Monday, February 15, 2010

Lighting at a wedding can get expensive.  REAL expensive.  How do you create mood lighting without shelling out so much cash?  Here are some do it yourself lighting options that can make an evening wedding glow.
[note: if your wedding venue has a "no open flame" restriction, use battery-operated flameless candles.  These luminarias will hide any sight of a fake candle, and will give the same effect as a votive - without the fire danger!] 

These paper luminaries hang from white twinkle lights, and are fashioned out of paper bags.  Martha Stewart gives a "how to:"

Tools and Materials
Strings of full-size Christmas lights with clear bulbs (remove every other bulb)
Light-colored paper bags about 7 inches wide (for each lantern, you'll need two the same size)
A utility knife
A ruler
2-inch round self-stick labels
2-inch-wide single-face satin ribbon (one 48-inch length for each lantern)
Paper Lanterns How-To1. Trim the tops of each bag to make straight edges. For the top of each lantern, stick a label on the inside bottom center of one bag to reinforce. Reaching inside the bag with a utility knife, cut two 1 1/2-inch slits, making an X on the label.
2. To attach bags to lights, first remove a bulb, and slide the socket through the X, and then screw the bulb back in.
3. For the lantern bottom, slide a second bag up over the first one.
4. Lay the center of the ribbon on top of the wire at the socket; wrap ribbon snugly down sides of bags. Knot at bottom and let ends hang.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Next, for a more personalized touch, use photos of the bride or groom (either their engagement photos, or of their childhood) to create a photo display as well as soft lighting along tables.  This idea also works well for bridal showers!
Each luminary is made from three photo frames with the backs removed. 
Print photos (black & white works best) onto ecru-colored vellum and fasten to back of frame with tape or glue around edges.
Glue photo frames together to make a triangular form.  Place a votive candle in the middle, light, and enjoy.
[credit: Martha Stewart]
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

For a nice table centerpiece, or even to line a walkway, use different sizes of paper bags to create soft light.  

Tools and Materials
Light-colored paper lunch bags in various sizes
Scalloped rotary cutter
12-inch gold-colored doilies (white ones won't show through as well)
Utility knife
Glue stick or Xyron sticker-making machine
Votive candles in glass holders
Utility lighter
Luminarias How-To
1. Lay each bag flat; use a ruler to guide the scalloped rotary cutter as you cut a new top edge 1 inch below the bag's original edge.
2. To cut doilies to fit the bag, lay a bag flat on the work surface. Lay a doily on the bag, and determine where to cut in order to create a pleasing design. Cut straight lines with a ruler and a utility knife; use scissors to snip along curves. The final size of the doily should be 1/8 inch narrower than the width of the bag so the doily will lay flat inside.
3. Coat the gold side of the doily generously with glue from the glue stick, or coat it with self-adhesive using the Xyron machine. Attach doily to the inside of the front of the bag, positioning it as desired. After gluing, close the bag, and run your hand firmly over the design to seal. Open the bag, and let dry at least 1 hour.
4. Set the bag in desired location, and then put the votive candle, in its holder, inside. Light the wick once the candle holder has been securely placed; do not carry the lit luminaria.
[credit: Martha Stewart]

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