Illuminations

Blue Steel Lighting Design elevates weddings.

Who would have guessed that the film Zoolander could inspire timeless elegance?

Jeremy Kilgore started Blue Steel Lighting Design as a honey-do when his wife, Michelle, the successful wedding planner behind Weddings by Michelle, came home one night in 2005 and asked him to start studying up on lighting design. Jeremy, who owned his own business at the time, says he didn’t take it seriously.

“I thought we were going to go in there and twirl flashlights or something,” says Jeremy, now in his mid-30s. “So I named the company after a joke.” (That joke was the pose that fictional model Derek Zoolander—played by Ben Stiller in the 2001 comedy—made famous.)

But Jeremy soon learned how the magic of well-placed lights could transform a nondescript ballroom into a place of glamour. (“It’s all in the LEDs,” he says.) The firm, based in Richmond and Hampton Roads, has gained such prominence throughout the Commonwealth and North Carolina that Michelle recently closed her planning business to work full-time for Blue Steel.

“I know how to communicate with the brides,” says Michelle, “That’s what sets us apart from other lighting firms in Virginia.” Instead of using tech speak, she says, “I know how to explain why a certain light will work—because it will match the linens or it’s conducive to the entire look.”

Blue Steel often goes for a soft amber candle glow to complement linens and flatter skin tones, setting blues and purples for special dances to enhance the bride and groom’s silhouette on the dance floor. Other services range from projecting the couple’s monogram on the dance floor to creating custom-chandelier covers to better suit the bride’s taste. Blue Steel lights about 200 weddings a year, in addition to other events.

No matter what they do, Blue Steel’s services are, in Michelle’s words, essential. “Lighting is the component that best enhances all the wedding’s design details, even a simple centerpiece.” BlueSteelLightingDesign.com

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