Essential Tips for Wedding Lighting
For Professional Wedding Planners or Anyone wanting to make their special day and night look it’s best!
As lighting becomes more inexpensive we see a lot of DJ’s offering to light the wedding and reception, sometimes for a much lower price. Wow – this seems like an easy answer – one-stop shopping and we all want to save money, right? Well, in this case maybe not.
Here are your two main considerations:
1. DJ lighting is made for DJ’s – it’s great for lighting the DJ himself, his booth, and lighting the dance floor, but usually not powerful enough for area lighting, décor lighting or high-powered up-lighting, not to mention, is he bringing string lighting, safety lighting and general station lighting i.e. cake table, gift area, musicians, catering, activities, etc? Remember too, your photographer will be using your lighting to get the best photos and video, so professional lighting is critical to capturing all of your digital memories of the reception.
2. Technical ability and timing. The wedding is probably one of the most important days of your life and you want the professionals you hire to know their specialty and not take on too much. Music and lighting are two distinct disciplines. It’s kind of like asking your florist to also be your videographer. Let me share the essentials of professional lighting with you.
Typically a small lighting set up takes a minimum of 2-3 techs setting up for at least 3 hours – and that’s for a small wedding. Large weddings can be a full day or night before setup. Wedding planners know that a good AV company comes early so that lights can go up before table settings and flowers so as not to disturb or dirty the finishing touches of the décor. It’s also important to have a lighting tech be there right as it’s getting dark, because that’s when the lights will need tweaking, angling, focusing and color adjusting. It’s also a good idea to hire a company that has a technician who remains near by or on the premises during the event in case any changes or surprises happen.
We recently lighted a large wedding on the north shore and the power went down suddenly – music, activity booths and the catering station, plus the tent’s string lights. This can be a nightmare, but things like this can happen here on Maui, which is why you want to hire a company that keeps a tech close by. We always have extra wireless battery-powered lighting set up, so we are never in the dark, and were there to troubleshoot as quickly as possible, in this case 2 minutes. We checked the fuse box and easily deduced that this was not the problem.
Our techs are trained to know how much electricity the power source can handle, how many lights can safely be used and to work with the musicians, DJ and other vendors who use power to make sure we have an overview of the whole AV picture. We realized something more sinister was at work – a drunken guest had decided to unplug the nearest plugs for fun. We had things back up and running in minutes because we were prepared and knew the whole electrical picture.
I know personally – having worked as a DJ, I would not have time, nor would I be in the frame of mind, to go troubleshoot a problem like this. Especially if I was hosting like most many DJ’s do. I say leave the tech work to the professionals and don’t hire a baker to make your wedding dress – even though both may be white and fluffy! For safety, for expediency, creative flair, and most of all for optimal lighting, your wedding lighting should be done by a lighting specialist!
Here’s what to expect from a professional AV company when you hire them to do your lighting and visual light or video decor:
-Knowledge of the Venue
-Its power and electricity issues, if any
-If generators are needed for backup
– Specific rigging concerns
– Familiarization with all other vendors who are using power
– Quality, state-of-the-art equipment appropriate for the venue
– Customized lighting set up to meet your desire. Examples:
- -Lighting colors, intensity, type of lighting, real-time control of lighting, specialty bulbs and light coverings, lights rigged for safety, etc.
- – Video Décor options
- – Recommendations for what works best in venue
- – Always top quality lights to fit your needs
– Minimal cords discreetly placed and staked or taped down
– Lighted areas like stairs or a random step up, walkways, port-a-potties, parking, etc.