Wedding Planning, Styling & Design: Special Effects

The Use of ‘Ice’ in Event Design

Ice is a very unique and interesting way of creating a fun focal point at an event. Although it suits a winter wedding perfectly, many different aspects of ice could also be used at summer weddings, or in warmer climates (in hot weather, the visual aspect of ice will help your guests feel cooler). For a winter wedding the ‘Ice Luge’ is a fantastic sculpture, which is also multi functional as a cooling mechanism for cocktails and shots, and a fun, exciting visual element for guests to join in with (some ice luges come complete with a spout at the bottom for guests to drink from directly!). Placed upon a darker coloured fabric and/or backdrop in a central or ‘empty space’ – the ice luge will stand out in the venue and attract the attention of guests. The element of ‘ice’ could be extended to ice shot glasses waiting to be filled at the bottom of the luge, as you pour your chosen beverage through! It is important that the ice for an ice luge is crystal clear, to obtain the full visual potential of the ‘luge’ as beverages are poured through – therefore a machine-carved sculpture would be recommended, or potentially a hand-carved sculpture, dependent on the ice used. Shot glasses could simply be made using a moulded form (rubber shot tray mould) which may create a frosted, misty ice to differ from the crystal clear ice luge.



Photo: Ice Sculpture Luge (


 Photo: Ice cake Luge (



Photo: Frosted Ice Shot Glasses (


Using ice in a summer/warmer wedding is a little trickier as you don’t want anything to melt within seconds of it being presented. An ice luge would be less appropriate in this climate, but the feeling of freshness and coolness at a warmer climate wedding is aesthetically pleasing to guests. The use of ice centrepieces is a lovely idea, differing to the usual floral displays. However, flowers are still beautiful to have as a centrepiece and could be incorporated into an ice centrepiece design by freezing fresh flowers inside an ice sculpture. The crystal clear ice (again it will need to be machine-carved or possibly hand-carved) magnifies the vibrant colours of the flowers frozen inside it, creating a ‘frozen in time’ feel and theme. The use of flowers and ice could be further used in ice shot glasses (with small flowers and/or herbs frozen in the ice glass), as well as frozen flower and herb ice cubes (all edible and safe to consume) to use in various drinks at the bar. These are small touches of ice and florals that would add vibrancy and colour to a usually plain or simple element of design.


Photo: Sweet Bliss Weddings (





  1. Fairylight Canopy


Fairylight canopies are beautiful and add a very surreal and romantic feel to a venue. Although they are ideal for venue buildings with high ceilings (i.e. old barns) as you can still see up to the beautiful, old ceiling whilst creating a close and cosier atmosphere – they are also excellent for outdoor venues without marquees. Adding a fairylight canopy above the venue area, creates a focal point, whilst outlining an ‘invisible’ marquee area. Fairylights create a dramatic effect without detracting from other focal points at the venue, and perfectly suit an outdoor, rustic wedding, or an elegant indoor event.





  1. Confetti Canon

Confetti photo shots are some of my absolute favourite wedding photographs, as it truly captures the excitement and happiness of the event as the Bride and Groom walk back down the aisle. Confetti canons are becoming more and more popular and boost the confetti photo shots to a different level with the vast amount of confetti, it displays a truly magical moment and captures the Newlyweds in a personal and surreal instant. It is lovely and welcoming for the Bride and Groom to have their closest friends and family throw the confetti after the ceremony as the Bride and Groom walk back down the aisle, but it is an exciting time at the reception venue when the new Mr & Mrs are announced for the first time, and I feel that this is the perfect time for a grand entrance with an abundance of confetti shot out of the canons, as you are able to capture a truly fun and exciting moment for the couple (as it is now beginning to set in that they are husband and wife!), as opposed to the romantic and magical moment they shared immediately after the ceremony.


Akil Bennett Houston Wedding Photographer


  1. Fireworks & Sparklers

Too many fireworks can be a little bit ‘over the top’, however a short display of dramatic fireworks can recapture the guests (as over the course of the evening they may tend to spread out with all of the dancing and enjoyment of the night) at the end of the evening, or even during the Bride and Groom’s first dance (another element of drama added to the evening) – although I feel this should be a moment for everyone to focus solely on the Bride and Groom, rather than fireworks. Fireworks are perfect for an outdoor event, as you don’t have to guide the guests too far away, but would also tie in well with the finale for the evening before all of the guests leave. A short dramatic firework display will enhance the surreal element of the wedding, creating another romantic and magical moment for the couple, as well as the guests.


Further utilising the element of fire, a beautiful sparkler send off would be the perfect way for the happy couple to end their evening (and also incorporate into some sparkler photographs). Although fire can often be a very dramatic and sometimes harsh element, it becomes soothing, romantic and enchanting when sparklers are lit under a dark sky at night.






  1. Wedding Scents

Scent is linked directly with memory, and as this will be one of the most important days in your life, it is one day that you will want to remember forever, and it is important that we incorporate scents into your wedding that will spark your senses in the years to come.


An outdoor, beach wedding immediately provides signature scents that are associated with the venue location – the musky scent of palm fronds, the salty sea air, the humidity in the atmosphere. Your venue on the beach will include all of these scents, and a gentle sea breeze will enhance these scents in the surrounding area. We will create a scent ambience before the ceremony with a signature Pina Colada cocktail, including fresh coconut milk, poured directly from coconuts picked earlier that day; freshly cut pineapple and squeeze of fresh lime juice, topped with a sprig of fresh mint and a slice of lime and pineapple. As the ceremony begins, the sweet smell of the jasmine tree next to the aisle tickles the senses of your guests, and a warm, soft vanilla scent gets caught up in the breeze, floating off of the candle lit aisle. As the evening goes on, the smell of grilled seafood from the nearby barbeque fills the air with fresh scent of lemon and lime being drizzled on top. Toward the end of the night, the burning after-scent of fireworks and sparklers lifts up into the night sky, leaving your guests with memories of a lifetime.


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