Outdoor Wedding Lighting Ideas from Real Celebrations
Outdoor venues can be absolutely stunning, and especially with good weather and natural scenery. But designing your wedding's outdoor space can pose a little more of a challenge. Aside from the basics—like forming a rain plan—you'll need to consider lighting your celebration. With open air and the possibility of a plug shortage, getting creative is a must. Whether you're tying the knot al fresco or dancing the night away outside for your reception, the right mood is key. That's why you'll need to plan the event's glow accordingly (plus, quite frankly, everyone needs to see). Nighttime, evening, and daytime needs will differ, so get a full picture before you choose.
Ahead, gorgeous outdoor lighting ideas from real weddings hosted in a variety of outdoor settings. From chandeliers and candles to string lights and lanterns, these outside-friendly ideas are sure to inspire. See which lighting options spark your interest, and ask your planner or venue how to make the magic happen.
Teardrop-shaped containers held votives above the reception tables at this wedding. String lights were also woven overhead for a striking look.
This entire reception was set ablaze with dazzling lights. String lights were dangled, criss-crossed, and clustured, and tabletop candles upped the effect.
Who says chandeliers should stay inside? These looked so stylish hung from a tree.
This wedding featured rounded lights hung from varying lengths of string.
These simple, light-gray lanterns brought a cool feel to this outdoor space.
Floral light projections decorated the ground at this reception, while rows of string lights added something extra.
Tall candles adorned these dreamy reception tables, giving the venue a warm, moody glow.
Lights shone from beneath the trees and bushes surrounding this Palm Springs wedding reception.
Lights and Flags
Alternating rows of paper-cut flags and string lights were strung above this Mexican reception.
Strings of Lights
Twinkling bistro lights lit these reception tables as the sun set during dinner.
Chandeliers sparkled overhead these tables, which were set with pastel blooms, including cream-colored peonies and peach garden roses.
Bistro lights, inspired by the restaurants in New Orleans' French Quarter, cast a romantic glow on this backyard celebration, while chandeliers hanging from the tent's ceiling lent a dramatic touch.
Antique lanterns illuminated the walkway to the reception, held in Blue Hill's intimate private dining room, with pine floors, Venetian plaster walls, and an arched ceiling.
Strings of Stars
At a garden reception in Dallas, single strings of twinkling lights created a starry sky beneath the tree branches.
Hang elegant lighting fixtures that you'd usually spot indoors in the trees at an outdoor reception to create an extra dramatic effect—and an ideal spot for a portrait like this.
Palm Tree Light Display
For a destination wedding in Bermuda, this couple made local palm trees a part of the decor at their alfresco reception by wrapping their trucks with lights and stringing them strategically from tree to tree.
At a laid-back Texas wedding full of rustic details, basic bistro lights were strung to create a canopy effect over dinner tables.
Styled like a sidewalk cafe, the tables at this Tuscan reception were adorned with sleek lamps that were then switched on at dusk.
A Lit Path
Luminarias (paper bags holding lit candles set in sand) created a glowing path at this eclectic Ohio wedding reception.
Need a bit of structure for your lighting but still want everything out in the open? Try a tent frame sans the tent. Here, vintage French chandeliers hang from a frame to cast a warm glow onto a garden reception.
If you've chosen to wed during the day, your ceremony can still get a boost with a bit of added lightning. Simple string lights created a lovely ambience at this afternoon Florida fete.
Creative Lantern Display
Work with existing structures in an outdoor space, like this slatted patio roof, to hang lights and lanterns over cocktail hour tables.
A Warm Glow
As the sun began to set at this destination wedding in Tuscany, the garden was illuminated with hanging string lights and scattered lanterns.
Projected Light Pattern
Classic bistro lights were coupled with a totally unique light show at this outdoor reception in Santa Monica. A pattern wash was projected on the lawn and patio to give guests something to gab about.
Looking for a new way to use the oh-so versitile white lantern? Run a string of lights up one side of bamboo stick or dowel and down the other, securing it with masking tape. Then stack paper lanterns over the stick, securing the lanterns to each other with tape. Plant these sticks securely in the ground to add a modern look to an outdoor reception area.
If you intend to place these fixtures by a swimming pool, be safe by plugging the lights into GFCI outlets and use extension cords approved for outdoor use.
Lights Plus Lanterns
As the sun set over this casual California dinner, bistro lights and paper lanterns started to give off soft lighting that would illuminate the reception space for the rest of the night.
Like the idea of candles but not the idea of mini open flames in the great outdoors? Set the mood with solar lanterns, such as the Soji Modern, that turn on automatically at dusk make alfresco dining elegant.
As the sun set, glowing wood lanterns hung from the trees lit the lawn at this farm wedding in Virginia.
A celebration at sundown is more memorable when you supplement the waning daylight with lanterns. The tabletop ones consist of colorful sheets of vellum paper sandwiching tall votive candles in glass holders.