ceremonies, either highlighting the front of the ceremony space with an arch or four post structure, or a larger tent that stretches the entire ceremony area. An outdoor canopy creates shade to keep your guests from being sunburned, but at the same time allows for light to pass through the space, keeping you from feeling closed off or claustrophobic. You can also choose for your canopy to be open sided, creating more movement and space, or closed off on all sides, which can protect your guests from the rain. In case of inclement weather, a tent or canopy made from canvas or plastic sheeting keeps you and your guests warm and safe from the rain. 


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An indoor canopy is a great way to break up the space in your venue and allow to decorate in ways that might not have been possible previously. By hanging a canopy from the ceiling of your venue, you can create light and depth with simple fabric and make space for hanging lights. Canopies can also be used to highlight areas of your ceremony and reception such as the sweetheart table, buffet, or dessert tables. There are endless types of designs you can incorporate into your space, such as maypole, where the fabric begins at the outer sides of your space and swoop together to meet in the center, zig zags running across the ceiling, or parallel draping. 

All About Draping

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What comes to mind when you hear the word “drape?” The first thing that probably pops into most people’s heads is household curtains, or if you’re into fashion, the way fabric lays as a piece of clothing. While both those descriptions are accurate, here in the wedding and event industry, draping is so much more than your standard curtain. Draping is not only the hanging of curtains but also the way an aesthetic is created by the way fabric is laid. Drapes can be used in a variety of functional and fashionable ways to embellish your venue, accent your décor, and even hide spots that clash with your event. 

One of the biggest uses of draping is to camouflage the blemishes of your venue. If you’re worried about ugly wallpaper, art you can’t move, crooked lighting, or otherwise unsightly points in the room, draping is the way to transform your space and hide these elements. A lot can be covered by strategic piping and draping, and in no time those ugly spots in your venue are gone, leaving you with a put together space.

Another great function of draping is to emphasize or downplay the size of your room. There is always a chance that you end up with a guest list that is either too large or too small for your venue. Enter drapes! You can easily turn a huge space into a cozier, intimate one by creating the illusion of space with long, sheer pieces of paneling hung throughout the room. You can also use this technique to cordon off your space to make a separate ceremony and reception area, or even create lounge spots, dance areas, or emphasize your buffet, cake, or décor. If you’re looking to bring attention to your gorgeous tall ceilings and show off a large room in a more dramatic fashion, try using overhead panels or even a maypole or crisscross pattern on the ceiling to emphasize a cavernous space. 

Aside from being practical and functional, draping is also a great way to boost your décor and bring atmosphere into your space. Draping softens the edges of your venue and creates a focal point for décor such as lighting, florals, or greenery. If you are hosting an outdoor wedding or reception, consider adding draping to your gazebo or tent in strategic places to cover poles or all over for an airy, romantic effect. One of our favorite ways to use draping is to accent a sweetheart table, either with paneling to frame the table or even along the floor to create pools of fabric and light. It’s a win-win, either way! 

Let’s talk fabric. It is important to note when choosing your fabric that the weight and texture will affect the drape and can change the look you’re going for. Sheer voile drapes are a very popular choice for piping and draping because of their light and airy texture, which creates a fairy tale softness and elegance. Paired with lighting, you can instantly create a romantic scene just with lighting and fabric. Another great choice for something on the lighter side is chiffon, which comes in a variety of colors and is great for arbors and arches. Chiffon is sheer and flowy, creating a gauzy drape effect for a soft touch of color that looks beautiful blowing in a breeze. For something on the heavier side, satin is a great choice if elegance and drama is the name of your game. Satin usually comes in matte or gloss and is extremely versatile, especially for a photo booth backdrop or pooling as table runners and around centerpieces. Most of these fabrics come in a variety of colors, with white and champagne being the most popular in the wedding industry (it’s easy to see why!). 

Draping is always an excellent choice for elevating your venue and an easy way to create instant atmosphere the second you step in the room. Whether you are going for whimsical or dramatic, draping is the perfect way to achieve your goals with just a touch of beautiful fabric. 

Upgrading your Table Linens

Photographer: Sarah Mack Photo

Photographer: Sarah Mack Photo

Among all the decisions to make during wedding or event planning, tables linens is one that you may not have even though about. Chances are, you will find yourself stuck with the basic white, ivory, or black house linens provided by your venue without even realizing there are so many more possibilities out there. Not to mention, the linens traditionally provided by venues and included in your package usually are not floor length and you won’t even realize until your event begins. But don’t worry, we have you (and your tables) covered! Upgrading your linens is an easy and beautiful decision that our pros at Illuminate Events can help you make. We will ensure you choose the perfect table linens to compliment your decor and make your wedding colors pop.

There are so many reasons to upgrade your linens from the basic tablecloths your venue provides, starting with color. As mentioned above, the color choices of house linens are so limited that it is easy to become bored with the basics. Even if you are looking for something in a more neutral color, upgrading to a higher quality linen can really make a difference in your table settings. With a whole palette of colors to choose from, you can incorporate your wedding colors in ways you never thought of before. Using colors in places such as your sweetheart table, dessert table, and guest book, draws the eye toward important places and reminds your guests of the presence of these spots as well as adding a pop of color to the room.

