How Can I Transform a Hotel Ballroom With Lighting?

First dance at a wedding reston hyatt regency with uplighting.

First dance with uplighting, tree candles, and texture lighting.

Hotel ballrooms are designed to hold business meetings, weddings, corporate holiday parties, conferences, and any other number of events. Hotel ballrooms aren’t designed to look amazing for every event, they are designed to be nice enough to not notice the room itself.

Or you might have the opposite end of the spectrum with the hotel that went headstrong into branding the room with a very specific design style that most likely does not fit your event decor (we’re looking at you kaleidoscope carpet Marriott’s). That’s where the lighting comes in.

DIY, Outside Vendor, Hotel’s Vendors?

You have three options when considering lighting for your event. The most cost effective is DIY, using outside vendors is generally next expensive, or you can use the hotel’s recommended lighting vendor.

DIY lighting can be easy to transform a ballroom if you have the time and people to do it.

Leveraged DIY is an option that people don’t always consider. Use another one of your vendors, florist, planner, DJ, drape company to setup  the lighting for you. They will already be there at your event and you can save on the labor costs that way. We’re more than happy to work with them so that you get the effect that you are looking for.

Outside vendors: are usually the next best cost effective option. Expect to pay a premium for having someone come out, set up the lighting, come up with the lighting design, and make sure everything runs smoothly. Weddingwire.com is a great resource for finding lighting vendors and we usually send people there when looking for a vendor in their area.

reston hyatt before and after wedding lighting

Hotel ballroom before and after lighting.

Hotel lighting can be a very expensive endeavor. Not only do you have to pay for the lighting company, but you pay for the lighting company to rent space at the hotel to house their equipment, you pay for the hotel management, you pay a fee for having the hotel recommend the lighting to you, and you pay service charges on all of that. Hospitality speak it’s what ever the cost is plus plus.

From our price comparisons you’ll end up paying about a 35% to 55% premium to have the hotel provide lighting or A/V services for your event.

What Lighting Do I Need? 

before and after lighting in smaller hotel ballroom

Before and after lighting in a smaller hotel ballroom.

By the time you are done planning your event you’ll be an expert in lighting. A good place to start is this article types of event lighting that walks you through each step of types of lighting and what it creates.

Think of lighting as a way to enhance the features and design elements in your space and deemphasize elements that you don’t like. Hate the carpet and chairs? Use uplighting to draw guests eyes up and use texture lighting to add interest higher up on the walls so guests won’t notice the carpet or chairs. Then use candles or centerpiece lighting on tables to add extra light to each of the tables and draw guests eyes away from the elements you don’t like.

Find out how many uplights you’ll need using our online uplighting calculators.

amber uplighting at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VAWhat Can Lighting Do? 

Lighting can go a long ways to change elements of the room that can be very expensive to otherwise fix. Some elements it can fix are:

  • Big Space – Hotel ballrooms are notoriously large and cavernous devoid of feeling. Lighting helps warm the cold space up and helps make it more inviting.
  • Boring Walls / Air Walls – Airwalls and boring walls are perfect for texture lighting. Create the pattern and design that matches your other decorations on your walls with light.
  • Carpet – The entire floor is covered in it, uplights can fix them by bringing peoples eyes higher or changing the color of the carpet completely.
  • Chairs – Chiavari or similar replacement chairs can cost an extra $50-$100 per table, use uplighting at less than half the cost.
  • Dark Room – Sometimes venues are just dark. Lighting brightens up the space and makes it feel more warm and elegant.
  • Linens – Upgraded linens can cost $30-$120 per table, use uplighting to impart color and shimmer to standard white or cream colored linens.
  • Low Ceilings – Smaller ballrooms feel more like dungeons than ballrooms. Use uplighting’s vertical lines to make the room feel bigger and taller. Use a blisslight on the ceiling to make it feel more expansive and taller. Pin-spot centerpieces to make it feel more dimensional.
  • Ugly Art Filled Walls – Use light to control what people see. Cake spotlights, pin-spotlights, table spotlights can all redirect what people see and what they don’t see.
  • Terrible Lighting – Fluorescent lights are ugly. They make people look ugly, they make the venue look ugly, and otherwise are terrible light sources. Bringing in lighting will let you fix the bad lighting in a space.
  • Wall Color – Uplights can change the colors of any wall in an event space at the touch of a button.
cake spotlight with purple uplighting

W Hotel uplighting, pin-spots and cake spotlight at a wedding in Washington, DC.

Lighting can make a big huge difference in the look of your event space and is one of the most cost effective ways to transform the room. After all, no one can see your other decor elements if they are in the dark.

Transform Your Event

Whether your budget is $50, $500, or $5,000 we can help you find a cost effective way to light up your event and save money in the process. Check out all the diy lighting rentals we offer and what you can do to transform your event.

We’d love to hear what you think, leave your feedback, questions, or comments below.

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