How to Do Special Event Lighting for $$ – Part 2

This is another post that gets me excited. After years “in the trenches” of event lighting, working countless corporate events and weddings doing event lighting, I finally have an outlet to share the “tricks of the trade”, here on

As we learned in the part one, we can practice event lighting to:

1) Meet the desires of wedding parties renting your facility at a unbeatable price.

2) Provide meaningful side income to congregants who need it – a truely “not only for profit” business.

3) Use the church’s extra lighting resources in the “down times”. If you haven’t read part one, where we go over uplighting and the business model for special event lighting, head over here to read it before continuing!

Special Event Lighting Part 2 – Let’s dive in!

If you happen to attend any fancy black tie gala, fundraiser, corporate party and expensive wedding, you’ve seen that event lighting can and will include more than just simple uplighting.  Uplights are a great first step, but now you’ve mastered that and it’s time to move on to more exciting stuff!  So let’s dive in!

Gobo Projections and Color Washes

If you have extra, unused ellipsoidals or moving spot lights hung in the room the special event is being held in, you can use them to do gobo projections on walls, floors and ceilings.  If you just have a few gobos, try just lighting behind the head table, on the dance floor or in the entrance path to the reception!

You can also hang ellipsoidals or movers on truss towers that are properly weighted, but keep in mind the extra labor involved when quoting out this service.

Doing gobo projections adds an immediate feeling of elegance and/or sophistication and can take a non-elegant gym or sanctanasium and turn it into a event space that people won’t even recognize!

Depending on the event, different gobo types will be required.  For example, the gobo on the left would be best for a non-wedding party.  Wedding parties love foliage patterns, soft flowery patterns tree breakups.  Experiment with what works best for you!  Thankfully steel gobos are relatively cheap.

Here is also a great place to mention the Rosco Image Pro gobo projector.  This great device allows you to print a 100% gobo on your inkjet printer for a few cents, and keeps the transparent film cool enough that it lasts for a day or 2 of use.  Perfect for weddings and special events, and not all that expensive to buy!  Call local lighting companies to see if you can rent them, as this is also cheap to do.

Dance Floor and Band Lighting

Once you’ve lit the entrance way, walls and/or ceilings, it’s time to light the dance floor and band or DJ if there is one. When you’re lighting these areas, both the entertainer and the dance floor need to get the same amount of attention from the lighting. Unlike a concert, weddings and special events are focused around the people and the party, not 100% focused on the entertainer, even though they are leading entertainment for the event.  Here’s a few ways you can improve your event lighting in this area:

  • Colors – Wash the dance floor and the band in a slightly saturated color to draw people into these areas.  Light blue or pink works great for this, but stay away from colors such as green and red, which make people’s skin look weird!
  • Gobos – Pulling out the “g” word again!  Yep, gobos look awesome in a opposite color to your wash on stage or on the dance floor.
  • Roping Moving lights Into The Mix – While you may have had your moving lights around the room during the dinner portion of your event, once the dancing becomes the focus you can discreetly move your ML’s over the do ballyhoos over the dance floor and band!

Other Environmental Event Lighting

Last, I want to point out and show you some other great ways to light the area around your big event.  Like we covered earlier, all environmental lighting exists to transform your event space into an elegant occasion!

Centerpiece Pin Spots

  • If the wedding or event has ornate centerpieces, you can use overhead-mounted pin spots to show off the centerpieces.  In a room full of color, this makes the centerpieces “pop” through and really makes happy florists!

String Lights, Christmas Lights and Paper Lanterns

  • Cheap and colorful string lights, christmas lights and paper lanterns can be strung around your venue or in trees outside.  Sure, these are probably something you don’t already own, so it would be an additional cost to your church to get started.

Tree Lighting

  • Speaking of trees, you can elegantly uplight trees in the wedding party’s color- it is sure to be a hit!  I really like to do this effect because it really makes a venue pop!  I can’t think of any easier and more effective use of lighting outdoors!

Wrapping It All Up

As you have read and seen, special event lighting can really have a huge impact on the look of an event!  I encourage you to take these 2 posts(Pt. 1 here), and apply them to your own context in your local church or facility.

The great thing about this concept is that you are helping so many people through a simple business concept.  You help your church have more attractive “premium” wedding design.  You help raise money for your church, and you help congregants who need to money.  And you help the wedding party by providing a quality service at a price that you can’t beat!  It truly is a “not only for profit” business!

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