By Dylan Adams, Director of Design at The Lighting & Sound Co.

Your production vendors will help you change the FEEL of your night. Whether it’s romantic bistro lights or a colored spotlight, they will be able to create your dream with only a little help from you beforehand. Here’s a guide for you to help make it easier!

Where?
It seems obvious, doesn’t it? But the venue sometimes gets overlooked and not mentioned in your initial meeting. The location is of utmost importance to help with any custom design, precise dimensions of the layout, and creating a cost analysis. Your design team will be very appreciative to get a look at the venue in person.

When?
Another obvious one right? And like your other wedding vendors, lighting companies also book well in advance, several months or even a year ahead. Most lighting companies can service multiple events in a day but having an exact date is the only way to determine for certain that equipment and labor resources will be available for your wedding.

What?
Many couples, especially those in the early stages of planning, do not know what needs they have. However, any information and details you can communicate about what you are looking for will save time and money.

Communicate Your Schedule.
To set up the lighting and all the equipment for it sometimes takes longer than anything else. Lighting companies have a pretty good idea of how long a service will take based on past experience. Depending on the time of year (usually Fall), they can have multiple events on a particular weekend and as a result, they’ll need to stick to a strict schedule. It’s very important to keep your lighting company in the loop on any possible schedule changes to prevent any potential issues on your wedding day.

How Many?
This is important for a few reasons but maybe not what you’re thinking of. For a classic wedding in a hotel ballroom, your production company probably doesn’t need to know this information. But for larger events, especially where there’s sound involved, be sure to mention this number. You’d be surprised at how much background noise your guests create! They also tend to obstruct the sound by their physical presence. Knowing how many people will be there helps audio technicians bring the correct equipment. This ensures that your event will be heard loud and clear!

Power Requirements & Availability
Most of your vendors will need power at your wedding. Caterers often require a large amount for heaters and appliances such as coffee makers or food warmers. Your DJ and photo booth have to have power. Your lighting company is no different. Make sure there is sufficient electrical power available for all your vendors!

Onsite Technician
For events with simple uplighting, drape, or string lighting, an onsite technician is not always needed. However, some event coordinators prefer to have one standing by for changes (e.g. colors for the uplighting) during the event or on the very rare chance that something goes wrong. The cost of this will depend on the length of time that the tech is needed, but work calls usually have four-hour minimums. Find out the cost and decide if you want to have this extra piece of mind.

Load-In Procedure
It’s important for all your wedding vendors to know where to unload. It is especially true for your lighting company as they ideally will be loading in at a different time than your other vendors. Any relevant rules and procedures should be given ahead of time to keep things going smoothly.

Parking
Parking is oftentimes overlooked. Depending on where the venue is, parking can be quite limited, especially in urban areas. Setup can take anywhere from four to eight hours, so it’s important to know where your vendors (many who drive extended vans or box trucks) are going to park during this time.

Venue Rules
Many venues are proactive and reach out to all vendors to provide their regulations and information. Often though they rely on planners and coordinators to pass the information along to vendors. Regardless, make sure everyone knows who is in charge of this important piece!

Dylan is a Lighting Designer and Event Production Expert with 14 years of experience in the field. He holds a BFA in Lighting Design from VCU School of the Arts and is Director of Design at The Lighting & Sound Co. in Richmond, Virginia. Learn more about The Lighting & Sound Co. at GoLSC.com.