Decorative Up Lighting

  • By Justin Pitts
  • 14 Jan, 2016

I would like to take the opportunity to discuss an option that we are currently providing for our clients.  Many of our clients have taken advantage of this ongoing trend called "Up-Lighting."  First, If you already have up-lighting, than I still encourage you to read this article so then you can know what possibilities can be done to add your own style to your wedding night and color combinations.

Some brides say this to me quite often, "My venue is picked. I have my flowers and dress colors picked out, but I am not totally happy with the “look” of what my wedding reception will be. I have a great room, but what can I do to make my wedding look unique compared to every other wedding that has taken place in this room? I want my wedding to show my personality and be memorable. I can only decorate the room so much. Should I get chair covers and spend the extra to get the specially colored napkins? I can’t change the architecture and colors of the room – or can I?"  Well, YES YOU CAN!

There is a popular trend in weddings called Up-Lighting. Up-Lighting has been around for years, but the lights were big, hot, halogen lights that could potentially cause damage and many banquet halls outlawed them because of their power consumption and fire hazards. Nowadays, Up-Lighting is becoming more popular because of LED lights. Most new up-lights have over a million, even billions of color options and can be customized to create the exact ambiance that you want throughout your wedding reception.  Are your bridesmaids all in pastel pink or hunter green? Fall or beach themed? Make the room match with the same colors as your bridal party and decorations.

Up-Lighting sits on the floor and produces a beam of light that reaches the ceiling. When placed along a wall or in a corner, it can change the look of the room, softening florescent lights and highlighting architecture, giving a plain, multi-purpose room a totally unique and elegant look customized to your mood, colors, or whatever else you want the “feel” of your wedding to be. The newest types of Up-Lighting are wireless and safe enough to even place under a table to highlight certain special items of notice in your reception, such as the bridal party table, the cake, candy or buffet tables, or any other items.

Up-Lighting  really does bring a true ‘wow factor’ to your wedding reception and will be remembered by your guests for years to come.

IS Up Lighting for you? It can be.  And now its very affordable.  Many clients will order just a few lights to put behind the head table, which honestly in some venues, that is all you can do.  In some venues, the architecture is just so magnificent, why change it?  Well, honestly, you can highlight those aspects of architect to make it "pop" even more.  We have done several events where we light up a back wall that was brick or has some texture, and the lighting just give is just an outstanding look.  So, in my professional opinion, accenting brick walls, pillars, or a textured wall is a great way to show off your venue's great qualities.

There are several different types of styles of up-lighting for your event. The following are just a few of the ideals we have done in the past.

Option A:  Vertical Up Lighting.

Vertical Up Lighting is the most common and easiest. Usually one or two colors that are programmed through out the room,  the light is positioned on the floor facing strait up towards the ceiling.  The light from the wall emanates through out the rest of the room reflecting from the ceiling and the wall. This set up is perfect for venues that have low ceilings.

Option B:  Kriss Cross Up-Lighting

"Kriss Cross" Up-Lighting is a unique technique that is great for venues that have small cubbies that are about waist level and have large openings to the ceiling, or are an alternative to the Vertical Up-Lighting.  With the kriss cross look, you can actually use less par cans to cover more wall space than you can with regular Vertical up-lighting. This is great for larger rooms to cover a large area and give more of a "Hollywood" look.  To accomplish this, we simply put two LED PARCans across from each other along the base of the room and point them towards each other to where the beams of light will create a "X" on the wall. This is also a nice way to accent a gift, cake or punch table.  In some cases, we have actually used it to create a back accent behind decorations. The photos below were taken at the Hilton Garden Inn, Sioux Falls, SD.  This room has the cubbies I earlier mentioned and on the north side of the room, there isn't any room to put up-lighting, so we decided to put the up lighting in the cubbies and around the furniture. Immediately, we received several positive reviews on the lighting.

