Tent Lighting for Events

With Spring and Summer events upon us, I thought it would be a great time to talk about our services for tented events. At Bright Event Productions we can provide you with lighting, audio, projection, and power for your outdoor events. The first thing I like to advise our clients to do is book your tent company so we have a better idea of the size and type of tent you are using. There are three different types of tents we typically work with here in Nashville; frame, pole, and structure. Below is an example of a clear top structure tent Dori Thornton of The Social Office used for a rehearsal dinner.

Photo by Kristyn Hogan

So why does this matter to us? The type of tent being used will determine the amount of rigging and what kind of rigging we can do within the tent. For instance, a pole tent can limit us to rigging since there are only the center support poles and perimeter poles to attach to. A frame or structure tent provides more attachement points for our rigging by using the tent framing that is accessible throughout the ceiling. This is crucial if you are planning your event design around rigging chandeliers throughout the space. Below is an example of the restrictions we have with pole tents. In this pole tent designed by Sage Nines Events, we were able to come from the center tent poles and perimeter tent poles to create an aircraft cable grid to hang our chandeliers from.

Photo by Kristyn Hogan

The most important question after tenting details is where will your power come from?  Is there enough power on site? Is it located in close proximity to the tent? Do we need to provide a generator? With our power service we will handle the power logistics for all vendors and will stay on site during your event to handle any last minute power needs. Our generators start at a whisperwatt 20kw and can be increased in size given the amount of power needed for your event. All we need to know to get started on power is the amount of power each vendor requests and the location of where that power needs to be placed.

Photo by Gregory Byerline

Now to the fun part! The lighting design in your tent can range from functional lighting to full scale lighting design. This will all depend upon the budget you have allotted as well as what you are trying to accomplish with the lighting design. For functional lighting we can do a basic tent ceiling wash. A “wash” is a general fill of color or light across the tent ceiling. Another great way to provide functional lighting as well as incorporating a decorative element is to utilize Italian String Lighting. Side Note: Colored bulbs and paper lanterns can be added to Italian String Lights to tie in your event colors. Here is an example of Italian String Lighting being used in a tent.


Full scale lighting design can be as involved as your budget allows. We can add a few simple washes to highlight your cake, bars, and buffets or go as in depth as projecting gobo patterns onto the entire ceiling, pin spotting all of the tables, providing band lighting, and hanging chandeliers throughout the tent. When it comes to full scale lighting design, we would love to have the opportunity to meet with you to go over options and to see what layout design you are working with. A layout is always helpful for lighting design whether you are working in a tent or a venue. Here are a few examples of full scale lighting design with break downs below each photo of what we did. 

Photo McLellan Style. Event Design by Elliott Events

Here we up lit the perimeter draped tent walls in gold, washed the drape panels in the tent ceiling in gold, washed the acrylic beaded chandelier in gold, pin spotted the guest tables, and highlighted the sweetheart table.

Photo by Kristyn Hogan. Event Design by The Social Office

This is probably our most intricate wedding lighting design we have done. Here we washed the tent ceiling to give it a nice ambient glow above the drape, up lit the perimeter draped walls, pin spotted all of the guest tables, provided rigging for all chandeliers, pin spotted the cake, highlighted the hand painted dance floor, and provided a LED band wash.

Photo by Greg Smit

In this event designed by Big Events, we provided Italian String Lighting throughout the tent, tree branch gobo patterns onto the tent ceiling, and the band’s led wash gave a really cool contrasting purple glow throughout the tent.