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Event lighting 101: what you need to know

Graydon Carter once said: “Life is all about seating and lighting.” And in the eventing industry, we’d have to agree. Lighting is truly what sets the atmosphere and the mood for any event, and yet it can often be overlooked in the details of event planning.

Here are our top tips for lighting any event:

1. Lighting is always a good idea
You might be thinking ‘my event is during the day, it doesn’t need lighting’. Most venues don’t ‘need’ it. When it comes to lighting, you need to remember that it’s more about creating atmosphere and dimension than simply helping guests see each other and their food. Lighting can add depth and texture to any space and help make photographs look less flat (because no one looks their best in standard fluorescent lights).

2. Use lighting to enhance a space
The average conferencing venue, marquee or standard hotel banquet hall will generally be just that – a black canvas for you to use to create the look and feel you have in mind. Without strategic uplighting around the edge of the room and onto the walls, it will be difficult to give your guests a real sense of occasion. Uplighting is also a smart way to introduce a different colour palette without having to drape a room. If you’re lucky enough to have a venue with good architecture, you can use lighting to enhance the key features and up the ante.

3. Highlight the key areas
Whether you’re hosting a wedding or a corporate event, you’ll want to make sure the key areas are given the right spot lighting. Areas to consider spotlights and additional lighting for include the stage or speaker podium, dance floor, buffet and bar areas. Don’t forget out outdoor lighting at the entrance to set the tone for the event. Beyond lighting the key areas, you’ll want enough ambient light throughout the venue as whole to ensure the right mood.

4. Don’t overdo it – or do, but keep it simple
By introducing various types of lighting into the same space, you can create real wow factor – and ensure fantastic photos. Depending on your theme, there are so many options to consider including fairy lights, Edison bulbs, theatrical lamps, gobos with custom projected designs, coloured LEDs and candles to add dimension.

It’s easy to get carried away – but remember that less is more. Without fail, the most dramatic and effective lighting for a room on a budget is candles on the tables with peripheral lighting where necessary. However, when done right, the other extreme of lots of the same or similar lights can be incredible – simplicity in excess is key though.

No matter how many lights you use for your event, make sure wires are neatly tucked or taped away, or go wireless where possible.
Need an expert to light the way?
The MPR Hiring team have many years’ experience in the eventing industry and can help you source the highest quality equipment to bring your vision to life. Get in touch for a quote.