How much does wedding lighting cost?
Understanding the cost of wedding lighting tends to be completely confusing and can vary widely. We've set out to make it clear, easy and give you the information necessary to budget for your wedding lighting. The best place to start is with our wedding lighting terms and definitions so you have all the wedding lighting terms you need to understand the pricing side.
The most beautiful venue, flowers, linens, food, centerpieces, design, decor, gifts and people all look the same without quality wedding lighting...DARK! If you can't see what you've done then there is no point in spending money on it for your reception. Most receptions are in the evening and are in dimly lit reception spaces. Lighting can transform and enhance the worst and the best spaces into something much more than they can be on their own.
Knowing the elements of the venue that you like, or absolutely can't stand is a good place to start. If you hate the carpet, pin-spot lighting can help by drawing guests eyes upward and towards elements you want to highlight. If you hate the color of the walls, uplighting can completely change the color of the venue and the space. If you HATE a piece of artwork, pipe and drape or lighting can help mitigate the differences in taste between you and the venue. If you LOVE the flowers, pin-spot lighting can be a fantastic way to highlight them in a very elegant fashion.
Budgeting for Wedding Lighting
Lighting costs vary depending on the location, market, length of event, date of event, travel distance, venue, types of lighting fixtures, seasonal & citywide demand, planning, theme, engineering, etc. Many variables go into determining the exact pricing for an event. Rather than address all of these variables, we'll setup a common scenario that we face with many of our wedding clients so you can have a general sense of lighting pricing.
In our example we'll assume labor and supplies are included in the base package uplighting pricing. The other lighting elements would be added on to that package.
Assuming the following wedding details:
- Saturday wedding, non-holiday
- Hotel ballroom (fairly modern)
- Wedding size of ~150 guests
- 15-20 tables
- Standard 4 hour load-in, 2 hour load-out (no challenging load-in, load-out requirements)
General pricing guidelines:
- Uplighting for the entire ballroom, labor and supplies: $1,250-$2,500
- Add a monogram light: $250-$500
- Add texture lighting: $50-$125 per light fixture/pattern
- Add cake spotlight: $30-$100
- Add pipe and drape: $15-$35 per linear foot (usually in 10ft sections)
- Add a blisslight: $250-$500
- Add centerpiece lighting: $10-$30 per light
- Add pin-spot lighting: $35-$75 per light/table
- Add intelligent lighting: $100-$250 per fixture
- Add projector, computer, screen: $200-$600 per setup
* updated 10/2/12
The general pricing above helps shed some light on what wedding lighting might cost. Labor costs and supply costs would be higher with more complex setups. If lighting seems like it might be out of your particular budget range for your event, DIY wedding lighting might be a great alternative.
Getting the Most Out of Your Lighting Budget
We want to achieve the best look for our clients at a price point that fits their wedding. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your lighting budget.
1. Everything looks the same in the dark
Spending money on elements that you or your guests won't be able to discern quality differences in or be able to see at a dark reception is money wasted. A tall arrangement of baby's breath lit correctly with pin-spot lighting will look 10x better than an unlit, dark arrangement of more expensive flowers. A cake with amazing detail won't be seen unless you have a cake spotlight. Your reception will start behind schedule if guests fumble and can't see the place cards because the table is unlit. White linens will reflect uplighting colors nicely making them look more expensive than spending the equivalent amount on higher end more expensive linens.
2. Lighting purchased through the venue will be more expensive than going through an outside vendor.
9 times out of 10, lighting purchased through a venue is more expensive than going through an outside vendor. This is especially true for hotels that markup the cost of everything, especially lighting & A/V. Watch for service charges, gratuity, taxes, etc that can inflate the cost upwards of 40%. It's quick & easy to find qualified lighting companies through weddingwire.com and theknot.com read their reviews to determine quality.
3. Look for example photos of weddings and lighting that you like
Starting with an idea or a concept will help narrow down the look that you are going for. This helps the lighting company understand what might be required to achieve your look in your specific venue. Get inspired on our Pinterest photos of wedding lighting. Or do a Google image search of "your wedding venue" wedding reception to find example photos of your venue online.
4. Know your wedding lighting terms, defintions, types
Going into talking with your lighting vendor armed with wedding lighting terms and definitions shows that you've done your homework and will help you get the look that you want.
Lighting In The Big Picture
Lighting is the most cost effective way to transform and enhance your reception space. Choose a company who strives to understand your event, asks questions, and is able to show you what each of the lighting effects will do to a space. Flowers, cakes, menus, food, place card settings, photos, venues and people all look better in the right light. Vision is the one of most important senses to entertain during an event, lighting is the magical element that helps you define exactly what they see.
Book Your Wedding Lighting Today!
We work with you to come up with custoized lighting options for your wedding that will truly set your wedding apart and making it unique. We can work within your budget to create the biggest impact. We have worked at many of the best venues in the Virginia, Maryland and DC area and can offer our personal insight as to what the best lighting options will be for each venue. This type of expertise and integration into your entertainment is what makes us one of the best entertainment companies in the DC area.