Let me start this post off by saying that I always bring lighting to a wedding for the reception. Once the dancing at a reception starts, the lights usually go down and it gets darker, so I always have my external flashes and lights to help make sure the dance floor is lit for those fun reception shots everyone wants. That begin said, when a bride comes to me and asks about reception lighting, I almost always suggest looking into uplighting.
If you want to dress up your reception room, uplighting isn’t much work but has a huge effect. I’m a huge fan of uplighting. It can really turn a room that might look a little plain jane and adds some drama to help transform the room. Reception rooms with white or neutral colored walls will see the most impact from this kind of lighting. If your venue has darker walls or is a rustic venue that has wooded walls, you might want to skip this part as it lessens the effect of the lights.
Your DJ should be able to provide you with lighting and any questions you may have but here are some examples from a tented wedding I photographed recently that had some beautiful uplighting that really added to the atmosphere of the party.