Event Decor Lighting 101

Posted 12/29/2019 by 40.
Filed under: Event Planning | Wedding Planning |

Just what is event decor lighting? Lighting is a huge buzzword in the special event industry and everyone offers a version of it. Your band or DJ may offer lights included with or as an additional package. The venue may have lighting options and most AV production companies offer full service lighting production packages. So what does it all mean, what's the difference and where exactly does the product and services that Marianne's Rentals offer fit into that spectrum? How do you know what choice is right for you?

The confusing part is that it all seems to be the same thing. While many products may overlap, Marianne's Rentals' focus is on event decor lighting. Let's break down the key components.


Uplighting is used to create atmosphere by color-washing walls or highlighting architectural features. This adds dimension and visual interest to the room and gives your special event that "special" mood that differentiates the room from it's everyday use. This is the most basic form of event lighting and almost everyone who offers lighting products can offer you some options for this product.

Uplighting is a great way to tie in a color that goes with your theme and create a wow factor upon guests entering the room. Below is one of our favourite uses of uplighting – this venue had plenty of interesting features to illuminate!

Image: Traina Photography

Pin-spot Lighting / Wash Lighting:

Pin-spotting is a catchall term used in the lighting industry for shooting a directional beam of light onto a specific item. Pin-spot lighting puts attention to certain parts of your event. It creates a dramatic effect that can transform centrepieces, decor elements, and table settings – perfect for event lighting!

Not only do pin-spots and wash lights lights add drama to your event, but they also provide a separation that is often needed between dark table linens and centrepieces allowing elements to pop and stand out, creating a dynamic visual experience.

But while the action of doing this is described in a generic way, the equipment used to do it can vary greatly depending on who you choose to provide this service. Consequently, so can the overall effect, but that's not something different vendors will usually choose to go over! Marianne's has the largest selection of battery operated pin-spots and wash lights that are specifically designed for special event use. Most production companies will repurpose stage lighting equipment to pin-spot centerpieces and focal points for weddings and parties. While this can do the job, it's doesn't produce the same soft targeted effect that using the proper equipment does. 

Note in the photo below how tabletops are softly illuminated for guests to see and make floral colors pop. That comes from using true pinspot or washlight fixtures and not just repurposing overpowering fixtures for this use. This creates an appropriate amoung of contrast that makes things beautiful, easy on the eyes AND on the camera!

Image Projection

A gobo is a beam of light with a metal or glass stencil over it that projects a pattern. Gobos can project any design including shapes, patterns, monograms, and company logos. The light can be projected onto ceilings, floors, and walls, and are a great way to add visual personalization or interest to any event.

Image: Peyton Rainey Photography | Design: Aisle Be With You | Floral: Tony Foss Flowers | Venue: Gaillardia Golf & Country Club

Lit Decor

At Marianne's Rentals, we have an enormous amount of things that light up! Adding illumination to decorative items is something that can really provide an energy boost to your event. This isn't an extensive list by any means, but you'll quickly get the idea. We have lamps, chandeliers, bistro lights, light up bars, tables, chairs, lit letters and even a dance floor! That one is a real crowd pleaser! Our fun selection of decorative lighting items are an enormous advantage over pretty much any other source for lighting in the state.

Image: Sharadee Hurst Photography | Design: Inspire Events | Venue: Gaillardia Country Club

Still, if you're asking yourself, "But when and what should I rent from Marianne's?" here's some clear cut criteria for when we think it's a no brainer!

  • When you need multiple lighting elements get them all from one vendor. Lighting has unique installation logistics and timing. It doesn't serve you well to get your uplights from your DJ and centerpiece lighting from Mariannes. In order to create the appropriate atmosphere, all your lighting needs to work together and be installed by the same vendor.
  • Whenever you need pinspotting and wash lighting! Even if you don't need all your centerpieces illuminated you'll probably want to consider lighting your VIP tables (a head or sweetheart table at a wedding) and wedding cakes are a must! We maintain that we have the best equipment and installers for this job. It's truly our forte in the market and we don't mind saying so. 
  • When you DON'T need production level lighting. Light shows, lasers and pyrotechnics are for the other guys. Our lighting is an affordable option for most customers because we set it and forget it. While there are a few special exceptions, generally our lighting service is easy to operate and doesn't require a technician to stay with you during the event. If you need AV service, we don't do that either and a full service production company will. If your needs exceed our service, we'll happily refer you to some great vendor partners who can provide you those things!

Our sales team is always happy to help you evaluate your lighting needs and best investment. We offer a lot more than just the basics this blog has covered. We hope you understand a little more about event lighting and how Marianne's Rentals can help you leverage lighting to create a memorable experience for your guests!