{Ask Allison}: Transform Your Tent – From Drab to Fab

{Ask Allison}: Transform Your Tent – From Drab to Fab

Four Ways To Transform a Tent


There are many ways to create a transformative event using AV and lighting design. For Intelligent Lighting Design, transformative events is our specialty. Adding uplighting to the perimeter of the room can create the mood for guests. The color “amber”, for example, adds a illusion of warmth to an event space. ILD offers wireless lights that are remote controlled so the client can have the lights switched to a brighter, more fun color during the dancing portion.



photo by Jenny DeMarco / featuring our uplighting and Versailles chandeliers

Other elements that can be added to create more dimension to an event are chandeliers, grapevine globes, lanterns, and even pinspots. These elements can create focal areas for the guests that catch everyone’s eye and transform the space from a square room to an atmospheric experience. The variety of chandeliers that ILD has ranges from romantic and elegant chandeliers to jaw dropping Versailles chandeliers. Pinspots can create a focal point for cakes, special ceremonies, and where the couples are seated. These are just some of the ways the ILD can transform a tent from drab, to fab.


photo by Jerry Hayes / featuring our Sparkle chandeliers and pinspots

{Cait’s Captures}: Gala Material

{Cait’s Captures}: Gala Material

See what a little Sparkle can do to your décor.

Upgrade your wedding to a gala feel that your guests will love and adore. Have a look at The 2016 Crystal Ball Gala for the Helping Hands organization. This elegantly planned event utilized the lighting from our Sparkle, Versailles, and Pearl chandeliers to illuminate the space.

Did you know? The Crystal Ball Gala is a fundraiser that benefits the organization Helping Hand Home for children. HHH provides a nurturing and therapeutic home for children who have suffered severe abuse and neglect. ILD is grateful to have participated in an event that supports this cause. The Crystal Ball Gala is a 71-year running event and this year raised $1 million dollars–HHH’s largest earning fundraiser yet. The proceeds will support therapeutic treatment and services, enrichment activities and education services for children living at HHH.

We asked ILD’s event design and Lighting Design Specialist, Michael McGuire, to share his design process for this extravagant event. “The client came to us a year in advance with only a concept,” said Michael. After the designer-client consultation, Michael used a pen and paper to draw a 3D visual of different designs that incorporated our chandeliers. “The chandeliers were critical to the concept, all the décor and scenic elements were designed around the chandeliers.” During the “design phase, once we collaborated to find the right mix, the client made use of our entire inventory.” From there, everything fell into place and the elegant-garden party concept became the event the client had envisioned.

(Photos by: Jerry Hayes Photography-

{Cait’s Catch}: Dimes & Diamonds, Budget Lighting – Saving money never looked so extravagant

{Cait’s Catch}: Dimes & Diamonds, Budget Lighting
Saving money never looked so extravagant.

Products Featuredcandlelight, tea lights, festoon lighting

When I usually think of budget I think of settling.  Settling in the aspect of essentially trading my wants for being more practical in a financial manner. As we all know putting together elaborate events, such as weddings, figures can really add up. There seems to always be a constant struggle between what to sacrifice: the bank or that diamond infused-satin tablecloth. Well sacrifice no more; thankfully, there are ways to keep your bank a float with that diamond infused-satin tablecloth. If you want that “diamond infused-sating tablecloth” look just take a glance at your lighting. There are various ways one can use lighting to enhance the ambiance of the event. For example, try adding candlelight, the least expensive option, to the décor. One step up would be to use festoon lighting (string café lights) to set the tone. If you have a little more room, this would be the ideal option, is to go ahead and acquire a lighting designer. They are experts at picking the right kind and color of lighting to create the desired glow. The take away is this: when managing the budget for the event at hand spend less money on other décor aspects and more on lighting. Budget lighting is more cost effective than having more diamonds in your centerpieces. Lighting is a huge and critical factor when creating that extravagant atmosphere you and the guests will love.



