Special Event Lighting 101

If you're looking for a way to wow your guests, create a totally new atmosphere, and transform a room, then look no further than special lighting for your event. Unfortunately, one of the myths of including lighting into your plans and budget is that it is way too expensive. Another common misconception is that it is a frivilous or unnecessary addition to your event.

In reality, lighting is actually one of the first things you should look at. The effects of well-planned lighting will create more of an impact than spending thousands of dollars on decorations will any day. Sure, elaborate decorations and huge floral arrangements will of course only add to the beauty, but if you're on a limited budget, I really recommend you look at lighting as a major part of your decorating scheme. Here are just a few key tips and some vocabulary to know when starting your event lighting extravaganza:

Uplighting- This is the main "hub" of event lighting. This is what you're looking at when you see a wall in a room that is a completely different color. Or a building that is suddenly uplit in a soft pink. Basically, this is the part of the lighting that is used to turn your average hotel ballroom into the sweet, sexy club atmosphere you're planning.

How do they do it? The colors are produced by using gels, or colored pieces that go over a normal white light. Event lighting specialists will often use a combination of several gels to create a multi dimensional look. You can also use stencil-like pieces to produce shapes and other designs on the wall, such as stars and leaves for a fall wedding.

Pin Spotting- Looking to show off the centerpiece you've been pouring over for months? Pin spotting is essentially a spotlight directed at a specific area or object, such as the centerpieces on a table. For such a little light, the art of pin spotting will make your centerpiece or tablescape go from pretty to wow.

Tip: If you'll be including pin spotting, do not forget to provide your lighting specialist a layout that will be exact and to scale, as the pin lights will need to be placed and aimed according to where the tables will be on the floor. Have a wedding planner? No worries, then- they will do this for you!

Gobo- No, this is not some strange gargoyle-style creature that will make an appearance at your wedding. Instead, this is the custom monogram or other personalized object (shape) you've most likely seen in pictures or other weddings. Have a monogram or crest that has appeared throughout the details of your wedding? Consider a gobo for your dance floor or a wall in the ballroom. It's just a nice touch and a way to further personalize your day.

Happy Planning!

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