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Lighting Your Wedding Day | Interview with Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services | Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Lighting design is one of the most important and impactful ways to elevate your wedding day from dull to dazzling! Today on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!, we interview Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services. Kevin is an expert in DJing, wedding entertainment, and lighting design, and today he is here to help you light your event. From traditional up-lights to extravagant installations, let Kevin walk you through the myriad of options you have for both tented weddings and indoor venues! So if you are on a wedding planning journey, sit back, relax, and let Kevin light the way!

Lighting Your Wedding Day: interview with Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Meet Kevin.

I’m Kevin Dennis, the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services. We’re located in Livermore, CA – about 45 minutes east of San Francisco. We have our own little wine region out here, actually, and we’re about 15 minutes south of Napa. Our company does lighting, DJ services, and photo booths for weddings. We cover the entire Bay Area, but do stick to our little wine region because it keeps us busy! 

How did you get started in the wedding industry?

I started out as a DJ in high school. I was a nerd and wanted to meet girls, I’ll be honest with you! The girls used to clamor around the DJ when he was doing his thing and that’s why I learned. I started our company in 1989 as a DJ service and in 1995, we expanded to other services. That’s when we changed our name to Fantasy Sound Event Services. As our little region has grown, we’ve grown with it. 

Lighting Your Wedding Day: interview with Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Today, we’re going to nerd out about lighting your wedding, right? I know you do a lot of things for couples with your business. But, let’s talk about the lights: what’s the process to even start thinking about adding lighting to a wedding day? 

Start looking at your venue online and look at what they’re posting on social media. As you begin planning more, gather inspiration images through Pinterest or other resources. Figure out what kind of look you want: pretty, glowing, hanging florals, drapery, whatever it is. It’s a discovery process for couples to really find out what they want and need. When you come to us, you need to know your venue – otherwise we can’t really do anything for you yet. You also need to have your date. When we know your venue, we can determine what we’d need to bring to create the look you want: rigging, trussing, light stands, and so on. There’s a lot of variables that go into your lighting look. 

So, when you go out to talk to lighting vendors, there’s a few things you should do. Know your venue, your date, and get inspiration photos at your venue so that you know what you like (or don’t). It’s important to know what you don’t like just as much as you know what you do like! 

Lighting Your Wedding Day: interview with Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

I think that’s a good point. You’re obviously going to research your venue and what you like, but I agree that it’s important to know what you don’t like either. What’s the next step to elevate your wedding/event with lighting?

A couple of things come next. We have a lot of photos from a variety of venues, so we can show our couples and take them along the journey of building your lighting design. You have to have the foundation of your lighting. Think about if you want a color wash or some kind of pattern on your wall. Then you build from there with chandeliers, florals, drapery behind the head table, a sweetheart table with grass or hedge wall. Those are really popular. So, you work on finding those backwards then keep moving out, if you’re adding to other spots – like escort cards, the cake table, and such. You really want to theme it all together and make it cohesive. So, we talk to our couples because knowing their vision, as well as the colors and vibe of their wedding – and even their home – can help us as well. 

Lighting Your Wedding Day: interview with Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Now, what about if a couple is getting married under a tent? Tell me about the logistics of lighting a tent. Who’s responsible for what?

Well, you’ll want to work with the tent company. They’re the ones that’re probably installing your tent and there’s a lot of logistics to consider. You have to know when the tent is arriving – is it the day before? Two days before? When is the tent coming down? Tents have to also be rigged for different weights and weather, so we have to know how much weight it can bear when thinking about hanging certain lights. There’s also the question of where the tank will go for electricity. Once we have some of those questions answered, we can start pitching design ideas. 

Lighting Your Wedding Day: interview with Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

How do you design for that space? 

We start with whether or not the tent will be open or have sidewalls and then discuss if there will be any color on the roof of the tent. We can also hang lights from the top or add light, so that’s an option. I always like to create things over the dance floor or the head/sweetheart table. If we’re going to hang anything up in a tent, those are the two places we need them (at minimum). 