Carly Talks… Products! – Custom Color and Uplighting

Carly Talks… Products! – Custom Color and Uplighting

Service(s) FeaturedUplighting – custom color options available 
Product(s) Featured
: Intelligent Lighting Design’s iDesign Pro18

Either on the stage or in a custom design, the iDesign Pro18 the perfect color mixing LED luminary. It’s exclusive features include: 54W max operating power, a 3-in-1 RGB configuration, standardized 3-pin DMX512 data ports, backlit digital display. The built-in software allows for on-board programming, patching, color mixing, 10 strobe settings, 20 preset colors with dimmer control, and power failure memory. Available in Black.

I may be biased, but this is one of my favorite options for uplighting here at Intelligent Lighting Design! The reasons are aplenty, but here are my top three: 1) My gracious supervisors have bestowed three Pro18s next to my desk space, which I use for ambiance by changing the colors for every season or holiday 2) you can alternate the Pro18s to ANY color you want by simply altering the RGB function buttons … seriously, a rainbow of colors, just a button or two away! And 3) they’re lightweight enough to move around at any moment, should I sense a need for a little feng-shui rearrangement, and they travel easily – perfect for DIY clients!

The custom color option of the iDesign Pro18 has to be the best quality about these uplighting options, in my opinion – they can emit an illumination as unique as our clients.

Katherine McCommon’s Corporate Partner Spotlight: Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park Diamond Dream Gala

Katherine McCommon’s Corporate Partner Spotlight: Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park Diamond Dream Gala


Location: Minute Maid Park – Houston, Texas — Diamond Dreams Gala 2016


This month, Brian Dawson and I were invited to the Diamond Dreams Gala hosted by the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.  Intelligent Lighting Design has been a long-time supporter of the Astros and it was a privilege to be invited to such a special occasion.

The baseball field was transformed into an elegant gala with lucite glowing tables and grandiose floral arrangements throughout the space.  Guests in attendance included national representatives of MLB, Astros players and managements, and local leaders in the Houston, Texas community.  The gala’s guest performer for the evening was Grammy award-winning James Taylor, who played hits as Sweet Baby James, Fire and Rain, How Sweet It Is, and more.  He performed on an incredible stage built on the 3rd base side of the field featuring Clay Paky’s new LED intelligent movers overhead and behind his band for special effects.

FullSizeRender 2 (1)Brian Dawson and Katherine McCommon pictured here with Craig Biggio on the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park

Brian and I had the opportunity to visit with Hall of Fame inductees Nolan Ryan and Craig Biggio during the event, as well as Mike Fiers who had a no-hitter in the 2014-2015 Houston Astros season (last year).  All of these accomplished and talented athletes were fascinating to talk with and true champions of their sport.

Overall, the night was a huge success and solidified our company’s relationship with one of MLB’s most talked about teams in Major League Baseball.  A heartfelt “Thank You” to the Astros organization for the invite and we look forward to the 2016-2017 season ahead.  Go Astros!


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Michael McGuire’s Event Spotlight: Blue Hole Regional Park & DIY Lighting

Michael McGuire’s Event Spotlight: Blue Hole Regional Park & DIY Lighting

Location: Blue Hole Regional Park – Wimberley, Texas

Services Featured: DIY lighting, Outdoor Wireless Uplighting Rentals

Products Featured: Wireless Uplighting


Blue Hole Regional Park, a treasured and beautiful swimming hole in historic Wimberley, TX, hosted their premier winter party in December, and asked Intelligent Lighting Design to turn their entire park blue.

We absolutely love the giant trees that form sort of a coliseum effect as they’re perfectly placed around the perimeter of the lawn area, with a gently flowing river on one side. The event was to feature carolers, acoustic musicians and even a visit from Santa Claus!


During our initial site visit, we realized that our wireless uplights were the right choice for the installation as there is minimal power available. We looked at the available trees, and determined how people would be traversing the lawn, ultimately coming up with a quantity the worked with the client’s budget. During the quoting process, Blue Hole was, like many in the Wimberely area, affected by the Halloween flood. Fortunately they lost none of the trees and they remained relatively unscathed.

In talking with our client, we realized that offering our wireless uplights as a DIY lighting option, rather than us installing them, gave the client even more lights than they originally hoped for, allowing them to illuminate more trees making for quite a fantastic design. This was one of those true client/vendor collaborations in that we maximized the budget but also helped come up with the design that made sense for them and their guests. I think the pictures speak from themselves!

Ask us if DIY lighting might be the right answer for your next event!

