party lights - disco ball

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. Here is a cheat sheet to get you started.

Lighting Vocabulary:

 

Dance Floor Lighting: This is the fun, neon, moving lights that are projected on and around the dance floor. Your DJ or lighting company can provide this for you. This is important to mark the dance floor, and definitely adds to the fun!

Uplights: These are the upright lights that shoot up the walls around the room. This is a helpful décor accent that also adds to the ambiance.

Gobos / textures / logo – These are the images projected on the ceiling, walls, or ground. Usually logos or patterns are projected to add to the theme of the event.

Room wash – This is projected light across the room that changes the room into a different color

Pinspots – This is the light that shines to illuminate the centerpieces after the sun goes down the room gets darker. This is highly recommended if you have tall centerpieces, as they will disappear in the room when it is dark.

Bistro or market lights & Edison bulbs – These are the lights that are on a line that hang 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. This is important 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 are some videos that bring these ideas to life:

 

VOX DJs Lighting Video from VOX DJs on Vimeo.

Common Lighting Mistakes

  • Not considering electrical constraints: There is a max capacity for electricity for every venue, so it’s important to consider this when booking your vendors. If you have multiple vendors 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 dinnertime, guests will want to see their food (especially if you have a buffet). But after dinner 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 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/ceilings. If you are wanting to completely change the look of a room through lighting, you will need plain, light colored walls.

How Much Do Party Lights Cost? This 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 times delivery/truck chargers, additional fees for worker’s comp, and 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. You can always negotiate, so be sure to ask! TIP: Changing your loading and strike 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.