Most importantly, upgrading your linens allows for so many more fabric choices! Each type of fabric makes a statement and depending on your decor, you can compliment these choices with fabrics or even draw attention in ways you may not have thought of before. For a glamorous event, consider velvet, satin, or even sequins to add flash and shine to your tables and compliment dramatic florals or glimmering centerpieces. Looking for something a little more low key? A simple polyvore linen (handmade in-house at Illuminate!) will class up your tables while keeping the texture smooth and subtle. We even have lace and rosette linens for an old-school elegance and class (in a variety of colors, of course).

Not sure about adding color and texture to your tables with a full on specialty linen choice? If you want to add a little pop without being overwhelming, consider choosing colorful napkins to highlight your wedding colors and make your escort cards stand out against your table settings. Adding a colorful napkin is a great way to meet in the middle and play with fabrics and color pairing in a fun way. 

The choices for wedding and event linens really are endless and our pros are always excited to talk design. We would love to hear from you regarding upgrading your linens and any ideas you have about incorporating color and textures into your wedding or event decor. 

 

Light the Way: The Importance of Event Lighting

Photographer: Lin & Jirsa

Photographer: Lin & Jirsa

Everyone loves a good before and after photo, and never is that truer than when the lights go on. Not only does lighting perform an important practical function in allowing your guests to see where they are going, it also provides an aesthetic that immediately sets the mood for your event. These two features, functionality and ambiance, are the key elements to making your event beautiful and lighting is the way to do that.

From a practical standpoint, lighting is critical in making sure you and your guests are able to see their surroundings and move from one space to another with ease. That doesn’t necessarily mean your room needs to be lit brightly from all angles! Your lighting professionals can create pathways and illuminate signage with strategical placement of different types of lighting to ensure safety and ease of movement. Lighting can also be used to camouflage parts of your space that you don’t love, from outdated wallpaper to shag carpet and beyond. Using lighting to highlight major players at your event is also a great way to draw your guests’ attention, be it the bridal party entering your reception or a key note speaker ready to wow the crowd. 

On the aesthetic side, lighting creates an instant mood, which elevates the emotions and heightens the energy of your guests as they step into your space. Using lighting can set the mood for your guests as soon as they walk in the door, be it with bright and fun colors for high energy events, casual washes for an intimate setting, or dynamic shadows for lounging and chatting. Lighting can also be used to change the tone of your event when you switch activities, such as using color to transition from dinner to dancing or focusing spotlights from a grand entrance to speeches.

Overall, your lighting choices define your event and set the tone for whatever activities you have in store. Not sure what type of lighting is best for your event? Check out our latest post here for an event lighting guide that is sure to help you figure out what you are looking for: https://www.illuminateeventservices.com/blog/2019/3/6/guided-by-the-light-the-perfect-lighting-for-your-event. If you have any questions about lighting, design, or anything party related, leave us a comment or give us a call; we’d love to chat with you and help you plan your perfect event, lighting and all!

Guided by the Light: The Perfect Lighting for Your Event

Photographer - Kelly Waterman Photography

Photographer - Kelly Waterman Photography

Lighting is a key aspect to any event and is one of the first things guests will notice when they arrive. Not only does it set the mood, lighting also highlights your space in the perfect way. Check out these different types of lighting to find out which one is best for you!

Uplights: Uplighting is the #1 way to create an ambience for your event and is extremely popular in the wedding and event worlds. Uplights are stationed throughout the space with light shining upward, usually onto a wall or ceiling. This creates a subtle and romantic glow that is great for photos and dancing, and the best part is, you can choose and even customize your colors!

Static lighting is one type of uplighting, and it is exactly what it sounds like: stationary lights with a fixed color scheme.

Intelligent lighting, also called programmable lighting, is another type of uplighting that changes colors, which creates dynamic movement throughout the room. 

Wash lights: This type of lighting is a projection of color throughout the whole room, created by placing colored gels over the lights. There are many types of washes and the color combinations are completely customizable. Wash lights are great if you want your wedding or event colors to really stand out and catch the eye of everyone in the room. 

Pattern lights: Similar to wash lights, a pattern light is projected over the ceiling and tables of the space to create texture in the room. This can really liven up your space, especially if the walls or ceilings are a solid color and you’re looking to jazz it up. 

GOBO lights: Projects a stencil or template onto any surface in the room. They are most often used to project the couple’s names or initials, but can be used in any way you like. They are the perfect addition if you are looking for that extra bit of personalization to really make your space pop.

Pin spot lights: Used to bring focus to one or multiple areas in the space, pin spots are a beam of light that is directed at the spot to create a lighted focal point. They are often used to highlight table centerpieces, especially florals, and bring the eye of the guests immediately to the illuminated point. Pin spots create a dramatic scene of illumination and are perfect if centerpiece design is a key aspect of your decor.

Whatever your goals may be, lighting is the perfect way to achieve them while elevating your wedding or event!