What Is Gobo Lighting for Weddings?



What Is Gobo Lighting for Weddings?
What Is Gobo Lighting for Weddings?

When it comes to choosing the lighting fixture(s) for your wedding reception, many of you will consider whether or not you want to incorporate gobo lighting. While popular within the stage and theatre world, the common layperson might not know all that much about gobo lights and why you might want to incorporate them into your wedding.

So, with that in mind, we will use this space to run through gobo lighting, describing what it is, how it is used at wedding receptions, and why you might want to hire wedding gobo lights for your celebration.

So what exactly is a wedding gobo?

What Are Gobo Lighting Fixtures for Weddings?

A gobo is a template that light shines through to project an image onto a surface. In the context of weddings, glass and metal gobos are often used to project ornate patterns, motifs, or the bride and groom's names across the wedding venue or onto the dance floor area.


If you are wondering where the term "gobo" comes from, it's actually an acronym. It stands for GOes Before Optics. A gobo is usually a stencilled circular disc placed in front of a lighting fixture light source to create a projected image or pattern.


As you might imagine, these small stencilled circular disc(s) are anything but new. However, they are still being used as part of event lighting lineups at event venue(s) all over the world. Weddings, in particular, have given these small discs a new lease of life.

Better still, advances in lighting equipment have allowed companies such as On Tour Events to become even more creative with the impressive shapes and patterns we can beam around your wedding venue.


In terms of makeup how gobos are made up, there are two primary materials, steel and glass. Steel gobos are the most basic and usually project black and white patterns. By contrast, glass gobos are more ornate and often project coloured patterns.

Lastly, there is an emerging trend of plastic gobos. However, they are designed to work specifically with an LED gobo projector.

What Lighting Fixtures Can You Use for a Gobo?

There are a range of lighting fixtures that you can use with a gobo. However, that is not to say that they will work with all types of event lighting. You need to have a light that can accommodate the gobo holder while being able to take the small stencilled circular disc in its light path so that it can focus and zoom the gobo.


In most cases, your gobo lighting fixture will be some version of a spotlight, thanks to its concentrated beam. However, increasingly moving "intelligent" fixture(s) have been adapted to take gobos so that you can beam a custom wedding gobo across the entire venue/event space. You can also use a specialist gobo projector to slot in your custom wedding gobos or project custom images.


The size of the gobo you use will be dictated by the lighting fixture, not the projected image or pattern. They range from approximately 20mm to 150mm, so that's something you'll need to bear in mind when designing your desired wedding gobo image. There's only so much you can fit into a projected image that small.

Why Should I Use Gobo Lights for My Wedding?

There are many reasons to incorporate gobo lighting into your wedding reception decoration(s). First and foremost, gobos offer something visually different for your wedding guests to absorb. No other lighting effect has quite the same potential to draw wedding guests in. That's especially true of moving gobos that drift across your wedding reception event space.


Another reason they are incredibly popular at weddings is that you can create your own custom stencil to fit your wedding reception theme or even the overall wedding theme. For instance, if you are having a circus-inspired wedding reception or a fairytale wedding theme, then you can easily create a custom design to beam around your venue that fits the bill.

That goes for most elegant wedding themes too, from a rustic wedding theme to Christmas inspired weddings or an ocean wedding, gobos can be tweaked to any chosen wedding theme. Meaning when other wedding light ideas might not be suitable, gobos are always an excellent fit for wedding lighting.


How Can I Incorporate Gobo Lights Into My Wedding Reception?


An excellent question, and one we are asked often by our clients. The problem is there is no straightforward answer! It's all about your wedding reception theme and your personal preferences. While the option for a custom gobo stencil design is always there, we stock hundreds of stencils that are ready to go at a moment's notice.

With that in mind, it's perhaps best to give you a few examples so that you can start to draw inspiration and gain a feel for how you might use gobo lights as part of your wedding event lighting lineup.

Example One - Rustic Outdoor Wedding (with Marquee & Dance Floor)

We've already worked with plenty of rustic outdoor weddings in our time here on On Tour Events, such as this event in the French countryside. People have the misconception that you can't use a gobo light or gobo projectors outside, but the truth is that you most definitely can.

