The 2024 Guide to Special Event Lighting

Event Lighting 101

Uplights

Uplights are the most basic kind of event lighting. Most events you’ve attended—weddings, mitzvahs, galas, parties, your senior prom—probably had uplights placed around the room to help create a sense of ambience. The colors you choose determine the mood, so do your research on what goes best with your theme (when given the option, we like to go with blues, pinks, and purples. These colors are pretty neutral and can blend well with both warmer and cooler colors).

Gobo: Creating a Monogram

Another newer trend is using a “gobo” (which is a sort of stencil that gets placed in front of a spotlight to project a specific shape). You can display your names, wedding date, or any other design you want on surfaces like the dance floor, walls, or entrance to the venue. This can help add a bit of flair to your event lighting.

Laser Lights

Laser lights are one of the highest energy, most technologically advanced lighting systems. High-end lasers can be incredibly dynamic, and some include character generators that allow you to create custom shapes, names, patterns, and other designs. They’re not right for every situation, but they’re perfect if you’re trying to liven up the dance floor.

Blacklights

If you’re looking for a more unique experience, go with blacklights. These lights are most commonly used for wedding receptions and Halloween parties. Looking for extremely high-energy? Try black lights with a silent disco!

Neon Lights

Bring a little bit of Vegas / Hong Kong chic to your next event. Customize a neon sign to place above your sweetheart table, entertainment stage, or photobooth. Different fonts, sizes, and colors are available.

Moving Heads

Moving heads are another mainstay of the dance floor. They’re an easy way to bring energy to a party as they sweep around the room. They’re usually accompanied by uplights placed behind the DJ or band.

Marquee Letters

Like neon signs, marquee letters are classic Americana. A little bit more Broadway than Vegas, perhaps, but glamorous all the same. They also make for great photos! Spell out MAZEL TOV, CONGRATULATIONS, LOVE, MR & MRS, I DO, JUST HITCHED—whatever fits your theme.

Pinspots

“Pin spotting” is using narrow beams of light to highlight certain places/decor at your event. People often light up things like flowers, centerpieces, or the dessert table. Most photographers love these lights; it can make even simple shots more dramatic. Pinspots can help make your decor more striking, and help the beautiful centerpieces (that you spent hours designing and putting together) pop!

Fairy/String Lights

String lights are everywhere these days. They’re simple, inexpensive, and perfect for almost any event; they add just a little bit of magic. They can be hung vertically or horizontally and used to divide different spaces, illuminate an accent wall, brighten up a dining table—whatever you can imagine.