Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Q&A: How do you light a backyard?

The variety of ways we lit the yard are some of my more favorite design elements from our wedding. It's kind of scary to think about lighting a large yard, but it ended up being fairly easy and cheap.

Because we were trying to conserve power for the DJ equipment, we knew we couldn't go overboard with electric lights. So we started with candles. Each dinner table had three candles in jars or other assorted vintage glassware. The dessert table was filled up with candles as well.


Since we were trying to keep people from wandering off into the depths of my parent's yard we created a border around the lawn by hanging candles in mason jars from sheperd's hooks. The mason jars were acquired off of Freecycle, but they were basically used peanut butter and pasta sauce jars. And we found shepherd's hooks at JoAnns Fabric for really cheap last summer (they were something like 75% off). We're going to use both the hooks and the candle jars in our yard this summer.
Since we figured most people would be on or near the dancefloor by the time it was really dark, that was lit a few ways. First, we had torches around the edge of the pool & seating area. In a big tree that overhangs the dance floor we hung up more of the mason jars with candles in them.
My parents already had lights strung up around their patio and around the hot tub deck/DJ area so we turned those on as well. And of course we had the floating candles in the pool and the fire pit, which I'm still on a quest for a picture of!

For the main part of the yard, we rented white lights. We were originally going to buy lights, but renting long strands cost us around $2/strand, which was cheaper than anywhere we could purchase them.

My cousin and P. dug small holes in the lawn and stuck posts in the ground. I've seen people use buckets with sand or some other thing to weight down the posts, but digging holes seemed more secure. He attached the lights to the poles and the house and that was it! I think we rented four strands for the yard. Each strand was attached in three places (two posts and the house).

This last picture really seems to show most of the different lighting elements we used. Nothing was glaringly bright, but it had a nice glow to it.

14 comments:

{amy lynn} said...

beautiful. i just adore your sweet little wedding...hoping mine turns out just as fab..but you know, i do have a question...

how did you get the mason jars with the wire? did you create them yourself, or did you purchase them that way?

thanks!!

backyardwedding said...

Amy-
Good question. We wrapped one piece of wire around the lip of the jar. Then we cut another piece of wire (in varying lengths) and hooked it onto the wire around the lip. Then we tightened the wire around the lip so that they were both securely on there. You can kind of see how it's set up in this picture:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3134/3098996563_64a7001515.jpg?v=0http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3134/3098996563_64a7001515.jpg?v=0
We used needle-nose pliers to twist the wire, which you can get at hardware or craft stores.

Hanna said...

this is great. who lit all the candles? when did they do it?

unlovething said...

Did you use citronella at all?? What was the bug situation like?

backyardwedding said...

Hanna - One of our friends and her boyfriend walked around with lighters at dusk and lit all the candles. She asked if there was anything she could help with so I put her on that task. It only took about 10 minutes in total.

And I believe that the torches may have had citronella in them. The bugs weren't bad and I'm the first to get bit (repeatedly) if there is a bug anywhere around.

Joanna said...

I love the idea. The mason jars are cool. Got inspired with it. I just want to know where did you get all the jars? are they all recycled?

un-bride said...

So beautiful! Where did you look to rent the strands of white lights?

backyardwedding said...

Joanna-I got the jars from people on Freecycle. So yup, they were all recycled.

Un-Bride- I rented the white lights from the same company that rented me my tables, chairs, and dancefloor.

Alison said...

where did you get the poles? also, i gotta ask: did you have a rain plan?

backyardwedding said...

Alison,
The poles were from the hardware store.
And here is my post about our lack of rain plan:
http://abackyardwedding.blogspot.com/2009/02/q-did-you-have-backup-plan-for-rain.html

Tamara said...

i'm totally inspired by your ideas. i'm doing a backyard wedding myself this summer. definitely will be doing the hanging mason jars!

i also rented string lights but can't find those tall posts at the hardware store! what exactly are they called so i can ask the hardware store guy and he doesn't give me a puzzled look? thanks!

Anonymous said...

You can use solar string lights

Courtney said...

do you remember where you rented your lights from?

charlie said...

Hi! where did you go to rent the lights and tables etc.?