‘From the Gegent’ is a series of articles featuring businesses, services and the people behind them in the Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. Presented by Mica Soffer, owner and publisher of community news service COLlive.com and neighborhood directory gegent.com:
You’ve been waiting to host this simcha for years and now that the big day is almost here, you run through that mental checklist in your head, making sure that every detail of your event is taken care of so that it will look truly and totally amazing.
Invitations? Check. Catering? Check. Flowers? Check. Tablecloths? Check. Chair covers? Check. Benchers? Check. But how about lighting?
Up until recently, lighting has been most commonly used at concerts and shows and been as too glitzy for events such as benefit dinners, weddings, L’chaim engagement parties, Bar and Bas Mitzvahs.
For the last 11 years, Crown Heights resident Mendy Boaron has been working to change that perception. “Lighting changes the mood of the room,” he says. “You can totally change the vibe of the room just by changing the light. Flowers and decor make a room look good, lighting adds that special feel.”
His company, Master Lighting Productions, is one of the few lighting designers servicing and understanding the frum Jewish community and has lit up simchas around the world, alongside massive concerts starring Omer Adam, Gad Elbaz and Avraham Fried.
Boaron has been producing the Mega Hakel Events outside 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights which had over 20,000 attendees. He counts well-known personalities like billionaire Sheldon Adelson and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump among his clients.
In recent years, Boaron has seen lighting become a crucial part of weddings and other parties, with uplights, small colored lights placed around the edges of the floor to wash the room in a particular hue, which he says is one of the simplest ways of adding an upscale touch to a party.
“Uplights change the entire ambient color of the room, turning the room to whatever color or feel you want,” Boaron says. “Beams of light ranging from soft glows to dramatic splashes of vivid tones, color can transform a space and bring it to life.”
Asked what are favorite colors of his customers, Boaron said he gets many requests for both blue and amber lighting, with peach starting to creep its way into the mix as well.
While it is well known that colors have different psychological properties, Boaron has found that most of his customers choose uplighting to complement their decor such as centerpieces or tablecloths.
“Amber goes well with gold, pink goes with pinkier flowers and peach goes well with white or the lighter reds,” explained Boaron. “Blue is a popular choice that matches with just about everything.”
Differences between warmer and cooler colors can transform a space in entirely different ways, but no matter what color you choose, uplighting is a great way to create impact, he says, and adds that when choosing to fill your room with a particular hue, you need to be careful about how you use that light.
“You may want to have blue lighting, but if you deliberately choose all white flowers, you don’t want them to look blue because of the lights,” explained Boaron. “And you certainly don’t want the light making your chicken entrée and your other food look blue.”
He says the answer to that problem is a simple one: using pin spots, small lighting units attached to the ceiling, whose narrow beams of light can highlight specific items such as the aforementioned flowers or chicken, to make sure that they stay their natural color. Pin spots are also a great way to draw attention to particular items in the room, such as a decorative display or a wedding cake.
More than just a way to change the ambient hue of a room, lighting can also be used to add eye-catching design elements to a room, he says.
A gobo, which is an acronym for “Goes Before Optics,” is a stencil that can be slid over a light source to create a design, and can be used to project stunning decorations on floors, walls, chuppah runners or even a mechitza, creating breathtaking, personalized designs.
“Used for monograms, wording and interesting patterns or shapes, gobos have become extremely popular, adding a custom touch to a room that will be long remembered,” he said.
While lighting can be used to create a feel of elegance and serenity, it can also be used to pump up the simcha vibe in a very big way, Boaron points out. By having an on‐site lighting technician, lighting can be synchronized to the beat of the music, giving guests the opportunity to both feel and see the music in addition to just hearing it.
Enhancing the music with lighting creates a magical effect, observes Boaron, getting guests out of their seats and onto the dance floor, giving their all as they celebrate with their hosts, not because of a social obligation, but because they are experiencing the music deep inside their souls.
Other creative ways to use lighting to enhance a simcha include creating a large video wall behind the bandstand, which can display a full array of custom content, including song lyrics, pictures, video montages and just about anything else you can think of. Video dance floors, which can flash similar content beneath guests’ feet, are also making their way onto the Jewish simcha scene and are yet another way to boost the excitement level and add tremendous energy to the room.
Boaron said that uplights and pin spots typically cost approximately $350 to $1500, while custom work including gobos, moving lights, video walls and dance floors can start at about $1,300.
Lighting designers often offer package deals that can bring the price down, and it goes without saying that as with any other vendor, you want to choose someone based on the quality of their work and not just the price they are offering.
“Slowly but surely, lighting has become a unique way to transform a simcha, setting the stage for the many emotions that are part of a milestone event,” Boaron concludes. “With results that can range from breathtaking to electric to spectacular in a matter of moments, adding lighting to your simcha is a truly bright idea that is finally getting its well deserved moment in the spotlight.”
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