5 Steps to Top Notch Event Lighting

Choosing colors is always a fun step in planning your wedding, but deciding how that will look in the final product can be intimidating.  Do you use colorful flowers?  Or maybe incorporate lighting?  Are your tables bold, while bridesmaid dresses are subtle?  We are here to help!  You can use them all.  Here are our expert tips for achieving perfect event lighting:


Black Tie


5 Steps to Achieve the Perfect Event Lighting

1)  Decide what color scheme you want for your event:

This is easier said than done!  Deciding what colors you want to use for your big day can be tough, but relaxing and having fun will make the process completely manageable!!  First, remember colors invoke mood, theme, and feelings, so keeping that in mind as you decide will be a great guide for your “gut”.  Choose 2-3 colors that you think reflect the mood you are going for (and make sure they complement each other), then choose an additional 1-2 colors that will help make the palate well-rounded.


2)  Decide if you want your color choice to be the main color or just an accent:

When choosing a color, or color palate, you must decide what the main color is going to be and what colors will play the “supporting role”.  You can choose BOLD as your main color with a soft accent or vice versa.  Do you want Dramatic or Calm?  Glamorous or Casual?  Striking or Elegant?  So many choices!  Below are a couple of examples to help you get your creative juices flowing:

A Romantic night in Paris with Royal Blue as your Lead and Gold as an accent









Tickle your guests Pink and go with something more feminine








Classic Black & Silver (Black & White or Black & Red) for a sleek and sophisticated look








We have seen a wide array of color palates (even some unexpected choices) and they all seem to come together to dazzle the wedding guests in the end.  Don’t be afraid to try colors that are a little unconventional either!  Have fun with this – choosing your color is Stage One for planning your Special Day!


3)  Choose table settings:

Now that you’ve chosen which colors are going to work best for your them, you’ll be able to start the decoration process!  Before you choose your lighting color, you’ll want to design your tables first. This is another fun way to let your personality shine through for your guests to enjoy your celebration!  Huge flower arrangements, vintage photos, or simple candle stands, are all option you get to consider!  While you are the director of this show, out talented team is happy to make suggestions that will enhance your decision process.

Many of our clients choose table cloths and slip covers for the chairs – accented by glamourous table decor, while others prefer a tablecloth with a simple big bow around the back of the chair.  What’s your style?  Tuscan Night or Cadillac Cowboy?  Black Tie or Jeans and Cowboy Boots?  This is your special day, make it your own! Plate chargers are available in a variety of colors and styles, as well — Have fun with this process!!!


4)  Light Up Your Night!

Blue with silver or gold?  Black with champagne or white?  Eggplant with ivory?  Fuchsia with orange?  Red with black?  Perhaps all the colors of a Fall Bouquet?  There are endless possibilities!

Now that you have chosen your 4-5 colors and designed your table around them, it’s time to think about lighting.  Lighting can make or break a reception and venue space!  Do you want the color to immerse the room in emotion, or are you feeling confident in your table settings?  You can add a lighter color to keep the room feeling clean and fresh, or you can complement your color choices by doubling down on your theme!


5)  Test out the intensity against your design:

This is where you get to see the final product!  Bringing all your choices together for a Sneak Peak at your creative genius!!!  Don’t like the tall vases, bring them down a notch.  Think the orange is too much with the purple?  Change the accent color.  Want a softer look?  Add some warm lighting.  Our Design Consultants can help you achieve your goal.  So get started and choose your colors!  Then let your dream wedding take flight!


Happy Planning and remember, we are here to help!!! 

Wedding budget. Where should we spend our money?

Setting your wedding budget takes much more thought than just coming up with a total number. Where you spend your money all depends on what is most important to you, and what you value most. If you’ve never planned an event or celebration like this before, it’s best to think about the END RESULT or the outcome you want first. What do you want the outcome to be, the celebration to feel like and look like, and your guests to say at the end of the night?


In order to figure all of this out, do some research and ask yourselves some of these questions before making any decisions.

