It's Electric

It's Electric
  • PDA provided lighting for this wedding on Kiwah Island at the Sanctuary Hotel, including this 24 foot circle truss dead hung around the chandelier.CHARLESTON, SC--On October 28, 2006 Production Design Associates' (PDA) project manager Todd St. Onge made the dreams of a blushing bride come true with a dazzling display of lights and dcor at the Sanctuary Hotel on Kiawah Island. Dismissing the usual traditional ambiance for something more modern, PDA provided lights for a memorable reception, while taking the market of wedding AV beyond prior perceptions.
  • PDA was approached by the wedding planner Weddings Elegantly Designed (WED) to provide ambiance for the reception. Everything in the Charleston area takes on sort of a Colonial look, but the bride wanted to bypass the local historical, traditional feel for something more South Beach/Miami, something very rare for the slew of weddings that seem to be converging here as of late. St. Onge went to work designing the lighting for the reception with the bride, working with a 3D rendering program to accurately capture the ballroom for the reception. Onge explained, "We blew her out of the water with what we proposed and she gave us a good budget to allow us to achieve it."
  • PDA has done lots of weddings as of late because the Charleston area has begun to swarm with nuptials. Onge explained, "We have a lot of ties here in Charleston and it's becoming a huge wedding destination lately. There are lots of books being written about the area and having weddings here in the south. I just moved here from San Diego and there's just so much untainted coastline, there's not just houses all up and down the beach like on the West Coast because the south is much more concerned with preserving its historical aspect, which really makes for a beautiful wedding."
  • One of the major challenges that St. Onge and his crew faced was converting the ballroom to achieve the look the bride wanted. The ballroom at the Sanctuary was very over the top with gold trim and chandeliers. PDA worked quickly to coat the ballroom in silver and grey. They recarpeted the entire ballroom, hid all the cables, and socked all the truss with custom covers for the event. In the center of the room there was a large chandelier that St. Onge decided to put a circle truss around. "What kind of worked out for us was that the center chandelier and all the rigs points sort of lined up to our 24 foot circle truss. So we had to dead hang it to get the trim height we wanted. Mega-Clamp makes these things called Truss Picks and we used four to get the truss real high and tight. We had to put it on four crank stands and then had to line it up to dead hang it with four guys cranking at once. But it worked out perfectly, it almost looked like a permanent install."
  • Throughout the cold rainy day, PDA put in a wide range of lighting to provide the proper atmosphere. St. Onge used 16 Martin 250 washes, four Coemar LED iWashes, two pin spot bars, four loose pin spots, six Coemar MiniCycs, 20 Trackson LED panels, three white Lekos, 12 white pars, 32 LED pars, and for the band we used 12 ETC pars for a basic wash. For control St. Onge used Martin Light Jockey, "The smallest footprint we could have the better so we had to use Light Jockey to do the show because it was a very tight ballroom." Edwin McCain was the band and they did their own audio.

The first letter of the groom's last name was monogrammed onto the wall and the cake was washed with pin spots by PDA.
Onge used the MiniCycs to create two big diamond configurations that changed color and faded over the 30 ft white psyche on the stage. He monogrammed the letter M, the first letter of groom's last name, in between that and on another wall. For the cake St. Onge used pin spots and for the skirting of the cake the LED iWashes. Onge said, "The cake was real warm looking and the linen under it was silver, so I washed that in a magenta to make it kind of pop out. After they cut the cake I used the iWash LED pars to animate the dance floor, so they had a dual role in the wedding."

Onge and his crew had to be in and out of the ballroom in a day, loading in the night before and out by 6 am the next morning. Prior to the reception the bride would occasionally sneak in to check out the progress because she was staying at the Sanctuary. Onge has his looks to preview by the morning of the reception and the bride was ecstatic with the outcome. St. Onge attributes this to the changing world of weddings and AV. "We're moving into more modern looks for weddings and you can kind of get away from the traditional look finally. It's minimalistic as far as appearance, but as far as the color and the whole esthetic goes, it looks really advanced because you're not using conventional or house lighting, you're achieving these colors with intelligent fixtures. This was new to the people who walked in this ballroom. They were just blown away to see these different color palettes at a wedding is awesome."

The wedding industry has long been steeped in tradition, but with displays like Onge's a change in concepts and design for the industry seems imminent. Onge said, "Don't think you're limited at weddings, people are really looking for a lot more than expected. Don't be afraid to be overly creative. I thought I was pushing the boundaries at this one and they loved it. Sometimes clients are a little shy about pushing into new areas, but in this case they encouraged it, which I think is great. It kind of shows you were the industry is going. It's a day that's pretty huge for the couple, so you just try to make it as eventful and special as you can." For more information visit