Option C:  "V" Up-Lighting  

"V" Up-Lighting is another unique and inquisitive style.  Again, we use 2 LED PARCans and instead of using them to point towards each other, we point them away from each other.  Again, creating a great look and great wall coverage.

Option D:  "Fan" Up-lighting
Fan Up-Lighting is probably my favorite.  This is by far the best wall coverage for larger venues that have A LOT of wall space.  It also is by far, in my opinion the most cost and time effective.  For a room that would normally need 32 up-light fixtures, with fanning the lighting, the number of fixtures are literally cut in half. I came up with this ideal after a client advised me that her budget was cut in half, so she could only order half of the lighting. However, she wanted the "FULL ROOM" up-lighting look.  So after going to the venue, we played around and found the best combination. Fanning the up-lights.  This is also a great way if the venue has limited power outlets and you have to stretch the lighting around a bit.

Option E:  "Sunburst" Up-Lighting

Sunburst up-lighting is another favorite.  I have used it more on the lines for behind the head table because it draws attention to the head table itself.  In order to achieve this effect, we place approximately 5-9 LED up-lights very close together at the center of the head table and slowly spread them evenly along the back side of the wall projecting the beams at different angles. In order for this to work properly, we advise to order an odd number of led light fixtures to create a parallel look to each side of the sunburst. I highly recommend using only one primary color when doing this because if you alternate colors, it can loose the impact that your looking for.  If you must have 2 colors through out the room, have the primary color around the room and the secondary color behind the head table. It gives a "accent" look to the room and give that other color.

Option F:  "Featured" Up-Lighting

Featured Up-Lighting is a process of lighting up a decoration, ice sculptures, floral arrangement, punch bowl, or cake.  Doing these unique featured lighted areas help make your event different and on the cutting edge.  When doing feature lighting, Sioux Falls DJ Squad uses smaller LED parcans so they blend in and are inconspicuous to your guest.  

Color Combinations:

Color is your choice, and from over 3 million different color shades to choose from, it can sometimes be an overwhelming task.  My recommendation is choose one color as your primary color.  For example, if your using pink and blue, choose either blue or pink as the primary. I did an event where they chose red and gold, and even though it did look great, the up lighting through out the room would of been better if it was either just red or just gold.  If you must have two separate colors, my suggestion is to do the head table as your secondary color and the rest of the room as your primary color.  Like an accent wall in your living room.  The main wall that accents the room could be red and the rest of the room a light tan. Same thought but with lighting instead of paint.  This ideal actually came from a client, her colors were purple and ivory.  She had the sunburst lighting effect behind the head table with ivory white lighting and around the rest of the room we used the fan effect with purple.  It was astonishing.  Not only was it unique, but the head table was bathed with a warm light and didn't interfere with the photographers pictures.  Also the best way to make sure that the fixtures are programmed to the correct color is to give us a color swath so we can see the color in person instead of trying to guess. One person's Malibu Blue, may be another person's Cyan or green-blue.  By having the color swath, we can guarantee that the color will match your wedding.  Use a color wheel as your basis if you must use 2 separate colors. That way, the two colors don't clash and is easy on the eyes.  After all, you don't want to spend $5,000.00 plus on your wedding decorations just to have them look clashed because of a wrong secondary color.  

Safety is our #1 priority.   By using LED technology, Sioux Falls DJ Squad can ensure that your guests are safe at all times.  Many of our clients' events have children in attendance and, by using our line of LED lighting, you never have to worry about a child getting burned or inured.  Unfortunately, there are lighting companies around the State who choose to use halogen-based lighting equipment which can (A) melt nearby decor fixtures, (B) burn any person who touches it, (C) catch fabric on fire, or (D) produce excessive heat in a room.  In our eco-friendly commitment, we use LED lighting technology that is cool to the touch, does not produce heat, and are safe for small children to touch.

Expansive color reach and spread.  In the creation process of our exclusive line of lighting equipment, our design engineers produced lighting units that project color up to 60 feet high and 25 feet wide (based on the unit and model).  Many other lighting companies use halogen-based lighting, which has a color reach of only 20 feet high and 3-4 feet wide.