  • Food: Is food very important to us, or important, but not at the top of the list?
  • Having fun: Fun doesn’t just happen because you hire a DJ. What plan will you make to include fun elements throughout the celebration?
  • Music and dancing: Is music really important in our lives, and therefore must be a huge part of our celebration? If your answer was yes, then hiring a great DJ who knows how to read a crowd, has a great sound system, and is also an amazing Emcee will be a critical decision for you.
  • The Decor and Look: The décor, lighting and ambiance – how important is this and how talented are we at creating this ourselvers? Is it important for us to choose a venue that includes a designer and a lot of decor?
  • Cocktails: Do we want to provide a bar or partial bar for our guests?
  • The Guest Experience:  Do we want the type of wedding celebration that flows really well, is extremely well planned and executed, fun for our guests, and is not the typical boring wedding? Have we thought about what it takes to treat our guests to a wonderful celebration overall?
  • Photography: Do we want amazing professional photos that will create lasting memories or are we ok with a friend doing it to save us money?
  • Videography: Is having a  video of the whole celebration important to us?
  • Flowers:  How important are they?
  • The ceremony itself: What value to we place on the actual ceremony, who marries us, and who stands up for us?
  • The list goes on…


Make educated decisions

To save yourself any heartache, and possible regrets, remember before you choose a venue, hire a DJ or choose your caterer, you must first figure out what you want your wedding celebration to feel like, look like, taste like, etc. Finding out what these things cost before you make any quick decisions, will be essential to you getting the end result you desire. Don’t be fooled by getting FREE stuff, especially if it’s for something you REALLY value, because sometimes you get what you pay for and you don’t want any regrets. Look for value over price when it comes to your top 5 most important things.


Ask about offsite catering fees

Educate yourself on what fees an offsite caterer charges before you choose one. Many couples don’t’ realize that most offsite caterers charge three different fees: administrative fees, services fees, and gratuities, which are all separate fees over and above the food and tax. These can add up fast.


A DJ isn’t there just to play music

If music is critical and the flow of your event, then make sure you hire a top-notch DJ who is also an amazing Emcee. Don’t make the mistake of hiring a friend or some guy who plays great music at a club. A wedding celebration is very different than a club/party, and the whole ceremony and reception can run for 5 – 7 hours; therefore, the role of Emcee is as critical as playing great party music if you want your guests to enjoy the whole evening. The DJ can make or break your celebration.


Decor, and the look of your wedding

If décor and ambiance is very important, find photos of the décor you love, and figure out a rough estimate of what it will cost to achieve that look. As the venue you choose to show you all of the decor they include, and determine what a florist must do to make the centerpieces and ceremony look the way you want. This can add up fast.


The guest experience

If making sure your guests have a great time is important to you, determine what they enjoy and provide that for them. Remember that the cocktail hour is a critical segment of your celebration to consider when you think about creating a great “guest experience”. If your guests are hungry, and there are no appetizers, or they have to pull out their wallets to buy their own drink, it typically starts the celebration off with a little bit of a let down for them.

Forever photos

While it can definitely be fun to get your guests involved in taking informal shots throughout the wedding day so you can see your event through their eyes, it’s important to seriously consider whether these are the only photos you want to walk away with.

Your wedding will last only one day, but your wedding photos will be with you for a lifetime and possibly beyond when you pass them onto your kids.

With all the time and financial investment couples make to create the perfect nuptial celebration, it would be a shame not to capture it in the most thorough and professional way.

That’s why we try to encourage our clients to invest in an experienced, talented photographer and reduce photo costs in other ways.

One idea to consider is taking the physical photo album into your own hands. By taking on the design and logistics of creating your own wedding album with a company like BrideBox, you’ll eliminate this labor cost with your photographer while still getting a gorgeous keepsake of your wedding day.


Stress or Stress Free?