For more information on our DIY lighting options or uplighting designs, please contact me at or call 877-266-6935.  Available in Austin, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and other surrounding cities.



Jenna’s Corner: Awards Season Event Spotlight

Jenna’s Corner: Awards Season Event Spotlight

Products FeaturedPattern Projection, LED Cluster Strands, LED Light Curtains, Antique Pendant Bulbs 


The Golden Globes have come and gone and the Oscar nominations have just been announced. Awards season is here and personally, this is my favorite season. Not just because I get “ooh” and “ahh” over my favorite celebrities finally getting the recognition for well deserved, amazing performances or debating with friends over the winners and fashion, but because we get to witness the awe-inspiring and innovative lighting designs used on the stage to enhance the show.

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Photograph from Intelligent Lighting Design’s design elements at House of Worship


As with any other event, stage lighting helps create mood, change the space and bring your attention to things that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Whether a broadway show, a runway fashion show or the Academy Awards, stage illumination is essential for the production. At ILD, it goes without saying that we have a passion for transforming a space and we have a wide range of products and fixtures to do just that!

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Photograph from Intelligent Lighting Design’s design elements at House of Worship


Our lights can create just about any effect you can dream up and we want to help you bring your vision to life. One of my favorite effects from our pattern projections is that it can transform a plain, old ceiling into a glowing, midnight blue sky full of stars. Taking it a step further, our LED cluster strands or our LED light curtains bring the starry-look down to earth to surround you in cascading lights. For more of a vintage Hollywood style, our antique pendants cast off a golden glow with an old-school feel and serve as a beautiful backdrop for presenters or performers alike.

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Individual shots of some of Intelligent Lighting Design’s Antique Pendant Bulbs


This awards season, we’re excited to see what trends are used to make Hollywood’s biggest stars shine bright. As a designer, I look forward to working on illuminating your event and making it truly Oscar-worthy!


Photograph of Intelligent Lighting Design’s Cluster Strand design at Camp Lucy – TEXAS

Jenna’s Product Spotlight: Sparkle Chandeliers…5 of them!

Jenna’s Product Spotlight: Sparkle Chandeliers…5 of them!


Location: Oohla Bean – Driftwood, Texas & Neiman Marcus – Dallas, Texas

Services Featured: Chandelier rentals, Wedding Reception Illumination, Fashion Show, Anniversary Lighting

Products FeaturedSparkle Chandelier, in SILVER and GOLD.


With 2016 around the corner and holiday parties galore, we have gotten into a celebratory spirit lately at Intelligent Lighting Design! New Years is all about the glitz and glamour and, in 2016, we are looking forward to a bright, shiny future. Especially when we finished 2015 with many fabulous opportunities to feature one of our most glamorous items – the Sparkle Chandelier! Christmas came early for Intelligent Lighting Design and we added many new products to our inventory including the Sparkle chandelier in GOLD.

We teamed up with Caplan Miller Events for a wedding at Oohla Bean in Driftwood, Texas to premiere our new golden Sparkles in December and the results were amazing! Set against the beautiful Texas sunset under a clear tent, the gold Sparkles shone brightly and enhanced an already magical event.

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Photo credit: Jerry Hayes for Jenny DeMarco Photography

Not to be outshone, we have always loved our silver Sparkles and, as you can see from the photos below, they were featured beautifully at the 50th Anniversary party for Neiman Marcus at Northpark Mall in Dallas, TX in October. Our Sparkle design for this event really embodied the glamour and sophistication that is Neiman Marcus on such a momentous occasion. The more chandeliers the better and all five of our chandeliers proved that at both of these events. 

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Photo credit: RUDAPhotography

Whether you are team silver or team gold, the Sparkle chandelier is the perfect lighting element for any event that needs that extra touch of sophistication and glamour. We would love to help you add a little *sparkle* to your 2016 events and wish you all a bright and Happy New Year!

For more information on our chandelier rentals, please contact me at or call 877-266-6935.


Carly’s 2015 Networking Events Recap

Carly’s 2015 Networking Events Recap

Carly’s 2015 Networking Events Recap


One of my favorite things about working for Intelligent Lighting Design is the opportunity to meet, network, and connect with so many different people who share the same interest in the events industry as I do. What I love about networking with colleagues and professionals in the events industry is each of our innate creative trait that we all share. It does not hurt that this creativity and professionalism comes to life so fabulously at all of our carefully planned networking events that so many people work hard to make happen every month.

