How to Illuminate Outdoor Event Spaces

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If you are looking to utilize an outdoor event space for your next event, selecting the right outdoor lighting can make all the difference when the sun goes down. Especially, when planning an outdoor event for the first time, we recommend overestimating how much light you will need to ensure your attendees aren’t tripping in the dark.

Here are the 7 types of lighting to consider for your next outdoor event:

  1. Bistro String Lights
  2. Uplighting
  3. Moon lights
  4. Twinkle Light Walls
  5. Monograms
  6. Sparklers
  7. Large Flood Lights

Bistro String Lights

When to use: Wherever your attendees are, if they need enough light to take notes or see their food, Bistro lights are a great way to distribute light over a large outdoor area. Bistro lights also carry a very classic look, so if your event is themed, or you want to dress up your venue, bistro lights can add a fun flair to your outdoor event.

When not to use: Bistro lights carry a unique style, so if that is not what you envision, there are plenty of other lighting techniques to light up your space. 


When to use: Light up the walls and vertical surfaces with uplighting. A festive way to use brand colors or integrate a color scheme throughout your outdoor venue, is through uplighting (as shown above). You can create an exciting entrance to your event, and dress up any walls around the venue with wireless uplighting.

When not to use: If you are on mile-long grass fields or desert with no vertical surfaces, this may not be the right lighting technique for your space.

Moon Lights

When to use: Moon lights can be a statement piece for your event. Depending on your desired event theme or look, you can use them in between bistro lights, or set them up around your event as a festive border. Not only do these lights provide a softer glow, but they add something extra to a plain backdrop.

When not to use: If your venue is particularly small and walking space is limited (i.e. a backyard) you may decide overhead lighting may better suit your needs.

Twinkle Light Walls

When to use: If you’re looking to create a picture-worthy event, twinkle lights create the ultimate backdrop behind any speaker, display, or any area you would like attendees to go to. Twinkle lights are inherently eye-catching and will draw your attendees’ attention towards any area where you use them.

When not to use: Though most situations provide an opportunity to use this lighting style, some are not suited for it. Speak with an expert to see what your options are.


When to use: For the company who would like to showcase their logo or event name in a special way, personalized monograms offer a unique way to showcase that on any wall, dance floor, stage, etc. Above are some of our favorite monogram ideas. 

When not to use: If there is no particular logo or name to showcase.


When to use: Event sparklers are not for the faint of heart. If you plan to make your event an unforgettable evening, igniting sparklers will dramatize any special moment or finale. Especially with the help of a lighting expert, large event sparklers are safe to use, and you don’t have to worry about setting up or turning them on.

When not to use: If you need consistent lighting throughout the duration of your event, the sparklers will not not provide sufficient light, since they will only be on at specific times.

Large Flood Lights or Wash Lights

When to use: Some events require huge, bright lights as opposed to many small lights. Large flood lights can light up a field, parking lot, golf course, or any other spacious outdoor venue. 

When not to use: Large flood or wash lights are bright and white, which may not be appropriate for a more intimate event setting.

There are no official rights or wrongs when it comes to lighting an outdoor space. You can mix lighting styles, like bistro lights in between moon lights, or stick to one main lighting technique throughout your venue. 

Knowing your outdoor lighting options helps you make a well-informed decision about what will suit your space and how to add a special flair to your outdoor venue.