From ceremonial structures, centerpieces, and linens to entertainment and cuisine, there are so many aspects that go into planning a beautiful wedding. All of these features are lost without amazing lighting. Lighting can be used to completely transform the look and feel of a venue, creating a breathtaking setting where memories that last a lifetime are made.
Marcus Mordachini founded his company, Fusion Productions, in 1997. For the past 20 years, he has been making couples’ wedding wishes come true through innovative techniques in lighting and event design. We had the pleasure of talking with Marcus about how he got started in the industry, what it is like to work in New York City’s top wedding venues, and the latest trends and technologies couples are using to illuminate their special day.
Can you tell us about your background? How did you become involved in event design and lighting?
I actually started out as disc jockey at a popular roller rink in Long Island called Laces. This introduced me to events because in addition to music, I was responsible for the lighting. I eventually moved on to DJing for private events and became interested in event lighting and production. At this time, I was also going to school for theater and was often involved in the theater design of our productions, which involved set design and lighting. In 1996, I made the decision to go into the lighting industry and get my own equipment. I was still working as a DJ and joined More Than Music, eventually becoming a partner of the company. Having my toes in both the music entertainment and event industries was incredibly beneficial. It opened doors and helped me make the right connections to get Fusion Productions off the ground and ultimately make it a success. I started working out of my parents one car garage and it grew from there. It has been an amazing ride. I am looking forward to creating memorable events in the future.
You founded your company over 20 years ago. How has event lighting technology and design changed from when you first started out?
Technology has advanced dramatically. Today we have LED technology, smaller light fixtures, battery operated lighting, wireless fixture communication, video mapping and so much more. All of this makes it easier to translate a couple’s dream wedding to reality.
View Full Gallery of Jenna & Matthew’s Wedding at the Museum of Jewish Heritage with Lighting Design by Fusion Productions Here.
We’ve had the pleasure of collaborating on many weddings together. What advice do you have for the couple that is just starting to think about lighting for their wedding?
To any couple that is asking “Do we really need to have lighting at our wedding?” I say absolutely. You spend all this time and money on beautiful flowers, elegant décor, and structures such as a chuppah or arch to celebrate the most important day of your life so far. But if you walk into the venue and can’t see it because of bad lighting, the magic and happiness that you should be feeling is totally lost.
View Full Gallery of Marianna & Peter’s Wedding at Mandarin Oriental with Lighting Design by Fusion Productions Here.
As you just said, having good lighting is so important. It not only sets the mood, but enhances flowers, décor, and even attire – all the details that make a couple’s big day special and unique. How can lighting be incorporated into a wedding?
Lighting starts as soon as you walk into a venue. Use it to draw attention to the areas you want to highlight. For a ceremony, lighting can be used to show off focal points such as the chuppah and arch. Use it to draw attention to the aisle as the bride and wedding party enters and then after the ceremony as the bride and groom are taking their first walk together as a married couple.
Aim to light the reception space in a way that is warm and welcoming. For table décor, use soft, white lighting to highlight floral centerpieces while retaining the flowers’ natural color. It’s also important to light each centerpiece from multiple locations. Around the perimeter of the space, use up lighting in pale, soft amber to create a candlelight atmosphere.
Lighting of the dance floor and band is also very important. Highlight the band using soft, subtle flesh tones. Make the dance floor pop by highlighting the area in a textured pattern. Lastly, remember to dim the venue’s existing lighting to a minimum.
How can lighting be used to change the look and feel of a venue space?
Today, many couples are choosing to have their weddings in untraditional venues such as industrial lofts, outdoor spaces, and trendy hotels. These venues tend to offer blank canvases to work with. With great lighting, flowers, and décor, these raw, bare spaces can be completely transformed to suit just about any wedding style.
From grand hotels with ballrooms to chic industrial warehouses to private clubs, the New York City area offers many different types of wedding venues. What do you consider when you first walk into a space? Is it always “reach for the stars,” or are there limitations?
Each venue is unique and has its own limitations. My job is to listen to each client’s wish list and then design the proper lighting that fits the venue. Having a strong working knowledge of all of the venues in New York City is very important.
A main part of your work is about translating a couple’s wedding vision into a breathtaking spectacle, which they will remember for the rest of their lives together. How does it feel knowing that your work helps to create such lasting memories?
For a couple, planning a wedding is a journey. To be part of that journey and know that our work helps make their wedding dreams come true is incredibly inspiring. When the day finally comes, to step back and see that we were able to create this beautiful setting that the couple will remember for the rest of their lives feels amazing.
In addition to weddings, you have worked on events for major institutions like the New York Public Library and American Museum of Natural History. What kind of work goes into the lighting and design of your larger, high profile events?
It’s been an incredible honor to work in some of New York City’s major institutions. From highlighting valuable artifacts on grand scale to stunning architecture, these venues offer amazing possibilities for lighting design. You also have limited time to set up. It’s very important to have the proper amount of staff and equipment to get the job done.
What are the latest trends in wedding lighting and design? Are there any trends or new technologies that you are particularly excited about?
Using tents for events is nothing new, but there are new trends in design and lighting happening. Now tents are being constructed with elaborate draping, often times at a couple’s home or at a venue with a large estate. Fairy lighting has become very popular. It creates a magical atmosphere and can be used both indoors and outdoors. We have a very large inventory of chandeliers designs ranging from elegant glass crystal to modern sputniks. Chandeliers are great features, which totally transform both tents and traditional venues, creating a focal point over dance floors or the head table.
We are also seeing couples putting more emphasis on the dance floor and staging. In the past, you just went with the venue’s original flooring. Now, we are covering floors with acrylic in just about any color. We are also wrapping floors with vinyl appliqués, which present the couple’s monogram or creative design in the center. Art Deco patterns and florals are very popular. Couples are even using this feature on the aisle to create the appearance of bed of rose petals, rustic wood, or grass.
Ultimately, couples seem to really want to incorporate more theatrical elements into their celebrations. They want that “wow” factor. We’ve been doing amazing video projections during the ceremony. As the bride walks down the aisle, flowers appear on the floor just behind the train of her gown. Rose canons are really spectacular. They shoot gorgeous rose petals into the air at important moments like the first kiss. And we just did a wedding using cold sparkler machines to line the dance floor. The sparks are cold so there is no worry about a fire. As the bride and groom entered the room, huge sparklers rose into the air to create this magnificent entrance.
A big thank you to Marcus for taking part in our Industry Influencer Interview series!
For more information of Fusion Productions’ work, visit: www.fusionproductions.biz
Follow on Instagram: @fusionlightingproductions