An excellent example of this is International Special Event Society‘s monthly Happy Hour, which takes place at a different -yet equally fabulous- venue each month. Can you say “networking with a skyline view”??? How can one not enjoy conversation over a glass of bubbly, Nate The Great’s balloon installations, delectable catered food, and a high vibration of creativity and enthusiasm about our industry!?


One of our Design Specialists, Michael McGuire, hanging out with industry colleagues at ISES Happy Hour at Clayworks this December. Here, with Jerry Hayes of Jerry Hayes Photography.


In addition to ISES’ reliable monthly community brainstorming sessions -I guess you could also call them networking events!- every month, one of my favorite opportunities to network in 2015 was Premiere Event‘s 15th anniversary party and awards ceremony in November. The event was held at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa’s Governor’s Ballroom on the 18th. The energy of luxe planning greeted you right at the doorway with over-the-top (literally, they were spilling over!) floral bouquets on either side of the entrance. The floral theme continued throughout the entire room and even acted as a “hanging” ceiling….of at least a couple hundred individual roses!


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Photos of Carly Willaford under the hanging rose ceiling at Premiere Events’ 15 anniversary at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa’s Governor’s Ballroom in November.


The idea of the event was to showcase the many different design styles and skills that exist in our Austin area events services industry by featuring a different booth per business. Our booth, designed by Michael McGuire, featured our black Mirage chandelier, red uplights, and perfectly placed pinspots on the table setting within our booth. I loved this event because not only was the food great -roasted short rib and gnocchi, anyone??- but the community was so genuine and there was a true design factor to the event. Plus, what a reason to celebrate!


Intelligent Lighting Design’s design installation at Premiere Events’ 15 anniversary at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa’s Governor’s Ballroom in November. Designed by: Michael McGuire. Services featured here: black Mirage chandelier, pinspots, red uplighting.


In 2016, I am personally looking forward to becoming more involved in the events industry and contributing to the greater good of our necessary creative community. 2016 will be a year of fabulous networking, I can feel it! 🙂 Here are some photos of our team from various events throughout the latter half of 2015, including: ACGC, NEAWP, ISES, AYC, GEN, Premiere Events, ETC. . . . . . . . .


NEAWP Day of Education 03 GEN Open House 01 NEAWP Day of Education 01 GEN Open House 04 12274478_1068886766496584_4697502160265209368_n IMG_5314 IMG_6152

Katherine McCommon’s Q&A with Colin Cowie Weddings: Lighting Trends

Katherine McCommon’s Q&A with Colin Cowie Weddings: Lighting Trends

Questions & Answers: Katherine McCommon Describes 2015’s Biggest Lighting Trends!

(As transcribed from an interview with Colin Cowie Weddings)

What are the most popular or current lighting trends for weddings?

2015 has been a transitional year for event lighting designers as we have seen a surprising shift in our clients’ creative process.  In the Spring, we saw clients incorporating an extraordinary amount of outdoor lighting.  The most popular outdoor trends our clients request are (a) tree illumination (in a variety of colors) and (b) cafe festoon string bulbs hung in canopies over lawns, and chandeliers hung in tiered groups over lounge areas.  
(Photo credit: Caroline Plusben)
Taking it to the next level during the Summer, we saw clients attempting to bring the outdoor into their indoor event space.  We were surprised at the large number of requests for cafe string bulbs or vintage pendant bulbs hung overhead in a ballroom.  Many of our rental partners saw an increase in client requests for wooden farm tables.  Many clients were using farm tables to create long family-style seating.  As though destined for each other, the combination of outdoor-style lighting and farm tables became a match made in heaven.
        Then, as we moved into the Fall, chandeliers became a statement piece.  At Intelligent Lighting Design, we doubled our chandelier inventory in response to our clients and began creating custom-designed pieces for specific color schemes.  We are hanging tons of chandeliers for our bridal clients – chandeliers over guests tables, chandeliers over ceremony sites, and – best of all – chandeliers hung in groups over dance floors.  Couture…diamond-studded…old hollywood.  Chandeliers cause guests to gasps with excitement as they enter a wedding reception space – every single time.
        One of the surprising trends we’ve seen has been the request for light shining through windows in an event space to give the illusion of moonlight. Many venues are built with gorgeous stained glass windows or antique-style tall windows around the perimeter.  Brides have requested on numerous occasions to have light shining through the windows (the lighting is set up outside the building shining through the windows for further explanation).  I’ve noticed that brides and grooms like the reflection of the windows on the floor or ceiling.
 (Photo credit: Mercedes Morgan)

How have wedding lighting trends changed over the past few years?

