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Creative lighting

On the Job | June 1, 2014 | By:

Decorative lighting options set just the right ambiance for tented events.

Lighting for tented events has entered an exhilarating and exciting time. With the advent of social networking, blogs and sites such as Pinterest, creative ideas are shared globally on a daily basis. Clients are more savvy about event lighting and decor design than ever before. With access to photos of some of the most exquisite events being produced, clients are able to pick and choose the ideas that speak most to them. Long gone are the days of brides bringing out a stack of bridal magazines to show you looks they love!

My favorite trend for tented events is decorative lighting. Contributing to both design and function, decorative lighting is the true decor workhorse of any tented event, which helps clients on a budget get more for their money. Here are some of my favorites.


Depending on the style, chandeliers can elevate an event, set the tone for overall design or event theme and also provide functional light. It’s a win-win-win! Sometimes just a few gorgeous, appropriately-sized chandeliers can be enough to create a fabulous look. Florists love to decorate them as well.


With trends turning toward a more modern aesthetic, lampshades can be customized with different fabric, trim and colors that coordinate with linens and florals. They can even be personalized with photographs. Lampshades can be whimsical and fun and but also very sophisticated.

String lighting

In the region I work in, New England, a classic tented event wouldn’t be complete without some twinkling string lights. Vintage bulbs and unique installations are giving this trend longevity. String lighting can help to create a more intimate environment by lowering the ceiling of a tent. And when a tented space is dimmed appropriately, everyone looks good.

Unique and custom lighting

Lighting and decor companies have moved beyond using only traditional theatrical-style fixtures. I’ve illuminated hats and sombreros; added birds, butterflies and lace to paper lanterns; and hung starfish, beads and shells from chandeliers. Access to great design ideas and inspiration has resulted in an unprecedented trend of event designers pushing the artistic envelope. Clients are pulling ideas from the home, hotels and restaurants and allowing creative teams to translate these trends into their events.

By incorporating decorative lighting into your tent plan, you can maximize your client’s budget, create a beautiful environment and provide flattering illumination.

By Marisa Rizzo, owner of Social Decor, an event lighting and decor company in Newtown, Conn. Social Decor provides lighting design, decorative lighting rentals and fabric design for events throughout New England and the New York metropolitan area.

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