Custom color matching is our specialty. Our LED technology lighting units provide you with no limitation to your creativity and freedom of expression.  Each one of our lighting units can be programmed to the color of your choice, based on your event decor or overall event color scheme.  Other lighting companies, who use halogen-based lighting, are limited to plastic sheets of colored paper they lay over their lighting units.  Unfortunately, this limits you (the client) to a small selection of colors.  In addition, when using color overlays on halogen lighting, the color projection is flat or weak.  You never have to worry about these issues with Sioux Falls DJ Squad Lighting.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and hopefully it will help you decide on whether or not up-lighting is for you.  If you already have reserved your up-lighting package, I hope this has given you some ideals and thoughts of how you want your event to look.  If you would like us to demonstrate or would just like a free consultation, please feel free to call me for an appointment.  

Sioux Falls DJ Squad News & Articles

By Justin Pitts 22 Aug, 2016
Brides & Grooms To Be... Its mid swing 2016 and the wedding season has been busy as ever.  Many of you have probably been to a few friends and or family weddings already and quickly gathering ideals to make your wedding absolutely perfect and unique.  Well, now your in luck.  After several discussions with our past and current customers, we asked what they would of chosen if they could do their wedding all over again.  After several suggestions, we have devised several new add on and all NEW inclusive ALL IN ONE Package.

 So with out further delay... Allow us to introduce to you our NEW, IMPROVED, AND COMPLETELY AFFORDABLE Packages for 2016!!
By Justin Pitts 04 Aug, 2016
Decorations are set and the day is here, everything is perfect.  At this very moment, you don't think that anything could be more perfect... till you get you photo's back from your special night.   Yes, you looked stunning in your dress, and your now husband was very dashing in that tux, but every picture of you and your husband standing at the head table had that "Drab" and dull wall behind you.  If only you knew to have that back drop would make all the difference when it came to your pictures.  It a little but amazing how a simple a bit of lighting and cloth can make so much of a difference.

Many clients don't even think of the back drop behind the head table till it is a lot closer to the wedding date.  Which is fine, however, with the popularity of having this elegant addition to the head table, or the entire room, availability can be scarce as your date quickly approaches.  It is recommended to reserve your back drop 4 to 6 months in advance prior to your event.

DIY  vs Professional Back Drops.
As the DIY phase is high in the bridal industry, many people don't realize that it cost just as much as building your own back drop as it is to rent one from a professional decorating company or wedding vendor.  For example, a popular concept is to use PVC piping and cloth.  Now, PVC piping is a type of pipe used typically for plumbing.  It is a very cheap typically about $3.00 for a 10 foot pipe.  The cloth can be anywhere between $2.00/sq ft to $10.00/ sq ft depending on the quality of fabric you use.  Now, PVC pipe is very cheap, however, if not constructed correctly, it can be flimsy and fall over.  I have seen some brides use this and have used it very efficiently.  I've also seen some instances where it is nothing but an epic failure and it looks just so cheap.  It just depends on how much money your willing to spend on making your back drop.  The back drop cloth can be purchased at any local fabric store and with a little seamstress work you can have a nice back drop.  If you do go the DIY route, make sure that you use fire retardant cloth.  It may cost a bit more, but if some one knocks over a candle, that back drop can burn up very fast and your dream wedding will turn into your worst nightmare.  On a final note, make sure you use some sort of weight to hold down the ends of the back drop.  This is so then it won't tip over on you or your guest.  PVC piping is VERY light and flimsy, so make sure your using hard points and weights to secure it.  This may take a little bit of structuring engineering on your part, but with the right construction method, your back drop can be secure and will last through the night.  The only down side with DIY is that after the night is over, you now have to decide what your going to do with your back drop.  Also, you will want to ensure that when you set up your back drop or pipe n drapes, that your not violating any fire codes by blocking emergency exits or other codes that may be enforced in your governing jurisdiction.

