Everyone knows that a good event comes with party lights. However, purchasing lighting is too expensive to be realistic for many. Is rental a good alternative? And where can you rent party lights?
The best place for party lights rentals is in a Guitar Center store. You can test the products and be given utilization advice by professionals. If seeing the product beforehand is not a requirement you can rent online on AmericanPartyLights and ProLightingRental.
A good party comes with a fun atmosphere. One of the main ways to build that atmosphere is with proper party lighting. The thing is purchasing lighting is often too expensive to be realistic. However, you can’t just go without lighting, therefore you need to find out cheap lighting rentals. Luckily, you probably have more than one location to rent party lights in your town or online.
In today’s post, I’m going to explain where to rent party lights, what to rent, what does it cost, conditions of shipping and returning policy. In short everything you need to know in order to throw an amazing party with amazing lights!
Where to rent party lights locally?
Let’s start by getting the obvious disclaimer out of the way. If you live in a tiny village, you may not have lights rental near you. Thankfully I’m going to cover where to rent online later in the next section. For everyone else, it’s best to start with the music store Guitar Center (GC). Chances are, if you live in the U.S., that you have a GC within driving distance. Indeed, there are 297 stores across the U.S..
It’s important to note that Guitar Center rents out their party lights on a “first come first serve” basis. Why is this important? Just think about having an important event to host, you show up at GC, but the appliances are unavailable to rent. Therefore, if you get attached to particular lightings, you may consider renting for longer than a day. This way you make sure you’ll have them for your event.
Guitar center rentals go from the basic LED PAR and LED Bars to the more sophisticated multi-effects lighting systems, lasers, and fog machines. If you are looking for uplights effect in order to create a special atmosphere on walls or ceilings, then GC has the perfect PARs to do that.
These can really help to take the party to the next level, but definitely add an additional cost to your setup. Give your local Guitar Center a call or visit the store in-person to see their current selection of lights and equipment.
I focused on Guitar Center because they’re a national brand. But if you want to support a local business, then most medium-sized cities have options for renting lights. You can find local results if you search for “City-Name Party Lights” or “City-Name DJ Lights”.
Where to rent party lights online?
You may be in a position where it becomes more convenient or even necessary for you to rent your party lights online. Guitar Center does not provide rental deals online. You still need to show up in person in order to see what they actually have in stock to rent. Luckily, there are multiple online options, such as AmericanPartyLights.com and ProLightingRental.com. These two are the biggest sites that rent lighting online in the United States.
They are good options to consider because they offer free shipping nationwide and have pre-paid returns. Simply re-use the box the product arrived in with the shipping label provided. It really is a great option for people who wants to save time.
How much does it cost to rent party lights?
- A simple LED PAR, used to create “uplights” of “wall wash” effects, can be rented for around $20 per day.
- The classic “mushroom” can be rented for around $45.
- A multi-effects appliance is rented for around $95.
Guitar Center provides great lighting rental packages for a day, weekend, week or even a month:
- A pack with 2 LED PARs, 2 LED Bars and 4 DMX cables. Price ranges from $34.99 a day to $149.99 a month.
- A pack with 4 LED PARs, 4 LED Bars and 8 DMX cables. Price ranges from $74.99 a day to $299.99 a month.
If you’re not familiar with DMX cables, they are hooked into a DMX controller which allows you to synchronize and control the appliances. I definitely recommend going down the rabbit hole of DMX controllers, here is an article I have written on that topic. Luckily, Guitar Center also allows you to rent a DMX controller starting at just $9.99 per day, which I recommend getting.
What party lights should I rent?
I have talked a lot about where to rent DJ lights for a party and its associated cost. But one lingering question I should probably answer is: What type of lighting is the best to rent? First of all, don’t break the bank. Rent what you can afford. I think the $34.99 a day Guitar Center “4 light” package, with the $9.99 DMX controller is a great deal for $44.98. So if you’ve got a $50 budget and a GC near you, this is definitely my budget pick.
My advice would be to try out renting different lighting and effects units until you find the lights which match your event. After 4 to 8 units, you should probably focus on renting other cool stage items such as fog machines and lasers. They add an additional layer of depth to your visual presentation.
Here is a list of party lights I recommend renting:
If you are looking for setting a mood by coloring the walls or the ceiling, then what you are looking for are called “PAR” or “PAR cans”. These ones for instance.
If you are looking at more “disco lights”, then I recommend derbys and moonflowers. A great setup on a budget is having a central quad moonflower and two derbys in the corners. Like this:
A multi-effects appliance can be great if you really are on a budget. Personally I recommend renting each effect individually rather than having an all-in-one product. They usually have a medium to low performance in each effect. For instance, an appliance that does a “derby + laser” effect would be worse than a derby + a separate laser.
In particular, do not forget to rent a fog machine. It will enhance the effects of your lights tenfold! Please note that fog machines are harmless. If you are interested, I wrote a complete article on that topic here.
I am a DJ, should I rent or buy my party lights?
So far, I’ve talked about where to rent party lights, but is it the best thing to do every time you DJ? That’s a great question, but it actually depends a lot on you and how much you’re gigging. For instance, do you DJ events every night or weekend? If you answered yes, then you clearly should reinvest some of your profits into purchasing your own lighting. Are you just starting with DJing and only do a sporadic event once every year or month? Then you are probably better going with rentals.
Also, if you buy a lighting setup but end up don’t liking them, you’re stuck with them. I recommend every DJ new to lighting to start by renting. This allows you to become familiar with certain light units, and also with controlling the lighting using DMX controllers. The great thing about renting, is that you can try out a bunch of different lighting setups. Then you can price out the cost of the DJ lights you like. Eventually, if it makes financial sense, invest in your own equipment.
While I believe every DJ should be in it for the love of the craft, there is also a financial angle to the equation. Regardless of whether you rent or buy, you need to pass the cost along to your customers and still make your hourly wage. This means doing the math of how much it costs to DJ the event, and how much you are charging. In the long run, buying is always a good idea compared to renting.
How do I return the lights?
AmericanPartyLights and ProLightingRental I mentioned above provide the shipping label in the box you received the lights with. Just re-use the box to send everything back on the first working day after your event. The shipping label will be already filled with the address and pre-paid by the company.
For Guitar Center, you just need to bring back the appliance on the first working day after your event.
Is the shipping free?
Most of the time it is. It is at least for AmericanPartyLights and ProLightingRental.
Now you know everything needed about renting party lights. Remember to have fun! I am sure you will throw an amazing party now that you have everything covered!