Spotlight on Bistro Lighting

Photographer: Erin Hughes Photography

Photographer: Erin Hughes Photography

Bistro lighting is most often used to adorn outdoor patios, but did you know that these gorgeous lights are great for weddings and events as well? Bistro lights are a type of string light characterized by large, circular bulbs that provide a charming and romantic atmosphere which couldn’t be a better fit for any wedding, held indoors or outdoors.

Providing a unique style and aesthetic of their very own, bistro lights are incredibly versatile. Especially when used indoors, bistro lighting is great for brightening up your space and can even be dressed up by adding draping, canopies, florals, or any type of decor. If you have lounge seating at your reception, bistro lights create an instant vignette by framing your furniture and creating the ultimate place for guests to relax.

When used outdoors, bistro lighting can establish a sense of structure to an open area and create the perfect setting for a night under the stars. There are many ways to hang your bistro lights, including straight across, crisscross, tent, or maypole patterns - the possibilities are endless! You also have the option to use just a few strands of bistro lights for a subtle elegance or go all out and glamorous with a multitude of lights.

We love using lighting to highlight focal points at weddings and bistro lights are one of our favorite ways to do this. For a whimsical, romantic aesthetic, light up your sweetheart table, dessert station, or even welcome signs with bistro lights. They are also great for drawing attention to key elements of your venue, such as vaulted ceilings, archways, fireplaces, and pools. 

Whether you are hosting an indoor or outdoor wedding, bistro lights add a touch of classic elegance to your event and provide you with so many decor options. Excited about incorporating bistro lights into your wedding or event? Our lighting pros at Illuminate Events would love to help you brainstorm ways to brighten up your event!

All About the Details - Charger Plates

When it comes to designing any type of event, be it a party or wedding, the little details are what really makes your space shine. One of our favorite ways to incorporate details that amplify the elegance and overall look of an event is by using charger plates. This simple addition of a decorate plate is a great way to add to your decor without being overwhelming and creating a great base for your table settings.

Photographer: Erin Hughes Photo

Photographer: Erin Hughes Photo

Chargers are the large, decorative plates that are placed under the main dishes your guests will use to eat off of. They are mainly used for decoration, but they serve a few practical purposes as well. Using a charger in your place settings helps to space out your plates and makes sure your guests won’t be too cramped next to each other. They also catch any food that may spill off the sides of the plates, keeping your linens looking clean all night long. Chargers are especially useful if you have a buffet and guests take their plates with them to collect their meal; their place setting remains present with the charger and it will be easier for them to find their seat when they return.

Photographer: Manya Photo

Photographer: Manya Photo

The main purpose of a charger plate is decorative. They come in so many beautiful designs and colors, and add a lot of style to your place settings. Incorporating a charger provides a pop of color and texture that keeps your table from looking too bare, especially when the dinner plates have been cleared away. To add to your decor even more, you can coordinate your chargers and napkins for pulled together look, or even contrasting colors or designs for more of an eclectic style. Chargers can also be used as a base for candles or floral arrangements, which is a great way to tie together your decor together and create a beautiful base for your pieces. 

Photographer: Kathryn Colby Photo

Photographer: Kathryn Colby Photo

While the big picture is extremely important to the overall look of your event, adding those little details, like chargers, is what makes everything come together. Whether you’re looking for more pops of decor to tie in your theme or ways to bring out your wedding colors, chargers are an elegant option for any type of event. 

Rachel and Mike's Terranea Resort Wedding


Elegance was the name of the game for Rachel and Mike’s gorgeous wedding at the Terranea Resort and we had an absolutely wonderful time working with them. As destination weddings go, this one had it all and we got to do what we do best – add luxury elements to a beautiful space. 


Our white dance floor is one of our favorite rental pieces and does so much for your space. Every reception needs a dance floor, and this stark white one is a great way to make your room look bigger and brighter, which is one of the biggest reasons for using it at Rachel and Mike’s wedding. It also keeps the focus on your décor and florals while creating the perfect foundation for all your reception activities. 


Rachel and Mike chose gold Chiavari chairs to emphasize the details at their reception and provide their guests with a comfortable seat. This addition of a metallic pop throughout the room really brought out the gold accented flatware and were a great contrast to the white and green hues of their florals. These gold chairs stand out against the backdrop of crème linens as well as the white dance floor and flowers, giving the whole room a glamorous feel.


