16 Illuminating Neon Event Ideas

Skift Take

1. Wall Bulbs

Thought neon was left in the 80s?

Turns out it’s making a comeback, and not just on the clubbing scene.

The neon theme is being incorporated into various events, from corporate to kids parties so it’s time to get on board. If you’re looking to create an event with an illuminating pop of color, a neon theme is a great choice, so here are some cool neon event ideas to get you started.

Use wall decorations to cover your venue in colorful light. Neon installations can be arranged in infinite combinations; you may wish to spell out words related to the event, construct interesting shapes and artistic pieces, or simply line up differently-colored bulbs to create a rainbow effect. The versatility of wall bulbs makes them a handy decorative tool. Check out how these neon tubes have been used to help guests navigate around an event. A consistent color scheme or pattern, such as the alternating red and yellow used here, can provide a useful reference for attendees.

{ light }

A post shared by Beth🥀 (@couldnt_think_of_a_name_x) on Apr 1, 2018 at 10:15am PDT

Credit: Beth Benbow

2. Meeting Room Arrows

Given the association with rave culture and energetic celebrations, it may not seem that neon pieces would be appropriate for a business meeting. However, using subtle patterns and softer colors, your venue can benefit from decorative lighting that fits perfectly into the corporate world. In this meeting space, stylised white neon arrows provide an elegant twist that doesn’t detract from serious discussion.

Dom Perignon exclusive dinner #neonevents #neoninstallation #domperignon #domperignonp2

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Credit: WHAT IF Events

3. Social Frame

Photo props are a fantastic tool to encourage your guests to grab their phones and take a photo. If you’re holding a neon-themed occasion, don’t forget to use bright colors in your props, and include social media cues. Give your event a unique hashtag and display it prominently throughout the venue. At this glow-in-the-dark event, organizers have created a wonderful neon orange Polaroid-style frame to create special selfies that are extra shareable.

4. Buffet Station

Make the most of areas where guests will congregate and provide plenty of decoration at the entrance, bar, and dining areas. When hosting a neon-themed event, use glow-in-the-dark elements to enhance these spaces. Check out this bright and beautiful buffet station; the organizers have used balloons, stars, musical notes, and glow sticks to create an irresistible invitation to enjoy the treats on offer. If you look closely, you’ll notice that they have also crafted bar-themed signs showing that smaller details can make an impact.

Credit: Jorge Icaza

5. Prop Tree

At this event, organizers have adorned a faux tree to bring the outside in with neon ribbons, pom-poms, and Slinkies. This adds texture and dimension to an item that would otherwise have faded into the background and gives a festival vibe. Instead, the clash of nature and neon makes this tree a conversation piece. This would work for outdoor events too, simply pick an existing structural element, furniture or foliage to decorate.

Credit: Citaly Dojaquez

6. DIY String Lights

Whilst we’re on the subject of imaginative combinations, check out these gorgeous DIY ball string lights. They’re super simple to make, using just a few everyday items to create an eye-catching installation that can be hung just about anywhere. There are lots of other inventive ways to use string lights; place them in vases for an original take on the humble lantern, use them to spell out words, or turn them into artistic shapes. Think about the alterations that can be made to simple items to transform them into impressive pieces.

7. Custom Lights

The neon sign is an iconic form of light installation. Used in bars, diners, and clubs for decades, they provide a spectacular invitation to guests. Bespoke neon lights remain a popular accessory for events and venues. By working with a custom sign creator, you can use lettering, shapes, and an entire spectrum of colors to design lights that are perfectly suited to your celebration. This could also be a unique sponsorship or branding opportunity.  

Credit: Clara Leblanc

8. Wall Graffiti

If you’re working with younger guests, or simply wish to bring in some more edgy decoration for your event, why not utilize neon graffiti? Use bold lettering to welcome your guests, give them directions around the venue, and provide a backdrop for awesome photos. Work with a designer or local graffiti artist for an authentic look that is also sustainable and eco-friendly. At this event, the organizers emblazoned the wall with the name of the host, along with other design elements, such as a basketball player, drum kit, and keyboard

Credit: Taylor Event & Floral Design

9. Attendee Paint

Encourage your guests to get into the party spirit by offering neon body paint! Offer a comprehensive range of colors and allow attendees to embrace their creative side! If you’re hosting an event with a competitive edge, give each team their own color and inspire them with tribal design ideas. At this event, guests have jumped straight into the fun with neon yellow face paint in awesome patterns which can be interacted with UV lights or darkened rooms.

