Wedding planning is so fun. From dress and suit shopping and choosing a venue to fawning over fabulous floral instalments on Pinterest. You want your wedding to be romantic, for it to feel completely magical when your guests arrive. Venue, decor and styling play a huge part in that, but one piece couple’s tend to overlook is lighting.
The lighting is that cherry on top of the cake. The piece de resistance that sets the mood and adds the finishing touch to the ambience. And we’re not just talking about the standard lights in the venue. We interviewed the expert, Kriya Preisler from Coven Creative to get you the inside scoop on all things lighting and how to make your wedding the one to remember.
How did you get started in the lighting industry?
In 2013 I was approached by the co-founders of Bass Coast Music Festival, a forward thinking and boutique festival that was keen to enhance and illuminate their grounds with a combination of modern and upcycled lighting. Being a collector of vintage lighting and all things glass, brass and antique; the transition into professionally buying came as second nature. After sourcing for four years the festival approached me to see if I would consider one of their coveted management roles. Continuing to curate their ambient lighting department inventory, but also being responsible for the festival set up and overall development of the department; including building and managing a team of highly devoted lighting enthusiasts! This rare opportunity to work within a community of supportive and creative minds inspired me to cultivate my own business, Coven Creative, and branch into the lighting and event industry that we call home today.
How many pieces do you have and which one is your favourite?
We are always adding to our inventory, but currently we have 150 pieces ranging in age from 20-90 years old. We have a super hard time picking a favourite but if you promise not to tell the rest of the collection- we have a soft spot for our Amber pieces. Their enchanting glass details and ambient hues that illuminate the décor in an event is seriously the most magical thing in our world! Having said that, with our vast array of different pendant shapes and colours it truly is all about adding complimentary and contrasting tones that enhance your mood board and colour palette!
Unless couples are working with a wedding planner/designer, lighting can often be an overlooked area on the budget. Why do you think lighting design is a critical part of the overall wedding design?
We totally agree with you that lighting is one of the most overlooked aspects of events. What we like to remind people is that your décor elements, wedding styling and the biggest one here PHOTOS will only stand out when it is lit beautifully. Lighting can welcome your guests into a space, direct them to and from stations and experiences like cake cutting, speeches and the first dance. The lighting refracts off the walls of a venue, and highlights the special details like glassware, florals, place settings and most especially; illuminating the faces of your loved ones. It is unbelievable how many photographers come to us and gush that they have never been able to quite get that sparkle out of their work until we came along and those are some of the most precious compliments we have ever received. Your memories will last a lifetime, but those photos help remind you just how exquisite your special day truly was…. so why not ensure that your photographer can effortlessly capture everything from beginning to end?
“ Compromise where you can, and where you can’t, don’t!”
Many of us see the stunning finished product of your work. Could you share what goes on behind the scenes to achieve those looks?
Absolutely! Well first off it has taken us 12 years to collect our inventory, we source from coast to coast- literally shipping these babies across the country from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, to small towns throughout British Columbia and Vancouver Island. We gut the electrical components from each piece and rewire with certified, industry standard parts.
Our lamps range from hand blown Italian Murano glass, French milk glass with hand painted gold filigree to 1930’s antique glass casted pieces that have been used for nearly 100 years.
We use different rigging techniques that range from aircraft wire to rope access gear to not only ensure our guests safety, but to create clean and beautiful suspension work. We have adapted all our techniques from working with film, set décor and power teams, riggers and stage managers, arborists, rope access workers and tenting companies. That technical training has taken years to hone and we are super proud of the skills that we use daily.
Safety is key, but beauty is always our second target.
If a couple is on a budget but wants to add some ambient lighting, what do you recommend they do?
Having a smaller budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise on lighting for your wedding or event! We have some smaller pendant collections that we rent out and offer tutorials on how you can go about hanging them up yourselves! We send you with all the gear and power cables- all you have to do is intrust your event coordinator, handy aunt or uncle, or set them up yourselves! We also offer our festoon string lights as a DIY setup too. A wonderful way to scale your budget is to select a space that you and your guests will inhabit the longest duration of time, and voilà, focus on that.