Professional back drops use a high quality system of aluminum piping , weight bases for the pipes with a fire retardant cloth.  Some vendors will even set it up for you as well, but may charge a delivery or set up fee.  Many vendors include up lighting with their pipe and draping as well.  Yes, it may be a bit more expensive vs the DIY, but you won't have to worry about set up, tear down, and have the ease of mind that it would be set up properly.  You also will have a better quality of cloth to ensure a very elegant and professional look for each picture.  So let's talk money, Just to rent a pipe and drape system, your looking at a minimum of $4-$6 a linear foot depending on color and fabric type. Generally  10 foot back drop would cost approximately about $60-$80.00.  Delivery and set up fee's can charge between $50-$150.00.  So unless you have a way to deliver it and set it up to and from your event, you may consider the additional fee.  It will also give you the peace of mind that it will be set up properly and not violate any fire codes or other governing jurisdiction codes.
By Justin Pitts 03 Aug, 2016
So before we dive into this article I must disclose that I own a professional DJ company and therefore, the opinions and statements made in this article are upon my own observations and point of views from experience of lighting design and entertainment.  With that being said I'm going to try to be as unbiased as possible, however, I will say that your results may vary from my experience of working with DIY up lighting.  For best results and cost effectiveness, go with a professional to up light your event.  It will save you time, money and the knowledge base for design lighting is priceless.
By Justin Pitts 26 Feb, 2016
So recently, I had a client ask me about my thoughts of fake flowers over real flowers for wedding reception.  Now, being a DJ and professional Emcee (not to mention a man), I know very little on flowers.  So this young bride to be (We will call her Ashley) and I decided to take a trip down to a few floral shops in Sioux Falls and to the hobby shops.  After 3 hours of looking and pricing flowers, we started a list of pro's and cons of real and fake flowers.  I will say, it was a bit fun and reminded me of the days when my wife and I would go to hobby shops just to play with floral arrangements when we were planning our wedding day.
By Justin Pitts 19 Feb, 2016
 To begin with, I am by no means nor claim to be a marriage expert.  In fact I'm far from it.  My marriage has struggled through much of the subjects that I'm about to talk about in this article.  However, I am going off my experience as a husband who is trying all he can to keep a hold of his marriage.  The suggestions I am about to give is of my personal opinions and are suggestions from books I have read about marriage and also from counselors who specialize in repairing damaged marriages. Therefore, take my words of experience and put them to use in your own marriage so you won't have the same experience that many marriages have.
By Justin Pitts 08 Feb, 2016
He asked and you said yes.  Next you got the dress, then the big planning starts.  From floral to catering and of course, the venue.  There are several factors to choosing what venue is the best choice for you.  This article is just a few things to ask yourself and the venue to ensure it is the best choice for your wedding celebration.
By Justin Pitts 04 Feb, 2016
This is a very fun project that many of my colleagues like to talk about.  What will we see as the top trends for 2016.  Some trends are actually revived trends of weddings pasts, and others are completely new trends that have never been seen before.  Either way it is a exciting venture to see what brides are coming up with to make their huge day one that is unique and will forever be remembered.
By Justin Pitts 28 Jan, 2016
Today, I just wanted to give a heads up about 2016.  As of right now, we only have 12 dates open for 2016.  So if you haven't booked a affordable, reliable and professional DJ, today I wouldn't wait to much longer.   Most highly requested DJ companies get booked between 6 months to a year in advance.  So, if you are getting married in 2016 and have not reserved your DJ yet.  Then you better get a move on! So if you haven't booked a DJ here are a few questions to ask the DJ you are considering to book before you actually book them.
Now, also keep in mind that no one goes into business to intentionally make your wedding a huge disaster.  The questions to ask are for your safety to ensure that you are getting a true professional to make your dream wedding become a reality.
By Justin Pitts 22 Jan, 2016
Let's face it, music can make or break any event.  It's the life force, the energy, the pulse of your event.  Your performer, whither be a band or a DJ is a VERY important factor of your event.  Music set's the mood, and the tone of your event.  So, choosing the right entertainment for you is indeed the most crucial aspect of your event.  So do your research, and literally interview each performer to ensure their personality won't clash with yours.