Credit: Zina Hult

10. Registration Area

The use of neon lighting in an entrance area provides a warm welcome to guests. Opt for colors that are either directly part of, or in harmony with, your event branding color palette. This registration area has used a consistent neon purple theme throughout, making it immediately recognizable for guests.  

Credit: Karen Smith

11. Gamification

If you’re planning to have games at your event, why not opt to make them neon? You can buy or rent arcade game units with neon detailing built-in, or you can add glow-in-the-dark decorative touches to standard equipment. This is especially suitable for 1980s-themed parties, and you may use ultraviolet lighting to amplify the effect! Check out these eye-catching arcade games which certainly won’t be missed.

Credit: Castle Party Rental

12. Streamer Hoops

Streamers present an effective and inexpensive way to create a vibrant party atmosphere. Choose bright colors to tie in with the neon theme, and use ultraviolet lighting to enhance the effect. At this event, organizers have arranged glow-in-the-dark streamers into hoops, which are suspended from the ceiling to provide a fun and distinctive decoration. This is an excellent budget-friendly event idea you can use to turn your venue into a neon atmosphere.

13. Lighting Effects

As well as bulb installations and ultraviolet lamps, the use of light projectors or GOBOs will help to create the perfect ambiance for your event. You have almost limitless options when it comes to colors, shapes, and moving patterns which give you flexibility in finding the right projection design that could be a sponsored or branded idea. These baby themed GOBOs go for a blue and white neon option to set the tone without upstaging the other decorations to make sure the event vibes are just right.

Credit: DJ Richard Services

14. Branded Bar

The bar is always one of the busiest areas of a party, so ensure that this hot spot is decorated in keeping with the theme of your event. There’s usually a fair amount of space behind the bar; it provides a blank canvas on which to use lighting, props, and artistic pieces to create a memorable visual impact. At this event, in celebration of the recent Black Panther movie, the bar area and dancefloor were decorated with neon lettering, patterns, and themes surrounding Wakanda and its rare mineral Vibranium. An effective fusion of theme and function!

Credit: Creative Foundry

15. Lit Invitations

Hype up your event from the moment it’s planned! Be inventive with the design and color of your invitations; use neon hues and bright white lettering against a dark backdrop to create a glow-in-the-dark effect. Check out this eye-catching invitation to a Zumba glow party where prospective guests will know exactly what to expect from the event, and there’s even a handy suggestion about the best shades to wear! A great idea and theme for a corporate fundraiser.

Even if we’re just dancing in the dark 😉 💃🏻🌟🕺🏻🌟 Glow Party coming up on Monday April 16th!!! 🙀 Come be #Peligrosa with me & all the #BEfitBabes who always make you feel welcome to the party!! 💃🏻💜🌟 Wear white or Neon Clothes to help get your #glow on!!! @beyondfitnessct 😘😘 #GlowParty #Zumba #NewHaven #positivevibes #uplift #persevere #glowup #danceinthedark 🧛‍♀️

A post shared by Angel 😇 (@latigresapeligrosa) on Apr 7, 2018 at 10:29am PDT

Credit: Latigresapeligrosa

16. Glowing Cocktails

Even the most vibrant themes can incorporate an attendee favorite; the signature cocktail. Although you have to be careful what you serve, plenty of ingredients will give off a cool neon glow and even glow in the dark if you find the right recipe! This is a cool example of a neon, glowing cocktail that is made cooler and themed by being served in a science beaker.

neon lights 2/3 . . . . . . #night #neon #light #lights #neonlights #christmas #xmas #natal #drink #neondrink #dark #photography #feed #line #linha #like4like #likeforlike #newfeed #green #healthpotion #lol #leagueoflegends #game #decoration #christmastime #vibe #potion #blue

A post shared by J.A (@jeniaphotography) on Nov 28, 2017 at 10:10am PST

Credit: Jenia Photography

In Conclusion

Neon can be classy and sophisticated or it can be raver chic, either way, it’s a theme that everyone enjoys and comes with plenty of ideas to incorporate into décor, activities and event design. Just remember that neon works better in darker conditions, otherwise, the colors don’t have the same “pop” and tend to fall a little flat.