Party lights can transform a room, enhance décor, and set the tone for your bar or bat mitzvah. It can be a confusing process to hire a lighting company or to book lighting through your DJ, venue, or planner.
Lighting can make or break your event, but if you don’t know how to get what you want you aren’t going to get it. Let’s start with a cheat sheet to get you started.
Dance Floor Lighting: This is the fun, neon, moving lights projected on and around the dance floor. Your DJ or lighting company often provide this for you. This is important to mark the dance floor, and definitely adds to the fun!
Uplights — lights that shine up the walls around the room. They are a helpful décor accent that also adds to the ambiance.
Gobos/textures/logo – Images projected on the ceiling, walls, or ground. Usually, logos or patterns are projected to add to the theme of the event.
Room wash – Projected light across the room that makes the room appear to be a different color. Room washes are great to set the mood or push your theme mitzvah over the top.
Pinspots – Lights that shine to illuminate the centerpieces after the sun goes down and the room gets darker. Highly recommended if you have tall centerpieces, as they will disappear in the room after dark.
Bistro or market lights & Edison bulbs – These are light bulbs that are on a line which hangs across the room. You typically see this at rustic or outdoor events.
Chandeliers – These are lighting décor accents that hang from the ceiling that are typically rod iron or crystal.
Functional Lighting – These are pole lights that have lights shining for purely functional reasons, not decorative. They’re integral if you have dark walkways for your event, or if you are building an outdoor kitchen so your catering crew can see while they work.
Here is a video that brings these ideas to life:
Common Lighting Mistakes
- Not considering electrical constraints – There is a maximum capacity for electricity for every venue, so it’s important to consider this when booking your party pros. If you have multiple party pros that require electricity, you may need to bring in a generator to be sure the music or lights do not go out in the middle of your event. Be sure to check with your planning, venue, or lighting company to make sure a generator is not needed.
- Not having dimmers – During dinner, guests will want to see their food, especially if you have a buffet. But when the dancing begins, you will want to change the ambiance of the room. To do this, dimmers or control of the lighting is very important.
- Overlapping what you already purchased – Sometimes the venue or DJ will include lighting in their packages, so before you hire a lighting company, be sure you do not already have access to adequate, quality lighting through another vendor.
- Not knowing you need lighting – The best way to know if you need lighting is to talk to your venue rep or planner. You can also look at photos from past events in that space; if you notice that they all have lighting brought in, then there is a good chance you will need it.
- Not considering dark walls or windows – It is nearly impossible to project light on windows or dark wood walls or ceilings. If you want to completely change the look of a room through lighting, you need plain, light colored walls. If your venue has dark walls, consider hanging light colored fabric to really get the lighting to pop.
How Much Do Party Lights Cost? That is a hard question to answer, but there are a lot of factors that go into a lighting quote beyond the equipment. There are often delivery or truck charges, additional fees for worker’s comp, as well as labor and tech charges. Remember, you are dealing with electricians, so quality lighting is not cheap (and it wouldn’t be with the liability involved). Lighting packages are usually not in the hundreds, but in the thousands, depending on what you are ordering and who is providing it. You can always negotiate, so be sure to ask! TIP: Changing your install and teardown times to non-peak days and times can help with the cost. For example, a Thursday installation may be less expensive than a Saturday installation.