Correct lighting in any space can make a world of difference, and is the one thing that can make design come to life. Not everyone can afford elaborate lighting, but it doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. Simply using an up-light on the ceremony area will draw attention to you, and away from any flaws. The right lighting can disguise faults and any decorating problems in the space.
Most public venues are subject to the local fire codes, and comply with them, as well they should. These codes apply to candlelight as well as electric lighting, and any electronic equipment that may be required by your DJ or live band. Be sure to discuss these codes, and any other decorating policies well before the day of your wedding!
Candlelight is very enhancing to the mood and atmosphere of a space, and is also very flattering to human faces! Most fire codes allow candles, but not exposed flames. The flame needs to be enclosed in glass or below the surface level of the container it is in. Try using hanging votives by suspending them at different heights around the room in glass urns. Fishing line is nearly invisible and strong enough to suspend glass containers from the ceiling.
Another inexpensive, but stunning way to use up-lighting at your reception is to incorporate white, round, touch lights in the centerpieces. Consult with your florist about using this idea. This type of light requires AA batteries and should last all evening. These lights do not emit much heat and you will have no worries about open flames on the tables. The effect will be subtle but striking.
From the logistic side of things, remember that elaborate lighting requires time and additional help. Be sure to plan ahead and stay true to your vision. Good lighting is important, and can create a feeling of celebration and elegance.