MATT MURPHY EVENT LIGHTING
The Right Lighting
By Matt Murphy
If you want your tent or venue feel more intimate and personal, lighting is a great way to achieve this. By adding color you can add instant drama and make people look their best. Hanging décor goes a long way in a tent especially; it can lower a high ceiling and pull together a theme.
Options include up-lighting the tent canvas in a wash to create a soft glow in the tent, pin spotting centerpieces and special touches to make them “pop”, spotlighting the band to give a polished look to the space, and lighting the dance floor in fun patterns to make it look fun and inviting.
Floral designers will often dress up the tent poles with anything from fabric, to wrapping them with vines, branches and flowers. I recommend up-lighting them, so that they do not get lost in the shadows. Pole treatments turn something that is usually a not-so attractive feature, into a point of interest. If you don’t have the budget for pole treatments, highlighting the tent canvas in a beautiful way draws the eye up and away from unattractive features like hardware and poles.
The options for hanging decorative lighting fixtures are limitless. From paper lanterns, to all kinds of chandeliers and pendants to parasols to bistro lighting; hanging décor will surely separate your wedding from the rest.
Sometimes people have no choice but to put their tent right over existing trees on their property so that there is actually a tree or trees inside the tent. You should incorporate this into your decor by up-lighting the trees. One of my favorite jobs of all time was tented over a huge tree that I up-lit. The light filtering through the branches cast all these delicate silhouettes against the tent canvas. It became a very cool focal point in the tent.
Also think about lighting the view from the tent to create a beautiful backdrop. I have lit vineyard rows, up-lit grand trees and washed interesting sculptures in light to give a property depth and make sure a stunning locale doesn’t fall into the shadows.
Lighting is one of the most overlooked aspects of tented events, but actually pretty crucial. Think of the difference between eating in a cafeteria under glaring white lights and dining in the soft glow of an upscale restaurant. The latter makes you look great and you want to stay and enjoy.