I’ve said it before (here!) and I’ll say it again now: lighting is key to transforming a venue. Great lighting design can create any mood you desire. But how do you install lighting sources in a beautiful way? And how can you make audio equipment work with your design? And what if you need to re-shape a space? Well, Amber Lu has a company for all that and we were very excited to sit down and pick her brain. She shared with us all about how she got started, what inspires her, and what she’s loving right now and we’re pretty sure you’ll find it as interesting as we did!
Amber, what sparked your interest in wedding and event design?
Being around corporate events, I wanted to involve myself in the softer side of event production where I could pair the technical with the aesthetics. It seemed that most people had the thought that lighting and audio/visual were very mechanical looking and a bit of an eye sore, so everyone tried to hide them, but that makes the equipment less functional. At the time most planners and designers did not realize that white lighting fixtures and white speakers existed and could make such a huge impact on the overall look. I thought I could help to not only present this idea, but to also blend the two together in order to show that lighting and audio can be visually pleasing and still remain functional in a space.
How did you narrow down on such a specific area of design work?
My partner at the time was a DJ, and provided audio and lighting services for events. I was intrigued by the idea that you can do so much with lighting and audio/visual. After visiting him on job sites to see how both lighting and audio paired to become such an energetic force in the room, it made me want to create a similar atmosphere. I added draping services later, as I felt it was crucial to maintaining the aesthetics of an event.
What is the greatest challenge you’ve come up against in running your own business?
I would say the biggest challenge I have faced is managing a group of people with different personalities and keeping them in line with my own philosophies of doing things. In business, you start out as a one-man show and you learn to be a renaissance man, or woman in my case, then you grow and realize you need more people to help you with things. Managing people was definitely not easy in the beginning, but I have learned and evolved with my company to find what works for everyone, including me.
What is the most important asset in this business? (And perhaps in life in general ;)
The Golden Rule or Law of Reciprocity: “Treat others as one would wish to be treated oneself.” We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with and it takes a village to make things happen. If you show respect and compassion to the people that surround you, they will also reciprocate. The event business is a hard business to be in due to the fluctuation of time and hours each week. Some people cannot endure the long hours or the constant “go”, so environments can be tense at times. When you stay positive and show kindness, it makes for a better working environment and life, in general.
What is the most helpful thing a client can keep in mind when meeting with you for the first time?
It’s helpful to bring in photos that you have selected that would best represent your lighting, audio/visual or draping needs. It gives us a better insight on your overall look and helps us predetermine the services you are looking for so that we can have a very efficient meeting.
What trends are you loving these days in event design?
Lighting: Twinkle lights. While they were hot before, they are hotter than ever now. The use of twinkle lights has expanded from adding them to fabric to filling up an entire tent or ceiling (it is the ideal way of creating the illusion of stars and that perfect night sky) to incorporating them stylishly into floral treatments for that added sparkle. No matter what shape or form, the ubiquitous twinkle lights/fairy lights/Christmas lights are here to stay for some time.
Draping: Colored velvet draping. While the popular wine color has made a comeback in covering the walls of ballrooms, velvet draping of all colors is trending immensely. Colors, such as ivory, navy and light brown, have made their way to the forefront in uplifting a ballroom and making any event appear ultra lush and super swanky.
Audio: Bluetooth streaming audio. Wireless control via phone has been popular since apps were created. What’s trending now in audio is speakers with built-in Bluetooth capability so you no longer need a cable to connect your phone to a speaker to play music and you can play your favorite tune from anywhere in the room. These are great for conference rooms and cocktail reception areas.
Video: The biggest craze these days is video projection mapping. Whether it’s projection mapping on a building, blank wall, or cake, video projection mapping has become the IT thing in events. I recently projected fireworks and diamonds on a 7 tier cake for a wedding on the Fourth of July weekend and the reactions from both the couple and guests were priceless. Video has become a platform for many unimaginable things.
Are there any other thoughts or additional insights you’d like to share? We’d love to hear anything our questions may have brought up!
Many people place a lot of their attention on design elements for their wedding and displace lighting, audio/visual and draping services. While equally important, it is the overall presence of services and the way it plays on each other that makes for a good atmosphere or exceptional photo.
Learn more about Amber Event Production here!