Outdoor Weddings

Gym (not using florescent lights, so outdoorsie lighting situation) string light suggestions

Hello everyone. Me and my bride to be are planning on doing our wedding in the gym of the church we are to be wed at. I'm not a fan of the super high gym ceiling so the plan is to put thin rope/string across and have tulle (scrunched up) draping between these ropes, about 8-10 feet wide. Between the drapes will be lights. I found this image which is very similar to what I'm aiming at, if not on the mark, just imagine with tulle.  

My problem is what lights to use? We are talking probably only 5 or so strands down the gym, each strand being potentially 100~ feet. I have found something like this: Wedding Party LED Fairy String but I'm not sure if that will be bright enough. We won't be having huge rows of tables like in that picture, as we also won't be having a meal, but more heavy horderves.  If these lights won't be enough, what would you recommend instead that is similar budge wise? What about table lights? Or should I simply rethink my spacing of amount of drapes between the lights?

Re: Gym (not using florescent lights, so outdoorsie lighting situation) string light suggestions

  • So in that set up, it looks like there is an additional light source - can't tell what it is, maybe windows - on the sides. I do not think only light strands are going to provide enough light for your venue. Think about night time when the Christmas tree is the only light... it's pretty dim. You need more light than that so that people don't trip, so they can socialize, and see their food.

    What about adding hanging lanterns, or chandeliers? You could also add lighting to the walls with uplighting (ask your DJ or go through an equipment company) or with more string lights
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  • What if we completely got rid of the tulle and just did the lights, but much closer to each other, and maybe 8ft from the ground? Thoughts on that?
  • When adding lighting to an indoor space, I would just caution you to make sure anything you add will not violate any local fire codes. 
  • If you're putting your lights 8 feet from the ground, will you be having any dancing or anything? One of my cousins had her wedding reception in a venue with lower-ish ceilings and people were knocking some of the decorations down with their dance moves.

    I do think you might want an extra light source; uplighting would be a great option. They can even be different colors, or dimmed later in the evening. Does the gym have any options to control the lighting that's already there? If you had them dim their normal lights and then still used the tulle, it would definitely dull the effect of the gym lights.
  • Can you incorporate fairy lights, candles, or lanterns into the centerpieces? Is uplighting in the budget? I am not really a fan but for general lighting purpose they can help add some light, even on a low setting. Adding some paper lanterns, or even floor lamps can be quite nice


  • What if we completely got rid of the tulle and just did the lights, but much closer to each other, and maybe 8ft from the ground? Thoughts on that?


    It's a good idea, but I still don't think it would be enough. Gyms typically have very high ceilings - like 15 feet. So your lighting is basically Christmas lights in pitch dark space and they're high up, making the tables even darker. 

    I really think you need to look into an additional source (even if you add lights up top. Uplighting is meant to address situations exactly like yours. It's not cheap, but at a very bare minimum, people need to be able to see. 
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  • justsiejustsie
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    I agree with PPs in that just the lights would be very dim, and I'm not sure you would be able to achieve a similar look with that much better lighting with just adding more strings. I'd ask around about uplighting, it isn't that expensive and can still create the right look. In addition, be careful with buying cheap string lights, our apartment hung them up and they break ridiculously easily. 
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  • marigold40marigold40
    25 Love Its 10 Comments Name Dropper
    member
    edited July 14
    I wouldn't go 8 ft from the ground. If you have taller guests (around 6 ft tall), they may feel a little closed in while standing and if they extend their arms (for example with dancing or stretching), they would likely rip the lights down. When I was planning to have my reception in my backyard, it was suggested to stretch the overhead lighting at 10 ft high. I agree with the others... if this will be the only lighting, it may be too dark unless you are only having your reception during the day and there are windows for sunlight. If it's in the evening or no windows, there will need to be extra lighting. I really like the idea of using the fabric to help conceal the gym ceiling and bring it down a bit, makes it more intimate and wedding-like. 

    For the string lights, you want to figure in length for swag because the lights will be heavy with that length (500' each way down the gym). It may be best to have a rental place come in and install them (especially with the tall ceilings of a gym) for you so you know they are supported correctly - wouldn't want them coming down on guests. I don't think just adding more string lights overhead would be that much better, but check with a rental place... they may have suggestions for you. LED bulbs are bright, but sometimes they give a harsh lighting. Just things to consider. I love the gym idea! 
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