Lighting & AV
Twinkly bistro lights, romantic candle colored glow, impressive chandeliers and perfectly amplified toasts can create the best backdrops for special events. All of these effects are able to come together thanks to the many talents of audiovisual specialists. In a world of DIY, lighting and AV should definitely only be left to the pros! Although specialty lighting, audio and electrical may seem like a hefty line item on your budget, if done correctly, they can completely change the ambiance of your event. There are a few basics you should know...
Know Your Amps
No matter where your wedding or special event takes place, there will be limitations with power and it’s important to be clear up front. Venues should know exactly know many outlets are available, how many amps are on each and if the outlets are on separate circuits or not. If you are putting a tent in the middle of a field, you will likely need generator power. Depending on who is providing the generator, make sure all parties are present to talk about what power needs to be pulled and anticipated usage so planning for fueling (and refueling if necessary) happens in advance. Bands often require at least 3 separate/dedicated circuits and you can find their requirements detailed in their contract riders. Bistro lighting, uplighting, chandeliers and gobo lights all require different amounts of power depending on the equipment the vendor is using and the amount of lighting being used. Don’t forget that power will also be needed for the catering team. Nothing ruins an event more than a blown circuit or power outage, so just make sure everyone is on the same page well in advance.
Ask about Details
When working with an AV crew you’ll want to ask about the nitty-gritty details. Find out the color of the cord for the bistro lights (white or black), what the poles of the chandeliers will be wrapped with, and if a technician will be onsite during the event. If there is any audio equipment, we strongly recommend having a technician onsite to operate the soundboard. In almost all scenarios, it is helpful to have lighting on dimmers. The ability to dim lighting allows the event to change throughout the course of the evening to cater to late night dancing or toasts after dinner. All of these details should be spelled out in the contract or on the invoice so all questions are answered before the event day.
Don’t Forget about Safety
Lighting isn’t just for ambiance; it is for safety too! If possible, it is helpful to walk the venue or tent location at dusk exactly as a guest may walk. The forgotten areas that need lighting often include walkways, steps, paths, outdoor parking and valet stands. Just as you think about the space for lighting, think about additional power needs and audio. You may want a microphone or amplification for live musicians during the ceremony or cocktail hour. Last but not least, don’t forget about any late night areas and the guest departure experience.
Our best advice for beautiful lighting, audio, and power is to stick with the pros. One of our favorites in this area is Chandler and his team at Sound Illusions. Stick with a team of experts, trust their advice and invest your budget wisely…. We promise it’s worth it!