Producing an event involves a lot of moving pieces--furniture, linens, drapery, lighting, audiovisual, flooring and, of course, assorted decor pieces. Together, these aspects come together for a cohesive and impressive celebration.
Lighting in particular has a way of transforming a space before all of those other factors fall into place. The style of lighting has the power to create the vibe and ambience of an event space--an intimate wedding will have drastically different lighting design than that of a grand corporate gala. In any event, even the most beautiful tablescapes will shrink under poor lighting settings but can flourish with the right mood lighting.
As we anticipate the weddings and events that 2020 will bring, it is a good time to look ahead to the lighting trends that we can expect to see this year.
A new take on crystal
We are starting to see a decline in traditional crystal chandeliers, but rest assured that does not mean that crystals are on the way out. Instead, crystals are finding their place in modern fixtures that draw in other recent trends--think geometric angles and industrial chic. Instead of your traditional tiered chandeliers, look out for those that employ unique shapes and dynamic structures. Fresh and innovative uses for crystals in 2020 will transform the way overhead lighting is done in the special events industry.
An industrial approach
As mentioned, the industrial vibe is going to be huge in 2020. It has been on the scene for a few years now, but it is certainly going to take center stage as we enter the new year. This aesthetic blends the cold sharpness of metal structures with the warmth and intimacy of Edison bulbs and market lights--the juxtaposition of these two styles is truly breathtaking and pairs well with geometrics, which continue to be a strong influence on design. Raw wood, copper and brass beams, distressed paint--all of these details pair beautifully with marquee lights, chandeliers, and single Edison bulbs.
Great news: Hanging floral arrangements are here to stay in 2020. This has been a major trend in the industry for several years now and, with countless types and colors of flowers available, it is one that can fit into any event theme. Whether tropical, rustic, or minimalist, overhead floral structures can turn any space into something special.
There are lots of opportunities to attach florals to metal, wooden, and geometric chandeliers for a stunning result. We are also seeing florists getting really creative and running florals up cables for Edison bulbs, too! Florals and lighting go hand-in-hand, with each one complementing the other. Paired with other current trends like modern crystal chandeliers and industrial details, we are thankful that this trend is not going anywhere.
Touches of neon
Pink, orange, green, blue--neon has a way of making things extraordinary. With neon lighting becoming more affordable and accessible, clients are taking advantage and discovering new ways to implement these bold, bright features throughout their events. Whether it is a single scripted word over the bar or tabletop LED lighting, neon details will have clients and their guests snapping Insta-worthy shots just like the Kardashians.
Technology has woven its way into the fabric of special events, from virtual reality floorplans to video-mapped cake design. Lighting, of course, can also greatly benefit from the help of technology, both in efficiency and sophistication. Nowadays, you can do more with less effort. There are mobile apps that allow you to control lighting equipment directly from your phone. Change the color, intensity or direction of any lights, all from a device that fits in your back pocket.
Digital mapping is another technology on the rise, which we expect to see replace gobo washes more and more in the future. Projections are not just for still-frame patterns; you can now display animated graphics and moving pictures on walls, cakes, tabletops, bars and more. While this lighting method has been around for some time (just look at Disneyland), advancements in technology have made video mapping more affordable and accessible for everyday events.
As a whole, there has been a shift in event design towards a more modern and sleek aesthetic, which certainly carries over into lighting. Keep this in mind as you curate chandeliers, centerpieces and other lighting and decor pieces. While there are still those who seek rustic or boho themes, most people have moved onto the cleaner lines of contemporary design.
A great way to stay ahead of wedding industry trends is to keep an eye on surrounding industries--home design, architecture, fashion, and the like. How are lights being used in your favorite home decor store or catalogue? Keep an eye out for colors, shapes, textures, metals and anything else that draws inspiration for your upcoming events.
Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, Calif. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE and current international president for WIPA.