Be realistic as to how much work you really have time to do, and want to do yourself. What is your time worth to you? Are you working full time or attending school, and how much extra time do you have to spend planning your wedding on top of your busy schedule? Choosing a venue with more “all-inclusive” services and items that YOU value can minimize your stress immensely. Look for venues that  give you more for your money, and give you guidance so the process is a stress free experience.


Décor Reality Check

If you want gorgeous centerpieces, lots of candles, ironed linens, gorgeous lighting and more, the first thing you should ask a venue is how much time you get for set up. Find out who does the set up, what your florist or designer will charge to do the centerpieces, what the venue includes for you, and what you may have to do. Did you know that to set up a gorgeous platinum wedding for 100 guests can take up to 40 man hours to create or more. If a venue gives you 2 hours of set up time and one hour of tear down, you have to determine how many staff members it will take to achieve the look you want in 2 hours. In addition, if tear down is only one hour, you will have to hire that staff to come back at the end of the evening to tear it all down in an hour. Finding a venue that does not rush you in and out can make all the difference in your stress level and the type of look you can actually create.


The wedding budget

Whether your budget is large or small, your main objective is to get the most value out of the dollars you have to spend. If you and your fiancé are paying for your own wedding, setting the budget should include every little detailed item you need to buy or hire for the ceremony and reception. Often, however, the bride or groom’s family is involved in paying for parts of the wedding. In this case, you should probably sit down with your parents and have a discussion about the wedding budget, and what they can contribute.


My advice is to do your TOP FIVE things really well and put your money into hiring or buying those items first. Secondly, get a very clear idea of what all of the other items cost and prioritize from there.


Whatever your preference, decide on these things together, and determine what you’re willing to invest in and what can be cut back.



Elisabeth Montoya – Lead Designer / Co-owner – The Bella Sera Event Center






…Ready, Set, Pin

A lot has changed in the past 11 years since The Bella Sera Event Center’s team planned and designed the first wedding at our venue. One of the biggest innovations to have a positive impact on our industry in the past 5 years was the launch of Pinterest in March of 2010.

Did you know that your Pinterest board is very helpful to your personal Bella Sera Designer?

Your Bella Sera Event Designers are constantly looking for ways to get to know you and your personal wedding style, as well as add value to and simplify wedding planning and designing for our couples! Prior to your design session, your Pinterest boards are a great tool to help us get a sense of your own personal style for your dream wedding!

Here’s how you can use Pinterest to help connect with our Designers:

  • Specify Your Wedding Boards: Making a board JUST for cake styles, JUST for wedding attire, JUST for lighting, JUST for floral accents, JUST for ceremony backdrops, etc… is a great way to show us exactly what you like!
  • Pin Whatever You Like: Seriously!  And be sure to have fun with it!  This is all part of the process of figuring out exactly what the overall style of your wedding will be. Once you’ve created some boards, ‘shop’ around a bit on the internet and simply pin the things you like onto your coordinating boards. Believe it or not, a theme will start to develop!
  • Leave Us Notes:  While you’re pinning, you can leave notes beneath the items that you are pinning to tell us why you liked them or what specifically you liked about the image and how you might like to see those ideas transpire on your wedding day.
  • Peruse Our Boards!: Don’t be shy!We’d love for you to spend some time looking at our latest and greatest! Like, repin & tell us what you love on our boards!
  • Share Your Username: Connect with us directly on Pinterst or send us your username when we set up your design session! Remember, your Pinterest username may not be just your name!  Be sure to copy and paste your username directly from your Pinterest URL (pinterest.com/username)

So if you haven’t already, sign up for Pinterest, create some boards and get to pinning! We promise you’ll become addicted, and have fun at the same time by visually seeing all of your inspirations in one spot.

Mekella and Jake – A Modern Romantic Dream Wedding

It took over a year to plan, teams of wedding professionals and a handful of special effects to produce, but the dream wedding that Mekella had envisioned, became a reality.

hanging cake, crystal chandelier, dramatic draping for a wedding

When Mekella came to Elisabeth Montoya, lead wedding designer at The  Bella Sera, she had a good idea of what she wanted. She wanted a hip, modern, romantic wedding celebration. Most of all, she wanted to amaze her guests. Over the next year, Elisabeth and Mekella spent countless hours pouring over choices and exploring options until, indeed, they had planned Mekella’s dream wedding celebration.