For instance, if you are trying to create that Instagram style forest feel for your wedding reception, then you can use LED fixtures with a gobo overlay to create a projected image or pattern that dapples against the fir tree (Christmas trees) canopy that guests walk through on their way to the rustic style marquee.


Inside the marquee, you could once again include gobo lights as part of your wedding lighting lineup, but having wedding monogram gobos created that beams across the dance floor, with perhaps your names and the wedding date.

Example One - Romantic Indoor Wedding at Grand Hall

Perhaps being outdoors doesn't suit your image of a fairytale wedding. In that case, you can use gobo lighting fixtures to create a broader array of effects indoors. For instance, if you are looking to create memorable moments at your classic romance theme wedding, why not use gobos paired with a few special effects lights to create a projected starry night along the ceiling of the grand reception hall.


The sight of tiny white lights appearing to dance across the ornate architectural feature will have even the shyest guest audibly gasping; such is the power of choosing the right lighting for your venue.


Once inside, you could then use a gobo colored light to subtly draw guests attention to some of the features of the event theme, including your decorations, the kissing photo booth, the wedding cake, or even the dance floor. Don't forget that dance floors and monogram-style gobo lighting are a match made in heaven too.


There's no effect or theme you can't enhance with the right lighting in today's event market. With our huge range of gobo light options, we can accommodate all wedding lighting requests. Whether you want a static fixture with a gobo overlay or an intelligent fixture to beam your custom gobo design right across your retro reception or vintage theme, our event lighting professional(s) can make it happen for you.

Can I Have a Custom Wedding Gobo Lighting Fixture?

Another good question, and again totally up to you. As mentioned, many lighting companies such as On Tour Events will have a huge range of gobo light stencils ready to go.


Whether you want an intelligent gobo projector to throw out snowflakes over the Christmas trees you've hired for your winter wedding or you have a special projected image that you want to display on your wedding marquee dance floor, in most cases, we have the gobo stencils and lighting fixtures to create what you are looking for.


However, there are no worries if we don't have something that fits your chosen event theme. Not only do we have an in-house design department, but we also have the ability to manufacture gobo stencils too. We are one of only a few event lighting hire companies that offer this custom wedding lighting service.


So if you want to go down the custom route, our years of experience in the corporate events industry have helped us become leaders in designing and supplying custom wedding lighting requests, including gobos.

Are Custom Wedding Gobo Light Fixtures Worth It?

Whether you want to go for a custom option is totally up to you and will likely depend on several factors. For instance, your decision will, of course, be influenced by your overall wedding lighting budget.


Your chosen wedding reception themes might also have a bearing on your decision. If you can get gobo stencils from stock that fit your overall wedding theme, then is there a need to upgrade to a custom gobo option? Especially when you consider it will have a short life span (one event). The answer is probably not.


However, from our experience of working with hundreds of couples over the years, a custom gobo does act as a lovely keepsake of your special day. Also, it does look very cool if you come up with some custom branding for your wedding à la corporate events to beam around your venue. But that's just our thoughts on it! Your choice will purely come down to your personal feelings on the matter.

Can You Use Gobos at Outdoor Weddings?

We have already touched on this above, but it's worth addressing more directly, as happy betrothed couples often misunderstand how and where gobos can be used for their wedding celebrations.


The answer is an emphatic YES! Remember, all you need is a surface upon which to project an image or pattern, and that's pretty much it in terms of gobo requirements. We have a wide range of wireless, battery-operated lighting fixtures that can accommodate gobos. And for those of you planning an extravagant outdoor gobo-based display, we have generators more than capable of powering the powerful spotlights you need.


In most cases, even outdoor weddings aren't necessarily "outdoors." In most cases, you will have a wedding marquee or tipi, which, you guessed it, act as brilliant surfaces to use gobo projectors or other similar, gobo-compatible fixtures.


So, overall, yes, there aren't many event locations whereby it would be impossible use incorporate gobos as part of your event lighting lineup.