You may be asking yourself – What trends are fading out?  My answer would be dance floor monogram projection and paper lanterns.  They were hot trends for 2013 & 2014 – but not so much this year.  Instead of monogram projection on dance floors or walls, our clients are asking for patterned dance floors instead.  The great aspect of a patterned dance floor is that you can create the dance floor size of your choice instantly.  Many venues have hard floored and our clients do not rent dance floors.  Instead, they have us project the shape and dimensions of their allocated dance floor area with breakup patterns.  This is amazing because we have over 800+ patterns they can choose from – essentially that’s 800+ dance floor optional looks.  Lanterns have been replaced with chandeliers!
 (Photo credit: Ginny B)

Why do you think these trends have become so popular?

Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby a few years back had a profound effect on weddings in 2014 & 2015.  Although the Gatsby-specific trend is now fading out, the glamour of the movie is still alive and well – chandeliers, vintage lighting, and flowing fabrics.  In the 7 years I’ve been designing lighting for my clients, 2015 has been my favorite trend year.  I am thrilled to find that my clients are looking to create a theatrical atmosphere for their guests.
        Weddings are much more than vows, dinner, and dancing.  Weddings are events – weddings are experiences – weddings are to be unforgettable.  This year, our team of designers incorporated a theatrical element into our client’s ceremonies.  With the development of our iDesign Systems wireless iPad color control system, we began programming lighting choreography for our brides and grooms.  What is lighting choreography?  It’s a term we recently coined in collaboration with one of our favorite planners to describe timed lighting sequences.  For example, let me explain a wedding ceremony we designed last month:  At the beginning of the ceremony, our clients’ guests were surrounded in a room fully color washed in royal purple.  It was dramatic – the perfect start to a theatrical ceremony.  As the groom and his groomsmen entered, the room faded into lilac – creating a soft, airy, and romantic vibe.  Guests smiled with excitement as they realized they were in for an experience.  The bridesmaid, donned in Vera Wang, walked elegantly down the aisle to the voice of Etta James – followed by the flowergirl and ringbearer.  Suddenly, the room became dark and silent – only lit by candles…..slowly a spotlight turned on as the bride appeared.  With each step, the aisle lit up as the spotlight followed her to her groom.  When she reached him, the backdrop to their vows became illuminated in lilac – candles flickering throughout the room.  There was not a dry eye in the room.
        Now, you may be thinking, how expensive is that?  You would be surprised to find out that our custom manufactured iDesign Systems line of LED lighting fixtures make this type of theatrical design affordable and easy.  Being able to create wedding experiences like this is what makes our company unique – but also makes event lighting services a must-have for any wedding.
 (Photos by Ziem Ferrari)

Is there anything we should know when doing these kind of lighting trends?

Yes yes and yes! 🙂  For outdoor lighting trends like cafe festoon string bulbs or chandeliers hung from trees, it’s important to hire a lighting vendor who has experience with outdoor installation.  The biggest misconception is that string lighting is easy.  Believe it or not, creating a custom outdoor design with a canopy of string lights overhead is the most challenging trend available.  It takes careful planning – including electrical consumption (many clients need to plan for a generator), safe hanging structures (if you plan to use poles, it’s important to have trees to attach the poles to), and much more.  In addition, installing chandeliers usually require a mechanical scissor lift to reach hanging points and safety cabling system to secure them in place for temporary usage.
        Lastly, for outdoor installation, it’s important to make sure your lighting vendor uses waterproof lighting or has a gameplan in the case of rain.  In our iDesign Systems line, we have developed a wireless, waterproof color wash (uplighting) fixture model specifically for our outdoor events.
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(Photo credit: PhotoHouse Films Photography (Will Herrington))
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