Nothing can transform and enhance your wedding day vision quite like the powerful and creative use of lighting. And there are so many possibilities! Dwayne and his team at Greenlight Creative are truly geniuses in this field and they have the passion, experience, and expertise to prove it. How very lucky are we that they are based right here in Portland?
In case you aren’t familiar with this insanely talented local vendor team or the concept of event lighting & design in general…we encourage you to read on! We sat down with Dwayne recently and learned so many wonderful things we’d love to share with you. We are certain you will be just as impressed as we are with his knowledge, experience, passion, and creativity. You rock, Dwayne!!
Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?
I’ve been in Portland since 1977. I have been in the events and entertainment industry since 1978. I’ve been in live event lighting since 1982.
What is your favorite thing about Portland?
Summer! And the proximity to the desert, gorge, mountains, and beach. Great food, theatre, art and music are here too…and pretty nice people!
What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?
I like traipsing around on a Sunday afternoon shooting photos…anything urban, or industrial, especially.
How long have you been working as a professional wedding lighting designer?
I’ve been in event lighting for 35 years. I probably lit my first wedding about 15-20 years ago, although “wedding lighting” wasn’t much of a thing then…but, “wedding lighting” took off like a shot at about the same time that I started this company in 2009. We’ve lit 60-75 weddings every year since then.
How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional Lighting Designer for their wedding day?
Big topic…but I’ll put it this way: First, nothing delivers mood or theme or color or décor in a live event as efficiently and on potentially as big a scale as lighting can. It’s an amazing vehicle that gets a LOT of “work” done. Second, if nothing else, why spend thousands and thousands of dollars on decorative features for your wedding that no one can really see well? Let’s make sure it’s lit right, in a way that makes it pop…if the venue’s carpet gets as much attention as the flowers on your tabletops, what a shame! Lastly, composition of space is critical to not only the beauty and ambiance of the venue, but to the guest’s overall experience…and a great lighting designer knows how to balance light to create a flawless space.
What is the best part of your job?
Meeting new people and hearing about their hopes and dreams for their event, and then leading them through the design process to make them come true.
What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?
It varies…sometimes it’s budget, occasionally it’s communication, and once in awhile it’s short timelines. Really though, of all of the types of events we light, weddings are pretty much the most fun and pain-free!
Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?
We have a team of 10-15 people (depending on season), with about 6-8 people who you’ll see most often on our events.
What do you attribute to your success as a wedding Lighting Provider? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?
•Passion: Passion for the transformative ability that great lighting can have on an event, large or small or in-between.
•Experience: See above! We’ve been doing this a long time and we’ve seen and solved lots of challenges, won lots of awards, and made lots of people’s dreams come true.
•Expertise: Lighting is all we do. We aren’t DJs or sound people or decorators. We don’t rent tables or chairs. We just love great lighting design, have purchased the best state-of-the-art equipment to make it happen, and hire the most engaged lighting professionals to do the work.
At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
For a couple of reasons, the sooner the better. First, if you have an idea of what kind of lighting you want, it’s almost always a good plan to contact us to make sure your venue can accommodate those dreams. Second, we do get booked up, especially April through December! Not that we can’t often accommodate smaller events as last-minute add-ons (2 to 8 weeks out), but we do often have to decline quite a few of these as well. Best bet is 3 to 12 months in advance.
Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
I personally draw inspiration from my clients and their venues. While there are some amazing venues that we work in frequently in Oregon and Washington, I love the challenge and inspiration that comes from seeing a new space that I’ve never seen before…often this can be private property, but just as often it’s a new or lesser known venue. And our clients…they are amazing! I try to know as much about what informs their visual sensibilities as I can…what kind of art hangs on their walls, why they chose this venue, what their personal style is…what makes them tick.
What is the most important thing that couples should ask someone in your profession before hiring them?
Have you done this before? Can I see photos of it? Do you know my venue, or will you come visit it with me? Do you have references?
What is your best advice for wedding clients?
Don’t be afraid to call. Ask. Be super inquisitive, we can take it. But also trust us…we don’t want you to be anything less than ecstatic with our work at your event, so we will definitely be asking YOU a lot of questions too.
Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?
We try very, very hard to fit what we do into the overarching look and feel of your event. It’s not just about us…it’s not just about lighting. We are one part of the whole event design, and we want to help the dress, the cake, the headtable, the dancefloor, the venue…all of it…look amazing; sometimes by lighting the rest of the event’s features as they SHOULD be lit, sometimes by blending amazing and complimentary lighting treatments in or around those other elements, but always by striving to create one unified presentation.
There are so many ways to connect with Dwayne and his team and after reading this we are quite sure you are going to want to!
Weddings : http://greenlight-creative.com/weddings/
Specialty Fixtures: http://greenlight-creative.com/specialty-fixtures/
Carrier Pigeon (also our HQ)