Event Lighting 101: What Every New York Event Planner Should Know

November 7, 2022 Jessica Stewart

One of the more important components of any event, from corporate conferences to family bar/bat mitzvahs, is the lighting. Your ambiance and aesthetics can be complemented with the right lighting. And similarly, having inadequate lighting or improper hues could be detrimental to your event’s overall experience. Today, we’ll dive into lighting details today’s event planners should consider. Get inspired and make every event you plan a brilliantly-lit experience!

The Basics of Uplighting

Probably one of the most basic lighting concepts involves uplighting. And it’s great for event planners because of this lighting style’s versatility in a variety of venues and spaces. Enhance any room with light shining upwards against walls or panels of drapery. Make small lounges appear bigger with uplighting along opposing walls. Brighten a stage presence with uplighting along the backdrop. And don’t forget to use uplighting wherever you have signage, advertising, or attendee directions.

Food & Buffet Lighting

Your event’s menu and dinner service are one of the most critical components. Don’t forget to use lighting to your advantage and make those buffet islands glow! Showcase an elaborate dessert spread. Highlight beverage stations with golden hues. The right lighting will not just make your guests aware of the food, but it can amplify and draw attention to those delectable morsels. 

String Lighting Is an Event Planner’s Best Friend

Whether you’re event planning an outdoor celebration or a corporate conference, always keep your own stash of string lights on hand. String lights, often associated with the “circus look,” are strung across open spaces from elevated points. They provide more ambient light rather than direct lighting, which is why they’re almost always perfect for those outdoor venues. But they’re super versatile and your best friend, with the potential to light up a walkway or path, brighten the perimeter of a room, or showcase as a table string. They’re inexpensive and a great tool in the arsenal for event planners looking to spruce up their space with last-minute lighting touches.

The Tips & Tricks of Ambient Lighting

Washing spaces with ambient light is incredibly useful, especially when you need to illuminate all the corners evenly. You’ll see these often in theatrical performance lighting, which makes them a no-brainer for stage presentations at events, too. Typically, this kind of lighting is used to provide well-lit areas without detracting from special lighting or other features. Keep your ambient hues soft and warm, in whites or mild shades so as not to become a distraction.

Spotlighting Do’s & Don’ts

Be careful with how you integrate spotlighting into your event. Of course, it’s ideal in certain scenarios, capable of taking an event ambiance to the next level and bringing life to any stage performance or presentation. However, there are do’s and don’ts to consider, and applying a spotlight the wrong way can really do your event a disservice. Keep spotlights in smaller, manageable beams to highlight decorative centerpieces or accent decor. And if you do have to use a spotlight overhead or from a stage, be mindful not to direct its brightness into the crowd.

What are some event lighting tips and tricks you’ve learned over the years? Consider these insights as you develop a plan for your next New York conference or soiree. Knowing how to channel light to your advantage can do wonders for your event’s aesthetics.

For more ideas like these and to get in the room with other event professionals who can share their best practices, make sure you’re on the waitlist for The Event Planner Expo 2023!

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