The digital revolution has changed the music industry. No longer do mobile disc jockeys carry around hundreds of CDs (I used to carry as many as 2,300 to each event!). The advent of the MP3 allows us to use hard drives the size of a handful of CDs and have the equivalent amount of music.
In the same way that MP3 files have helped wedding disc jockeys be more compact and offer a greater variety, lighting has also been affected in a positive way by new technology. Specifically LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology has revolutionized the mobile event lighting industry.
These lights (by comparison to similar standard lights) are very compact, use a small fraction of the power, do not generate much heat and offer a wide variety of features and applications. One of the most popular trends in the wedding DJ industry in the past several years has been the advent of “UpLighting”.
UpLighting is the use of colored “can” lights to illuminate a room to a specific color to enhance the mood or atmosphere. Depending on the event, the lights may even change colors or effects during the course of the event. Additional lights can be used to highlight an area (such as spot-lighting a wedding cake) or even project a monogram of a newlywed couple’s initials on a wall or dance floor.
A lot of DJ companies that specialize in weddings have very little to “up-sell” once you have selected your DJ and music/sound package, so uplighting has been sold a lot these days to couples that really receive very little benefit by incorporating uplights into their wedding reception. By design, uplights are made to transform a room from one look to another (more desirable) one. One example would be a warehouse-style wedding facility that basically offers a large empty room that is intended to be a blank-slate ready to be dressed up. Another example would be a large room like a church gymnasium that would be difficult to decorate with any impact.
Rooms that really do not require uplights would be a room that already has the elegance a couple usually craves for a wedding reception. Often times banquet facilities have sconce-wall lights, chandeliers, or even built-in uplights of their own that do not need to be complimented with additional lighting that is brought in by a DJ.
With any of my wedding couples, I never know if uplights are the appropriate match to their vision without asking a lot of questions. How many guests? What time of day is the reception? What room/facility are you going to host your wedding reception? Is it appropriate for the wedding budget that has been established? Are there any other alternatives that would suit their needs at a better value?
Once these questions are answered and we know uplighting is a good choice, then we move forward with the appropriate lighting package. Lighting takes a lot of time and equipment to get just right. If a monogram GoBo is involved, it may have to be ordered weeks in advance. Because of the amount of cable (wires) strewn throughout a facility to get the proper effects, many facilities require additional liability insurance in order to allow a company to light a room. Even specialized “gaffer’s tape” must be used to secure the cables without leaving a residue on the floors and carpets. It really take a lot more effort than just setting up a few can lights on the floor and pointing them toward the ceiling. But for the right facility and the right event, the impact of an uplighting package can transform the event from ordinary to extraordinary.