We always say – Compromise where you can, and where you can’t, don’t!
What’s the most extravagant set up you’ve done so far with your lights?
Oh my! This is a tough question! We once travelled to Vancouver Island with 20 of our pendants to work with Atmosphere Music Festival and collaborated with an arborist that literally suspended our pendants all the way up a 75′ tree. It was like an over-the-top christmas tree with life-size glowing decorations! We also commissioned a company to build an inflatable moon for Bass Coast Music festival that is literally 14′ tall! We have the pleasure of hanging it each year in our food court, and it is seriously one of my favourite jobs on site! This year we have had the honour of collaborating in many styled shoots which were definite highlights forsure! From hanging pendants in timber pole tents, beams and rafters of barns and churches, to climbing trees and through hoodoos, creating magical ambient moments that filled our hearts with love and inspired us to keep doing what we love!
What are some unique ways couples can use lights in their wedding?
We love creating that wow factor and going above and beyond for our client’s expectations is definitely one of our favourite things to do! Whether that be with an ethereal floating archway for a ceremony, bridal table or scattering our pendants and chandeliers throughout your event. Hanging pendants in a waterfall cascading down long harvest tables, or popping pairs of pendants low over a round table, mimicking and embracing the tablescape and decor. We love anchoring a dance floor with our glass chandeliers and feathering festoon lighting to create a heavenly ceiling! Mark your entrance with our stoic street lights or scatter them throughout your space to create a beautiful ambient glow.
Enchanted pathway you ask? Of course! Lead your guests to and from ceremony and reception locations with festoon lighting strings and our small pendant collections dripping from shepherds’ posts. The possibilities are endless and we thoroughly enjoy when a client has a vision in mind because it challenges us to dig into our bag of tricks and see how we can make their experience exactly the way they had imagined!
“We love creating that wow factor…”
Can you give our couples an idea of what to budget for their lighting?
I think it’s important to recognize that especially in this climate that budgets are going to look different for everyone! We often ask our couples to provide us with an intended budget so we can work within it, and offer additional add on bundles so that they can build their custom lighting package the way they want. You see, with our vintage lighting pieces you are getting far more than just light- you are getting ambient décor, that also has a functional purpose of lighting your event. So, we like to blur the lines between your décor and lighting budget and explore what is most meaningful in your ceremony or day and work towards making those moments special.
Okay, just for fun, what’s your favourite season for a wedding?
Is “Sprummerall” an answer? Spring + Summer + Fall put together? No… ?! Dang- okay. I guess if I had to choose one it would have to be summer. I am a big fan of those dreamy nights where the sunsets last for what feels like forever. You can wear something light and airy, unafraid to kick off your shoes and frolic long into the night. The dance floor is filled with all your friends and family; the air soft and warm with a slight humidity so that everyone’s face has that dewy sun kissed glow.
What’s your favourite dessert?
I am obsessed with pavlova! With fresh fruit and real whipping cream with a dressing of chocolate ganache! Ooo Lala!
What’s your favourite destination spot?
Have you ever heard of Blaylock’s Mansion? It’s a huge estate just outside of Nelson BC, and if you are looking for that midsummer nights’ fairy-tale dream… look no further. Their lush grounds, and whimsical foliage is from another world. The architecture is classic Tudor in style, and the grounds are filled with enchanted natural vined archways, moss covered steps and stoned courtyards, arched gables and muntin bar style window panes. We are such a sucker for old gothic revival and romantic era style architecture so this venue has always inspired our childhood fantasies. You might recognize Blaylock’s style from the Banff Springs Hotel, which was in fact built just before WW1 by the same architecture design company out of Montreal.
Where can people connect with you?
Our community can find us on Instagram and Facebook, and the web at covencreative.ca. We also love receiving inquiries via telephone, meeting our clients in person, and connecting over zoom for info sessions! We have an open book policy so we encourage and embrace all types of questions and inquiries!
At Melissa Dawn Event Designs, we love incorporating all the ambient lighting into your wedding design. We also love working with professionals like Coven Creative to make your wedding dreams come true. We hope this interview helped shed some light (pun intended) on why lighting is a key piece to your wedding or event.
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