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Better Exterior Lighting for Events with the Right Fixtures (in the Right Places)

exterior lighting for events

Event planners and event venue managers have a lot to consider for every event. It’s like a big puzzle, and if one piece isn’t in the right place everything else is thrown off. One piece of the puzzle is the exterior lighting for events. Even if the event itself is indoors, the right outdoor lighting sets the mood and helps things to flow well. Without adequate exterior lighting, first impressions fall flat and the event just doesn’t sparkle like it could. 

There’s a lot to know about exterior lighting for events; one important place to start is with fixtures. While all components of a lighting system are important, from the wiring to the transformer, the fixtures are what you see. They create the look. And to get the look you want for a single event or an entire venue, you need the right fixtures in the right places. 

There’s a Right Fixture (and a Wrong Fixture)

When it comes to exterior lighting, there are many different types of fixtures. While they fall into a few big categories, there’s lots of variation within each category. The most important thing to remember is that the right fixture in the right place for the right function will work beautifully and efficiently. However, if you use the wrong fixture type to create a lighting effect it’s not meant to produce, everything will look wonky. 

Here’s an example: walkway lights are low-mounted fixtures with a beam of light that’s directed downward. They’re meant to be unobtrusive, and to shed light where people are walking, without throwing up a beam of light that would distract or blind someone when they glance down. They work great for that purpose, and for similar functions such as defining a perimeter around an outdoor seating area. They don’t work well, however, for highlighting trees or other landscape features; for that lighting effect, you need a fixture with an upward beam that can be angled precisely. 

You Probably Need More Fixtures than You Think

We get it: exterior lighting can be costly, especially for large venues or multiple outdoor areas. But when you try to save money by using fewer fixtures, the effect is just not going to be the same. Uplighting, for example, is meant to create a uniform wash of light across the front of a building. You need enough fixtures in place to let the spread of light from each one “touch” the one next to it. Otherwise, there will be dark spots and shadowy areas. You won’t have the uniform glow, and the whole thing will feel off–dingy and spooky instead of classy and welcoming. 

The same concept holds for walkway lights and landscape lighting. Too few fixtures can create an effect that’s the opposite of what you want; too much shadow, too little light. One approach that our clients find helpful is to divide the exterior lighting system into projects. Basically, we help design the whole system that you eventually want to have in place; then we break it into separate projects so you can add onto the system as your budget allows. It’s better to do one lighting project well than two lighting projects poorly. We can help you figure out the most efficient way to get great exterior lights in place across the whole venue, one project at a time. 

A final word on fixtures: you really do get what you pay for. You don’t have to choose the most expensive fixtures to get good quality, but you do need to spring for contractor-grade fixtures. They look better, last longer, and give you an exterior lighting system that will last for many, many events. Get in touch today so we can give you a free consultation on the best exterior lighting for events at your venue. 

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