Oh, I love that. And I bet that helps with people who have smaller budgets. If someone is planning a wedding on a smaller budget, where would you recommend they focus first? 

I would say lights, for sure. I think that adding color on the walls can really bring some life and fun into your reception images. A lot of couples will keep to softer colors – like pinks, purples, even a champagne color – so it doesn’t look so much like a nightclub. It’s about how you want your guests to feel in the end. A lot of couples tell me that they want “elegant” and that really means those soft colors – just a little bit of that will go a long way for the vibe of the party. 

Lighting Your Wedding Day: interview with Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Talk to me about a non-tented wedding reception.

So, there’s a few differences from designing for a tent. When you’re working in a venue, you’ve typically got access to the ceiling. You don’t have to worry about rigging points. But, you’ve got two options you’re working with: open air and ceiling. Open air would be something like a barn, where you see the beams. It gives you more options, I think: you can hang stuff, do market lights, there’s lots of variety. But, the bottom line is that we need to know the logistics of the room before we can start working. Sometimes I’ll do a site survey with a couple and actually stand with them in the room so they can understand what their limitations might be for that space. 

So a tent, as long as you have the generator, is more of a blank slate? 

Yeah. I think you also have to remember there’s other restrictions that might come with a tent, though – like if you have a live band that needs a lot of power. Do you have a specific machine for catering – like an espresso machine? Those things take up power and space. We need to know if you’re bringing in something else that will use power, because there’s a limited amount left after we take what we need. 

Older venues also have different electrical setups than newer ones. So, you might see 8 outlets but you don’t know how they’re set up together on circuits. You never know what cards you’re being dealt, so it’s important to have someone who can ask those questions. Couples don’t want to think about that – they just want their wedding to be pretty.

Lighting Your Wedding Day: interview with Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Let’s talk about lighting trends. What’s out there that couples can do? 

Canned lights to wash an entire wall are really popular. It’s been around for a long time, but it comes in and out of popularity. Another option is to have a pattern or texture on the lounge or dance floor. There’s lots of different options. We also have a gumball type pattern that can make certain doors or exits more visually appealing when you can’t physically block them. 

You mentioned patterns. I’ve seen couples do snowflakes for a winter wedding or something that can bring more ambiance. What other patterns can you do? 

Believe it or not, we can do over 700 patterns. You can get everything from a tennis ball to the Golden Gate Bridge. I personally like some of the foliage type patterns – because it can overlap and doesn’t look weird when it does. And of course, you can do custom designs or monograms, as well. 

Monograms are super popular.

Yeah, they’re important and people love them.  A lot of times, couples will use them throughout the wedding – the invites, photo booth strips, the lighting, on the napkins. It becomes a logo for the wedding. There’s so many things that you can do with them. You can even add motion – like those snowflakes for a winter wedding. So, there’s all kinds of things you can do – from light coming out of a stand to uplighting or washing a wall in a solid color. I try to tell more couples to do the solid color wash – it’s cleaner and cost effective. 

inspiration for lighting your wedding day on wedding secrets unveiled podcast

Another option is to do spotlights to highlight certain things – like your dessert table or your sweetheart table. I think it looks amazing. People spend a lot of money on centerpieces and once the lights go off, they’re in the dark. Pin spotlights can go a long way! The other thing that’s getting really popular are moving headlights – like dance style lights. 

Wrap-Up Question

What are some key points that couples should be asking lighting companies when they are inquiring to make sure that they’re working with a professional company to ensure that their wedding day is an absolutely perfect event?

I think the biggest thing is reviews from other clients. What was their experience like?

Look at their portfolio and see if you like what they’re sharing. Make sure it’s their work, too. 

Talk with your venue, wedding planner or coordinator to see if they have good experience with a company.  

Lighting Your Wedding Day: interview with Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

What We Discussed

Meet Kevin (2:16)

Lighting a tent (6:07)

Venue inspiration and logistics (15:41)

Lighting trends (24:45)

Wrap-Up Question (33:58)

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Find Fantasy Sound Event Services at Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest |

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