If you can't hide it, light it.

The beautiful Tatyana and dashing Vadim came to me with a challenge.  They had picked out the perfect venue for their wedding, The Gardens at Elm Bank.  Over coffee at Starbucks one Sunday morning, they explained that the idyllic grounds would serve as the perfect backdrop for their ceremony.  The carriage house however, though spacious and grand, did not have the architectural quality they were hoping for.  Their original plan was to drape the entire exposed ceiling in fabric, a treatment that while beautiful, turned out to be very expensive.  Also, provisions would have have had to be made for the HVAC system to operate. 

My challenge then was to work with the ceiling (and space overall) and transform it to something magical.  The first order of business was the existing house lighting.  Sconces around the room were fitted with a cold, almost fluorescent white bulbs.  I replaced them with LED edison bulbs to give the room a warm glow.  The next step was to deal with the exposed ceiling.  A friend who is an architect once told me that if you can't hide an element you don't like, enhance it, call attention to it, and make it look like it's was built just for the purpose of being seen.  

That said my goal was instead of distracting from the ceiling, to call attention to it.  We brought in large (almost 5ft wide) balloons and fitted them with my favorite Astera fixtures. The lightweight fixtures and balloons allowed us to hang them from the metal truss ceiling with magnets - no ladders needed.  Plus, the lighting colors could match the rest of the room as the light fixtures themselves communicate wirelessly. Additionally, pointing colored light up toward the trusses created a controlled-chaos of shadows across the ceiling making it appear less like structural elements and more like the twisted canopy of tree branches throughout the grounds.

Working with Tatyana and Vadim, I came up with a serious of color themes that would be brought up during different times of the evening, and turned the entire room into a dance floor at the end of the evening.  The results speak for themselves.  Tatyana and Vadim effortlessly executed the roles of leading lady and man in their custom-created production.

 

Before, the Gardens at Elm Bank's carriage house.  Note the almost blue-white light around the room.

Before, the Gardens at Elm Bank's carriage house.  Note the almost blue-white light around the room.

The guests entered a room of teal and purple.   Warm light around the room was kept at the level of the tables to illuminate them separately but not brightly so as not to lose the effect of the colored light.

The guests entered a room of teal and purple.   Warm light around the room was kept at the level of the tables to illuminate them separately but not brightly so as not to lose the effect of the colored light.

When the main course was to be served, the lighting in the room was shifted to a warm combination of amber, salmon, and blush pink.  The colors slowly rotated through each element to give the room some vibrance and intrigue.

When the main course was to be served, the lighting in the room was shifted to a warm combination of amber, salmon, and blush pink.  The colors slowly rotated through each element to give the room some vibrance and intrigue.

When Tatyana and Vadim took to the floor for their first dance, the room was transformed into a swirling dance of pink and white, and specially positioned spotlights rose on the dance floor, making them the stars of the show.

When Tatyana and Vadim took to the floor for their first dance, the room was transformed into a swirling dance of pink and white, and specially positioned spotlights rose on the dance floor, making them the stars of the show.

When it was the guests' turn to take to the floor, the lighting was specially controlled to match the beat and theme of the music that was playing.  From the bright pastels for the B-52's "Love Shack" to saturated red and orange for Jennifer Lopez's "Let's Get Loud" each song was custom crafted to come alive with sound and light.

When it was the guests' turn to take to the floor, the lighting was specially controlled to match the beat and theme of the music that was playing.  From the bright pastels for the B-52's "Love Shack" to saturated red and orange for Jennifer Lopez's "Let's Get Loud" each song was custom crafted to come alive with sound and light.