Let There Be Light! (When And Where You Want It)

Posted by Dave

In today’s state-of-the-art party facility, the touch of a computer screen or keypad adjusts the room’s lighting to almost-infinitely complex combinations. However, budgetary or other realities may require that your next event be held somewhere less technologically sophisticated. If so, read on.

Even in the 21st century, many multi-purpose venues of the fellowship hall-community center variety still have what I call “American Legion lighting” – rows of flourescent tubes which offer only two options: “on” or “off.” Such lighting is great for Bingo Nights, but leaves a lot to be desired at classy receptions. Fortunately, a variety of very effective and cost-efficient options are available to to make the mood a little more elegant and a lot less institutional and utilitarian.

Christmas Lights, in sufficient numbers, provide adequate illumination to prevent your guests from bumping into the walls, but won’t flood your party space with an unwanted glare. They are also festive, inexpensive (or even free if you use your own twinklers from home), and use almost no electricity. (More on this in a moment.)

Pin Spots, available through any party rental company, are perfect when bright light is needed – but only in a limited space. Where white light is too strong (or ruins the mood), most pin spots will accomodate colored gels – which your party professional can also supply.

Flood Lights, with clamps already attached, can be bought at any major hardware store. When outfitted with low-wattage bulbs (or plugged into dimmers), these can be hung wherever you wish to cast a soft glow over a wide area.

But beware: in my experience, most “American Legion lighting” venues have all their wall outlets on just one or two circuits. Your band or deejay will require a lot of electrical power. So will any microwave ovens or margarita machines. Lighting helps set the mood for your party – but you can’t dance to it, eat it, or drink it.

So, whenever and wherever you can, use the least electricity while incorporating new lighting. Save every watt and ampere possible to use elsewhere. Otherwise, before you know it, you’ll blow the breakers and be back to those old flourescents. And then your only choice in lighting will again be all the way on or all the way off. (Did I hear somebody shout “BINGO?”)


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