Ask the Expert: Decorative Lighting

overhead lighting, crystal chandleiers at a weddingPhotos courtesy of Style Me Pretty

There are many ways to personalize your wedding and to "make a statement," some more noticeable than others and with higher impact. One area of decor we discuss with our couples is overhead lighting and decor. A frequently asked question we receive is where can you find great chandeliers or large fixtures relatively inexpensively? As you know, those beautiful hand blow Murano Glass chandeliers can set you back a small house but they are drop dead gorgeous, but where can you find the look for less? One of our favorite resources is Ikea- their fixtures are reasonably priced and easy to "customize." Think beyond your childhood BeDazzler and get in touch with your inner Grace Bonney! Retailers you are familiar with like Target, West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Z Gallerie all have great pieces as well and generally offer discounts in the form of shipping or bulk.

Besides finding the right look for your impact fixture you will need to know a few things if you are supplying electricity: 1) What is the power draw of the fixture? (In other words, how many fixtures can you operate on one circuit?) You will need to know your venue's electrical capacities and specifics as well- do they have Phase 1 or Phase 3 power, is the panel 110v or 220v? 2) Will the fixtures be on a dimmer? Lighting is everything and no one likes to feel like they are in a spot light- why do you think people scatter after last call at your favorite bar? Dimmers can effect the power draw and limit your capabilities. 3) Do you have a power source near the fixture itself or will you need to run power? Most of the fixtures you purchase at retailers that are no-specialty items will have a "plug" and will not require hard wiring unless it is recommended by the venue or decor company.

Anytime you are dealing with electricity and power be sure to consult a professional and confirm your "vision" with your venue before you purchase your fixtures as there may be additional installation time needed, Union assistance or accessibility logistics that will need coordination prior to the big day. Decorative overhead lighting gives drama to a space, adds a focal point by creating a "transparent" ceiling and connects your guests with their surroundings... in the words of Martha Stewart, "it's a good thing" so why not incorporate it into your wedding and keep the lights on!