We tapped David Samdperil, founder and co-owner of Atlanta-based Track Seven Events, to talk lighting with us: speciality lighting ideas, budgeting strategy, basic lighting capabilities, and more. In our opinion, all of this talk really has to start with questions, because as couples planning our big event, we want to know what questions to ask our vendors as we move forward with planning. Read below to see what questions David says you should be asking, and read on to learn what he shares from an event expert’s perspective.
I would like to see my monogram at my wedding so whats the best way to do that? I love it on the dance floor, but will it be seen all night long?
Placing a monogram at a wedding reception as a personal touch is a fantastic idea and always looks amazing. Having the monogram on the floor is a nice touch however once people start dancing the image can no longer be seen and enjoyed by your guests. The best place would be on a wall near the dance floor or at the entrance to the ballroom. It really depends on the venue so review the options before making your final choice. The classic photo with the bride and groom dancing in front of their monogram can be re-created with photoshop allowing the design to shine all night long. Another important tip, don’t get too fancy— if people don’t understand what they are seeing, they spend the night trying to figure it out versus enjoying it.
Is there an advantage to using wireless up lighting as my DJ is suggesting and/or offering?
Yes, first and foremost, there are no wires needed which means the whole room can be lit. Columns, corners, ledges and more are all viable places to put a wireless light and that can translate into a very unique looking event. The second is that due to the lack of wires the setup time is reduced by 90%—so too should the cost. Granted the fixtures are a lot more expensive for the lighting company or DJ but the time to setup is factored into your cost to rest. Lastly, most wireless lights are “DMX controlled” which means they can change color. Your venue can have a candle lit glow for the first hour and then a red/blue wash for the party. If you want to get even more high-tec start out with said candle lit (amber) glow and then have the lighting team change modes to a color rotate option. This will make the whole room glow in a range of colors while people dance the night away.
How can I get more bang from my buck with the lighting that is being used at my wedding?
A. Intelligent lighting that has multiple operating modes— the same fixtures that make your dance floor come to life can also project stars on the ceiling above the tables for dinner. Using fixtures for more than one purpose will stretch your budget
B. Go big— instead of 10 small fixtures, use 5 larger ones. This is not a universal truth but “up lighting” is vague— you can order a slider, jr cheese burger and a triple stack. The same is true for lighting, so ask your vendor if he/she has fixture options which translates to the brightness.
Is there is way to illuminate my floral centerpieces without blinding guests as they move around my reception?
You can up light them with wireless (battery) operated lighting or use small single LED bulbs to give your centerpieces some illumination in a creative and non blinding way. Talented florists should be able to show you samples of both or simply ask them. Another great option is candles—- classic, simple and elegant. Pin spotting looks great but if you want a softer look re-think where the light goes and move it to the table itself or weave it into the florals.
Do I need dance floor lighting for my reception? Will that downplay the elegant look of my big day?
Yes…and…No. Dance floor lighting is for the party part of your night. You hired band and/or a DJ for a reason, and once the ceremonial parts of your reception are done, lighting can greatly improve the experience your guests have on the dance floor.
I have a low budget for my wedding, but I know lighting will make a big difference in the room. What are some options I have to add some color to my room?
Up lighting is a great option and when combined with colored linen or colored napkins (which you likely pay for anyway) your room will come to life in a vivid way. Another option is to back light the DJ or band vs up lighting the whole room. Aim your budget where people spend most of the night looking, up “front”… it will look great in the photos, and while people are dancing, and cut down on the need to spend money lighting up the whole room.
The term lighting is very broad, so please help me understand what some of the technical terms are, and what I should be paying for lighting.
Photos courtesy of Track Seven Events