The Purple Light and New York Weddings


So I’m getting married in April of next year in New Orleans, LA. There are many practical reasons for this: closer to my family, closer to the bride’s family, longer wedding season, cheaper venues and lodging, better accommodation for those with young families, etc. But something that really drove us away from New York was one aesthetic consideration that we saw again and again: the dreaded Purple Light.

In this seasons “New York” Weddings special I found these photos:

Purple light at the Four Seasons

Purple light at the Four Seasons

Purple light at the Ziegfeld Ballroom

Purple light at the Ziegfeld Ballroom

Taylor Creative furniture awash in purple light

Nice things to sit on in, in Purple Light

It’s certainly possible, of course to find incandescently light yellow and gold light. Our friends Corey and Alex had a wonderful and warmly lit wedding in a room filled with beautiful, warm incandescent Edison bulbs. But what we find, frankly, baffling is how heavily the Purple Light is used as “come hither.”

Our working theory is that due to New York’s relatively short wedding season (grimy snow in winter or sweat-soaked groomsmen in summer out the windows hardly crow “Your Dream Wedding Day!"). We believe a visual shorthand has been created in the Northeast that codes “party atmosphere” as “Purple Light” — even in the depth of uncomfortable weather seasons. We still wonder does Purple Light reflected on white, shimmery satin somehow signal “classy party” in the Northeasterner’s mind? As transplants, we simply do not know.

For me, reality is in oranges and yellows, the humid water-soaked air of Houston. For Lauren it’s the white hot needle of Southern Californian sun. Oddly in San Francisco, where similar light conditions prevail, I never saw