The twin ballrooms at The Bella Sera, magically transformed, took on the look and feel of a very VIP nightclub. From the 14’ ice bar with dual martini luges, dry-ice drinks, indoor  and outdoor lounge areas, cool blue LED lighting, a hanging cake and the ever changing fog wall, every piece came together to transport Mekella and Jake’s family and friends to a completely different world.

ice bar with custom decoration for a wedding

The night began with the guests seated, awaiting the bride’s entrance in a  ballroom dripping with crystal chandeliers, candle light and flowers. The magic began when Mekella and her  uncle appeared through a curtain of glitter on the fog wall. The fog wall itself is a thin curtain of fog that the pros at Bella Sera projected blue glitter on. The glitter appeared to float on air until they walked through and the curtain parted around them. It was a truly magical moment. The Bella Sera is the first event venue in the United States to have this technology.

bride makes entrance through wall of fog

After the romantic candle light ceremony they moved to the reception ballroom and the magic continued. The cool blue walls highlighted the dramatic draping, multiple crystal chandeliers and stunning ice bar. The table top decor, from Vickie’s Flowers was tall, white, dripping with bling and picked up the sparkle of Bella Sera’s specialty lighting perfectly.

Suspended from the ceiling on a floating platform of flowers sat a magnificent 4’ wedding cake from Elegant Bakery. The cake composed of red velvet, white and chocolate tiers along with the display were the hit of the night.dramtic grand wedding cake on hanging table

After feasting on a sumptuous 3-course dinner of Chef John’s Italian masterpieces from the Italiano Menu, DJ Done rocked the house. Elisabeth and the team at Pure Energy Events created a lounge area in front of the DJ for the dancers to congregate. For those looking for a more laid back feel Mekella created a outdoor lounge complete with firepit and LED furniture.

Outdoor Lounge at The Bella Sera

Also entertaining was the fog wall. The guests congregated in the mist of fog all night trying to catch the shooting images as they danced and swirled in thin air!  Everyone took home a memory from the photobooth

Fog Wall at The Bella Sera

A wedding like this doesn’t come together without a lot of time, work and a host of professionals but working with Mekella and Jake was a blast. They are an adorable, gracious, creative and talented young couple. We wish them all the best in their new life together as husband and wife!

A special thank you to Mark  Alison Photography for all of the gorgeous photos…as usual!


Mark Alison Photography

Video by Adam Fusion Films

Cake by Elegant Bakery

Flowers by Vickie’s Flowers

Ice Sculpture by Icesculpture.com

DJ- DJ Done (Joe)

Lounge Furniture by Pure Energy Events

Catering by The Bella Sera Event Center, Chef John Montoya

Design, Decor, Wedding Planning and Coordination by Elisabeth Montoya

Dry Ice Drinks, Liquor and Bar by The Bella Sera Event Center

Ballroom slider

Amber color wash slider

The Bella Sera Event Center

Thanks for stopping by at the Bella Sera Event Center Blog.

A truly special celebration deserves an amazing, distinctive venue, where every guest and family member is the guest of honor and every detail is thoughtfully planned in advance.

Our core values of integrity, compassion, creativity, and passion for what we do – along with our one-of-a-kind creative approach to each and every event – are what makes Bella Sera a success and what differentiates our celebrations from those held at other venues.

These values are our foundation and help us make a personal connection with all of our customers and their guests. Since 2004, Bella Sera has earned our reputation as the premier North Denver wedding venue and special event center because of our sophisticated ambiance, our team of event design and event planning experts, delicious and affordable catering, 25 plus years experience in the hospitality industry, and caring approach to creating personalized celebrations for each and every client.

The Bella Sera is one of the most popular wedding reception sites in Denver, visit our website today.

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