4 Ways To Use Lighting To Transform Your Event

When you finally book the perfect space for your big event it isn’t always easy trying to translate that empty room into the event you had always envisioned. Lighting can transform a space from an empty hall into a space people feel an energy and excitement that sparks them to network, dance, or engage with each other. There’s nothing like taking that theme you have for your event and using lighting to immediately make strides towards accomplishing that feel. Maybe you want a winter wonderland for your charity event or a circus themed event for your company sales kick off. Lighting can get you there and here’s some simple ideas on how.

1. Uplighting

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If you have ever hosted an event before or been at a wedding you are most likely familiar with this look which is created from what’s called “uplighting” which is exactly as it sounds. Tastefully choosing colors that match the brand or theme of an event and using LED’s to omit those colors up architectural features of a venue to make pieces stand out, make a statement, or just all around elevate the feel of the room.

Uplighting is one of the most simple and effective ways to get a head start on making your venue look great. Many times long lasting battery operated LED lights are used for this and can be placed to draw attention to specific spaces you want your audience to go to or just for the best cosmetic impact by using the existing strengths of the the venues architecture. This can be one of the easiest and cost effective ways to make a lighting impact.

2. Using Gobo’s

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Gobo’s are one of the best branding elements of light design that can be implemented. This is how you get your companies name in lights! Gobo’s are essentially stencils or templates placed inside or in front of a light source to control the shape omitted. Aside from your company logo or a phrase you can also use them to engage in a theme like making snowflakes everywhere during your company Christmas party or stars for outer space across the ceiling.

This is another way to make a large effect without spending your budget on physical props or banners to create a feel or message. Gobo’s can be shown when your guests enter, on the ceiling, or behind an individual to the sides of stage to brand your event or immerse your audience in a concept. When paired with other forms of lighting and some well thought out place settings and decor you can create a strong look!

3. Highlight Design

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Highlighting sounds simple but not everything is about the color and shape, sometimes its just about showing your guests what to look at and where to go at your event. Stages can be highlighted of course but consider highlighting your guests tables with subtle spot lights to show off your table settings or maybe put some lighting on the catering section, silent auction, or raffle area to draw attention from guests.

Directing your events traffic to keep your flow going is important and there can’t always be someone telling guests every move to make. Sometime highlighting where and what is important for their night can organically help them make decisions of the proper way to spend their evening at your event.

4. Light Show

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The least static and most labor active component of transforming a venue with lighting but the most effective for action packed nights comes down to a properly designed light show. This uses many of the ideas listed above all in one spot often reacting to actions speakers or artists do on stage during performance or reinforcing their words or theme.

Lights can change in time to music or messages from the speaker to encourage engagement like getting the audience to answer a question or introducing new people and elements to the event. Guests can be lit up for their response or the color of the lighting can change with your power point subjects or your bands song.

Nothing can replace a good light show catered to your event but all of the listed above techniques can be incorporated on their own or together to be creative within your event budget to make the venue feel larger than it is for your special event.

Rain, Drain and Mud Stains


It is possible to remain happy if your event experiences downpour. But it requires mindful planning.



With the rainy weather being a predominant fixture lately in New England, what should you do if your planned outdoor event gets hit with scattered showers or worse? Most would advise you to have a Plan B – move it inside. But sometimes that’s not always a feasible solution.

Almost a decade ago, I graduated from a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania. For the past 200 years, tradition dictated that the grand glass doors of an iconic building on campus open only twice a year – for incoming freshmen to pass through those doors at the signing in ceremony and for triumphant seniors to receive their diplomas at graduation where they stepped out of the limestone building and entered adulthood. But apparently, it had never rained on either of those days in the past 200 years and so there was no Plan B—at all. We sat in torrential downpour as the staff and administration pretended everything was normal while they gave us life advice on how to succeed in the world. Needless to say, parents and guests were not amused and the President of the college dealt with the blowback for years. Many had suggested that the situation could have been prevented and tradition maintained had the college set up waterproof tents. But waterproof tents alone aren’t the sole solution.

Venues often assure clients that their event will be fine under a waterproof tent, but our experience has shown otherwise. Remarkably, these types of situations happen more than they should and we encounter them without fail a handful of times each year when the promise of sunshine inspires outdoor events.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you hold your event outside under a waterproof tent:

Spaces that allow for necessary drainage

  • Ensure that your tent is set up on a flat space that allows for necessary drainage. Recently we were providing audio services at a tented event in rainy conditions. While the tent sat on flat space, there was virtually no where the water could drain so it rose creating ankle-deep mud puddles for the guests. We helped lay plywood for attendees to navigate through but the rain was too quick and the planks sank into the mud.

Slight slopes will wreak havoc

  • At another tented event, which was again constructed on a flat space, not only lacked the necessary drainage capabilities but it was adjacent to a construction site located on a slight slope. Once it started pouring, all the rainwater from site washed down onto the tent location creating a giant mess. Assess the space surrounding your tent to locate where even the most minor of barriers may be hiding. Check for slight slopes and even extended bumps (including sidewalks) to see where water could possibly be stopped from draining.  If you identify anything, best to avoid placing your tent there.

You probably don’t want a scene like this at your annual outdoor event.

Invest in an “battery backup” sump pump

  • Inquire if the venue already has a sump pump, and if not, make the investment. Don’t just hope for the best or that “their guys” will know what to do. For under $400 at your local hardware store, you can avoid having your event flooded and muddied! Ensure you buy one that doesn’t require a/c power, which may not be readily available and instead opt for one that you can operate with a battery (often times these batteries are sold separately and are less than $200). Just make sure you purchase the battery so that you can actually use it. Sump pumps can pump thousands of gallons for several hours and save you a million headaches. This is particularly important if your tent is place near a slope or where there’s no pathway for rainwater to drain.

It’s entirely possible to have a great time under inclement weather if you plan, prepare and take action. For all the examples we’ve witnessed of event planners and venues handling rain poorly, we also know plenty of successful events that went off without a hitch.