Andrea & Jules’s Wedding Reception at MassMoCA

Andrea and Jules chose the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art for their wedding reception this past spring.  The festivities began with cocktail hour on the patio inside the MassMoCA courtyard.  Here it is, with the museum’s iconic clock tower in the background:

Bistro lights in the courtyard under the MassMoCA clock tower


With its steel I-beams outside and wooden columns and brickwork inside the old converted factory buildings, MassMoCA provides a fabulously eclectic, industrial-chic setting for a celebration.  Some additional lighting makes it feel truly festive.

Bistro lights line the industrial I-beams of the MassMoca back porch


I lined the silver I-beams with vertical strands of bistro lights, pooling some at the base of each column.  I swagged from column to column following the lines of the boldly colored plastic tarps that shield the porch from rain.  The tarps’ shiny surfaces reflected the image of the bistro lights beautifully.

The patterns of bistro light bulbs are reflected in the brightly colored roof tarps over the MassMoCA porch

White bistro lights, steel I-beams and brightly colored roof tarps stand out against the bright blue night sky


Different camera settings capture the grittier feel: Rust, shards of glass, flakes of paint, cement blocks, chain link fencing… All the things that make MassMoCA such a fabulous place to show the world that you have no intention of following a traditional trajectory through married life!

Bistro lights highlight MassMoCA's industrial aspects: Flaked paint, chipped brick, rust, chain link, cement blocks, worn floorboards...


The architecture inside the MassMoCA lobby, where Andrea and Jules had their reception dinner, features whitewashed wooden columns and beams, left unchanged from the building’s days as home to Sprague Electric; and a beautiful refinished wooden floor.  We carried the bistro theme from outside into the lobby, lining the wooden columns and beams with bistro lights to articulate them.

White bistro lights line the columns of the MassMoCA lobby


The bistro lights were arranged to delineate a central area of the lobby as the dance floor.  We considered whether to play up, or play against, the overwhelmingly linear nature of the lobby, with its long primary axis and right angles everywhere.  We settled on playing it up (…when in Rome!…) so I ran exactly along the lines of the architecture rather than swagging to create curves and diagonals.

A wide view of the MassMoCA lobby during daylight, dressed up for a wedding reception that night

The lobby’s box office counter features a giant metal spring and other industrial remnants from its factory era.  I had fun dressing these up with lights as well.

The giant spring in the lobby of MassMoCA, a remnant of the Sprague Electrical Factory...


The MassMoCA lobby has small PAR lighting fixtures already installed on the ceiling and overhead beams, which are usually focused on retail kiosks, the box office, the info desk, and displays of old Sprague Electric equipment.  We refocused these fixtures to create pools of downlight spaced out evenly along the dining tables.

Track lights on the ceiling of the MassMoCA lobby were refocused to illuminate flowers on guest tables


MassMoCA’s silver metal chairs and a minimalist silver / white / glass aesthetic for the tables completed the look.  The wedding decor beautifully echoed the MassMoCA complex’s industrial feel.  Not your mother’s wedding!  Kudos to Andrea and Jules.

The bride and groom's first dance in the MassMoCA lobby