So often, my clients ask me the question, "why do I need lighting?" and while I find it possibly to be THE most important element when it comes to the design of your event, it is a very hard thing to articulate. It's the difference between having a candlelight dinner and dining under the harsh light of your kitchen. The difference between sitting in a bland banquet room or a room saturated in your vibrant wedding colors. The difference between a well designed, sophisticated event and one that is definitely missing something.
Most couples focus their priorities on the area that they notice the most at a wedding. Be it the over-the-top flowers, the crazy band or the delicious feast, every couple has a different detail they remember when they leave an event. Rarely, if ever, have I had a couple mention that they noticed the lighting as it is very much an atmospheric and background element. But, when comparing a room side by side, one with and one without additional lighting, there is no argument. Lighting can turn a room into a romantic escape, a funky lounge or even a crisp palette on which you can implement your design. You can add shapes, monograms and other little details with lighting if you're into it or just highlight those amazing flowers you spent so long picking out if you prefer an understated approach. All in all, it can truly help you create the atmosphere you're looking for, whether it be a garden event with paper lanterns or a ballroom that just needs a few flaws hidden behind some mood lighting. Now, I'm not completely insensitive to budgets and I would never suggest breaking the bank to add this element, but what I do suggest is cutting back in florals or other areas to add at lease some basic lighting to the room. A few uplights and some pinspotting can go a very long way when trying to warm up a boring ballroom.
And, if you still can't take my word for it, check out the amazing "Before and After" gallery on one of my favorite lighting designers' sites, Peterson Lighting, because of course, seeing is always believing.