No reception would be complete without a pop of color! In this case, Rachel and Mike chose navy blue velvet napkins to add color to their palette. We absolutely love the way these specialty napkins play off the white flowers and emphasize the blue accents in each arrangement. Texture was another element in play here, and when it comes to elegant, velvet is always a top choice. 


Rachel and Mike’s stunning wedding at Terranea put into practice one of the key aspects we love: incorporating details to make your reception pop and add to the aesthetic of your event. We loved each choice, from the white dance floor to the gold Chiavari chairs and navy velvet napkins. Every accent piece added to the overall elegance of their wedding and made the whole room glow.

Specialty Chair Rentals

Photographer: Kelly Waterman

Photographer: Kelly Waterman

In the wedding and event world, the word “accent” is used freely and often. It’s a great, all-encompassing word that refers to highlighting key elements of your event and allows for touches of personality and flair in a multitude of ways. You may have heard the term when describing décor or colors, but today we’re going to explore it in a new phrase: accent furniture. This catch-all phrase for specialty furniture rentals are so much more than your typical chairs or sofas and can be used to elevate your space and tie in decor.

Photographer: Kathryn Colby

Photographer: Kathryn Colby

One of our favorite ways for incorporating accent furniture is at our client’s cultural weddings, such as a Hindu or Persian ceremony. The fixtures at these wedding ceremonies are very important in carrying out the traditions of each culture, and that all starts with a foundation. In a Hindu wedding ceremony, the couple will sit under a Mandap, the four-poster structure at the front of the space, usually on some sort of special chairs or settee. Similarly, a Persian ceremony has the couple sitting under a canopy held up by female members of the family, usually seated together on a bench or loveseat. Using a specialty rental such as an upholstered sofa or set of matching arm chairs is a great way to elevate the look of the ceremony while providing comfort to the couple sitting on them. There are so many options for these types of accent rentals in all types of finishes, colors, and materials, and they really set the couple apart by providing a seat of honor during the ceremony.

Photographer: Kelly Waterman

Photographer: Kelly Waterman

Accent furniture can also be used throughout your wedding reception and cocktail hour in a variety of ways. A lot of our couples choose specialty chairs for their sweetheart table, which really makes you feel like a queen or king! Setting yourself apart with a pair of elegant armchairs is a great way to make your sweetheart table stand out even more and give the guests of honor (that’s you!) the spotlight they deserve. We also have many types of lounges and armchairs that are perfect for creating vignettes through your event. Specialty lounge areas bring an extra touch of glamour to any event and provide guests with comfortable seating options that are great for sitting over drinks and conversation.


Adding a bit of personality to your wedding or event with accent furniture rentals is so easy, and can even be fun! Choosing the perfect lounge seating for cocktail hour or regal armchairs for under the Mandap will elevate your event and set the scene for a beautiful ceremony and great night.

Upgrading Your Chairs


In almost all cases, the chairs included in your event package are folding chairs for outside and then standard corporate looking banquet chairs for inside. Making them not most comfortable or not the most appealing. Chairs are the base for any event, be it a wedding or party, and upgrading from the basic hotel choices will elevate your décor, plus ensure your guests are comfortable throughout your ceremony and reception.


If you’ve seen any movie or TV show that has a wedding in it, you’ve probably seen a Chiavari chair. They can be identified by their characteristic top panel of vertical spindles, followed by two sets of horizontal rails, and sets of raised rings spaced throughout the frame. These chairs are popular choices for all types of events because not only are they comfortable and sturdy, but they come in a variety of colors and finishes. We offer Chiavari chairs in white, gold, silver, clear, and fruitwood, so you’re sure to find a choice suitable for your event. All of our chair rentals also include chair pads, which is crucial in keeping your guests comfortable for any length of time.


Another great option we have for upgrading your event chairs is the Wooden Crossback chair. These chairs have a characteristic “X” back rail (hence the name) and come in a variety of finishes. Crossback chairs look great in any setting, especially an outdoor wedding or event, and bring a rustic charm to your décor. 

Seating choices are an important part of your event planning and upgrading your chairs from the basic ones provided at your venue is a great way to elevate your décor and keep everyone comfortable all night long. Chairs put the finishing touch on the atmosphere of your event or wedding while also pulling your entire venue together. Once you upgrade to Chiavari or Vineyard Crossback, you’ll never want to sit in a regular folding chair again!

Canopies: Beautiful, Practical, and Everything In-Between


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. 


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


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.