How to choose what is right for you. Band or DJ?

There is never a truly correct answer on what is right for you.  It is more on what YOU like.  You need to know the difference of hiring a DJ or a band.  Things to consider is space, style, experience and expertise. 

So what is the difference?
Typically a DJ is in most cases more flexible than a band when it comes to music selection.  A band usually  will cost more because there are more people involved.  Now, that being said, in some cases the same is true with DJ's depending on their skill or entertainment.  In some cases you end up just paying for an over inflated ego but we will just stick to the facts and touch base on ego's in a different article.

With Band's, there are several musicians which in return can cost a bit more than an actual DJ.  Now, in many cases, having a band to set the mood is great and let's face it.  Live music has a unique and unparalleled sound and feel and if the band is energetic and interactive, your guest will have the time of their life. The down side, is that the band may only know a handful of songs and would be limited to requests.  Usually they have a "set" play lists which they practice together over and over again.  However, that doesn't make the night any less of a value, but just limited on what can play.  If you have a band that plays mostly 80's cover songs, then it may be a bit difficult for them to play something in the top 40 lists because they simply may not know it.  The skill for multiple individuals playing different instruments to make the whole of the band requires a lot of practice.  So, when you choose a band, make sure you have heard of them or read reviews.

DJ's are also in a league of their own now.  The skill of mixing, scratching, beat and key matching is now a art and skill more than just selecting songs and pushing play.  There is also the ability to host the event to ensure the flow of the night works in your favor.  Now days, a DJ is more than a over expensive i pod.  They can do so much more to make your night flawless.  Music selection is more variable compared to bands.  Many DJ's have on hand (at least they should) have a minimum of 50,000 song selections with a wide variety of different genre's. Also, if space is an issue, a DJ would be friendlier to the venue space requirements vs a band.  In most cases a DJ only needs about a 10-12 foot x 8 foot area to set up their audio and lighting system.  A Band on the other hand would need MUCH more space and even possibly require an actual stage.  Now for the ugly truth about DJ's.  Being a DJ myself, it pains me to say this, but it is true.  There are individuals out there who simply think that being a DJ means to just be playing the music.  They are usually younger DJ's who are out there for the mere fact of being a DJ.  When they perform at a wedding, they see it more as a "frat" party vs a actual wedding.  Songs that are inappropriate for family events are played, and may possibly say a few ill taste things on the microphone.  All in all though, no one is in business to make your wedding a disaster.  Every person that DJ's weddings have the true intentions of making your night one to remember.  Its if they truly have the experience or even the know how to do just that.  Make sure you look at reviews of the DJ.  Many DJ's have a review system that they cannot alter.  We have one on our website, and we also have reviews on wedding wire, social media and also other wedding related websites.  Also, meet with the DJ in person.  Not just the manager or booking manager.  Also, know who your going to have.  In many cases, there are companies that use a multitude of Sub-Contractors.  Now, i'm not saying that sub contractors are bad, but it causes the company to have less control of the quality of equipment and performance style and there is usually no training when training is needed.

These are just some of a few examples of differences between DJ's and Bands.  I hope this has been helpful for you to decide what is best for you and your event.  

As always, if you have any questions about how to make your event a success, please feel free to call us at 605-338-2761 or just visit our website at
By Justin Pitts 20 Jan, 2016
Your event is set, the date, the decorations, the caterer, rings, dresses... even your entertainment.  But have you considered a secondary form of entertainment? Why need a secondary form of entertainment?  Well, its simple.  There is only so much your DJ or band can do.  Yes, we provide a planning service and we help with making the night go smoothly and above all else, we entertain your guests during the dance.  However, what if you can do more to make your night enjoyable and memorable?  Well, you can and it is quite affordable.  
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