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Creating a magical, memorable event is the goal of every event planner. Nothing is more satisfying than organizing a gala dinner event and creating a magical environment that each and every attendee will remember, talk about and share with their social network for days after the event is over!

One element that makes the biggest impact on the overall aesthetic and visual appeal of any event is creative event lighting. Lighting can take a mediocre venue and transform it into a distinctive and unique environment. From lighting the exterior of your venue to make a great first impression on arriving guests to creating the perfect mood and highlighting architectural elements of the interior with color, event lighting can transform a dinner into an extravagant gala.

Let’s look at a few of the tricks, techniques and hardware talented lighting designers use to create spectacular dramatic environments for gala dinner events.

Setting the Mood

As your guests enter the building you have the opportunity to set the mood for the evening. Lighting designers will often create spectacular entryways using LED up-lighting to highlight architectural elements of the building, such as adding colorful washes of lights to columns or directly to the exterior walls of the building. Next, signage or banners announcing the event may be washed in light using either conventional or LED fixtures.

Another option is to project beautiful moving patterns or shapes on exterior walls. Using intelligent moving light fixtures to project moving patterns with transitioning colors is a popular technique that can add an element of excitement before your guests pass through the doors.

Once inside, aesthetic lighting is used to transform and add drama and elegance to your environment. Whether it be subtle washes of color to warm the room or using fixtures to highlight and light specific décor items such as centerpieces, lighting plays a key role in creating the perfect environment.

Equipment Overview

An experienced technical event production company will have access to a huge range of hardware that your lighting designer can use to create the perfect environment for any event. Providing a talented designer with creative control of lighting allows them to use lighting to enhance the atmosphere for your guests. Here are some of the fixtures you might typically find in use at a gala dinner event:         

LED Up-Lighting

LED fixtures emit no heat, so they are perfect to use in tight spaces. Today’s fixtures can project thousands of colors so you can find the perfect color for your event.  There are many wireless options, meaning they do not need to be located near a power source, so they can be used anywhere! LEDs are used for softening walls, warming up a room and highlighting architectural details.  


Gobos are accessories placed inside fixtures to project simple text, corporate logos or other multi color images. Gobos can be used to project patterns that create depth and texture onto ceilings, walls, floors and fabric like draperies. Textures can be static, or transition throughout the event to create a sense of movement and change the overall environment and mood.

String Lights

Also known as “bistro” lights or festoons, string lights are an excellent way to add an element of elegance and provide a warm intimate mood to your space. With various lengths available, they offer a great way to give some visual perspective to the size and height of your venue.


Pinspots project a concentrated beam of light and are a wonderful fixture to use to highlight or add focus to an environment. Focusing pinspots on floral arrangements, table centerpieces, or signage is a way to bring attention to interesting elements of your environment.

Wash Lighting

Wash lighting provides soft illumination by using widely diffused “washes” of colored light. Designers use wash lighting to incorporate soft color into a room and set the tone for the other event lighting. Washes can be used to delineate different areas of the event as well.  For example, a warm amber wash is often used over seating areas while dance floors benefit from more color and movement to set a more upbeat tone.

This is just a general overview of some of the fixtures and effects that may be used to set the stage and create the ambiance for your event. Your lighting designer and technical event production company will be the people responsible for creating the aesthetic environment of your event.

The Lighting Designer: Creating Magic Through Light

Lighting designers are the creative artists who use these tools to create the magic and set the mood for your dinner gala. Their job is to work closely with you and your technical event production company to achieve your creative vision by offering suggestions for placement and programming of your overall lighting design. Their goal is to achieve your creative vision and meet your event’s goals while keeping the overall look cohesive and the aesthetic perfect.

Lighting technology is constantly changing and evolving. The newest fixtures offer hundreds of color choices and can be programmed to display shapes, patterns and even corporate logos in light. Creative lighting designers and technical event production companies are current on the functionality and use of this event lighting technology, and through their expertise and knowledge work with you to create the perfect environment for your event.

The only way to ensure you fully harness the creative power event lighting provides is to hire and work with a full service technical event production company. Your technical event production company will have a team of creative talented professional available to work with you, including lighting technicians who will set-up and operate your lighting during the event.

A full-service technical event production company can handle every aspect of your event lighting from providing the staff to set-up and operate the equipment, working with a lighting designer to help you achieve your creative vision and all of the fixtures and controllers and wiring needed for your event. When choosing to work with a technical production company that offers full-service solutions, you are choosing one company to provide any sound, lighting, staging and video components you may need. Their creativity, knowledge, experience and expertise makes adding a professional full service technical event production company to your team a smart business decision that will guarantee overall success!

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